Future Earth has leveraged its 20 global research projects to have a global impact, most importantly on high level policy fora. E.g., our 10 Science Must-Knows synthesised the latest science on climate change for the 2017 UNFCCC conference. In the crucial Paris climate talks of 2015, Future Earths major press conference to critique the draft text helped lead to a more ambitious target for the Paris agreement. We produced scientific input to help frame new UN urban agenda at the 2016 UN Habitat conference and worked with city leaders and partners to co-convene the IPCC cities conference in 2018.
In the business world, we held workshops with major financial institutions aimed at making them aware of tipping points in the Earth system. We published an exponential roadmap on decarbonisation driven by the tech sector, launched at the UN Climate Action Summit of 2018.
Media outreach has been crucial. Our 2017 work on the annual CO2 emissions saw 3,700 media hits, including NYT and BBC.
The transition to sustainable development has begun around the world and must accelerate. This emerging and dynamic shift places global environmental change (GEC) research at the top of agendas and dramatically augments demands on the growing community of GEC researchers and sustainable development practitioners that Future Earth, and especially the new Future Earth Secretariat, plan to meet.
The research community needs support to respond to a global society in transition eager to understand environmental change and its consequences. Knowledge from many disciplines must be synthesized and communicated while researchers continue to explore areas that remain less understood and which are not yet receiving attention from policy makers and decision makers in business and civil society.
The newly established permanent secretariat of Future Earth is rapidly establishing itself as a leader in global environmental change (GEC) science coordination, communication, and engagement. While working actively to bring in the core projects of the prior GEC Programmes, Future Earth is developing Knowledge-Action Networks that will define a new approach to collaboration and engagement in society for global sustainability researchers. At the same time, the secretariat is developing an ambitious an exciting new approach to communication that takes advantage of advances in the digitalization and visualization of data, new media techniques and cutting edge dialogue and communication to create a new model of interaction with stakeholders, policy makers, and the general public. These activities are described further in the following sections.