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Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet

 Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet Philippe Tortell (ed.)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-845-7 £23.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-846-4 £33.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-847-1 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-848-8 £5.99
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-849-5 £5.99
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Conceived before Covid-19, 'Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet' is an attempt to review various environmental topics from climate change to biodiversity and pollution crises in a series of testimonies by "insiders,” specialists in their respective disciplines. It begins with a solid introduction by Philippe Tortell explaining his journey into the preparation of these essays. As he explains in the introduction the idea for this book came to him as a way "to focus public attention (if only for a short while) on topics of significant importance.”[5] Tortell explains the book as a way of assessing the human footprint on the "Earth system” since the first celebration of Earth Day in 1970.
— Loys Maingon, The Ormsby Review, April 17, 2021. 

Fifty years have passed since the first Earth Day, on 22 April 1970. This accessible, incisive and timely collection of essays brings together a diverse set of expert voices to examine how the Earth’s environment has changed over this past half century, and what lies in store for our planet over the coming fifty years.

Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet responds to a public increasingly concerned about the deterioration of Earth’s natural systems, offering readers a wealth of perspectives on our shared ecological past, and on the future trajectory of planet Earth.

Written by world-leading thinkers on the front-lines of global change research and policy, this multi-disciplinary collection maintains a dual focus: some essays investigate specific facets of the physical Earth system, while others explore the social, legal and political dimensions shaping the human environmental footprint. In doing so, the essays collectively highlight the urgent need for collaboration across diverse domains of expertise in addressing one of the most significant challenges facing us today.

Earth 2020 is essential reading for everyone seeking a deeper understanding of the past, present and future of our planet, and the role of humanity in shaping this trajectory.

An Online Panel Discussion on Earth 2020: An Insider's Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet is now available here.

Please, click here to download the media kit for this book.

Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet

Philippe Tortell (ed.) | 22 April 2020
274 pp. | 15 Colour Illustrations | 8'' x 8'' (203 x 203 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783748457
ISBN Hardback: 9781783748464
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783748471
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783748488
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-849-5
ISBN Digital (XML): 978-1-78374-850-1
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0193
Subject codes: BIC: RNKC (Conservation of the environment), RNKH (Conservation of wildlife and habitats), RND (Environmental policy and protocols); BISAC: NAT010000 (Ecology), NAT011000 (Environmental Conservation & Protection), SCI026000 (Environmental Science); OCLC Number: 1154460896.

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Author Biographies

Jon Abbatt is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He is an atmospheric chemist, working at the interface of atmospheric science and chemistry both in the laboratory and the field. His focus is on studies of the fundamental chemistry underlying environmental phenomena, including atmospheric ozone, urban haze, and the roles of atmospheric aerosol particles in cloud formation and climate. Over the past few years, his attention has been largely on the chemistry of Arctic aerosols, wildfire emissions and the indoor environment. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Geophysical Union.

Sally N. Aitken is a Professor of Forest and Conservation Sciences and Associate Dean Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Her research uses genomic tools, experimental plantings and climate models to understand the relationships between tree populations and climate, and determine the capacity for forests to adapt to new conditions. She advises governments on the management and conservation of forests in a changing climate, and co-authored the widely used textbook Conservation and the Genetics of Populations. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

David Archer is a Professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, and a popular science writer and educator. His research, teaching and writing focuses on the past, present and future of the global carbon cycle, and the climate impacts of changing carbon dioxide and methane concentrations. His books include The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change (2009), and Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast (2006). He is a regular contributor to the RealClimate blog (a commentary site on climatology available at http://www.realclimate.org/), and has created several open-access online classes on climate change, which are available through Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/)

Edward Burtynsky is regarded as one of the world’s most accomplished contemporary photographers. His works are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world. Burtynsky’s distinctions include the inaugural TED Prize in 2005; the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts in 2016; the Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles (2004); the Roloff Beny Book award (2004); and the 2018 Photo London Master of Photography Award. Most recently, he has been named as the recipient of the 2019 Achievement in Documentary Award from the Lucie Foundation. He currently holds eight honorary doctorate degrees.

Candis Callison is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Journalism, Writing and Media Studies and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. She is the author of How Climate Change Comes to Matter: The Communal Life of Facts (2014) and the co-author, with Mary Lynn Young, of Reckoning: Journalism’s Limits and Possibilities (2020). She belongs to the Tahltan Nation, located in what is now northwestern British Columbia, and is a regular contributor to the podcast, Media Indigena. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow.

