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GDB

GDB – Great Debates

    GDB1 Media

    In October 2018, the IPCC published its special report on impacts of global warming of 1.5 deg C. Another recent, highly publicised study suggests that the planet could pass an irreversible threshold into a so called “Hothouse Earth” state for a temperature increase of as low as 2 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures, while other studies and commentaries have emphasised the urgency on climate action, arguing that 2020 must be a turning point for global fossil fuel emissions, to increase the chance of maintaining a safe operating space for the humans on the planet. In 2018, the IPCC celebrated its 30th anniversary. The importance of taking action on human-induced climate change has been emphasised with governments around the world since the 1990s yet CO2 concentrations continue to rise and international initiatives have, to date, had limited and insufficient impact to avert some of the most serious consequences of climate change.
    How close are we to one or more critical thresholds (cliff edge)? Is there time to avert passing one or more of these thresholds? What can the geoscience community do to reduce the risks? How important is bottom up versus top down action to ensuring the least worst outcome? These are some of the questions we will debate with world experts in their field and authors of the thought papers on these topics.

    Public information:
    In October 2018, the IPCC published its special report on impacts of global warming of 1.5 deg C. Another recent, highly publicised study suggests that the planet could pass an irreversible threshold into a so called “Hothouse Earth” state for a temperature increase of as low as 2 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures.

    In 2018, the IPCC celebrated its 30th anniversary. The importance of taking action on human-induced climate change has been emphasised with governments around the world since the 1990s yet CO2 concentrations continue to rise and international initiatives have, to date, had limited and insufficient impact to avert some of the most serious consequences of climate change that may pose an existential threat to modern civilisation.

    How close are we to one or more critical thresholds? Is there time to avert passing one or more of them? What can the geoscience community do to reduce the risks? How important is bottom up versus top down action to ensuring the least worst outcome? These are some of the questions we will debate with world experts in their field and authors of the thought papers on these topics.

    The Great Debate panellists are:
    Prof. Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts. He was a Coordinating Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees, having served on the IPCC’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments, including the Synthesis Report Core Writing Team in 2014.

    Prof. Sabine Fuss, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Berlin. Sabine is an economist, currently leading a working group at the MCC. She holds a professorship on Sustainable Resource Management and Global Change at Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research interests are in sustainable development, land use change and climate change mitigation. She has been an IPCC Lead Author for the Special Report on 1.5°C global warming, serves on the steering committee of the Global Carbon Project and is a guest scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

    Erica Hope leads the cross-sectoral ‘2050 Task Force’ and governance programme of the European Climate Foundation (ECF) in Brussels, which seeks to build knowledge, political strategies and coalitions to drive the transition to a zero emissions society by mid-century. Erica has previously worked for the energy efficiency and UK programmes of the ECF, and before that led the policy and advocacy activities of NGO network Climate Action Network Europe on energy efficiency. From 2005-2009 she was researcher to Green MEP Caroline Lucas, and has also worked at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London.

    Prof. Linda Steg is professor of environmental psychology at the University of Groningen. She studies factors influencing sustainable behaviour, the effects and acceptability of strategies aimed at promoting sustainable behaviour, and public perceptions of technology and system changes. She is member of Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), and lead author of the IPCC special report on 1.5°C and AR6. She works on various interdisciplinary and international research programmes, and collaborates with practitioners working in industry, governments and NGOs.

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    Convener: Jonathan Bamber | Co-conveners: Alberto Montanari, Didier Roche
    Thu, 11 Apr, 10:45–12:30
     
    Room E1
    GDB2 ECS

    The geosciences are currently used by policymakers in a wide variety of areas to help guide the decision-making process and ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved. While the importance of scientific advice and the use of evidence in the policymaking process is generally acknowledged by both policymakers and scientists, how scientific advice is integrated and who is responsible is still unclear.

    EU Policymakers frequently highlight institutionalised processes for integrating scientific advice into policy such as European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (SAM) and the EU Commission’s Register of Expert Groups. But how efficient and accessible are these mechanisms really?

    Some emphasise the need for scientists to have their own policy networks in place so that they can share their research outcomes with policymakers who can then use it directly or pass it on to those responsible for relevant legislation. But from funding applications to teaching and even outreach activities – scientists are often already overloaded with additional tasks on top of their own research. Can they really be held responsible for keeping up with the latest policy news and maintaining a constantly changing network of policymakers as well?

    This debate will feature a mixed panel of policymakers and geoscientists who have previously given scientific advice. Some key questions that the panel will debate include:
    • How can the accessibility of current EU science-advisory mechanisms be improved?
    • Are scientists doing enough to share their research?
    • And who is responsible for ensuring that quality scientific evidence is used in policymaking?

    Speakers will be encouraged to explain any science advisory mechanism that they highlight (e.g. SAM) to ensure that the debate is understood by all those in attendance.

    While the panel and subsequent debate will have an EU focus, it is likely that many of the issues discussed will be applicable to countries around the world.

