A Truly Complex and Diabolical Policy Problem

Will Steffen

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

A Truly Complex and Diabolical Policy Problem

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Climate change is like no other environmental problem that humanity has ever faced. Perhaps no other problem — environmental or otherwise — facing society requires such a strong interdisciplinary knowledge base to tackle; research to support effective policymaking and other actions must cut across the full range of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This article describes the nature of climate change and specific challenges for its governance. It also explains that climate change is a complex problem by its very nature, and will confound any attempts by policy makers or environmental managers to simplify it. The characteristics of the climate system and the nature of the human influence on climate lead to profound challenges for governance. It highlights some of the reviews that analyze most important of those challenges. Furthermore, it describes new approaches to meet the climate change challenge.

Keywords: climate system; scientific community; policy problem; natural science; energy system

Article.  7260 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Comparative Politics

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