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Earth system governance is a recently developed paradigm that builds on earlier notions of environmental policy and nature conservation, but puts these into the broader context of human-induced transformations of the entire earth system.
The integrative new paradigm of earth system governance has evolved into an active research area that brings together a variety of social science disciplines including political science, sociology, economics, ecology, policy studies, geography, sustainability science, and law.
The Earth System Governance Project organizes its research according to a conceptual framework guided by five sets of research lenses according to their 2018 Science and Implementation Plan:
These centre around four contextual conditions:
Major international conferences on ‘Earth System Governance’ have been held in Amsterdam (2007, 2009), Berlin (2008, 2010), Colorado (2011), Lund (2012, 2017), Tokyo (2013), Norwich (2014), Canberra (2015) and Nairobi (2016). In 2017, the 8th Annual Earth System Governance Conference took place in Lund, Sweden. This conference was co-hosted by Lund University during its 350 year celebration.In 2018 it was held in Utrecht, The Netherlands . In 2019, the conference took place in Mexico. In 2020, it is due to be held in Brastislava.
On 16–19 May 2011, more than twenty Nobel Laureates, several leading policy-makers and some of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability met for the Third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainabilityat the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The Nobel Laureate Symposium concluded with the Stockholm Memorandum, calling for "strengthening of Earth System Governance" as a priority for coherent global action. This memorandum has been submitted to the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability appointed by the UN Secretary General and fed into the preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
In 2014, the Project’s chair Frank Biermann was invited to speak in the United Nations General Assembly.
The new paradigm of earth system governance was originally developed in the Netherlands by Professor Frank Biermann in his inaugural lecture at the VU University Amsterdam, which was published later in 2007.Based on this pioneering contribution, Biermann was invited by the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change to develop a long-term comprehensive international programme in this field, which became in 2009 the global Earth System Governance Project.
Key researchers who have applied the earth system governance framework in their work include Michele Betsill, John Dryzek, Peter M. Haas, Norichika Kanie, Lennart Olsson, and Oran Young.
In 2012, 33 leading scholars from the Project wrote a blueprint for reform of strengthening earth system governance, which was published in Science.
Today, the term ‘earth system governance’ is mentioned on 84000 sites according to Google.
In 2009, the UN-sponsored global change research networks have set up a long-term research programme in earth system governance, the Earth System Governance Project. The Earth System Governance Project currently consists of a network of around 370 active and about 2,300 indirectly involved scholars from all continents.Since 2015 it is part of the overarching international research platform Future Earth. The International Project Office is hosted at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
Research centres on ‘Earth System Governance’ have been set up or designated at the University of Ghana; the University of Brasília; Utrecht University; the German Development Institute; the CETIP Network; VU University Amsterdam; the University of Amsterdam; the Australian National University; Chiang Mai University; Colorado State University; Lund University; the University of East Anglia; the University of Oldenburg; the Stockholm Resilience Centre; the University of Toronto; the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Yale University. In addition, strong networks on earth system governance research exist in China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia.
There are four major publication series of the Earth System Governance Project.
The Journal Earth System Governance was launched in 2019.
The book series on earth system governance by the MIT Press is about the research objections of earth system governance. Interdisciplinary in scope, broad in governance levels and the use of methods, the books are aimed at investigating earth governance systems and finding conceivable amendments. They are hence addressing the scientific community and professionals in politics.
The Earth System Governance Project is also collaborating with Cambridge University Press to summarize the research conclusions of 10 years Earth System Governance Project.
The Cambridge Elements series on Earth System Governance focuses on current governance research relevant for practitioners and scientists. The series is aimed at providing ideas for policy improvements and analysis’s of socio-ecological systems by interdisciplinary and influential scholars.
Climate engineering or climate intervention, commonly referred to as geoengineering, is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system, usually with the aim of mitigating the adverse effects of global warming. The most prominent subcategory of climate engineering is solar radiation management. Solar radiation management attempts to offset the effects of greenhouse gases by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation. Almost all research into solar radiation management has to date consisted of computer modelling or laboratory tests, and an attempt to move to outdoor experimentation has proven controversial.
David Leonard Downie is an American scholar focusing on international environmental politics and policy. He currently writes and teaches at Fairfield University.
This is a list of climate change topics.
Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of "sustainability" a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine". Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and that it "serves the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two".
The Earth System Governance Project is a long-term, interdisciplinary social science research programme originally developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. It started in January 2009.
John S. Dryzek is a Centenary Professor at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra's Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis.
