Johan Rockström

Safeguarding a climate – towards a sustainable future

Watch our #KAPTalks with Johan Rockström of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research who discussed climate change challenges just before COP26.

Wednesday 06.10.2021

The survival and prosperity of humans on planet Earth has been supported over the past 11,000 years by a remarkably stable climate: the geological Holocene epoch. Human pressures on the Earth system are since 70 years so high, and rising, leading to the scientific conclusion that we have entered a new geological Epoch, the Anthropocene, in which human activity has become a defining factor in the state of our Earth system. Earth resilience remains reasonably intact, while evidence shows that we are seeing worrying signs of approaching, or even having crossed, several tipping point. This talk walked through the latest assessment of whether we are at risk of crossing a planetary threshold, argued for setting scientific targets for a safe operating space on Earth, to keep the Earth system in a Holocene-like inter-glacial state, and suggested the framing for planetary stewardship of a stabilized Earth for people and planet.

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Johan Rockström is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam. He is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues and led the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change. Professor Rockström is a leading scientist on global water resources, with more than 25 years experience in applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 150 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability. He is i.a. member of European Commission expert group: Mission Board for adaptation to climate change including societal transformation, chair of the Earth Commission, Chief Scientist of Conservation International, and elected member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

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