World in Transition: Ways Towards Global Environmental Solutions
At the first Conference of the Parties of the Climate Convention in Berlin in spring 1995 it became evident once again: To counteract anthropogenic climate changes individuals as well as societies have to change their way of thinking and behavior.
This accounts for other areas of global environmental change as well. Global trends like soil degradation, loss of biological diversity, water scarcity and population growth show little or no sign of improvement. In fact, in most areas a rapid deterioration has taken place.
In its latest report the German Advisory Council on Global Change describes "Ways Towards Global Environmental Solutions". In many areas of global change solutions are not at sight. However, dedicated and immediate action could, in principle, avert irreversible or disastrous damage to the global environment. Whether these steps will actually be taken will have to be seen, since substantial efforts and significant reorientations at the local, national and global level are necessary.
Two aspects have to be considered: on the one hand, at the societal level, the prerequisites for solving global environmental problems have to be improved. These measures present a challenge to nations and societies as a whole, where nongovernmental organizations could also play an important role. On the other hand, at the governmental level, international agreements must be formulated or intensified and enforced by suitable measures.