    Public information:
    David Mair: Head of Unit, Knowledge for Policy: Concepts & Methods, Joint Research Centre
    Paul Watkinson: Chair of SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice)
    Kasey White: Director for Geoscience Policy, Geological Society of America
    Günter Blöschl: Head of Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Engineering Hydrology, Vienna University of Technology
    Detlef van Vuuren: Professor in Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

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    Convener: Chloe Hill | Co-conveners: Sarah Connors, Olivia Trani
    Mon, 08 Apr, 10:45–12:30
     
    Room E1
    GDB3 ECS

    The ever more challenging work environments and increasing pressures on Early Career Scientists e.g. publish or perish, securing grant proposals, developing transferable skills and many more – and all while having a lack of job security. This puts a big strain on Early Career Scientists and this can lead to neglected mental well-being which in turn increases the risk of developing anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. The graduate survey from 2017 (https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v550/n7677/full/nj7677-549a.html) shows that 12% of respondents had sought help or advice for anxiety or depression during their PhD.

    In this debate we want to discuss: Is there a problem? How ECS can take control of their mental wellbeing and prioritise this in the current research environment? And what support would ECS like to see from organisations like EGU or their employers?

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    Convener: Stephanie Zihms | Co-conveners: Raffaele Albano, Anita Di Chiara, Olivia Trani, Mathew Stiller-Reeve
    Thu, 11 Apr, 19:00–20:30
     
    Room E1
    GDB4 ECS

    "What counts may not be countable and what is countable may not count". Assessments of scientists and their institutions tend to focus on easy-to-measure metrics related to research outputs such as publications, citations, and grants. However, society is increasingly dependent on Earth science research and data for immediate decisions and long-term planning. There is a growing need for scientists to communicate, engage, and work directly with the public and policy makers, and practice open scholarship, especially regarding data and software. Improving the reward and recognition structure to encourage broader participation of scientists in these activities must involve societies, institutions, and funders. EGU, AGU, and JPGU have all taken steps to improve this recognition, from developing new awards to starting journals around the topic of engaging the public to implementing FAIR data practices in the Earth, environmental, and space sciences, but far more is needed for a broad cultural change. How can we fairly value and credit harder-to-measure, these less tangible contributions, compared to the favoured metrics? And how can we shift the emphasis away from the "audit culture" towards measuring performance and excellence? This session will present a distinguished panel of stakeholders discussing how to implement and institutionalize these changes.

    Public information:
    Moderator:
    Robin Bell - AGU President

    Co-Moderator:
    Helen M. Glaves - President of the EGU ESSI Division

    Panelists:

    Liz Allen – Director of Strategic Initiatives at F1000
    Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Policy Institute, King's College London

    Stephen Curry – Professor and Assistant Provost, Imperial College London
    Chair, Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

    Demetris Koutsoyiannis – Professor and former Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Technical University of
    Athens, Past Editor in Chief of the Hydrological Sciences Journal of IAHS

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    Co-sponsored by AGU, and JpGU
    Convener: Alberto Montanari | Co-conveners: Jonathan Bamber, Robin Bell, Hiroshi Kitazato, Lily Pereg (deceased)
    Wed, 10 Apr, 10:45–12:30
     
    Room E1
    GDB5 Media

    Public information:
    Plan S, devised by a coalition of research funders with support from the European Commission and European Research Council, demands that by January 1, 2020 research supported by participating funders must be published in Open Access journals. Representatives from subscription-based and Open Access publishers, architects of Plan S, and researchers affected by it will debate questions surrounding the implementation of the plan and its consequences.

    The panelists are David Sweeney, Heike Langenberg, Marc Schiltz and Brooks Hanson. They will present the case for and against mandatory OA followed by an open debate with questions and comments from the audience.

    David Sweeney is Executive Chair of Research England, the biggest research funder in the UK. He has been invited to visit many countries to advise on research assessment and funding, particularly with respect to research impact. He is also co-chair of the Implementation Task Force for Plan S, the international initiative on full and immediate open access to research publications.

    Heike Langenberg is the Chief Editor of Nature Geoscience. She started her editorial career in 1999 as an Associate, then Senior Editor at Nature handling manuscripts in the broad area of climate sciences. In 2007 she moved to Nature Geoscience to launch the journal in January 2008. A graduate in mathematics of the Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, she ventured into oceanography for her PhD at the University of Hamburg. Her postdoctoral research at various research institutes in Hamburg was focused on numerical simulations of the ocean and atmosphere at a regional scale.

    Marc Schiltz is president of Science Europe, the European association of all major national public research funding and research performing organisations. In this role, he has contributed to setting the European agenda to foster Open Science and is one of the architects of Plan S. He is also leading the Luxembourg National Research Fund. He is a relentless advocate of science and research, serving on a number of external boards and committees, both at the national and international level. Having received a PhD in Crystallography from the University of Paris-Sud and an executive MBA from INSEAD, Marc has been active in research and higher education for more than 25 years and held research and faculty positions in several European countries.

    Brooks Hanson is the Executive Vice President for Science for the American Geophysical Union (AGU), responsible for AGU’s publications, meetings, ethics and data programs, and Thriving Earth Exchange. He previously acted as Sr. Vice President for Publications at AGU, where he was responsible for AGU's portfolio of books and 21 journals and served as Deputy Editor for Physical Sciences at Science. Brooks received a Ph.D. in Geology from UCLA and held a post-doctoral appointment at the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution.

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    Convener: Katja Fennel | Co-convener: Jonathan Bamber
    Tue, 09 Apr, 16:15–18:00
     
    Room E1