Professor Will Steffen,

Australian National University.

Global Change and the Earth system.


Professor Will Steffen is Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU. From 1998 to 2004, he was Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, based in Stockholm. His research interests include terrestrial ecosystem interactions with global change, the global carbon cycle, and incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis.

Back to: SPA Canberra Conference 2008 page.

Population growth and the MDG's.

Population growth and the Millenium Development Goals. Canberra, Australia. March 14-15, 2008.

Humans have become a geophysical force, and an Anthropocene Era had great acceleration around 1950.

Biophysical responses have paralleled the increase in human population and the even greater increase in the use of energy. In the 21st Century there is a volatile world of huge inequities. There is a dilemma: we don’t want poor countries to stay poor, but we don’t want the human footprint increased. Projections of human consumption suggest we have already passed a trajectory which would get us down to stabilisation, and affluence is a huge driver. We are now eating of the natural capital of the earth.