today in what may appropriately be called the “Anthropocene”—a new geologic epoch in which humankind
has emerged as a globally significant — and potentially intelligent — force capable of reshaping the face of the
planet (Crutzen 2002).
of the Idea
have doubtless been altering their local environments since arriving on the scene as a distinct species several hundred thousand
years ago. Our debut as major actors on the global stage—actors comparable in influence to the classic roles played
by erosion, volcanism, natural selection, and the like—is a much more recent phenomenon. This dates back at most several
thousand years, but has accelerated greatly in scope and influence over the last several centuries (Ruddiman 2003).
by humans of our role as global transformers is younger still.
contributions began to emerge in the nineteenth century, for example Ansichten der Natur by the German geographer Alexander
von Humboldt (1808) and The Earth as Modified by Human Action by the American diplomat George Perkins Marsh (1864, 1965).
By 1873, the Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani was describing humanity’s activities as a “new telluric
force, which in power and universality may be compared to the greater forces of Earth” (Stoppani 1873).
The theme was subsequently developed and given a much wider audience by the Russian geochemist V.I. Vernadsky in a series
of lectures on the “biosphere” given at the Sorbonne in the early 1920s (Vernadsky 1998/1926, 1945). The
last half century witnessed an accelerating program of scientific studies (e.g., Thomas 1956; Steffen et al. 2004) that have
broadened and deepened our understanding of what Turner et al. (1990) have convincingly characterized as an “Earth
transformed by human action.”
with humanity’s growing awareness of its role in transforming the Earth has come a growing recognition that how
we use this awareness will shape the Earth’s future, and our own. Vernadsky (1998/1926) himself speculated on
“...the direction in which the processes of evolution must proceed, namely toward increasing consciousness and
thought, and forms having greater and greater influence on their surroundings.” Along with his French colleagues,
the scientist and mystic P. Teilhard de Chardin and philosopher Édouard Le Roy, Vernadsky (1998/1926) coined the term “noösphere”
to suggest a biosphere in which not only human action, but human thought and reflection on the consequences of
its actions, would come to play a determinative role. Rapidly expanding efforts to manage the impact of human activities
on the global environment show that humanity is taking seriously the idea and implications of a noösphere (Brown
1954; Clark 1989; Caldwell and Weiland 1996; Mitchell 2003).
recent big idea to emerge in the history of the Anthropocene is that of “sustainability”— a normative concept
regarding not merely what is, but also what ought to be the human use of the Earth (Kates 2001). The concern for using our
understanding of human impacts on the Earth’s environment to help guide our use of the Earth in “sustainable”
directions can be traced back to early work on the conservation of renewable resources. Much of that discussion was cast in
terms of a contest between environmental protection and human development.
late 1970s, however, the inadequacies of this traditional competitive framing were becoming increasingly clear. The
World Conservation Strategy, published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1980, reframed the modern sustainability
debate by arguing explicitly that goals
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
protecting the Earth’s lands and wildlife could not be realized except through strategies that also addressed the improvement
of human well-being in conservation areas. This view was formulated for environmental protection, in general, and the Earth,
as a whole, in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED — the Brundtland Commission)
on Our Common Future, released in 1987.
Commission argued for advancing a global program of sustainable development that “meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987, p. 8). Its conceptualization of
the sustainability challenge was adopted by many world leaders in Rio de Janeiro at the UN Conference on Environment
and Development (UNCED) in 1992, and was diffused broadly within governmental, business, and academic communities over
the next decade. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2000) reflected a growing consensus when he wrote in his Millennium
Report to the General Assembly that “freedom from want, freedom from fear, and the freedom of future generations to
sustain their lives on this planet” are the three grand challenges facing the international community at the dawn of
the twenty-first century. By the time of theWorld Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, achieving
sustainability had become a “high table” goal in international affairs, and on many regional, national,
and local political agendas.
for harnessing science and technology in support of efforts to achieve the goal of environmentally sustainable human development
in the Anthropocene was generally recognized at the Johannesburg Summit.How this might be accomplished was not. Exploring
the options and opportunities for promoting such efforts was the central objective of this Dahlem Workshop on “Earth
Systems Analysis for Sustainability.”
of the Transformation
understanding of how human actions are in fact transforming the Anthropocene is the necessary foundation for any serious effort
to harness science and technology for sustainability. The recent report of the world scientific community’s decade-long
research program on Global Environmental Change and the Earth System (Steffen et al. 2004) provides such a foundation.
from the works of hundreds of researchers, the “Global Change” study (Steffen et al. 2004; Chapter 3) concluded
that perhaps 50% of the world’s ice-free land surface has been transformed by human action; the land under cropping
has doubled during the past century at the expense of forests, which declined by 20% over the same period. More than half
of all accessible freshwater resources have come to be used by humankind. Fisheries remove more than 25% of the primary production
of the oceans in the upwelling regions and 35% in the temperate continental shelf regions (Pauly and Christensen 1995).
for Global Sustainability 3
nitrogen is now fixed synthetically and applied as fertilizers in agriculture than is fixed naturally in all terrestrial ecosystems.
Over-application of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture and its concentration in domestic animal manure have led to eutrophication
of surface waters and groundwater in many locations around the world. They also lead to the microbiological production of
N2O, a greenhouse gas and a source of NO in the stratosphere, where it is strongly involved in ozone chemistry.
exploitation of fossil fuels that were generated over several hundred million years has resulted in a large pulse of air pollutants.
The release of SO2 to the atmosphere by coal and oil burning is at least two times larger than the sum of all natural emissions,
which occur mainly as marine dimethylsulfide from the oceans. The oxidation of SO2 to sulfuric acid has led to acidification
of precipitation and lakes, causing forest damage and fish death in biologically sensitive regions, such as Scandinavia and the northeast section of North America.
result of substantial reduction in SO2 emissions, the situation in these regions has improved somewhat over the last decades.
However, the problem has gotten worse in East Asia.
of NO into the atmosphere from fossil-fuel and biomass combustion is likewise larger than the natural inputs, adding to rainwater
acidity and giving rise to photochemical ozone (“smog”) formation in extensive regions of the world.
is also responsible for the presence of many toxic substances in the environment and even some, the chlorofluorocarbon gases
(CFCl3 and CF2Cl2), which are not toxic at all, have nevertheless led to the Antarctic springtime “ozone hole”;
CFCs would have destroyed much more of the ozone layer if international regulatory measures had not been taken to end their
production by 1996. However, due to the long residence times of CFCs, it will take at least another 4–5 decades before
the ozone layer will have recovered. The discovery of maximum reduction in stratospheric ozone came as a total surprise. It
was not predicted and happened in a section of the atmosphere, where ozone loss was thought to be impossible and the furthest
away from the regions of CFC releases to the atmosphere.
fossil-fuel burning, agricultural activities, deforestation, and intensive animal husbandry, several climatically important
“greenhouse” gases have substantially increased in the atmosphere over the past two centuries: CO2 by more than
30% and CH4 by even more than 100%, contributing substantially to the observed global average temperature increase by about
0.6°C, which has been observed during the past century.
to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC 2001, p. 10): “There is new and stronger evidence
that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
is no question that humanity has done quite well by its transformation of the planet. Supported by great technological and medical advancements as
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
as by access to plentiful natural resources, we have colonized most places on Earth and even set foot on the Moon. The transformations
of the last century helped humanity to increase the amount of cropland by a factor of 2, the number of people living
on the planet by a factor of 4, water use by a factor of more than 8, energy use by a factor of 16, and industrial output
by a factor of more than 40 (McNeill 2000; see Chapter 14, Table A-1, this volume). The quality of human life also increased,
with average life expectancy up more than 40% in the last 50 years, literacy up more than 20% in the last 35 years, and substantial
improvements in the female/male ratio in primary education, the number of people living in democratic countries, and the increased
commitment of the international community to protect civilians from internal conflict and to defend the rights of national
minorities (Kates and Parris 2003). The uneven distribution of these increases, their tenuous character, and the continued
suffering of peoples left, or falling, behind are stark reminders that much more remains to be done. However, the fact remains
that humanity, on average, has done very well indeed through its continuing transformation of the Earth. The question is whether
past trends of increasing prosperity can be broadened and sustained as the Anthropocene matures.
for the Future
for continued and sustainable improvements in human well-being on a transformed planet Earth is, at best, guarded. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has concluded that over the next half century,
human population can be expected to increase by perhaps 50%. Associated with such an increase, the demand for food production
could well increase by 80%, for urban infrastructure by 100%, and for energy services by substantially more than 200% (NRC
1999, p. 70). The resulting intensification of pressures on an already stressed biosphere could be overwhelming.
depending on the scenarios of future energy use and model uncertainties, the increasing emissions and resulting growth in
atmospheric concentrations ofCO2 are estimated to cause a rise in global average temperature by 1.4°–5.8°C during the
present century, accompanied by sea-level rise of 9–88 cm(and 0.5–10muntil the end of the current millennium).
