THE GLOBAL COMMONS:
OUR LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS
In a vast universe of billions of galaxies, Earth is the only place we know of that can support life.
This perfect balance of climate, water, biodiversity, ocean and land are vital to our survival. They are the global commons – the systems that regulate the stability and resilience of Earth, are also the foundation of the global economy and modern society.
The global commons belong to all of us – but we’re in a race to save them.
We are a big world on a small planet, using more resources than our planet can sustain. Science indicates we’re approaching a point of no return, testing the very limits of Earth’s ability to support humanity.
We’re already seeing the effects. And it’s much more than just climate change. It could be a tipping point for life on earth.
For humanity to flourish, the global commons must thrive.
The Global Commons Alliance is creating a new 21st century platform that incorporates the environment and the economy – people and planet – to transform economic systems for the benefit of society and to sustain the natural systems of Earth.
VISION FOR 2050
By 2050, Earth systems show signs of stabilizing due to coherent, integrated action from business, cities, citizens and nations working together to solve the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.
Our plan seeks to reverse negative trends in climate, biodiversity, oceans, and other ecosystems, moving us toward a sustainable global economy – and a future that benefits human well-being and the natural world.
GLOBAL COMMONS ALLIANCE
4 PART FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
A select team of scientists to synthesize the latest research, anticipate tipping points and assess the limits of the entire Earth system.
A group of international NGOs to turn the science into practical applications for companies and cities to set goals for operating within Earth’s limits.
A media portal for the planet, to connect people across the globe and share the big picture of how all Earth systems are performing and tracking progress towards solutions.
Will identify gaps and mobilize support to coalitions that deliver transformational change in food, energy, urban, and production and consumption systems.
THE EARTH COMMISSION:
A COMPASS FOR HUMANITY
Scientists and experts will synthesize the latest research to define the conditions for a healthy planet, informing the setting of science-based targets to help maintain Earth’s life support systems: climate, land, biodiversity, freshwater and oceans.
Future Earth will host the Earth Commission’s scientific secretariat in collaboration with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PIK, and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA.
The Earth Commission will be part of an extensive network that’s complementary to and builds on existing assessments, such as the IPCC, IPBES and GEO reports. In areas with intergovernmental processes in place, the Commission’s work will inform the setting of science-based targets developed through those processes. The insights of the Earth Commission are central to informing the work of the Science Based Targets Network that develops methodologies for companies and cities to set specific science-based targets to guide policies and practice which will ultimately transform the global economy.
FINDING A SAFE OPERATING SPACE
Extreme events are not a distant threat. They are the norm.
Risks go beyond climate. All of Earth’s systems are being undermined:
THE SCIENCE BASED TARGETS NETWORK:
BUILDING ON A PROVEN MODEL
Science can define how companies and cities can operate in environmentally sustainable ways to restore balance to the Earth’s systems.
Companies are already future-proofing growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Find out more through the Science Based Targets initiative.
Building off the success of the Science Based Targets initiative and in response to business demand to set targets for the whole Earth system, a group of organizations have come together to form the Science Based Targets Network.
They will develop methods and resources to enable companies and cities to set science-based targets for the interrelated “systems” of land, biodiversity, freshwater and the ocean across their value chains. These will be informed by current science along with reports to be produced by the newly formed Earth Commission.
The Science Based Targets Network partners are engaged with more than 10,000 cities and local governments worldwide. The aim is for cities representing 50% of the global urban population to set science-based targets for climate by 2025.
TRANSFORMING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
MEDIA AND MOBILIZATION
Will be a basecamp and media portal for the planet, connecting people across the globe.
Delivering breaking news, progress on solutions and inviting participation in the greatest challenge of all: stabilizing our home planet. Designed to harness the movement of billions of people demanding positive changes toward sustainability.
Will convey the big picture of how Earth Systems are performing and tracks progress towards solutions.
Earth News Network (ENN):
A news feed – like a Reuters for the planet – will be powered by urgent news events and compelling storytelling by leading journalists, photographers, videographers, and a diverse team of contributors. ENN will focus on solutions and innovations, reaching millions of people through an alliance of media partners.
CONNECTING PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE
A major transformation of the economic systems that underpin how we eat, move, produce and consume is urgently required for us to stay within Earth’s safe operating space. The path forward lies in building partnerships for innovation, finance, and leadership to transform food systems, green our cities, decarbonize the global energy system and move towards a circular economy to reduce waste. Here’s some of the Global Commons Alliance leadership are saying and doing:
NAOKO ISHII, CEO AND CHAIRPERSON
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY
“If done right, we can turn the tragedy of the global commons into an opportunity. Safeguarding the global commons is the wisest investment that can be made. The GEF is ready to act as a catalyst to help make this happen.”
Johan Rockström, Director
for Climate Impact Research PIK
“It is time to re-evaluate our economic and political models for the Anthropocene. The starting point must be our very notion of the global commons…Industrial societies now wield astonishing power. Earth’s future is in the balance and we must handle it with care and respect.”
FORMER EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
OF THE UNFCCC
“We are at a precarious point for the fate of the global commons. Our actions on climate protection over the next few years will determine whether we continue on a path of exponentially growing national disasters, or pivot onto a path toward a safer, more prosperous world.”
Dominic Waughray, Managing Director
Centre for Global Public Goods, World Economic Forum
“Addressing climate change, protecting the health of our ocean and biodiversity, stemming materials pollution and ensuring food and resource security are wicked, interconnected global environmental challenge for our 21st century economy and society. Addressing them effectively—and with the necessary urgency—requires unprecedented cooperation.”
Andrew Steer, President and CEO
World Resource Institute
“Four revolutionary shifts in social and economic life are needed to tame Bigfoot-style economic impacts and safeguard the global commons: transforming cities, re-thinking food and agriculture, decarbonizing energy systems, and transitioning from linear approaches to production, design, use and disposal of materials to circular economic models.”
Amy Luers, executive director
“We do not have the luxury of time. The world needs to act fast. Without these science-based Earth targets, we cannot fully achieve the ambitious vision of the SDGs. And, perhaps more importantly, without them we may unwittingly cross into an unsafe operating space for humanity.”
Nigel Topping, Chief Executive Officer
We Mean Business
“Our civilization faces no more important task in the 21st century than that of rebalancing the relationship between ecosystems and economies.”
Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group CEO
“The global agri-sector is at the nexus of some of the most intractable challenges the world faces—food, water, energy security, inclusive growth and sustainable growth. Do we want to contribute to the problem or become part of the solution?”
Inger AndersEn, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“We are determining to a large extent what kind of climate we will have, what kind of ecosystems we will have. That gives us a responsibility, a requirement, to take action.”
CONSERVATION AND SCIENCE PARTNERS
The Global Commons Alliance is a massive collaboration developed by world leading institutions. This effort brings together scientific, business, government and nongovernmental organizations to transform our global economy, and to maintain the resilience and stability of Earth’s natural systems. Organizations collaborating on this initiative include: