What climate control?

The cover of issue 52 may come as a surprise to our regular readers. RTD info has undergone a change and has now become research*eu (see p.4), changing its look and reinforcing its objective - to be a window to the European Research Area and an editorial platform for the Science/Society debate that the European Union wants to promote.

The special section on global warming in this ‘new look’ issue is part of this approach. 2007 is, indeed, a pivotal year: evidence of man’s influence on global changes affecting the terrestrial ecosystem have now been confirmed by science, making climate control a priority for society and a key issue for the 21st century.

Three European personalities – the Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen, the British economist Nicholas Stern and the Swiss philosopher Dominique Bourg – put forward their views on this matter, which concerns all of us: What can we do before it is too late? Even though decisions can and must be taken today – the signifiance of the 27 European countries that have committed themselves to drastically reducing their emissions by 2020 is the first step towards tackling this enormous challenge – there is no guarantee that the actions will be sufficient.

The interviews reveal the need to go to the global level to have an appropriate model of governance. ‘Criminalising’ certain polluter behaviour, as Dominique Bourg suggests, or other radical measures, require that decisions be taken in a concerted way by every country in the world and need to be implemented – and, of course, responsibilities should be distributed in an appropriate way. But we are still a long way away from this point, given the difficulties that it had to be overcome in order to put in place the Kyoto protocol, which is already out of date.

Michel Claessens
Michel Claessens Editor in chief