The Global Carbon Project was formed to work with the international science community to establish a common and mutually agreed knowledge base to support policy debate and action to slow down and ultimately stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It was established in 2001 in recognition of the scientific challenge and critical importance of the carbon cycle for Earth's sustainability. The GCP continues to work with the international community to lead and promote a coordinated research effort.
The scientific goal of the Global Carbon Project is to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle, including both its biophysical and human dimensions together with the interactions and feedbacks between them. These are:
- Patterns and Variability: What are the current geographical and temporal distributions of the major pools and fluxes in the global carbon cycle?
- Processes and Interactions: What are the control and feedback mechanisms - both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic - that determine the dynamics of the carbon cycle?
- Carbon Management: What are the dynamics of the carbon-climate-human system into the future, and what points of intervention and windows of opportunity exist for human societies to manage this system?
The Global Carbon Project was established by a shared partnership between the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Diversitas. This partnership constituted the Earth Systems Science Partnership (ESSP) which subsequently evolved into Future Earth.