A seven-point plan may help policy-makers devise new, coherent and collaborative strategies to fight the greatest global environmental threats, according to a report. A team of international researchers, including experts from the University of Exeter in the UK, examined how politicians and legislators can develop a new way to tackle the growing threat of climate change.
The report, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, comes in response to advice from leading scientists, suggesting that the human impacts on the environment are already tipping the world into a new geologically significant era. Called the Anthropocene, this new era is defined by the effect human-kind has already caused on Earth, from mass extinctions of plant and animal species to polluted oceans and altered atmosphere.
In the report, the scientists argue that while policies are available, there also needs to be a new way to tackle the geographical, boundary, spatial, ecological and socio-political complexities of the issue. Recent research into the Anthropocene has suggested that there are multiple threats to the resilience of the Earth systems. While the report acknowledges that there are no ‘simple solutions’, it does outline seven guiding principles to help tackle the growing environmental threat brought by man-made climate change. These include selecting existing, robust policies to help formulate policy decisions, the need for decisions to be made consistently across regional, national and global boundaries, and a more conclusive look at the true extent that the environment is being impacted.
“The paper shows that the integrated nature of the planetary boundary problems requires an integrated policy response,” said Professor Ian Bateman from the University of Exeter. The team undertook the first unified assessment of the policy options for tackling the challenges of the Anthropocene. These include the integrated global problems of climate change; the pollution of air, land, freshwater and sea; and the rapid loss of genetic diversity around the world.
“Traditional policies tend to be highly piecemeal, highly inefficient, prone to failure and can even be counterproductive. “Such policies take vital resources from key areas while providing short term sticking-plaster efforts for high visibility, often politically motivated causes,” Bateman said.