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Environmental challenges must be addressed simultaneously

Global environmental problems can be addressed by means of policy instruments such as carbon dioxide taxes, building and technology standards and support for new technology, but the issues are complex and several environmental challenges must be addressed simultaneously in order to achieve optimal effect. This is evident from the article Policy design for the Anthropocene published in the journal Nature Sustainability.
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The major environmental problems are global, long-term and uncertain. They are also interconnected with each other and must therefore be analyzed together in order to find solutions that provide synergies and in order to avoid “solutions” that solve one problem but worsen others.

“It is not sustainable to solve environmental problems such as climate change by for example implementing a poorly conceived forest policy, if this at the same time results in increased biodiversity loss or reduced water regulation”, says CECs Henrik Smith who are one of the authors contributing to the recent published article.

The Earth is in the "Anthropocene" – an era when many crucial variables for the planet are controlled by man. Our activities and consumption patterns may lead to abrupt and even irreversible degradation of the environment, in terms of e.g. climate, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss.

Finding effective solutions is important, but the income distributional effects of policy measures and their perceived fairness are also vital determinants of the political feasibility, aspects that must be considered very carefully when policy instruments are selected and designed.

“The aim of our research is to contribute to a better policy throughout the world to deal with the major environmental problems. A first step could be a global agreement that all emissions of greenhouse gases must imply a significant cost for the persons or companies causing the emissions,” says Thomas Sterner from the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, lead author of the article.

The article Policy design for the Anthropocene is published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

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