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International commitment to the appropriately ambitious Paris climate agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 has pulled into the limelight the urgent need for major scientific progress in understanding and modelling the Anthropocene, the tightly intertwined social-environmental planetary system that humanity now inhabits. The Anthropocene qualitatively differs from previous eras in Earth’s history in three key characteristics: (1) There is planetary-scale human agency. (2) There are social and economic networks of teleconnections spanning the globe. (3) It is dominated by planetary-scale social-ecological feedbacks. Bolting together old concepts and methodologies cannot be an adequate approach to describing this new geological era. Instead, we need a new paradigm in Earth System science that is founded equally on a deep understanding of the physical and biological Earth System – and of the economic, social and cultural forces that are now an intrinsic part of it. It is time to close the loop and bring socially mediated dynamics explicitly into theory, analysis and models that let us study the whole Earth System.
Research news | 2018-08-14
New index reveals how climate risks are reinforced by global connectivity, leaving no country shielded from impact
General news | 2018-08-14
Event, Tuesday 11 September 2018 in partnership with ICF and the UN Climate Resilience Initiative A2R. A Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event
Research news | 2018-08-13
New analysis reveals connections between tax havens and resource degradation in both the Amazon rainforest and global fisheries
Research news | 2018-08-06
Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it