According to Hansen (2004), considering only the warming of the globe over the past 50 years plus the warming already “in
the pipeline”—together more than one degree Celsius— the Earth will return halfway to temperature conditions
of the last interglacial, the Eemian (120 to 130 thousand years ago), when global sea levels were 5–6 meters higher
than at present. Greater warming is, however, expected if humanity cannot drastically curtail the emissions of CO2 and other
of current human activities is projected to last over very long periods.
to Loutre and Berger (2000), because of past and future anthropogenic emissions of CO2, climate may depart significantly from
natural over the next 50,000 years.
for Global Sustainability 5
a careful examination of the environmental, social, and economic implications of these and other intensifying transformations,
the Academy concluded that “current trends of population and habitation, wealth and consumption, technology and work,
connectedness and diversity, and environmental change are likely to persist well into the (21st) century and could significantly
undermine the prospects for sustainability. If they do persist, many human needs will not be met, life-support systems will
be dangerously degraded, and the numbers of hungry and poor will increase” (NRC 1999, p. 101).
on its view of plausible social and technical options for breaking these trends, however, the Academy noted that “a
successful transition toward sustainability is possible over the next two generations. This transition could be achieved without
miraculous technologies or drastic transformation of human societies….What will be required, however, are significant
advances in basic knowledge, in the social capacity and technological capabilities to utilize it, and in the political will
to turn this knowledge to action” (NRC 1999, p. 160).
advances in knowledge and its application possible? Will the Anthropocene simply turn out to be a very short era in which
humanity blindly careens forward, continuing to transform the Earth until the planet loses its capacity to support us? Or
might humanity rise to the challenge posed by Vernadsky, becoming the reflective, thinking, and proactive agent that transforms
the biosphere into a noösphere, and consciously striving to shape a niche for ourselves in a sustainable Anthropocene? The
answers to such questions will hinge in no small part on future developments of the sciences of the Earth system, and of sustainability.
We turn to the opportunities and challenges facing such developments in the next sections of this chapter.
EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE
quest to become an intelligent agent in and of the Anthropocene, what are the
prospects for humanity developing a robust scientific understanding of the complex Earth system of which it is such a rambunctious part?
Nikolaus Copernicus published his book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which
set the stage for the development of modern science. Not only was the Earth finally put in its correct astrophysical context,
but the first principles of “exact and objective” reasoning, ultimately
triumphing in the Enlightenment, were also established: The perception of cosmic reality became dominated by the clockwork
metaphor, assigning a regular trajectory governed by eternal physical laws to each particle in the Universe. The production
of wisdom became dominated by the curiosity-driven mode, confronting the brightest minds with the ultimate riddles of creation in splendid isolation from
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
interests—and from each other. Thus the great Copernican Revolution generated a paradigm of science, where the lonely
scholar wrestles with Nature in order
to snatch some of her secrets encoded in mathematical formulae of utter beauty.
delegates from more than 100 countries participating in the four big international research programs on global environmental
change endorsed the
Declaration,” which formally established the “Earth System Science Partnership” (Moore et al. 2002) and
set the stage for what one might call a
Copernican Revolution (Schellnhuber 1999). This novel revolution is deeply rooted in the original one, yet transcends it in
several crucial ways:
scientific eye is re-directed from outer space to our “living Earth” (Lovelock 2003), which operates as one single
dynamical system far from thermodynamical equilibrium.
scientific ambition is re-qualified by fully acknowledging the limits of cognition as highlighted by the notorious uncertainties
associated with nonlinearity, complexity, and irreproducibility (Schellnhuber 2002); if the Earth system is a clockwork at
all, then it is an organismic one that baffles our best anticipatory capacities.
scientific ethos is re-balanced at last by accepting that knowledge generation is inextricably embedded in the cultural--
historical context (Nowotny et al. 2001) --there is nothing wrong with being particularly curious about the items and issues that matter most for society and with recognizing
that the coveted borderlines between observing subjects and scrutinized objects have often been mere constructions of a preposterous
reductionism. Thus the research community becomes part of their own riddles, the research specimens become part of their own
explanations, and co-production becomes the (post)normal way of coping with the cognitive “challenges of a changing Earth” (Steffen et al. 2002).
fact that the Amsterdam Declaration resulted from an intricate cooperative process—and not from one ingenious
idea of a stand-alone intellectual giant—
reflects the co-productive mode that will be instrumental for the much-debated “new contract between science and society”
(see discussion below). Even a superficial
look at the current state and dynamics of our planet indicates that the sustainability of modern civilization is at risk without
such a contract. Actually the threats associated
with anthropogenic global warming have already sparked the creation of an unprecedented format for the dialogue between researchers
and decision makers, and for the co-establishment of global assessment power, namely the IPCC. This panel is a genuine post-Copernican
creation that provides a panoramic, yet fragmentary and fuzzy, view of the myriads of facets involved in the climate change
problem. This view, in turn, provides the most credible basis for international adaptive management strategies which have to be implemented and revised in phase with the highly
for Global Sustainability 7
advancement of our pertinent knowledge as based, inter alia, on the monitoring of our own ecological footprints.
Program for Earth System Science
humanity has been capable of transforming the Earth through a deluge of entangled
but uncoordinated actions, it was evidently intellectually unprepared to do so or to cope with the consequences at the level
of whole-systemswisdom. Nobody had a grand plan for planetary refurbishment after World War II, and nobody anticipated the scientific challenges arising when this refurbishment actually happened without plan, rhyme, or reason. (Annan 2000).
learning by “doing global change.” The post-Copernican process, as epitomized (and accelerated) by the Amsterdam Declaration, keeps on setting unprecedented research agendas in unprecedented ways. Of course, there are Copernican role models
for this, like David Hilbert’s monumental program for the advancement of mathematics in the twentieth century (Hilbert 1901). This program basically consisted of a rather
eclectic list of 23 problems to be solved by the pertinent community that had gathered at theWorld Conference for Mathematics
in Paris in 1900.
of Hilbert’s riddles still stand unbroken by scientific siege or even unassailed by strong intellectual forces, but
their very formulation launched a collective campaign venturing toward the borders of formal
Recently, the international Earth system science community formulated their own Hilbertian Program (Steffen et al. 2004, p.
265; Schellnhuber and Sahagian 2002),
which lists 23 crucial questions that need to be addressed for global sustainability and may well drive global change research
toward, and beyond, the limits of conventional
scholarship raised to the planetary level.
program for the advancement of Earth system understanding in the (first decades
of the) twenty-first century emerged quite unconventionally, namely from an extended email conference organized in 2001 by GAIM (Sahagian
and Schellnhuber 2002)—the transdisciplinary think-tank of the International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP).
The list of questions (see Box 1.1) is arranged in
four blocks emphasizing a predominantly analytical, methodological, normative, and strategic character, respectively, and
strongly reflects the three “post-Copernican” features discussed earlier.
this, let us choose and briefly explain one question from each of the blocks. We
begin with Question 3, which asks about the “critical elements” in the Earth system, i.e., those components, areas, processes, patterns, or substances
within the planetary machinery that behave like control knobs: their alteration triggers persistent (if not irreversible),
large-scale (if not global) change. There is clearly an analogy to the human body, where the destruction of
organs or the suppression of trace hormones can bring about significant transmutation, if not exitus.
subset of the Earth’s critical elements is compiled in the map of Figure 1.1. Its entries are underpinned by research
results of rather
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
conclusiveness, and the collections are far from being complete. In fact, new suspects are identified by global change research
almost every year, such as
monsoon, which may be pushed onto a roller-coaster dynamics by the combined driving forces of anthropogenic global warming,
anthropogenic regional air pollution, and anthropogenic local land surface transformation
for Global Sustainability 9
Box 1.1 A Hilbertian program for Earth system science.
are the vital organs of the ecosphere
of operation and evolution?
are the major dynamical patterns,
in the planetary machinery?
are the critical elements
bottlenecks, switches) in
are the characteristic regimes
of natural planetary
are the anthropogenic disturbance
matter at the Earth-system level?
are the vital ecosphere organs
planetary elements that
be transformed by human
are the most vulnerable regions
are abrupt and extreme events
are the principles for constructing
Earth system that aggregate
the details while retaining
levels of complexity and resolution
to be achieved in Earth
it possible to describe the Earth
as a composition of weakly
organs and regions, and to
the planetary machinery
might be the most effective
strategy for generating, processing
are the best techniques for analyzing
are the most appropriate methodologies
are the general criteria and
for distinguishing nonsustainable
is the carrying capacity of the
are the accessible but intolerable
in the coevolution space
kind of nature do modern
are the equity principles that
govern global environmental
is the optimal mix of adaptation
measures to respond to
is the optimal decomposition of
surface into nature reserves
are the options and caveats for
fixes like geoengineering
is the structure of an effective
system of global environment
the criticality analysis of the planetary ecosphere is making good progress and promises to support, in the not-too-distant
future, global stewardship with a comprehensive list of neuralgic items that must be treated with utter caution, the complementary
criticality analysis of the anthroposphere has not yet begun: What are the irreplaceable components of the global industrial metabolism?
agricultural region will future world food production crucially depend? Are there
institutions that can preserve/establish social cohesion and international equity throughout the globalization process? Which of the current megacities are bound to implode ultimately,
and where will the new planetary centers
of knowledge production lie? What technologies have the potential to transform radically humanity’s interactions with
its natural resources and its life-support
systems? Genuine Earth system analysis for sustainability needs to address all
of the questions, but there will be no quick answers.
illustration concerns Question 14, which asks about the best methodologies for integrating the Earth system knowledge produced
by both the natural sciences and the social
sciences. This question is part of a much wider, long-standing debate that attempts to bridge the “hard” and the
years, two diametrically opposite schemes — perceived by many as battering rams rather than bridges—have been
put forward: The first “integrating”
strategy is the formalization of the social sciences along the lines of mathematical physics as epitomized by the invention
of “econophysics” (see, e.g.,
the review articles in Bunde et al. 2002). This development reflects an epistemological attitude anticipated by David Hume
in 1748 as follows: “The great advantage
of the mathematical sciences above the moral consists in this, that the ideas of the former are always clear and determinate.”
A popular and
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
1.1 Geographically explicit switch and choke elements in the Earth system.
state-of-the art account is given by Philip Ball (2004), who tries to demonstrate that socioeconomic behavior can be described,
in principle, by Newtonian-like equations of motion. Supporters of the second “integrating” strategy remain utterly
unconvinced by this and suggest completely inverting the approach: Conduct particle science by engaging the particles themselves
in the cognitive process! This proposition sounds
much less bizarre if the “particles” addressed are actually human beings.
discursive interaction with the specimens to be explored is imperative. In the
context of Earth system science, sustainability research and climate change assessment, this tenet implies that the “stakeholder dialogue” (O’Riordan et al. 1999) is the prime mode of holistic knowledge production.
this notion can be properly put into operation, or whether it ultimately tends to pervert the classy scientific theatre into
a self-referential “big brother” show
for the masses remains to be seen.
the two poles portrayed, however, there are many intermediate ways of reconciling—or constructively combining, at least—the
natural science and the social science methodologies.
For example, one can adopt a semi-quantitative, semi-discursive approach as employed in the syndromes analysis of global change
dynamics (Schellnhuber et al. 1997). The main idea is to identify typical functional patterns of environment–society interactions from
stakeholder-informed phenomenological inspection and to model the pattern dynamics by qualitative differential equations expressing robust place-based observations.
Thus precision is realized only to the degree that it can be justified, not to the extent it can be handled.
intermediate approach is illustrated in Figure 1.2, which displays results of a semi-quantitative analysis of the Sahel-Syndrome
dynamics in Northeast Brazil (Seitz et al., submitted). In this analysis, the crucial processes governing the development of smallholder agriculture in the region are symbolically modeled on the basis of a massive
body of newly generated empirical data. Note that such an analysis can only provide the topology—not the metrics—of
the temporal succession of system states; however, this information may already suffice for designing intervention strategies for syndrome mitigation.
yet fully formalized techniques, such as the ones employed in syndromes analysis, hold a huge potential for the adequate scientific
description of complex systems characterized by strong nature–society interactions.
is no point in feigning exactness by treating, say, the atmospheric component of these systems with scrupulous precision while,
for example, the lifestyle aspects are dealt
with in cavalier vagueness. The playing field for the clash of disciplines needs a bit of leveling, at least.
the block of normative questions, let us select Question 16, which asks about the carrying capacity of the Earth, that is,
the maximum number of people (at a given lifestyle) that the planet can support. This very question has been posed and answered
many times since Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the great
for Global Sustainability 11
Dutch scholar, provided the first serious estimate
on April 25, 1679, in Delft: 13.4 billion. Unfortunately—and most interestingly—the
sequence of subsequent estimates does not converge to a well-defined number, as
Joel Cohen (1995a, b) has demonstrated (see Figure 1.3). In fact, the time series clearly exhibits the wild oscillations in the successive assessment numbers as well as the mostly
increasing variability, which seems to peak in the science fiction-inspired decades
afterWorldWar II. What is the explanation for this bewildering non-convergence
of analysis? At least two factors have to be taken into account:
First, there is the “supply side”
of planetary carrying capacity, i.e., the totality of ecological services the
Earth system can provide, including space, warmth, fresh air and fresh water, nutrition,
shelter, and recreation (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2003). Our understanding of the structures and processes that
determine the supply of these life-support items has dramatically grown, if not exploded,
over the last thirty years, yet the number of riddles to be solved still appears to be
almost infinite. For instance, nobody really knows the maximum sustainable protein yield of the world’s oceans under
ceteris paribus conditions, let alone under anthropogenic global warming. Without a full
prognostic knowledge of the biogeophysical dynamics and the biogeochemical cycles involved, all of the figures put forward
remain utterly elusive.
Second, there is the “demand side”
of planetary carrying capacity, that is, the totality of ecological human needs
that have to be satisfied according to
12 W. C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
Figure 1.2 Symbolic dynamics of small agriculture
in Northeast Brazil as a
faithful projection to the five fundamental variables ly (yield-oriented labor), lw (wage-oriented labor), rq (resource quality),
y (yield), and b (budget). The two sets of boxes represent cycle states (I–IV)
and equilibrium end states (A–C), respectively, expressing magnitudes and trends of the fundamental variables by appropriate
symbols. Dots indicate that the variable is constant over time, whereas trends are indicated by directed arrows. The crucial
ly–rq trend combination is highlighted by color shading in the cycle
state boxes. After Seitz et al., submitted.
