The Earth Commission is a group of leading scientists convened by Future Earth. Their mission is to assess the latest science to underpin the development of science-based targets for systems like land, water, and biodiversity. By setting such targets, companies and cities will be able to contribute to re-stabilizing Earth’s natural systems and work towards ensuring a planet where humans can thrive.

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All life on Earth depends on clean air and water, biodiversity, healthy oceans, and a stable climate. These are the Global Commons: the shared resources that ensure a habitable planet.

The Earth Commission is the first holistic attempt to establish scientific guardrails at global and regional levels, for Earth’s life support systems.


New Research: A Way to Translate the Sustainable Development Goals Into Local Action

Featuring David Obura, Earth Commissioner
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World-leading Modellers Gather to Define A Safe and Just Space for People and Planet

As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made clear, the state of our planet is a result of dynamic interactions between human and natural systems. In the Anthropocene, a new era in which humans are the driving force of change on Earth, the setting of actionable targets to guide our interactions with nature is an important dimension of global sustainable development. The Earth Commission has set out to synthesize the science needed to underpin such targets. But is it possible to draw a line in the sand and outline a safe and just space for human societies on the planet?
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Urgent Action is Needed

Today, human activities are accelerating changes in the Earth system at a scale and pace that is threatening the global commons – and the foundation for human well-being. Urgent action is needed to slow down these detrimental changes.

To combat climate change, the world’s nations have agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, but similar science-based targets for other parts of the Earth system are missing.

This year’s fires, the rapidly warming Arctic, dying coral reefs, and unprecedented heat waves and floods across the world, are the clearest signals yet that human activities are pushing the planet further and further from the stable state we have enjoyed for 10,000 years.”

Prof. Johan Rockström

Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the Earth Commission

We Need Targets – Guided by Science

The Earth Commission is an international group of leading scientists and sustainability experts, announced in September 2019 by the global research organisation Future Earth. It is led by three reputed professors; Johan Rockström, Joyeeta Gupta and Dahe Qin.

Their mission is to provide the scientific insights needed to set science-based targets that can help maintain the functioning life support systems of Earth: land, biodiversity, freshwater, oceans.

“To combat climate change, nations have agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. What we lack are comparable objectives for other key environmental components. The Earth Commission will fill this critical gap”.

Prof. Dahe Qin

Director of the Academic Committee of Chinese Academy of Science

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals are largely aspirational. The Commission’s analysis will identify practical science-based targets that help realize these aspirations and deliver on Agenda 2030 to leave no one behind.”

Prof. Joyeeta Gupta

Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the University of Amsterdam

The Earth Commission will build on and complement existing assessments, such as those conducted by the IPCC and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The Earth Commission will also explore social transformations required for sustainable development to reach these targets.

The Commission will produce an anchor report built on analysis conducted by a series of international working groups of experts. The report – defining scientific targets for a stable planet – will be published by a peer-reviewed journal by 2022.

The goal is to translate the scientific guardrails defined by the Earth Commission, into tangible science-based targets specifically tailored to cities and companies. This translational work will be undertaken by the Science Based Targets Network, comprised of renowned NGOs. 


The Earth Commission is part of the Global Commons Alliance, a network of organizations and businesses aiming to positively transform the world’s economic systems and protect the global commons. We are an unprecedented collaboration working together to build a consensus guidance on science-based targets.