Unaccounted emissions from permafrost, threats to the land sink, impacts on mental health and freshwater, COVID-19 outcomes, and rights-based litigation to address climate change. These are some of the most recent findings in climate change science summarized in the 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2020. This interdisciplinary report was launched in a virtual event featuring Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held on 27 January 2021 at 16:00 GMT. It accompanies a paper simultaneously released in the journal Global Sustainability. The project was made possible through a partnership with Future Earth and the World Climate Research Programme. Access the full report and other materials here, including this infographic.
Dr. Peng Gong began as Vice President for Academic Development of the University of Hong Kong, in January 2021, formerly Chair of the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University. Read more in the HKU Press Release.
Dr. Pavel Kabat will become the next Secretary-General of The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO), based in Strasbourg, France. Professor Kabat will transition from his position as Chief Scientist and Research Director of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations, in Geneva. Read the HFSPO Press Release.
Professor Ottmar Edenhofer will now advise the Vatican’s “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.” The Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) was appointed by Pope Francis, who created the institution just a few years ago. Read this announcement from PIK.
Global Lessons for a More Resilient Future: The Surprising Links Between the Coronavirus, Climate Change, and Inclusive Governance
This panel from June 30, 2020 included Earth League co-chairs Peter Schlosser and Johan Rockstrom who presented a diverse range of perspectives and fascinating insights on the urgent challenges we face — and key steps to address them:
- The hope that we have to have now is that the investments that are being made on a massive scale [to combat COVID-19] will be used to drive a reemergence from that shock that is better than the starting point. From that perspective, there is a chance for us to pivot in a fairly short period of time. The key question is, will people make the right choices? -Peter Schlosser
- Human pressures on the planet are rising to a point where we no longer can exclude crossing irreversible tipping points, like triggering collapse of forests, uncontrolled permafrost thawing and accelerated ice melt. The COVID19 pandemic is but a manifestation of this new reality. Building a resilient future to reduce risks of catastrophic shocks in the future requires that we take a systems approach of prosperity and equity within the safe operating space of a stable Earth. Science is today able to provide the targets for this space, to guide our ability to navigate the future. -Johan Rockström
Empowering Leaders for a Global Future: Transforming education to meet 21st century challenges & opportunities
This panel from Dec. 10, 2020 was a thought-provoking conversation about re-imagining education to harness today’s resources and meet tomorrow’s challenges, including EL’s Peter Schlosser:
- “In the future, we’ll have a different way of looking at education in a globally connected context, because we do need to understand how the world works as a whole, where we have different cultures leading to different knowledge systems, how we have to combine these knowledge systems …so that we get the right outlook for understanding how we got to where we are, where we made choices that were not good for the planet, and how we can make better choices in the future.”
The members of the Earth League are grieving for Professor Mario Molina, who unexpectedly passed away on 7 October 2020 at the age of 77. Professor Molina, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and member of the Earth League since its inception, was one of the greatest intellectuals of our time. As an outstanding scientist, he made seminal contributions to the field of atmospheric sciences. Yet his influence expanded well beyond his pioneering work targeted at understanding the critical elements and processes of the Earth System: Throughout his life and career, Mario was an outstanding humanist seeking to improve the social conditions – especially of the weakest and of those whose voices are frequently not heard. The “Centro Mario Molina” in Mexico City, which he founded in 2004, has become an international role model for transdisciplinary work in the spirit of sustainable development.
His inspiration as a researcher, activist, personality, and friend will be greatly missed – by us and by many people across the globe. Learn more about Dr. Molina’s impact on the world with this obituary from the New York Times and this retrospective in Science.
The 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2019 (full report) intends to take up the latest and most essential scientific findings published in an extraordinary year – the climate science year in review. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference’s Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa officially received “10 New Insights in Climate Science” as it is launched in Madrid, Spain. The document was jointly produced by Future Earth and the Earth League.
Climate change can be limited if a rapid and deep decarbonization is achieved. Technological innovation allone will not ensure this crucial transformation; the social dimension needs to be considered with the same emphasis. Ilona Otto, Jonathan Donges, Roger Cremades and Avit Bhowmik investigated how social tipping elements and mechanisms could contribute to the realization of the targets of the Paris Agreement.
The South Centre published a comprehensive overview of resources on climate finance. The collection provides, easy to access and in one place, the most important information on every listed product, so that decision makers and practitioners gain an idea of the landscape of International Climate Finance and multilateral financing mechanisms.
Earth League member Leena Srivastava assumed her new role as Deputy Director General for Science at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Before, she was a Vice Chancellor at the TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, since 2012. The new member of IIASA’s leading team will ensure the excellence in research at this highly interdisciplinary institute also for the future.