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Scottish scientists study a “Planet Under Pressure”

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Conference organisers say the global scientific community must deliver to society the knowledge necessary to assess the risks humanity is facing from global change.

The Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, and several senior scientists on his team, are heading to London shortly to take part in the Planet Under Pressure conference which gets underway at the new International Convention Centre (ICC) at Excel in London's Eastside on Monday 26 March.

Professor Iain Gordon, the Chief Executive, is co-Chair of a session on the opening day called “Securing global biodiversity: a human imperative for a sustainable planet”. The James Hutton Institute’s Dr Paul Hallett, who runs a research programme on sustainable farming, is the co-Chair of a session on Tuesday (27 March) called “Earth under pressure: maximising the value of soil”. One of his colleagues, Dr Helaina Black, is also co-Chairing this session. Dr Black is President of the British Society of Soil Science which is supporting this session. They will be joined by colleagues from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and England’s Rothamsted Research.

The conference organisers say the global scientific community must deliver to society the knowledge necessary to assess the risks humanity is facing from global change. It must provide knowledge of how society can effectively mitigate dangerous changes and cope with changes we cannot manage.

Based on the latest scientific evidence, the London Planet Under Pressure conference will provide a comprehensive update of our knowledge of the Earth system and the pressure our planet is now under. The London conference will focus the scientific community’s and the wider world’s attention on climate, ecological degradation, human well-being, planetary thresholds, food security, energy, governance across scales and poverty alleviation.

The conference will discuss solutions, at all scales, to move societies on to a sustainable pathway. It will provide scientific leadership towards the 2012 UN Rio +20 “Earth Summit” later this year.

Notes to editors

The conference has been organised by a group of international agencies:

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
IGBP provides essential international scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society onto a sustainable pathway during rapid global change.

By linking biology, ecology and social sciences, DIVERSITAS produces socially relevant new knowledge to support sustainable use of biodiversity.

International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change
IHDP provides international leadership in framing, developing and integrating social science research on global environmental change, and promote key findings of this research to help address these changes.

World Climate Research Programme
WCRP improves climate predictions and our understanding of human influence on climate through observations and modelling of the Earth system and the policy-relevant assessment of climate conditions.

Earth System Science Partnership
ESSP is a partnership of the four international global-change programmes. It is an integrated study of the Earth System, the ways that it is changing, and the implications for global and regional sustainability.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.