Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has won this year’s Volvo environmental prize for his contributions to earth system science and policy. Resilience science has mentioned his work previously, especially his work on tipping points in the earth system.
The prize committee writes:
One of the most exciting, relevant and rapidly growing areas of environmental research is Earth System science. Over the past decade or two, the realisations that the Earth behaves as a single, integrative system and that human activities are now influencing the functioning of this system have revolutionised the framing of environmental problems at the global scale. No longer can human development proceed without consideration of impacts on our own global life support system.
…His outstanding contributions to “Earth System science for sustainability” at the national and international level have solidified Schellnhuber’s position as a world leader in the field. He is a member of the board of the prestigious Dahlem Conferences, which have made major contributions to the Earth System science – sustainability link. Beyond this higher level role, he has also been on the organising committee himself for key Dahlem Conferences. A good example is the 2003 conference on “Earth System Analysis in the Anthropocene”, which contributed important insights into the concept of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in Earth history, and its connection to the growing sustainability agenda.
…Finally, Schellnhuber has forged exceptionally powerful and effective links between science and policy at the highest levels around the world. The best example of this is his initiation of a series of Nobel Laureate Symposia, which gather Laureates from physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and literature to explore the environmental challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century. The third in this series, held in Stockholm in 2011, produced a set of recommendations for action that was delivered directly to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.