PublicationJournal Article Editorial: Complexity and interdisciplinary approaches to environmental research

March 9, 2013
Publication Type:
Journal Article

The launch of vol­ume 8 of Envi­ron­men­tal Research Let­ters (ERL) comes at a crit­i­cal time in terms of inno­va­tions and excit­ing areas of sci­ence, but par­tic­u­larly
in the areas link­ing envi­ron­men­tal research and action.

The most recent cli­mate change Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties meet­ing (COP), in Doha in Decem­ber 2012, has now come and gone. As has been dis­sected in the press, very lit­tle was accom­plished. Some will see this as a fail­ure, as I do, and oth­ers will rea­son­ably enough note that this meet­ing, the 18th such COP was1 never intended to be a mile­stone moment. The cur­rent plan, in fact, is for a ‘post-​​Kyoto’ inter­na­tional cli­mate agree­ment to be adopted only at the COP 20 sum­mit in Decem­ber 2015.

As we lead up to COP20, and poten­tially other regional or national approaches to cli­mate pro­tec­tion, inno­va­tions in sci­ence, inno­va­tions in pol­icy tools, and polit­i­cal com­mit­ment must come together. The sci­ence of cli­mate change only con­tin­ues to get clearer and clearer, and bleaker [1]. Later this year the IPCC will
release its Fifth Assess­ment Report, AR5. The draft ver­sions are out for review now.

ERL has pub­lished a num­ber of papers on cli­mate change sci­ence, mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion, but one area where the world needs a par­tic­u­lar focus is on the nexus of sci­ence and action.

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