Planetary boundaries is a concept involving Earth system processes which contain environmental boundaries, proposed in 2009 by a group of Earth system and environmental scientists led by Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Will Steffen from the Australian National University. The group wanted to define a "safe operating space for humanity" for the international community, including governments at all levels, international organizations, civil society, the scientific community and the private sector, as a precondition for sustainable development. The framework is based on scientific evidence that human actions since the Industrial Revolution have become the main driver of global environmental change.
Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems of governance, for example watershed-based management.
In political ecology and environmental policy, climate governance is the diplomacy, mechanisms and response measures "aimed at steering social systems towards preventing, mitigating or adapting to the risks posed by climate change". A definitive interpretation is complicated by the wide range of political and social science traditions that are engaged in conceiving and analysing climate governance at different levels and across different arenas. In academia, climate governance has become the concern of geographers, anthropologists, economists and business studies scholars.
Benjamin K. Sovacool is director of the Danish Center for Energy Technology at the Department of Business Technology and Development and a professor of social sciences at Aarhus University. He is also professor of energy policy at the University of Sussex, where he directs both the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand, one of six End Use Energy Demand Centres in the United Kingdom, and the Sussex Energy Group. His research interests include energy policy, environmental issues, and science and technology policy. He is the author or editor of eighteen books and 300 peer-reviewed academic articles and chapters and has written opinion editorials for the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle. Sovacool is editor-in-chief of Energy Research & Social Science, which explores the interactions between energy systems and society.
Planetary management is intentional global-scale management of Earth's biological, chemical and physical processes and cycles. Planetary management also includes managing humanity’s influence on planetary-scale processes. Effective planetary management aims to prevent destabilisation of Earth's climate, protect biodiversity and maintain or improve human well-being. More specifically, it aims to benefit society and the global economy, and safeguard the ecosystem services upon which humanity depends – global climate, freshwater supply, food, energy, clean air, fertile soil, pollinators, and so on.
The Cities for Climate Protection program (CCP) is one of three major global transnational municipal networks aimed at reducing urban greenhouse gas emissions. Established in 1990 by the International Union of Local Authorities and the United Nations Environment Programme, one of the largest global transnational networks, the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI), presented a framework to represent local government environmental concerns internationally. The ICLEI strives to ‘establish an active and committed municipal membership… that promotes environmental and sustainable development initiatives within…[a] framework of decentralised cooperation’. ). In 1993, Subsequent to an ICLEI successful pilot scheme, the Urban CO2 Reduction Project, the CCP program was established during the post-Rio Earth Summit era. The CCP program illustrates itself within local climate policy, as a Transnational governance network.
Will Steffen is an American chemist. He was the executive director of the Australian National University (ANU) Climate Change Institute and a member of the Australian Climate Commission until its dissolution in September 2013. From 1998 to 2004, he was the executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, a co-ordinating body of national environmental change organisations based in Stockholm.
The term ‘hybrid institution’ is not yet well-established or clearly defined in academic literature. This article therefore begins by offering a definition of the term and a brief discussion of its origins. The article thereafter is structured as a series of examples which demonstrate some of the key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of hybrid institutions. These examples are mostly limited to environmental issues, and have been selected for their value in introducing the concept of hybrid institutions, in that they encapsulate key themes. There remains a multitude of other examples, and contributions from both environmental and other fields are welcomed and encouraged.
Diana Liverman is Regents Professor of Geography and Development, and formerly co-Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, USA. She is an expert on the human dimensions of global environmental change and the impacts of climate on society. She was a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) October 8, 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.
Hans Emiel Aloysius Bruyninckx is a Belgian political scientist and international relations scholar specialized in international environmental governance and European environmental politics. He has headed the European Environment Agency since 2013. While in this position, he is on leave from his posts as Professor of International Relations and Global Environmental Governance, Institute for International and European Policy; and Director, Research Institute for Work and Society, both at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
The contributions of women in climate change have received increasing attention in the early 21st century. Feedback from women and the issues faced by women have been described as "imperative" by the United Nations and "critical" by the Population Reference Bureau. A report by the World Health Organization concluded that incorporating gender-based analysis would "provide more effective climate change mitigation and adaptation."
Stacy D. VanDeveer is an American academic and international relations scholar. He is Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He was Chair of the Department of Political Science and Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. He has also taught courses with Harvard Extension School and Harvard Summer School, and been a fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Brown University's Transatlantic Academy, UMASS, and UNH London Program. VanDeveer has authored and co-authored over 90 articles, book chapters, reports and six co-edited books on his specialties. His research interests include international relations, comparative politics, LGBT rights, EU and transatlantic politics, humanitarian degradation and connections between environmental and security issues.
Planetary health refers to "the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends". In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation and The Lancet launched the concept as the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health.
Noelle Eckley Selin is an atmospheric chemist and Associate Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.