Zoe Craig-Sparrow is a member of the Musqueam Indian Band and was born and raised on the reserve in Vancouver, BC. She is a graduate of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, and also studied at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in France and Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific on Vancouver Island. Craig-Sparrow is passionate about the rights of girls and women, and about the environment, and takes a particular interest in how these issues relate to Indigenous communities. In 2012, she traveled to the United Nations at the age of fifteen to present a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Craig-Sparrow is currently pursuing a Master’s in Human Rights at the University of London and is the Co-Director of Justice for Girls (http://www.justiceforgirls.org/).

Gretchen C. Daily is the Bing Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Biology, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, at Stanford University. She is co-founder and faculty director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project, a global partnership working to integrate the value nature provides to society into finance, development, and conservation decisions. Her research is focused on understanding the dynamics of change in the biosphere, their implications for human well-being, and the deep societal transformations needed to secure people and nature. She is an elected fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Julian Dowdeswell is Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography in the University of Cambridge, UK. He is a glaciologist, working on the form and flow of glaciers and ice sheets and their responses to climate change, and the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record, using satellite, airborne and shipborne geophysical tools. Over the past four decades he has worked many times in Antarctica and the Arctic. He was awarded the Polar Medal by HM The Queen for ‘outstanding contributions to glacier geophysics’ (1994), and has also received the Founder’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (2008). As well as many scientific papers, he has co-written the popular science books The Continent of Antarctica (2018) and Islands of the Arctic (2002).

Don Fullerton is Gutgsell Professor in the Finance Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His research analyzes distributional and efficiency effects of environmental and tax policies. He is the former Editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and former Director of the Environmental and Energy Economics research program of the National Bureau of Economic Research. After taking a BA from Cornell University and a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, he taught at Princeton University, the University of Virginia, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Texas, before joining the University of Illinois in 2008. From 1985 to 1987, he served in the US Treasury Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis.

Roland Geyer is a Professor of Industrial Ecology at the Bren School of Environmental Science Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the Bren School, he held research positions in Germany, France, and the UK. Since 2000 he has worked with a wide range of governmental organisations, trade associations, and companies on environmental sustainability issues. Geyer has won multiple awards for his work, such as the Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Year (2018), and has been featured widely in the media, on programs such as CBS’ 60 Minutes, CBS News Sunday Morning and PBS NewsHour. He has a graduate degree in physics and a PhD in engineering. Learn more about Geyer and his work on his website (www.rolandgeyer.com).

Alice Gorman is an Associate Professor in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Her research focuses on the archaeological record of humans in outer space, including orbital debris, planetary landing sites and deep space probes. She is a Director on the Board of the JustSpace Alliance, a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Her 2019 book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future received the John Mulvaney Book Award and the NIB Literary Award People’s Choice.

John Harte is a Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on climate change, biodiversity, and maintaining ecosystem services for humanity. He has authored over 240 scientific publications, including eight books, one of which, Consider a Spherical Cow: A Course in Environmental Problem Solving (1985) is a widely used textbook on environmental modeling. Along with Robert Socolow, he co-edited the 1970 book, Patient Earth. He is an elected Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Leo Szilard prize from the American Physical Society, and a 2006 George Polk award in investigative journalism.

Janet G. Hering is a Professor of Biogeochemistry at ETH Zurich and of Environmental Chemistry at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG). Her research examines the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in water, and knowledge exchange at the interface of science with policy and practice. She has worked closely with various government agencies to address issues of arsenic contamination in drinking water, and has served on the Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency. She is the co-author, with François Morel, of the highly influential textbook, Principles and Applications of Aquatic Chemistry (1993), and is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Sheila Jasanoff is a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the founding Director of the Program on Science, Technology and Society. Her work focuses on the interactions between science and the state in contemporary democratic societies, with implications for comparative politics, political theory, law and sociology. She has conducted comparative research in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the European Union and India, as well as on emerging global regimes in areas such as climate and biotechnology. She is the author of many influential books, including The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future (2016) and The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers (1990).

David M. Karl is a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai’i, and Director of the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE). His research explores global-scale changes in ocean properties, and, in 1988, he established the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program to conduct sustained oceanographic measurements in the subtropical Pacific waters near Hawai’i. Since 1973, he has spent more than 1,000 days conducting research at sea, including twenty-three trips to Antarctica. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Academy of Microbiology, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Robert E. Kopp is the Director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at Rutgers University, and a Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. His research focuses on past and future sea-level change, on the interactions between physical climate change and the economy, and on the use of climate risk information in decision making. He is an author of Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus (2015), the Fourth National Climate Assessment (2017), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (forthcoming, 2021). He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a recipient of its James B. Macelwane Medal (2017).

