Global change refers to planetary-scale changes in the Earth system.
More completely, the term “global change" encompasses: planetary scale changes to atmospheric circulation, ocean circulation, climate, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle and other cycles, sea-ice changes, sea-level changes, food webs, biological diversity, pollution, health, fish stocks, and more.
Civilization is now a large driver of global change so the term includes population, the economy, resource use, energy, development, transport, communication, land use and land cover, urbanization, globalization.
Some Earth system changes, natural or driven by humans, can have significant consequences without involving changes in climate. Global change should not be confused with climate change; it is significantly more. indeed, climate change is part of this much larger challenge (IGBP, 2020).