Development and environment problems have reached such alarming proportions that the very survival of humanity is now subject to critical and unprecedented threats. In its latest report, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) criticizes Germany’s global change research community for its lack of international orientation, its bias towards individual disciplines and for its weaknesses in translating scientific results into a form readily accessible to policymakers. The Council identifies alternatives for restructuring the research landscape, focusing primarily on a new “Syndrome Approach” for global change research. By applying this tool, scientists can systematically describe and analyze the “diseases” afflicting the Earth System, and thus elaborate response options.
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