"Judicious Minimum Standards"
Who defines these standards? Dodging this awesome
normative challenge by empirics does not help much, because one may calibrate the
demand level either at the “American way of life” or at the subsistence needs of an Ethiopian farmer. To complicate
matters, the ecological demand of X billion people is unlikely to equal the sum of X
billion individual demands!
Thus, even the most unsophisticated approach
to the Earth’s carrying capacity boils down to calculating a ratio where both the numerator and the denominator
are ill-defined. Still, Earth system science should provide a no-nonsense answer (or
a sensible no-answer) to Question 16 to demonstrate its transdisciplinary worth.
To conclude our illustration of the Hilbertian
program, let us consider Question 22, which asks about the options and caveats for top-down technologies supposed to fix global-scale sustainability problems. In recent years, there has been, for instance, a lot of discussion
about the fantastically cheap and powerful geoengineering methods available to
mitigate planetary warming; the world has also been told that genetic engineering
of crops and entire ecosystems would turn the adaptation job almost into child’s
play. This seems to provide a dangerously overoptimistic picture biasing the
mind-set of pragmatic decision makers, whereas solid opportunities may be dismissed precipitously
by crucial parts of civil society in an intellectual backlash reaction. It is therefore the duty of the
Science for Global Sustainability 13
Figure 1.3 Time series representation of the
historical assessment process regarding the human carrying capacity of the Earth.
After Cohen (1995a, b). pertinent scientific community to explore carefully the possibility
space of strategic schemes, including all its unconventional pockets, and to
deliver a sober integrated assessment of the feasibility, effectiveness, efficiency,
and acceptability of these schemes.
One remarkable attempt to meet this challenge
was generated by the symposium on “Macro-engineering Options for Climate Change Management and Mitigation,” organized by the Tyndall Centre and the Cambridge MIT Institute at the Isaac Newton Institute on
January 7–9, 2004 (seehttp://www.tyndall.ac. uk/events/past_events/cmi.html). This event
brought together experts from all relevant fields and institutions to discuss
the profile of an optimal portfolio of macro-mitigation measures and potential macro-adaptation
schemes (e.g., creating large-scale migration corridors for global warming-driven
species and ecosystems) needed for coping with anthropogenic climate change.
One of the emerging ideas highlighted at the
symposium was CO2 capture from ambient air to address the problem of emissions from diffuse sources (for an illustration, see Figure 1.4). As Earth system and sustainability science advances further, the
assessment of top-down options for global change management will have to be revised
at an accelerating pace, not dissimilar to the situation concerning the carrying-capacity
question sketched above.
The last half century has seen a number of transitions
in how society views the relationships among environment, development, and knowledge.
14 W. C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
A not entirely tongue-in-cheek vision of future
CO2 scrubbing, involving hundred thousands of macro-fans (courtesy of K. Lackner).
Only very recently, however, has it become evident
that the Anthropocene crisis forces humanity to manage consciously a transition toward sustainable use of the Earth.
Looking back over the last twenty years, few
science-based ideas have risen from obscurity to take such a position in international affairs as “sustainable development.” Beginning shortly after the
Rio Conference of 1992, however, it became increasingly clear that the enthusiasm with which much of the political world embraced
sustainability ideas put environmental politics, negotiations, and agreements at center stage in the resulting debate, with
science and technology relegated to the side wings if not thrown out altogether.
At the same time, efforts to make progress in
the implementation of sustainable development were increasingly being stalled
by lack of technical knowledge rather than just weakness of political will: How
could the decline in productivity for African agriculture be reversed while preserving
How much greenhouse warming was too much? How
could progress toward sustainability be reliably measured? The realization gradually
began to sink in with the advocates of sustainability that all the negotiations in the
world were not going to eaxct much progress on technical questions such as these.
In response to this mismatch of demand and supply,
a number of efforts were initiated during the 1990s to reconsider how science
might be better harnessed to achieve social goals of sustainable development in
Vernadsky’s would-be semi-intelligent “noösphere.” The results
of those efforts were synthesized as part of the international scientific community’s
input to the Johannesburg Summit (ICSU et al. 2002). One immediate outcome from this activity was the realization
that the range of organized, disciplined, reflective activity needed for intelligently
and effectively guiding a sustainability transition was much broader than what is conventionally
subsumed under the term of “science.” The Earth systems sciences noted above clearly have a role to play in promoting
such a transition. So, however, does technology, innovation, and the tacit knowledge
of practice. Even more broadly, there was clearly a need to mobilize the humanistic perspectives
that would help us to understand where ideas about environment, development, and sustainability interacted with other dimensions
of human thought about what we think we are and want to be. The term that has come closest
to embracing this wide range of activities in English is “knowledge.”
Perhaps even more appropriate, within the backdrop
of this Dahlem Workshop, is the German idea ofWissenschaft, embracing as it does the systematic pursuit of all knowledge, learning, and scholarship. Some of the key findings of this dialogue regarding what is needed
from Wissenschaft — and the Wissenschaftler who pursue it — in a noösphere
bent on sustainability are summarized below.
If Wissenschaft is to help advance sustainability,
then a substantial part of our agenda needs to be driven by what society thinks it needs, not just by what Science for Global Sustainability 15 scholars think is interesting (ICSU et al. 2002). This is not to advocate a return
to sterile debates about the primacy of “basic” versus “applied,” or “disciplinary” versus
“interdisciplinary” research. Rather, it is to embrace the historical experience summarized by Donald Stokes (1997)
in his book Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation, which argues that just as Pasteur created
the field of microbiology in his pursuit of practical solutions to problems of great social importance, so it is possible
today to do “cutting-edge research and development in the service of public objectives” (Branscomb et al. 2001).
Which objectives is, of course, a matter of values
— in this case values about what society actually means when it declares “sustainable development” to be
a “high table” goal for the twenty-first century. Much debate has been expended in efforts to answer this question,
and it is clear that different groups in society have reached different conclusions.
Still, most of those debates share common concerns while differing largely in their emphasis on what is to be developed, what
is to be sustained, what should be the relation of the developed to the sustained, and
over how long a period the relationship should hold (see Figure 1.5). At the international level, a broad consensus can be
discerned that sustainable development should be development that, over the next two generations, promotes progress “to
meet the needs of a much larger but stabilizing human population, to sustain the life-support systems of the planet, and to
Figure 1.5 Sustainable development: Common
concerns, differing emphases. The
U.S. National Research Council (NRC 1999, p. 24) produced this figure to summarize its
exhaustive review of the different treatments of the sustainability concept present in
scholarly and political literature.
reduce hunger and poverty” (NRC 1999, p.
31). Clearly, science, technology, and Wissenschaft more generally have roles to play in devising instrumental means to help
reach these goals. In addition, however, society needs knowledge to help it discover what it means by what it believes it
values. The scholarly community has done a much better job of this for the “development” side of sustainability
than for the “environment” side (Parris and Kates 2003a, b). For example, we have so far given the policy world
little help in articulating what it would mean, in specific terms, to “sustain the life-support systems of the planet.”
The implications of this shortfall for future research agendas are addressed in Working Group 4 (see Kinzig et al., Chapter
20, this volume).
Asecond major conclusion from recent efforts
to reassess the role ofWissenschaft in promoting sustainability concerns questions of scale. The international consensus on
broad sustainability goals is helpful as a general frame for discussions. Experience makes it clear that both the ends and
the means of sustainable development need to be tailored or tuned to the context of particular places. This is, in part, because
the basic ecological, climatic, and social structures that define sustainability needs and opportunities vary from place to
place. It is also partly because some of the greatest threats to sustainability derive from “multiple, cumulative, and
interactive stresses” (NRC 1999, p. 8) that intersect in particular ways in particular places. The importance
of such place-based calibration became clear in the course of the Green Revolution, where initial efforts to transfer new
varieties directly from international agricultural research centers to the field had to give way to systems of research and
innovation that linked international centers to local crop improvement efforts through intermediary systems of national and
regional agricultural research universities (Bell et al. 1994).