Rosemary Lyster is a Professor of Climate and Environmental Law at The University of Sydney Law School, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. Her research focuses on Climate Law, Climate Justice and Disaster Law. She has published many articles and seven books, including most recently Research Handbook on Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities (edited with Robert Verchick, 2018) and Climate Justice and Disaster Law (2015). In 2018, Rosemary was identified by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia's ‘100 Women of Influence’. In 2013, she was appointed a Herbert Smith Freehills Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, and was a Visiting Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009 and in 2014.

Douglas G. MacMartin is a Senior Research Fellow in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. His research focuses on climate engineering, with the aim of helping to develop the knowledge base necessary to support informed future societal decisions in this challenging and controversial field. He has published extensively on the subject, and given many public and academic presentations, including briefings to the UN Environment Program and testimony to the US Congress. He is a member of a US National Academies panel that will make recommendations on climate engineering research and governance.

Elizabeth May is the Green Party of Canada’s first elected Member of Parliament. Prior to her career in politics, she practiced law with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, served as the Senior Policy Advisor to the federal Canadian Minister of the Environment (1986–1988), and as Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada (1989–2006). Elizabeth is the author of eight books, including, most recently, Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and on Canada (2014). In November 2019, Elizabeth stepped down as leader of the Green Party of Canada after serving for thirteen years, and continues as Parliamentary Leader for Canada’s first federal Green Party Caucus. She was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her decades of leadership in the Canadian environmental movement.

Deborah McGregor is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice at York University in Toronto. Her research focuses on Indigenous knowledge systems and their applications in diverse contexts, including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development. She has delivered numerous public and academic presentations on the topics of Indigenous knowledge systems, governance and sustainability, and she co-edited the book Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age (2010). McGregor is Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ontario.

Neville Nicholls is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University. He spent thirty-five years as a research scientist in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology before moving to Monash in 2006. He has studied the nature, causes, impacts and predictability of weather and climate extremes, especially droughts, heatwaves, tropical cyclones, floods, and cold fronts, both globally and across the Australian region. Neville is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Elias Grove Nielsen is a Danish entrepreneur who has co-founded many companies, including Biomega.com, Seed.dk and E-invasion.com. Innovative bicycles designed by Biomega.com have been exhibited in Centre Pompidou (Paris), Neues Museum (Nürnberg) and the San Francisco MoMa (Permanent Collection). He recently sold his businesses and now writes full-time.

Grace Nosek is the Founder and Student Director of the University of British Columbia Climate Hub. She is a PhD candidate at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, studying how to use law to protect climate change science from manufactured doubt. She is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholar and a Killam doctoral scholar, and a past Canada–US Fulbright recipient. She holds a BA from William Marsh Rice University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an LLM from the University British Columbia. Drawing from her research, Nosek creates hopeful climate narratives, including the Ava of the Gaia trilogy (2011, 2014, 2018), the short film Climate Comeback (2019) and the podcast series Planet Potluck (2018–present).

Daniel Pauly is a Professor of Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, where he directs the Sea Around Us project, which is devoted to studying, documenting and mitigating the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems. The concepts, methods and software his team has developed have been used in over 1000 widely-cited publications, and have led to his receiving numerous scientific awards.

Navin Ramankutty is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change and Food Security at the University of British Columbia. His research uses global data and models to explore solutions to improve global food system sustainability. He is a Scientific Steering Committee member of the Global Land Programme. He was a lead author of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment(2005), and a contributing author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), and is currently contributing to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. He is a Leopold Leadership Fellow.

Katharine L. Ricke is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego, jointly appointed between the School of Global Policy and Strategy, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is an interdisciplinary climate scientist who applies quantitative modeling and large data analysis methods to social and physical systems. Her research focuses on how uncertainty and heterogeneity in projected climate impacts and solutions, influence strategic incentives in climate policy problems. She is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and a member of the US National Academy committee that will make recommendations on climate engineering research and governance.

Tapio Schneider is a Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and a Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research examines the impacts of climate change on extreme rainfall, the role of cloud cover in the climate system, and the factors creating winds and weather on planetary bodies such as Jupiter and Titan. He currently leads the Climate Modeling Alliance (https://clima.caltech.edu/), whose mission is to build the first Earth system model that automatically learns from diverse data sources to produce accurate climate predictions. He was named one of the ‘20 Best Brains Under 40’ by Discover in 2008, was a David and Lucile Packard Fellow and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, and a recipient of the James R. Holton Award of the American Geophysical Union (2004).

