Photo of Tim Lenton, a white man with short fair hair, he is smiling

About this event

Tipping points exist in social, ecological and climate systems and those systems are increasingly causally intertwined in the Anthropocene. Climate change and biosphere degradation have advanced to the point where we are already triggering damaging environmental tipping points, and to avoid worse ones ahead will require finding and triggering positive tipping points towards sustainability in coupled social, ecological and technological systems.

In this seminar, Professor Tim Lenton, Director of the Global Systems Institute and Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter, will outline how tipping points can occur in continuous dynamical systems and in networks, the causal interactions that can occur between tipping events across different types and scales of system – including the conditions required to trigger tipping cascades, the potential for early warning signals of tipping points, and how they could inform deliberate tipping of positive change.

In particular, the same methods that can provide early warning of damaging environmental tipping points can be used to detect when a socio-technical or socio-ecological system is most sensitive to being deliberately tipped in a desirable direction. He will provide some example targets for such deliberate tipping of positive change.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the speaker

Professor Tim Lenton is the Director of the Global Systems Institute and Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter. Tim’s research focuses on understanding the behaviour of the Earth as a whole system, the complex web of biological, geochemical and physical processes that shape the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans, as well as the climate of the Earth. His award-winning work identifying Tipping Points in the climate system has led him to examine Positive Tipping Points within our social systems which could help accelerate progress towards a sustainable future. He is a member of the Earth Commission and is a Clarivate Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher. In 2021 Tim has twice been cited in lists of the world’s most influential climate scientists.

Joining the event

This will be a hybrid event, with the opportunity for Imperial staff and students to attend at one of two campus locations (South Kensington and Silwood Park).

In Person

• South Kensington Campus – Lecture Theatre G16 in the Sir Alexander Flemming building

• Silwood Park Campus – Fisher and Haldene Seminar Rooms


External guests will be invited to join the seminar remotely on zoom. Details to follow.

COVID19 control measures for in-person attendees (Imperial staff and students only)

• If you feel unwell, please do not attend the event, and let us know so we can re-allocate your ticket.

• Please follow College guidance for face coverings when on campus and moving around buildings: COVID-19 – updates and guidance

• College staff and students should have a weekly lateral flow or PCR test before the event via the College: PCR testing scheme or LFD Collect

• College staff and students attending confirm their vaccination status via the College system: Self-isolation exemption for close contacts via vaccination declaration

The Changing Planet seminar series is run by students and staff on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Program. It offers the chance to hear the latest in understanding, adapting to and mitigating environmental problems, complementing the diversity of environmental research at Imperial College London and beyond.Please be aware that our seminars are recorded. If you do not wish to appear on the recording please alert a member of staff. For any further enquiries regarding the Changing Planet seminar series, please contact Anne Houston or Hana Amer.Sign up to receive the Grantham Institute’s Weekly Update email, featuring the latest news and events about climate change and the environment at Imperial.When registering for a ticket here, your data will be stored by Eventbrite. See Eventbrite’s privacy policy.If you would rather not register with Eventbrite, please contact Anne Houston or Hana Amer.
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