Modern efforts to promote sustainability need
to balance the scientific community’s long-standing regard for knowledge that is universally true, with an appreciation
of the fruits of multi-scale, integrated research that connects local, regional, and global perspectives to produce understanding
that is true for specific places (E. Miles, pers. comm.). Increasingly, it has
become widely accepted that development, in general, and sustainable development, in particular, is a knowledge-intensive
activity (World Bank 1999; UNDP 2001). However, a final insight to emerge from the last decade’s reconsideration of
the role of science in achieving sustainability is a shift of emphasis from the importance of “knowing” to the
centrality of “learning.”
In part, this shift follows the reconceptualization
of goals noted above. If sustainable development is about progress “to meet the needs of a much larger but stabilizing
human population, to sustain the life-support systems of the planet, and to reduce substantially hunger and poverty,”
then sustainability itself can be thought of less as a state or condition and more as
a direction or bias for development activities. This puts “sustainability” in the same camp as other great goals
of the last century, such as “freedom” and “justice”—goals that we think more about moving toward
than we do about achieving. If achieving
Science for Global Sustainability 17
sustainable development in some ultimate sense
may seem problematic, promoting a transition toward sustainability should not (NRC 1999). An even more important reason for
the shift of emphasis in sustainability thinking from “knowing” toward “learning” is simply that we
have so much to learn. Understanding sustainability is understanding a complex, dynamic system of nature– society interactions — a system made all the more unpredictable by both our interest in what goes
on in particular places and by our active, reflective engagement in the system whose behavior we are trying to predict. Trying
to discover or write blueprints for such turbulent, rapidly evolving systems will in many cases prove futile. More important
is that we recognize the extent of our ignorance, accept the concomitant necessity to treat policies and other management
interventions as experiments, and take measures that will increase our prospects for surviving, and learning from, the experiments
we are forced to conduct on ourselves. Sustainable development thus becomes viewed as a process of adaptive management and
social learning in which knowledge plays a central role (Cash et al. 2003; Steffen et al. 2004, Chapter 6.5).
Vulnerability Analysis: An Illustration of Sustainability
As an example of the kind of knowledge needed
from the sciences of sustainability, let us start with what we are trying to sustain. What would it mean to “sustain
the life-support systems of the planet?” Such questions are very much on managers’ and policy makers’ minds,
as suggested by the language about preventing “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” inserted
into the Framework Convention on Climate Change. When science has been able to characterize unambiguously what constitutes
“dangerous interference” with our environmental life-support systems, society has been reasonably successful in
adjusting its behavior to remain within safe limits (e.g., the European use of
“critical load” estimates for managing sulfur emissions and the risk of acid rain). Conversely, so long as opponents
of management have been able to declare—as did U.S. President GeorgeW. Bush in opposing the Kyoto Protocol — that “no
one knows what that (dangerous) level is” (press conference, June 11, 2001), science-based management remains a
ready excuse for inaction.
The S&T community could therefore significantly
improve “the prospects for humanity consciously managing a transition toward sustainability” by developing an
understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of the Earth’s life-support systems to “dangerous” disruption.
Early work on the “limits to growth,” “Earth’s carrying capacity,” and “ecological footprints”
addressed important issues but generally failed to develop a dynamic, causal understanding of how complex nature–society
systems respond to stress. In contrast, more than a quarter century of serious scientific work on the resilience of ecological
systems and the vulnerability of social systems has provided a solid foundation for such understanding.
efforts tosynthesize those two historical strands of work have highlighted the importance of incorporating multiple stresses,
teleconnections, explicit pathways of exposure, the possibility of threshold responses, explicit treatment of scale, and attention to the components of adaptive capacity
in frameworks for the analysis of vulnerability and resilience (Turner et al. 2003; see Figure 1.6). These synthetic efforts
have also drawn attention to the parallels between climatic and chemical “life-support systems” long discussed
by Earth science researchers, the elements of “livelihood security”
(e.g., access to and use of resources) stressed by development practitioners, and the newer emphasis by ecologists and resource
economists on “ecosystem services.”
Needed now for management is problem- driven research that utilizes these conceptual vulnerability/resilience frameworks to
illuminate the kinds, rates, and magnitudes of specific disturbances beyond which the “the ability of society to advance
human well-being” can no longer be sustained.
Systems for Sustainability
earlier the growing consensus that management systems for a sustainability transition
need to be systems for adaptive management and social learning. The broad
elements of such systems are reasonably straightforward: they
for Global Sustainability 19
1.6 Vulnerability framework (Turner et al. 2003), summarizing the major elements of
an emerging framework for analysis of vulnerability in coupled nature–society
systems. It is explicitly scale-embedded and incorporates elements of exposure, sensitivity and resilience. Used with permission from the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
appropriate information, incentives, and institutions. What can Wissenschaft contribute to the development of such systems?
Information is central to guidance, and guidance for a sustainability transition needs information on both where we want to
go as well as how we are doing at getting there. These are matters of setting goals and targets, defining indicators to track
performance toward achieving them, and implementing the observational systems to measure the indicators. The scientific community has no monopoly on these tasks, but neither should it stand back and leave them wholly to others in the mistaken belief that to discuss the values inherent in the selection of goals and indicators is to lose scientific objectivity.
Unfortunately, that is precisely what has happened
for many of the sciences and scientists required to inform an intelligent social
dialogue on goals and indicators of sustainability. Surprisingly, the situation is particularly grim with respect to the natural sciences. Whereas social scientists have been relatively successful at
informing the debate on specific goals and indicators for the “meeting human needs” dimensions of sustainability,
natural scientists have not contributed effectively to specifying goals and indicators
for “protecting life-support systems.”
recent review of international efforts in this area, Parris (2003) found that only with respect to the global atmosphere was
a reasonably integrated system of specific goals, targets, indicators, and monitoring in place. For the dimensions of “life
support systems” relating to ocean productivity, freshwater availability, land-use
change, biodiversity, and toxic releases, no such system exists.
for problem-driven work on assessing vulnerability and resilience of the Earth’s life-support systems noted above could
provide the foundations for improvements in this area. However, even with improvements
in the basic understanding of such key “life-support” concepts, a
place-based strategy of goal-setting, indicator selection, and monitoring will still be needed for guiding the actions needed
for a transition toward sustainability. More broadly still, the ultimate need is for a problem-driven, theoretically grounded,
integrated approach for characterizing and measuring what we most value in coupled nature– society systems we inhabit.
Partha Dasgupta (2001) has recently outlined one such an approach in his treatise on HumanWell-being and the Natural Environment.
for an emerging field of Earth systems analysis is to build on such frameworks, and to enrich them with our deepening understanding
of how the biosphere — and noösphere— actually work.
component of the guidance systems needed for managing a transition toward sustainability concerns getting the incentives right.
How can people be induced to make production and consumption choices that are relatively less stressful to the environment
than others that generate comparable increases in real well-being? How can perspectives incorporating long-term biosphere
responses be appropriately factored into short-term social decisionmaking?
broadly, what is the right level and focus for the investments in
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
technology, and knowledge that are necessary for a transition toward sustainability? What sorts of inducements or feedback
will best assure the provision of adequate constraint in individual human uses of nature’s commons and of adequate investment
in the “public goods” of ecosystem services?
the economic costs and benefits of “sustainable” behaviors accrue to the same private parties, well-functioning
markets perform admirably in aligning incentives and allocating society’s investments. However, the real world is full
of well-known features that undercut the efficacy of the market as an efficient allocator of investments in sustainability.
