Earth Education Science Partnership


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.

To learn more about the ESSP, clink on links to access Strategy Paper, brochure and a video presentation by the Chair of the ESSP Scientific Committee, Prof. Dr. Rik Leemans of Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

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 biota 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.

ESSP Transitions into ‘Future Earth’ (31/12/2012)

On 31st December 2012, the ESSP will close and transition into ‘Future Earth’ as it develops over the next few years. During this period, the four global environmental Change research programmes (DIVERSITAS, IGBP, IHDP, WCRP) will continue close collaboration with each other. ‘Future Earth’ is currently being planned as a ten-year international research initiative for global sustainability ( that will build on decades of scientific excellence of the four GEC research programmes and their scientific partnership.

Click here to read more.

Global Carbon Budget 2012

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production increased by 3 percent in 2011, with a total of 34.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted the atmosphere. These emissions were the highest in human history and 54 percent higher than in 1990 (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). In 2011, coal burning was responsible for 43 percent of the total emissions, 34 percent for oil, 18 percent for gas and 5 percent for cement.

For the complete 2012 carbon budget and trends, access the Global Carbon Project website.

GWSP International Conference – CALL for ABSTRACTS

The GWSP Conference on “Water in the Anthropocene: Challenges for Science and Governance” will convene in Bonn, Germany, 21 – 24 May 2014.

The focus of the conference is to address the global dimensions of water system changes due to anthropogenic as well as natural influences. The Conference will provide a platform to present global and regional perspectives on the responses of water management to global change in order to address issues such as variability in supply, increasing demands for water, environmental flows, and land use change. The Conference will help build links between science and policy and practice in the area of water resources management and governance, related institutional and technological innovations and identify ways that research can support policy and practice in the field of sustainable freshwater management.

Learn more about the Conference here.

Global Carbon Project (GCP) Employment Opportunity – Executive Director

The Global Carbon Project (GCP) is seeking to employ a highly motivated and independent person as Executive Director of the International Project Office (IPO) in Tsukuba, Japan, located at the Centre for Global Environmental Research at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES). The successful candidate will work with the GCP Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) and other GCP offices to implement the science framework of the GCP. The GCP is seeking a person with excellent working knowledge of the policy-relevant objectives of the GCP and a keen interest in devising methods to integrate social and policy sciences into the understanding of the carbon-climate system as a coupled human/natural system. Read More.

Inclusive Wealth Report

The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) announces the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR 2012) at the Rio +20 Conference in Brazil. The report presents a framework that offers a long-term perspective on human well-being and sustainability, based on a comprehensive analysis of nations’ productive base and their link to economic development. The IWR 2012 was developed on the notion that current economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) are insufficient, as they fail to reflect the state of natural resources or ecological conditions, and focus exclusively on the short-term, without indicating whether national policies are sustainable.

More details.

Future Earth: Global platform for sustainability research launched at Rio +20

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (14 June 2012) – An alliance of international partners from global science, research funding and UN bodies launched a new 10-year initiative on global environmental change research for sustainability at the Forum on Science and Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development. Future Earth – research for global sustainability, will provide a cutting-edge platform to coordinate scientific research which is designed and produced in partnership with governments, business and, more broadly, society. More details.

APN’s 2012 Call for Proposals

The Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) announces the call for proposals for funding from April 2013. The proposals can be submitted under two separate programmers: regional global change research and scientific capacity development. More details.

State of the Planet Declaration

Planet Under Pressure 2012 was the largest gathering of global change scientists leading up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) with over 3,000 delegates at the conference venue and over 3,500 that attended virtually via live web streaming. The plenary sessions and the Daily Planet news show continue to draw audiences worldwide as they are available On Demand. An additional number of organisations, including 150 Science and Technology Centres worldwide streamed the plenary sessions at Planet Under Pressure-related events reaching an additional 12,000 viewers.

The first State of the Planet Declaration was issued at the conference.

Global Carbon Budget 2010

Global carbon dioxide emissions increased by a record 5.9 percent in 2010 following the dampening effect of the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), according to scientists working with the Global Carbon Project (GCP). The GCP annual analysis reports that the impact of the GFC on emissions has been short-lived owing to strong emissions growth in emerging economies and a return to emissions growth in developed economies.

More details.

Planet Under Pressure 2012 Debategraph

Debate graph and Planet Under Pressure Conference participants and organisers are collaborating to distill the main arguments and evidence, risks and policy options facing humanity into a dynamic knowledge map to help convey and inform the global deliberation at United Nations Rio +20 and beyond.

Join the debate! (

Integrated Global Change Research

The ESSP and partners – the German National Committee on Global Change Research (NKGCF), International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) is conducting a new study on ‘Integrated Global Change Research: Co-designing knowledge across scientific fields, national borders and user groups’. An international workshop (funded by the German Research Foundation) convened in Berlin, 7 – 9 March 2012, designed to elucidate the dimensions of integration, to identify and analyse best practice examples, to exchange ideas about new concepts of integration, to discuss emerging challenges for science, and to begin discussions about balancing academic research and stakeholder involvement.

Workshop Outputs

The Future of the World’s Climate

The Future of the World’s Climate (edited by Ann Henderson-Sellers and Kendal McGuffie) offers a state-of-the-art overview – based on the latest climate science modelling data and projections available – of our understanding of future climates. The book is dedicated to Stephen H Schneider, a world leader in climate interpretation and communication. The Future of the World’s Climate summarizes our current understanding of climatic prediction and examines how that understanding depends on a keen grasp of integrated Earth system models and human interaction with climate. This book brings climate science up to date beyond the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. More details.

Social Scientists Call for More Research on Human Dimensions of Global Change

Scientists across all disciplines share great concern that our planet is in the process of crossing dangerous biophysical tipping points. The results of a new large-scale global survey among 1,276 scholars from the social sciences and the humanities demonstrates that the human dimensions of the problem are equally important but severely under-addressed.

The survey conducted by the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP-UNU) Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), identifies the following as highest research priority areas:

1) Equity/equality and wealth/resource distribution;

2) Policy, political systems/governance, and political economy;

3) Economic systems, economic costs and incentives;

4) Globalization, social and cultural transitions.

Food Security and Global Environmental Change

Food security and global environmental change, a synthesis book edited by John Ingram, Polly Ericksen and Diana Liverman of GECAFS has just been published. The book provides a major, accessible synthesis of the current state of knowledge and thinking on the relationship between GEC and food security. Click here for further information.

GECAFS is featured in the latest UNESCO-SCOPE-UNEP Policy Brief – No. 12 entitled Global Environmental Change and Food Security. The brief reviews current knowledge, highlights trends and controversies, and is a useful reference for policy planners, decision makers and stakeholders in the community.

GWSP Digital Water Atlas

The Global Water System Project (GWSP) has launched its Digital Water Atlas. The purpose and intent of the Digital Water Atlas is to describe the basic elements of the Global Water System, the interlinkages of the elements and changes in the state of the Global Water System by creating a consistent set of annotated maps. The project will especially promote the collection, analysis and consideration of social science data on the global basis. Click here to access the GWSP Digital Water Atlas.

Carbon Neutral

The ESSP office was carbon neutral in its office operations and travel in 2011. The ESSP supported the Gujarat wind project in India. More details.

The Global Carbon Project has published an ESSP commissioned report, “carbon reductions and offsets” with a number of recommendations for individuals and institutions who want to participate in this voluntary market. Click here to learn more and to download the report from the GCP website.

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