Jeffrey R. Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology. His research focuses on the roles of climate and human land use in driving patterns of biodiversity and ecological interactions, with an emphasis on insect diversity. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Beijer Young Scholar at the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics. He received a Master in Environmental Science (MESc) from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BSc from the University of Delaware.

Robert Socolow is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. He was trained in theoretical high-energy physics, and began his career as an Assistant Professor of physics at Yale Univeristy, before joining the Princeton faculty in 1971 with the assignment of inventing interdisciplinary environmental research. That same year, he wrote and edited, with John Harte, Patient Earth, an early textbook in environmental studies. He has since published many highly influential papers, including the 2004 Science paper, with Steve Pacala, ‘Stabilization wedges: Solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current Technologies’. Rob’s work has also introduced ‘one billion high emitters’, ‘committed emissions’, and ‘destiny studies’, as further conceptual frameworks for climate change policy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Between 1992 and 2002, he was the editor of Annual Review of Energy and the Environment.

U. Rashid Sumaila is a Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and Director of the OceanCanada Partnership. He is also appointed in the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. His research focuses on bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change and oil spills. Sumaila has published widely, and is on the Editorial Boards of several journals, including Science Advances, Scientific Reports and Environmental and Resource Economics. He was the recipient of the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize and other prestigious awards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Sumaila has given addresses at the UN Rio+20 meeting, the World Trade Organization, the White House, the Canadian Parliament, the African Union, St James’s Palace and the British House of Lords.

Elsie Sunderland is the Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at Harvard University. She holds faculty appointments in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. She is a faculty associate in the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA). Her research focuses on how releases of persistent environmental contaminants are transformed by the physical and biological processes in the environment, and how this affects human exposures and risk of adverse health outcomes. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard, she spent five years working to develop science-based environmental policy at the US Environmental Protection Agency, including regulatory impact assessments and guidance on the use of environmental models to inform regulatory decisions.

Philippe Tortell is a Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the Head of the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. He is a sea-going oceanographer, with more than two decades of experience documenting the effects climate change on marine systems around the world. His research examines the impacts of changing ocean conditions on marine biological productivity and the biogeochemical cycling of climate-active gases. He is member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, a Von Humboldt Research Fellow and past Director of UBC’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He has previously edited two inter-disciplinary books – Reflections of Canada (2017), and Memory (2018).

Charlotte C. Wagner is a PhD researcher at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where she studies the fate and transport of globally distributed man-made pollutants in the environment. Her research combines environmental engineering, biogeochemistry and environmental health to better understand the long-term human and ecological exposure risks of environmental pollution. Prior to starting her doctorate, Charlotte worked for several years as a scientific writer and editor, raising awareness of health risks arising from chemical contaminants. She received a BA in Political Science and Environmental Policy from Maastricht University, and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health from the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health.

Hannah Wittman is a Professor in the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and Academic Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. She conducts community-based and participatory action research related to food sovereignty, agrarian reform, agroecology, and health equity in Canada and Latin America. She is also co-Specialty Chief editor of the Social Movements, Institutions and Governance section of Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. Her edited books include Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles (2012), Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems (2011), and Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community (2010).

Elizabeth J. Wilson is a Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College and the founding Director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth. Her research focuses on energy system transitions, including interactions between technologies, decision making, policies and institutions. She works with practitioners in government, civil society and the private sector to shape the next generation of energy system transitions. She was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship and was selected as a Leopold Leadership Fellow. She is also a board member at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

Ice Core WalkDownload
Philippe Tortell, Chris Chafe and Greg Niemeyer

Earth SymphonyDownload
Chris Chafe, with Phillipe Tortell and Jonathan Girard

Online Panels 

On Monday, May 4, at 12 p.m. EDT the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth hosted an online panel discussions with four contributors of Earth 2020: An Insider's Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet.This panel was co-moderated by Philippe Tortell, editor of the title and professor at the University of British Columbia and Elizabeth Wilson, director of the Irving Institute and professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College. In this panel the following authors participated:

Sally N. Aitken, University of British Columbia
Douglas G. MacMartin, Cornell University
Roland Geyer, University of California, Santa Barbara
U. Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia

The second panel includes the following panelists:

Robert Socolow, Princeton University
Candis Callison, University of British Columbia
Janet G. Hering, ETH and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Alice Gorman Flinders University