These include distorting subsidies (e.g., to land clearing), mispriced environmental externalities (e.g., pollution), a strong
public goods component of the social benefits provided by healthy environments (e.g., wetlands) and “clean” technologies
(e.g., sewage treatment plants), the privatization of relevant data (e.g., genomics), and imperfect property rights regimes
(e.g., fisheries). Although serious attention is being paid to each of these sources of “incentive failure,” and
a modest number of exciting new ideas have been broached in recent years (e.g., Sandler 1997), progress has been slow on both
the theoretical and practical fronts. A concerted research and applications program on the incentives—market and otherwise—
that could fulfill Vernadsky’s vision of an intelligently reflective, self-guiding “noösphere” is still
“Institutions” include the norms, expectations, rules, and organizations through which societies figure out what
to do and organize themselves to do it. “Sustainability” itself is a norm, and thus part of the emerging institutional
structure of Vernadsky’s self-reflective noösphere. So are the international treaties and related arrangements that
society has developed and deployed over the last several decades in hopes of bringing some degree of rational governance to
the interaction of society with nature. Our focus here, however, is on the kinds of institutional reforms and innovations
that are needed to harness science and technology better to the tasks of enabling and guiding a transition toward sustainability.
institutions are not impossible to design, as illustrated by experience in efforts to employ science and technology to enhance
agricultural productivity, combat disease, and protect the global atmosphere. Such successes, however, have been partial,
reversible, and idiosyncratic, producing little in the way of consensus on what sorts of institutional designs are most likely
to enhance the use of knowledge to create an effectively reflective “noösphere.” Over the last couple of years,
however, consultations throughout the international community have identified a number of specific shortcomings in the present
institutional system, and have proposed some directions in which reform efforts might usefully head. Below we address some
of the crucial issues identified:
Mobilizing the right knowledge: In the dialogues eading up to the Johannesburg
Summit, one of the most persistent complaints was hat today’s agenda of
R&D for sustainability reflects the priorities of global programs, disciplines,
and donors more than it does those of the local decision- akers on who the prospects for sustainable development are so dependent.
it tends to devote much more attention to the identification of problems than the production of solutions (ICSU et al. 2002).
What kinds of institutions can best improve the chances that research conducted in the name of sustainable development will
actually focus on the most pressing problems as defined by relevant decision makers in the field? Institutions that can meet
these challenges need one foot in the politics of problem definition, responsive to issues of appropriate participation and
representation, and the other in the world of S&T, responsive to issues of credibility and quality control. Few overtly
“political” or “scientific” institutions seem to be able to perform such “boundary-spanning”
record has been accumulated by organizations that explicitly cast themselves in a boundary-spanning role, responsible to the
worlds of both knowledge and action, but not expected to conform fully to the norms of either (Cash et al. 2003). Examples
include IIASA’s “RAINS” effort to link S&T with efforts to develop sustainable energy policy in Europe;
a number of groups involved in making ENSO forecasts useful to decision-makers (IIASA 1992); and
local organizations for technology innovation, such as India’s Honey-Bee network. At their best, such institutions have
facilitated two-way communication between experts and decision-makers, and provided neutral “sites” for the co-production
of useful knowledge by scientists and problem-solvers.
Integrating knowledges: Today’s S&T remains insufficiently inclusive and integrative to realize its full potential
for helping with the complex, messy problems that need to be overcome in promoting a transition toward sustainability. What
kinds of institutions can better integrate the “tacit” knowledge of practice (whether it be that of a cracking
plant operator or a rice farmer) with the formal knowledge of laboratory science to produce practical insights on solutions
to particular sustainability problems? How can the expertise of the private sector be integrated with that of the university
and governmental S&T communities to produce the public good of sustainable development without unacceptably undermining
the incentives of business? How can the traditionally “island empires” of research, observations, assessment,
and applications be better integrated into problem- solving systems of S&T for sustainability? Examples of institutions
that have successfully performed all of these desirable integrations are very few indeed. However, the community might usefully
devote some attention to identifying effective models.
Balancing flexibility and stability: The challenge of sustainable development is simultaneously long term and rapidly evolving.
S&T programs designed to promote sustainability need themselves to be sustained long
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
to make a difference, but not at the cost of being stuck fighting the last war, or failing to learn from experience. No single
institutional approach to this tension is likely to work everywhere. Some critical attention to which sorts of approaches
is likely to be more effective under which kinds of circumstances seems long
overdue. One response to the challenge of balancing flexibility and stability inR&Dagendas for sustainability has been
to expand explicitly long-standing R&D organizations, such as the International Agricultural Research Centers, to make
them more responsive to emerging sustainability needs. Another is to assemble ad hoc task forces commissioned to address particular
problems, for example the World Commission on Dams or the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
A third particularly promising approach has been to combine the two models above, retaining a small professional secretariat
to facilitate learning and the building of trust relations, but convening ad hoc teams to address particular problems. The
Interacademy Panel on International Issues is an example of one institution seeking to pursue this approach.
Infrastructure and capacity: Most of the world lacks the physical infrastructure and human capacity to do as well as it might
in harnessing S&T to sustainability. Additional investments, however, need to be strategically targeted if they are to
improve the situation in an efficient manner. In particular, it seems clear that
a balanced portfolio is needed that invests simultaneously in individuals, organizations,
and networks. Furthermore, in those regions where basic education — the
most fundamental source of R&D capacity—is underdeveloped, priority
must be given to building the educational base and enhancing an appreciation for the methods and potential contribution of
science. Finally, a critically important infrastructure need is for institutions that support cross-scale linkages among researchers
and problem-solvers. These need to be structured to facilitate both “vertical” connections between the best research
anywhere in the world and the
circumstances of particular field applications. At the same time they will need to foster “horizontal” connections
among regional research and application centers to promote learning from one another. Precedents are rare, and even more rarely
are they widely known.
AND SOCIETY: ANEW CONTRACT FOR
productive “social contract” between society and the science community evolved throughout the industrialized and
industrializing world in the latter half of the twentieth century. In essence, the contract held that society would invest
heavily in basic science on the presumption that such investments would eventually result in better economic growth and national
security. The stunning accomplishments of the original contract notwithstanding, it has
for Global Sustainability 23
increasingly clear that for achieving many important social goals — among them sustainable development— the original
contract might be necessary
certainly not sufficient. The result has been an increasing number of calls for “a new social contract for science,”
beginning with UNESCO’s 1989
on Science for the Twenty-first Century, focused by Jane Lubchenco’s 1998 Presidential Address to the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, and reaffirmed by the international science community in its preparations for the Johannesburg
Summit on Sustainable Development (full citations in ICSU et al. 2002, p. 17).
of the “new contract” has attracted a great deal of attention and has evolved in a number of parallel but not
identical directions. Under most versions, however, the S&T community would agree to devote an increasing fraction of
its overall efforts to R&D agendas reflecting society’s goals for sustainable development. In return, society would
undertake to invest an increasing fraction of its wealth to assure that science, technology, and Wissenschaft generally could
be adequately mobilized to fulfill their role in guiding a transition toward sustainability, thus fulfilling their role in
contributing to the informed governance of Vernadsky’s noösphere. Moving from the intensely felt rhetoric of the “new
contract” toward the practical reality of agendas for Earth system science and scientists—Wissenschaft and Wissenschaftler—
is a suitably ambitious challenge for a Dahlem Workshop.
and considerations of the previous sections may be summarized in just one statement:
currently witnessing the emergence of a new scientific paradigm that is driven by unprecedented planetary-scale challenges,
operationalized by transdisciplinary centennium-scale agendas, and delivered by multiple-scale co-production based on a new
contract between science and society.
