Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP)

The ESSP is a partnership for the integrated study of the Earth System, the ways that it is changing, and the implications for global and regional sustainability.

The urgency of the challenge is great: In the present era, global environmental changes are both accelerating and moving the earth system into a state with no analogue in previous history.  

Click here for ESSP Briefing Paper.

The Earth System is the unified set of physical, chemical, biological and social components, processes and interactions that together determine the state and dynamics of Planet Earth, including its bio data and its human occupants.

Earth System Science is the study of the Earth System, with an emphasis on observing, understanding and predicting global environmental changes involving interactions between land, atmosphere, water, ice, biosphere, societies, technologies and economies.

International Conference on Global Environmental Change and Food Systems

31 March – 2 April 2008 (hosted by University of Oxford)


  • Present findings from conceptual and regional research supported by the ESSP Joint Project on “Global Environmental Change and Food Systems” (GECAFS).
  • Present and share related and relevant research on GEC, food security and food systems, and decision support dialogues from the broader international community.
  • Bring together scientists from diverse backgrounds to forge new partnerships.

CALL for PAPERS: Deadline, 31 October. Click here for more details.

INCOMING! ESSP Scientific Committee Chair

As of October 2007, under a new governance structure, Professor Rik Leemans will chair the ESSP Scientific Committee. Rik is head of the Environmental Systems Analysis Group of the Environmental Sciences Department of Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He co-chaired the Response Option Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and currently leads multidisciplinary projects to develop integrated assessment models for global biodiversity and local/regional ecosystem vulnerability. Rik has also been strongly involved in all assessments of the IPCC over the past decade.

If you have any questions for the ESSP Chair/general questions about the ESSP, please contact Martin Rice, ESSP Coordinator,

Carbon Neutral

The Global Carbon Project has prepared a draft report, “Carbon reductions and offsets” in response to the growth in voluntary carbon offsets as part of the portfolio of options to reduce CO2 emissions.

Global Carbon Report No. 6: carbon reductions and offsets available in draft form.

4th IGBP Congress: Sustainable Livelihoods in a Changing Earth System. Cape Town, South Africa. 5-9 May 2008

IGBP Congress goals:

  • To develop ways for IGBP to apply Earth System science and improve IGBP relevance to civil society, the private sector and the policy community;
  • To provide a forum for cross-project interaction and integration across the breadth of the programme;
  • To identify where IGBP work can better contribute to addressing mitigation and adaptation, large-scale pilot projects on sustainability science and institutional networking;
  • To suggest pathways to sustainable solutions, including mitigation, innovation and adaptation;
  • To address the challenges of Global Environmental Change and development in Africa; and
  • To develop a lasting network linking the scientific, political and private enterprises, collectively engaged in developing closer global-scale environmental management collaboration.