Conference Session Highlights Importance of Interdisciplinary Approach to Earth System Science

Plenary Session 2: Earth System Science in a Societal Context: The Need for Interdisciplinary Approaches
Date: Friday, 10 November 2006
Time: 8.30 am
Venue: Convention Hall 1 of the Beijing International Convention Center
Press Briefing on this session: 10:30 am at the same venue

(Beijing, 10 November 2006) There is no doubt that humans have now become a global geophysical force, affecting the functioning of the Earth System in many ways and causing planetary-scale environmental changes. But humans are also the victims of these changes, suffering increasingly from the impacts of a changing climate and the loss or degradation of ecosystem services. How can food and energy supply be ensured in a sustainable manner? These are complex research questions that call for the highly interdisciplinary approach followed by the four projects of the Earth System Science Partnership on carbon, food, water, and health. The links between sustainability and Earth System Science are becoming stronger, and this Plenary Session will highlight how the four ESSP projects directly tackle the Earth System Science ? sustainability connection.

Diana Liverman will talk about the question “How Can We Achieve Food Security in the Face of Global Environmental Change?” She is Director of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) project. Her research focuses on environmental change and policy, including climate change and its impacts on agriculture and water, the social causes and consequences of land-use change, and environmental management in the context of globalization.

Tony McMichael will present “Issues and Research Needs of Human Health in the Context of Global Environmental Change”. He is Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University. His main epidemiological research interests are environmental influences on health. He is a Review Editor for the climate-health assessment for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Cimate Change (IPCC) and played a corresponding role in the recently-completed international Millennium Assessment Project.

Felino Lansigan’s presentation is called “Beyond Conflict: Sharing the Global Water System for Nature, Food, and Economic Development”. He is Professor at the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) School of Environmental Science and Management and the UPLB Institute of Statistics. He is the Vice Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the LOICZ project (Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone), and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the GWSP project (Global Water System Project). He also advises the Philippine Department of Environment.

Michael Raupach will talk about “Carbon in the Earth System: Dynamics and Vulnerabilities”. He is a research scientist in CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia. He leads the Continental Biogeochemical Cycles Research Team and co-chairs the Global Carbon Project, an international research project bringing together research efforts on the natural dimensions (atmospheric, terrestrial, oceanic, paleological) and human dimensions (economic, social and institutional) of the global carbon cycle.

Will Steffen will moderate the session. He is Vice Chancellor for Research at the Australian National University, and Director of the ANU’s Institute for Environment. He has been the Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) from 1998 to 2004. His research interests include terrestrial ecosystem interactions with global change, the global carbon cycle, and the incorporation of human processes in Earth System modeling and analysis.

Media Contact:

Mary Ann Williams
phone: +46 8 673 9562
fax: +46 8 16 64 05

Local Conference Organiser
Yu Jun
phone: +86 10 6217 2957
fax: +86 10 6217 4797