aspects of this statement were actually addressed at the 91st Dahlem Workshop, held in May 2003, by an exceptional collection
of scholars from all
of the international scientific community. This volume presents the information that supported the meeting, condensed into
as well as the pertinent results distilled into the group reports. The intimidating intellectual challenges involved were
tackled in Dahlem by four working groups with a division-of-labor strategy roughly orienting itself by the successive qualitative
stages of coevolution in the Earth system. Aremarkable clash of scientific cultures was staged in Group 1 (Lenton et al.,
Chapter 6), where researchers mainly concerned with geosphere–biosphere interactions
on planet Earth met with astrobiologists primarily interested in the
C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J. Schellnhuber
and habitability of other planets inside and outside the solar system. The common themes were the general possibility of (intelligent)
life in our Universe and the long-term, large-scale
coevolution of dead and living matter through complex self organization processes far from thermodynamic equilibrium. The
group addressed a number of exciting issues, such as the evolutionary topology of the biosphere, the interactive development
of environmental dynamics and information processing through the great planetary transitions, the terraforming potential provided
by Mars, the probability for the emergence of intelligence, and the failure of the SETI project (thus far) to track down messages
from extraterrestrial civilizations. The GAIA theory (Lovelock 2000) served as an integrating factor
and unifying metaphor in the group’s debates. Group 2 (Watson et al., Chapter 10) moved the analytic focus to what geologists
might call the “recent planetary past,” i.e., the Quaternary. The main idea was to scrutinize the Earth system
machinery in a state as similar as possible to the contemporary one—yet without human interference with the relevant
biogeophysicochemical inventories and processes. Special emphasis was given to the stability and variability of the Quaternary
mode of operation of our planet, an analysis clearly involving the identification and quantification of major feedback loops,
phase thresholds, and other critical elements. Not unexpectedly, a certain “row” between stability optimists (led
by the geologists) and stability pessimists (led by the climatologists) took place in this group, resulting in very specific
demands for high-quality data for settling the case. There was also agreement on the indispensability of major progress in
Earth system modeling for understanding the roller-coaster dynamics of the Quaternary as illustrated by quasi-periodic glaciation
everything on Earth has changed with the advent of Homo sapiens and the establishment of the modern anthroposphere. Group
3 (Steffen et al., Chapter 16) made the heroic
effort to describe how the human factor has already modified the Quaternary mode of operation of our planet, to identify potential
anthropogenic phase transitions lurking around
the corner, to specify the scientific advancements necessary for timely anticipation of dangerous Anthropocene
and to assess the prospects of large-scale technological fixes of the accelerating sustainability crisis all around us. An
in-depth analysis of the notorious climate
sensitivity conundrum and a thorough delineation of “Earth system geography in the Anthropocene” (intercomparing
the role of the mid-latitudes to the tropics and the polar regions) were among the highlights in the group’s deliberations.
difficult task of all, however, remained for Group 4 (Kinzig et al., Chapter 20), who were to transgress the borderline between
purely analytical reasoning and solution-driven
strategic thinking. In other words, the group tried to identify pathways toward global sustainability, to evaluate the conceivable
management schemes for steering our planet
clear of the Anthropocene crisis, and to imagine all the scientific, technological, socioeconomic, and institutional
for Global Sustainability 25
necessary for implementing the right strategy. Not surprisingly, a number of heated debates ensued when issues such as adaptive
management; participatory decision making;
integrated systems of production, consumption, and distribution; capacity building for coping with environmental change; and
up-scaling of successful local/regional institutional
designs were addressed.
culminated in the group’s attempt to sketch the crucial features of a future science–policy dialogue that allows
for the true co-production of sustainability
wisdom and to derive the pertinent conclusions for the novel organization of science and technology in the twenty-first century.
the four groups actually succeeded in covering much of the vast terrain encompassed by the extraordinarily ambitious conference
theme. Of course, there remain huge gaps
and blatant superficialities, but all participants were convinced that this DahlemWorkshop was a milestone event that truly
advanced Earth system analysis for sustainability.We hope that some of the excitement and inspiration that we experienced at Dahlem is conveyed through the following documentation.
K. 2000. We, the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.
United Nations. http://www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/full.htm.
P. 2004. Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another. Oxford: Heinemann.
W.C. Clark, and V.W. Ruttan. 1994. Global research systems for sustainable
Agriculture, health and environment. In: Agriculture, Environment
Sustainable Development in the 21st Century,
ed. V.W. Ruttan, 358–379.
Univ. of Minnesota Press.
L.,G. Holton, andG. Sonnert. 2001. Science for Society: Cutting-edge basic
in the service of public objectives. http://www.cspo.org/products/reports/
H. 1954. The Challenge of Man’s Future: An Inquiry Concerning the Condition
during the Years that Lie Ahead. New York: Viking
A., J. Kropp, and H.J. Schellnhuber, eds. 2002. Theories of Disaster: Scaling
GoverningWeather, Body, and Stock Market Dynamics. Heidelberg: Springer.
and P.S. Weiland. 1996. International Environmental Policy: From the Twentieth to the Twenty-first Century. Durham: Duke Univ. Press.
D.W.,W.C. Clark, F. Alcock et al. 2003. Knowledge systems for sustainable development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:8086–8091
W.C. 1989. Managing planet Earth. Sci. Am. 261(3):47–54.
J.E. 1995a.HowMany People Can the Earth Support? NewYork:W.W. Norton.
J.E. 1995b. Population growth and Earth’s human carrying capacity. Science
P.J. 2002. The Anthropocene: Geology of mankind. Nature 415:23.
P. 2001. Human Well-being and the Natural Environment. Oxford: Oxford
J. 2004. Defusing the global warming time bomb. Sci. Am. 290:68–77.
D. 1901. Mathematische Probleme. Archiv der Mathematik und Physik 3:44–63,
26 W. C. Clark, P. J. Crutzen, and H. J.
A. von. 1808. Ansichten der Natur mit wissenschaftlichen Erläuterungen.
TWAS, and ISTS (Intl. Council for Science, Third World Academy of Science,
on Science and Technology for Sustainability). 2002. Science and
for Sustainable Development. Series on Science for Sustainable Development, vol. 9. Paris: Intl.
Council for Science. http://www.icsu.org/Library/ WSSDRep/ Vol1.pdf.
(Intl. Institute for Applied Systems Analysis). 1992. Science and sustainability:
papers on IIASA’s 20th anniversary, p. l. Laxenburg: IIASA.
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2001. Climate Change 2001: The
Basis. Working Group I Contribution, Third Assessment Report, ed. J.T.
Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs et al. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
(Intl. Union for the Conservation of Nature). 1980.World Conservation Strategy:
Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development. Gland: IUCN.
R.W. 2001. Queries on the human use of the Earth. Ann. Rev. Energy Environ. 26:
R.W., and T.M. Parris. 2003. Long-term trends and a sustainability transition.
Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:8062–8067.
M.F., and A. Berger. 2000. Future climatic changes: Are we entering an exceptionally
interglacial? Clim. Change 46:61–90.
J.E. 2000. The Ages of Gaia. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
J.E. 2003. Gaia: The living Earth. Nature 426:769–770.
G.P. 1864. Man and Nature: Or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action.
New York: Scribner.
G.P. 1965. The Earth as Modified by Human Action. Harvard: Harvard Univ.
J.R. 2000. Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the
World. New York: W.W. Norton.
Ecosystem Assessment. 2003. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: A
for Assessment. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
R.B. 2003. International environmental agreements:Asurvey of their features,
and effects. Ann. Rev. Env. Resour. 28: 429–461.
B., III, A. Underdal, P. Lemke, and M. Loreau. 2002. The Amsterdam
change. In: Challenges of a Changing Earth, ed. W. Steffen, J. Jäger,
Carson, and C. Bradshaw. Heidelberg: Springer.
H., P. Scott, and M. Gibbons. 2001. Re-thinking Science: Knowledge Production
Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Research Council). 1999. Our Common Journey: A Transition toward
Washington, D.C.: Natl. Acad. Press.
T., J. Burgess, and B. Szerszynski. 1999. Deliberative and Inclusionary Processes: A Report from Two Seminars. CSERGEWorking Paper: PA99-06. Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, Univ. of East Anglia,
T.M. 2003. Toward a sustainability transition. Environment 45:13–22.
T.M., and R.W. Kates. 2003a. Characterizing a sustainability transition: Goals, targets, trends, and driving forces. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:8068–8073.
