The Earth Commission is a group of leading scientists convened by Future Earth. Their mission is to assess the latest science to define a safe and just corridor for people and planet and underpin the development of science-based targets for systems like land, water, and biodiversity. By setting such targets, companies and cities will be able to contribute to re-stabilizing Earth’s natural systems and work towards ensuring a planet where humans can thrive.
Recent catastrophic wildfires, devastating floods, and other extreme weather events are obvious signs. Human activities are accelerating changes in the Earth system at a scale and pace that is pushing the planet out of a safe operating space for humanity. Urgent action is needed to slow this detrimental change.
To combat climate change, the world’s nations have agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, but science-based targets for other parts of the Earth system are missing. To create such targets is the mission of the Earth Commission, together with the broader Global Commons Alliance.
The Earth Commission is synthesizing the latest research to inform the setting of science-based targets to help maintain Earth’s life support systems: climate, land, biodiversity, freshwater and oceans. The synthesis is unique in that it takes into account the complex interactions between these natural systems – as well as socio-economic aspects of human well-being and justice. The scientists are also identifying the most efficient levers of transformation to a sustainable and just human development. Thus, the Commission will define and quantify a safe and just corridor for people and our planet as a whole.
The Earth Commission includes a global team of leading scientists and five working groups drawing on the expertise of Future Earth’s research networks. The Commission is complementary to and builds on existing assessments, such as the IPCC and IPBES reports. Its work will also be informed by Future Earth’s related initiative Science-Based Pathways for Sustainability. The first Earth Commission synthesis report is expected to be published during 2022.
The Commission’s scientific secretariat is hosted by Future Earth, in collaboration with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).