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The Earth System is one of the most complex entities in the universe, driven and stabilized by millions of interacting forces. The sudden anthropogenic re-oxidization of global carbon resources created by long-term geological processes is a major disruption of the planetary machinery.
This talk will (i) discuss the character of that disruption; (ii) outline the concomitant, highly nonlinear impacts on nature and civilization if the intervention goes on; and (iii) envisage the transformative political, economic and social action needed for avoiding climate disaster.
Whatever we do or don’t do, the world as we know it will soon cease to exist.
About Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Schellnhuber founded the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in 1992 and has been its Director ever since. He holds a Chair in Theoretical Physics at Potsdam University and is an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute (USA).
Schellnhuber is currently Co-Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Governing Board Chair of the Climate-KIC of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and Chair of the Standing Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). He is an appointed member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and elected member of the Leopoldina, the Academia Europaea, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Max Planck Society and several other academies. Schellnhuber was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II (2004), the Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg (2008) and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011). He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Copenhagen (2011) and Technische Universität Berlin (2012).
Schellnhuber has been a long-standing member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He served as Chief Government Advisor on climate and related issues during the German G8/EU twin presidency in 2007 and has served as a principal advisor to the European Commission President Barroso. He is a member of numerous national and international panels addressing scientific strategies and sustainability issues. Schellnhuber has authored, co-authored or edited more than 300 articles and more than 50 books in the fields of condensed matter physics, complex systems dynamics, climate change research, Earth System analysis, and sustainability science.