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Hardcover | $8.75 Short | £7.95 | 352 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 2004 | ISBN: 9780262195133
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Earth System Analysis for Sustainability


Earth System Analysis for Sustainability uses an integrated systems approach to provide a panoramic view of planetary dynamics since the inception of life some four billion years ago and to identify principles for responsible management of the global environment in the future. Perceiving our planet as a single entity with hypercomplex, often unpredictable behavior, the authors use Earth system analysis to study global changes past and future. They explore the question of whether the unprecedented human-originated changes transforming the ecosphere today will end a 10,000-year period of climate stability.

The book presents the complete story of the inseparably intertwined evolution of life and matter on Earth, focusing on four major topics: long-term geosphere-biosphere interaction and the possibility of using extrasolar planets to test various geophysical hypotheses; the Quaternary Earth System's modes of operation; current planetary dynamics under human pressure; and transition to global sustainability. Written by leading figures in the disciplines of geology, climatology, evolution, biogeochemistry, macroeconomics, and institutions theory, Earth System Analysis for Sustainability analyzes the driving forces behind global change and uses this knowledge to propose principles to propose principles for global stewardship.

About the Editors

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is Research Director of the Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia and Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.

William C. Clark is Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Martin Claussen is Managing Director and Head of the Climate System Department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Hermann Held is Head of the Mitigation Options research group within the Department of Integrated Systems Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


“This is an excellent synthesis of the elements that make up the emerging field of Earth system science. Leading global change scientists have pushed the boundaries of conventional science programs, producing a highly readable, challenging, and in part provocative book about Earth in the Anthropocene. It ranges across time, space, and disciplines, from Earth's deep history to astrobiology. If we are to achieve sustainability at a global scale, many peoplein science and policyneed to read and understand this book.”
Brian Walker, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia, and Program Director of The Resilience Alliance
“Finally, we've turned the corner and begun the process of building the intellectual foundation for our long-term survival on this planet. Earth System Analysis for Sustainability is the best resource to date on the problem and the path forward. It represents a new approach that all of us should pay close attention to.”
Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University