Mobile version
spiked plus
About spiked
What is spiked?
Support spiked
spiked shop
Contact us
Summer school
Top issues
Arab uprisings
British politics
Child abuse panic
For Europe, Against the EU
Free speech
Jimmy Savile scandal
Parents and kids
View all issues...
special feature
The Counter-Leveson Inquiry
other sections
 Review of Books
 Monthly archive
selected authors
Duleep Allirajah
Daniel Ben-Ami
Tim Black
Jennie Bristow
Sean Collins
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Frank Furedi
Helene Guldberg
Patrick Hayes
Mick Hume
Rob Lyons
Brendan O’Neill
Nathalie Rothschild
James Woudhuysen
more authors...
RSS feed
a-b c-d e-h i-l m-n o-r s-u v-z index
Stephen Emmott
director of the European Science Initiative at Microsoft Corporation, and visiting professor of computer science at University College London

I believe the greatest challenge we face for the 21st Century is the rapid changes in, and alarming loss of, Earth’s life support systems - most notably climate and biodiversity. I am not alone. Increasing scientific evidence suggests that this issue is of such fundamental importance and urgency, and so vast in its scale, that it is likely to determine whether our species, and millions of other species, will have sufficient natural systems able to support life in the 22nd Century.

Enter science. This unprecedented challenge to all life on Earth brings a huge scientific challenge: understanding Earth’s life support systems and changes to them and finding ways to help address this problem. This will require powerful predictive computational models simply not possible today. I say this because this is the one area of science where ‘observation’ is simply not feasible. We can’t wait and observe for the next 50 years what happens to the climate and to Earth’s biodiversity because by then, we will almost certainly have crossed an irreversible tipping point with unimaginably catastrophic global consequences.

Scientists from a wide range of disciplines - computer science, biology, earth science, ecosystem science, climatology to name but a few - must work together to build powerful, robust, predictive computational models of Earth’s life support systems and changes to these systems that will occur under given global conditions. But most important of all, they, together with the rest of the citizens of the world, will need to ensure we, and the politicians we elect, use this knowledge to ensure we have a planet able to sustain all life on Earth.

Survey home
What we found
Survey responses
RSS feed
Anjana Ahuja
Michael Baum
Peter Cochrane
Richard Feachem
Frank Furedi
Michio Kaku
Ken MacLeod
Jonathan Meades
Munira Mirza
Matthew Parris
Ingo Potrykus
Roger Scruton
Ben Shneiderman
Lionel Shriver
Raymond Tallis
Peter Whittle
Josie Appleton
David Baulcombe
Claire Fox
William Higham
Paul Lauterbur
William Graeme Laver
Ken MacLeod
Fiona McEwen
Victor Stenger