Climate Change News

Report Makes a Case for Geology's Role in Policy Decisions

Scientific societies in the United Kingdom and Europe strive to raise awareness among decision makers about geology's relevance to key societal challenges.


A new report on geology and society aims to convince European parliament members and other policy makers that geology can provide insights on a broad range of issues. Geology “underpins the provision of resources to Europe’s population and industry, delivers a wide range of essential services, and helps us understand how we can live more sustainably on our planet,” states the document, Geology for Society, issued on 2 June by the Geological Society of London and the European Federation of Geologists.

The future security of Europe’s energy supply “relies heavily on geological skills in a wide range of contexts, from resource extraction to renewable energy and use of the subsurface to store carbon dioxide and radioactive waste,” according to the report. Geological understanding is essential also to managing Europe’s water resources and to the region’s economic health, the report adds.

Likewise, Europe needs a “skilled geoscience workforce and a strong research base” not only to compete economically but also to help provide for a burgeoning global population seeking higher living standards, the report notes.

Broad Relevance of Earth Sciences

Geosciences play a central role in a number of current policy arenas, including climate change, natural hazards, and hydraulic fracturing, Carlos Zorrinho, a member of the European Parliament from Portugal, told attendees at a June event at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, to launch the report.

Nic Bilham, director of policy and communications at the Geological Society, told Eos that the report builds on an earlier United Kingdom version of the document and on other work by the Geological Society “to raise awareness of the relevance of geology to a lot of the big challenges facing society now and in the future.” The newly released report, which aims to be a primer for policy makers to turn to as a resource, can be used broadly across Europe, he said. It has already has been translated into 14 languages.

—Randy Showstack, Staff Writer

Citation: Showstack, R. (2015), Report makes a case for geology’s role in policy decisions, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO032041. Published on 25 June 2015.

Text © 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0
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