T.M., and R.W. Kates. 2003b. Characterizing and measuring sustainable development. Ann. Rev. Energy Environ. 28:559–586.
D., andV. Christensen. 1995. Primary production required to sustain global fisheries. Nature 374:255–257. Science for Global Sustainability 27
Society of Chemistry (Great Britain). 2003. Sustainability and Environmental Impact of Renewable Energy Sources. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology
Royal Society of Chemistry.
2003. The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago.
T. 1997. Global Challenges: An Approach to Environmental, Political, and Economic Problems. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
D., and H.J. Schellnhuber. 2002. GAIM in 2002 and beyond: Abenchmark in
evolution of global change research. Global Change Newsl. 50:7–10.
H.J. 1999. “Earth system” analysis and the Second Copernican Revolution. Nature 402(2):C19–C23.
H.J. 2002. Coping with Earth system complexity and irregularity. In:
of a Changing Earth, ed. W. Steffen, J. Jaeger, D.J. Carson, and C.
pp. 151–159. Berlin: Springer.
H.J., A. Block, M. Cassel-Gintz et al. 1997. Syndromes of global change.
H.J., and D. Sahagian. 2002. The twenty-three GAIM questions. Global
2002. Challenges of a changing Earth. Proc. Global Change Open Science
Amsterdam, July 10–12, 2001. Global Change, IGBPSeries. Berlin: Springer.
W., J. Jäger, D.J. Carson, and C. Bradshaw, eds. 2002.The Challenges of a
Earth. Heidelberg: Springer.
Sanderson, P.D. Tyson et al., eds. 2004. Global Change and the Earth System:
Under Pressure. The IGBP Book Series. Berlin: Springer.
D. 1997. Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation.
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
A. 1873. Corso di geologia. Vol. II. Milan: G. Bernardoni
W.L. 1956. Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the EARTH. Chicago: Published
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the National
Foundation by the University of Chicago Press.
B.L., II, W.C. Clark, R.W. Kates et al., eds. 1990. The Earth as Transformed by
Action: Global and Regional Changes in the Biosphere over the Past 300
Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
B.L., II, R.E. Kasperson, P.A. Matson et al. 2003. Aframework for vulnerability
in sustainability science. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:8074–8079.
(United Nations Development Programme). 2001. Making New Technologies
for Human Development. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
V.I. 1945. The biosphere and the noösphere. Am. Sci. 33:1–12.
V.I. 1998/1926. The Biosphere (translated and annotated version from the
of 1926). New York: Copernicus, Springer.
(World Commission on Environment and Development). 1987. Our Common
Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
Bank. 1999. Knowledge for Development: The World Development Report for
Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
K. 2003. Modeling large-scale singular climate events for integrated assessment. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Potsdam.
Geoengineering Earth’s radiation balance to mitigate CO 2-induced
B Govindasamy, K Caldeira - Geophys. Res. Lett, 2000 - agu.org
... Geoengineering Earth’s radiation balance
to mitigate CO 2 -induced climate change. ...
Nevertheless, geoengineering schemes could prove environmentally risky. ...
Cited by 11 - Cached - Web Search - adsabs.harvard.edu - csa.com
The economic diplomacy of geoengineering
TC Schelling - Climatic Change, 1996 - springerlink.com
Page 1. THE ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY OF GEOENGINEERING THOMAS ...
"Geoengineering' is a new term, still seeking a definition. It ...
Cited by 5 - Web Search
Geoengineering the climate
M MACCRACKEN - Livermore CA, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 1991 - csa.com
Geoengineering the climate. MICHAELC MACCRACKEN
45 ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION(AH). Abstract. ...
This note reviews options for geoengineering the climate. (DOE).
Cited by 2 - Web Search
Could we/should we engineer the earth's climate
G Marland - Climatic Change, 1996 - springerlink.com
... Marchetti (1976) seems to have coined the word 'geoengineering'
to describe his
scheme for collecting the CO2 from fossil-fuel electric generating plants and ...
Cited by 1 - Web Search
Influence of Geoengineered Climate on the Biosphere
D Wuebbles, V Naik, J Foley - American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2001, abstract#
U32 …, 2001 - adsabs.harvard.edu
... BIOGEOSCIENCES Abstract Copyright: (c) 2001: American Geophysical Union Bibliographic
Abstract Several geoengineering schemes have ...
Cited by 1 - Web Search
Geoengineering: The beneficial environmental factor in power from space
LM Jenkins - AIP Conference Proceedings,
1995 - link.aip.org
Geoengineering: The beneficial environmental factor in power from space. [AIP
Conference Proceedings 324, 995 (1995)]. Lyle M. Jenkins. Abstract. ...
Web Search - csa.com
Geoengineering and Carbon Management
G Marland - American Geophysical Union, Spring Meeting 2002, abstract# …, 2002
Geoengineering and Carbon Management Authors: Marland, G. Affiliation:
AA(Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Environmental
Sciences Division, Oak Ridge ...
MULTIMEDIA COMPUTER ASSISTED INSTRUCTION APPLIED IN GEOENGINEERING EDUCATION
A Yao, G Wang, H Huang, Y Fang, D Feng - lib.jzit.edu.cn
... IN GEOENGINEERING EDUCATION ... Multimedia is used more
and more in education. The lack
of proper courseware limits it to apply widely in geoengineering education. ...
View as HTML - Web Search
Space-based geoengineering- Benefiting the global environment
LM Jenkins - Space manufacturing 9- The high frontier accession, …, 1993 - csa.com
Space-based geoengineering- Benefiting the global
environment. ... Countermeasures such
as geoengineering to mitigate the effects of change can be space-based. ...
Global change. Geoengineering and space exploration.
LM Jenkins - the 3 rd International Conference on Engineering, …, 1992 - csa.com
Global change. Geoengineering and space exploration.
... Geoengineering options and
alternatives to interactively manage change need to be developed. ...
Web Search - csa.com
Impact of geoengineering schemes on the terrestrial biosphere
B Govindasamy, S Thompson, PB Duffy, K Caldeira, C … - Geophysical Research
Letters, 2002 - en-env.llnl.gov
Page 1. Impact of geoengineering schemes on the terrestrial biosphere B.
Govindasamy, S. Thompson, PB Duffy, K. Caldeira,
and C. Delire 1 ...
View as HTML - Web Search - chemtrailpatrol.com - adsabs.harvard.edu - csa.com - all 7 versions »
Global Environmental Change: Geoengineering Technology
LM Jenkins - Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV - csa.com
Global Environmental Change: Geoengineering Technology.
LM Jenkins Engineering,
Construction, and Operations in Space IV pp. 524-531. ...
Large space-based systems for dealing with global environment change
LM Jenkins - Guidance and control 1992; Proceedings of the 15th Annual …, 1992
of change. Geoengineering options and alternatives to interactively
manage change need to be developed. Space-based concepts
Web Search - csa.com - csa.com
Sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide by increasing ocean alkalinity
HS Kheshgi - Energy, 1995 - ingentaconnect.com
... We present a preliminary analysis of a geoengineering option based on the
increase of ocean alkalinity to enhance marine storage of atmospheric CO ...
Cited by 7 - Web Search - csa.com
Ethics and Intentional Climate Change
D Jamieson - Climatic Change, 1996 - springerlink.com
... 80309, USA Abstract. In recent years the idea of geoengineering
has begun to attract increasing attention. Although there ...
Cited by 10 - Web Search
May we engineer the climate
D Bodansky - Climatic Change, 1996 - springerlink.com
... It may be confidently predicted that, should geoengineering
move from the realm
of speculation to concrete proposal, the precautionary principle would be ...
Cited by 4 - Web Search - ingentaconnect.com
The Coming Three Peaks in the World Energy System and their Relationship
to Climate Change and …
E Advisor - pages.ca.inter.net
... severity of this situation at that time, it is assumed here that geoengineering
would not be invoked to deal with global climate change. ...
View as HTML - Web Search
copyright 2010 NewRuskinCollege