Climate & sustainability – University of Copenhagen

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Research > Strengths > Interdisciplinary strengths > Climate & sustainability

Challenges facing society

Demand for the Earth’s resources rises as the population grows. In fact, the need to safeguard long-term access to energy, food and water is not just increasing, it is already an urgent problem. Accelerated patterns of consumption, linked to threats caused by climate change, scarcity of resources and irreversible damage to ecosystems, can lead to social inequality and potentially to international conflicts over security policy.

This is not just a technological challenge. The development of sustainable solutions also depends on legislation, social innovation, cultural creativity and economic forces, and involves ordinary people, business and industry and decision-makers. Important research at the University of Copenhagen into sustainable holistic solutions to the problems associated with climate change integrates knowledge of atmospheric systems, the climate and ecosystems, Arctic culture and global security.

Major research results

Knowledge of the end of the Ice Age in Greenland
Global accountability and defining the limits to human activities
The first study to quantify in geographical terms the global threats to a large species-rich group of animals
Use of satellite data to identify changes in vegetation
From local to global sustainability in urban development and land use
Sustainable landscapes
Formulation of the theory of 'securitisation'

Stakeholders in research

Research into the climate and into sustainability is closely linked and interdisciplinary, involving geophysics, marine biology, plant biology, economics, law and anthropology. Research into sustainability is co-ordinated by the Sustainability Science Center. The interdisciplinary research group The human factor in climate-change processes represents a contribution by the humanities into research into climate change.