The complexity of the problems related to the local, regional and global environments, resource use and sustainability may challenge the future development of human societies. Our generation and future ones, however, have to address these issues using all available approaches as well as to develop innovative approaches to create a comprehensive, integrated understanding, that can deliver reliable information for adaptation and mitigation policy. The demand for timely assessment of vulnerabilities in the climate system and in global ecosystem services, in support to policy will continue to grow, and the research community will face the challenge and commensurate opportunity to respond to such needs in a timely and effective manner.
The foundation of a virtual research institute between Beijing University in China and the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, a joint research laboratory of CEA, CNRS and UVSQ in France will address the challenge of quantifying and understanding the key interactions and in the Earth System between biogeochemical cycles, the physical climate system and human induced changes. The prime focus of the virtual institute in its early development phase will be the study of regional and global feedback loops between the terrestrial carbon cycle, atmospheric composition changes and climate variability and trends. The approach will rely on process based numerical models, empirical models and analysis of past and present Earth Observations.