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There is general agreement that the draft Horizon 2020 outlines The climate system is complex and many of its processes and in- some extraordinarily important research goals, which should be teractions not yet fully understood. A better understanding of these vigorously pursued. However, the unsustainable use of natural re- is necessary to provide more reliable predictions of future climate sources permeates all parts of our current society, thus causing the evolution and for assessing its impact on ecosystems and society. nature of the climate and resource challenges to be allembracing, However, while furthering our knowledge on basic processes within and almost all research to be potentially relevant. For this reason, it the Earth system and human interactions with these is essential, is of utmost importance to see each research contribution in relation some of the main challenges related to climate action and natural to its potential societal contribution. resource use are not posed within the natural sciences. We already understand many of the consequences of anthropogenic climate Anthropogenic climate change is a response to overuse of Earth forcing, and there is no shortage of knowledge on links between, system resources in the sense that it is related to the capacity of the e.g. greenhouse gas emissions and environmental changes. Never- atmosphere to retain greenhouse gas waste without unsettling the theless, there is a lack of public acceptance of the insights already radiation balance and, thus, the climate system. Resource econo- acquired, and a lack of willingness to change individual and com- mising actions, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, munal behaviour based on these insights. represent a crosscutting challenge that cannot be considered on its own, but needs to be evaluated as part of the overall challenge A key challenge for climate science is, thus, an improvement of of developing a sustainable path for society. The resource chal- the communication of the risks involved and how to cope with lenge must, therefore, be embedded in the remaining challenges. them. These aspects should be emphasised more heavily in future Furthermore, consistent actions require a worldwide perspective. research. Presently, policymakers and journalists often use scientifi c Climate change is, for example, a global phenomenon and must be uncertainties as an excuse for inaction. Also common current treated as such, but causes and impacts often involve local aspects, scientifi c practices, such as discounting future benefi ts and dam- and mitigation measures must be embedded in individual coun- ages by economists, lead to ignoring actual risks. One must hope tries’ prospects. Internationally, however, it must be ensured that a that the focus would be redirected to considering risk in a societal solution in one area does not create problems elsewhere. Only by context and the relationship between risk and the application of the taking an integrated systems approach can consistent and effi cient precautionary principle. responses to the resource challenge be developed. Ideally, there- fore, the fi nal version of the Horizon 2020 document would see At present, human impact on the Earth system is to a large extent all six societal challenges described in an integrated framework of rooted in behaviour rather than in meeting basic needs. It remains to sustainable development instead of being considered in isolation be understood what transformation in our values has led behaviour from one another. to develop to what it is, and what values need to be strengthened so it can be directed towards a more sustainable path. Research into Societal transformation to sustainability cannot be achieved without these topics should be strengthened. In order to optimise the societal taking human interactions with the Earth system as a whole into response to climate change and resource scarcity, climate and other consideration. It could reasonably be argued that land use (which resource economising actions should be implemented, monitored and also impacts carbon sinks as well as climate, water and food avail- evaluated in constant dialogue with all stake-holders. An important ability, which generate biodiversity loss and are also impacted by challenge, therefore, lies within the framework of solution-oriented climate change) is the most immediate resource challenge facing research, drawing from all academic disciplines and related to de- society. However, the climate change challenge immediately affects veloping the appropriate societal responses needed to implement the many sectors and regions. The focus, therefore, in the following is the knowledge already gained into the collective values and behaviour climate challenge. However, actions directed towards amelioration of our society, with the purpose of changing these towards a model of the climate change challenge are indicative of the types of actions where human societies respect and live within the resource bounda- required for achieving sustainable resource use more generally. ries imposed by the Earth system. Through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties process, a large majority of the world’s leaders have arrived at a consensus that human-induced global warming should be contained to within 2oC compared to global average temperatures prior to the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Given that this is the limit to the degree of anthropogen- 64


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