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From Climate Science to Earth System Stewardship

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Monday, October 1, 2012, 4 pm– 5 pm

This is a past event.

Guy Brassuer
Climate Service Center—Germany

Honrath Lecture

Over the last 30 years, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of the processes that govern the evolution of the Earth System and specifically the climate system. The influence of the human enterprise has been so large that we are entering in a new period of our geological history dominated by human impacts, now called the Anthropocene. The talk will review some of the major impacts of human activities on the Earth System. It will highlight key challenges that have been posed to the scientific community in the last century (predicting weather, projecting climate, improving air quality, etc.), and discuss successes and failures. The challenges for the future are very different; they will be directly related to the major issues facing our society under climate change: a transformation of the energy system, the need to ensure food security and water availability, the improvement of the health and education systems and the eradication of poverty. Government and international organizations have attempted to address a number of major environmental issues, but successes have been limited. Planetary stewardship requires new interdisciplinary approaches, two-way communication between scientists and stakeholders. The science will play a fundamental role in addressing these issues, but the traditional climate and environmental research much be complemented by a well designed approach to adaptation to planetary changes.

Guy Brasseur is with the Climate Service Center Helmholtz Center, Geesthacht, Germany and Advanced Study Program National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO.

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