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Science Strategy

science strategy

Find out more about 'themed years' in the Geological Society's Science Strategy (April 2014)

Year of Carbon 2019

Throughout 2019 the Society will explore the geoscience of Carbon through research conferences, lectures, our education programme and other activities. 

Carbon is one of the most important elements of our planet. In the oceans and atmosphere, carbon has important consequences for the global climate system. Complex organic molecules led to life on Earth. Carbon-based energy resources remain of critical importance, both in terms of extraction and mitigation of carbon emissions, but also for planning for a future carbon-neutral society. 

Carbon is central to a number of critical societal challenges. Understanding the carbon budget of our planet over long timescales requires quantification of the cycling of carbon between surface reservoirs and Earth’s deep interior. On shorter timescales, complex feedbacks exist between the precise nature of our orbit around the Sun, the biosphere and solid Earth. Over the last century, the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time, and will occupy generations to come. 

Carbon-based fuels, however, remain essential for our economy, transport, communications and everyday life. Petroleum geoscience develops innovation in exploration, in extraction and in mitigating emissions. In the future, however, a move to carbon-neutral fuels and energy sources is unavoidable, and is the focus of much research, including studies in the field of carbon sequestration. 

The Year of Carbon is an opportunity to showcase both academic and applied research focussing on energy, geochemical cycling, climate and materials, among many others. Events throughout the year will involve academe, industry, economists and government bodies, as well as partner geoscience societies and organisations. We welcome proposals for meetings and events aimed at a range of audiences to bring into focus the myriad of ways carbon underpins life on Earth.


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