Main research areas, study regions, labs and scientific outputs

Research areas

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, compared to preindustrial levels. The “remaining carbon budget” from 2020 onward has been estimated at 440 gigatons of CO2 (GtCO2) (Matthews et al. 2021). However, the CO2 potential emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves represent a staggering 2,900 GtCO2, 6.5 times the carbon budget. In practice, and based on the opportunity costs of different fossil fuel reserves, about 89%, 59%, and 58% of existing coal, gas, and oil reserves, respectively, would need to remain under the soil to limit global warming to 1.5°C (Welsby et al. 2021).

Oil and gas reserves overlap with 11% of the world’s rainforests and fossil fuel operations have profound and enduring impacts on biodiversity and can have severe impacts on health and human rights. However, there is little factual information to help determine and minimize the impacts that these activities may have on the environment, on the wildlife and on the health of people living in the vicinities of oil extraction sites.

The Anthropocene is the geological period that spans the time period when humans started having significant impacts on the global environment. As species we became a driver of global change. Its onset, the type of impacts and their spatial extent, however, are still unclear and under intense debate. Our aim is to contribute to the debate combining geochemical and archeological approaches to investigate the explotaition of natural resources by early human societies.

The past helps us to understand the present and provide insights into the response of the Earth Systems to the increase in greenhouse gases. We study the natural dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans and continental ecosystems, and the global biogeochemical and hydrological cycles, during episodes of global warmth and extreme climates.

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