The Department programs and coordinates the scientific and technological research carried out in the network of CNR Institutes, with the aim of broadening the knowledge of planet Earth, considered as a complex system whose components, closely connected to each other, are at risk of possible irreversible state changes due to the growing anthropic impacts on climate and cryosphere, biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, land use and hydrological cycle. It is therefore necessary not only to know more and more about the functioning of the earth system, in all its ways of operating even in the deep geological past, but also to understand what are the impacts of mankind and of an economy based on the maximisation of growth and exploitation of resources
The research activities carried out by the Institutes of the Department are therefore equally in the Earth and Environmental Sciences, including the study of geology, atmosphere, ice, ocean and terrestrial aquatic systems. The observation of the Earth system, the analysis of data (which are now environmental big data) and their inclusion in mathematical models contribute to the understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes that regulate our planet and make it possible to predict the evolution of the Earth system in its various components and define the adaptations that will be necessary to cope with the new scenarios
The aim of the Department is to increase knowledge, help define solutions to global environmental challenges and provide policy makers with the information they need to understand and solve environmental, natural and, above all, anthropogenic problems. This will contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).