In 2008 Mark Lynas attended a meeting of leading scientists in Sweden when it suddenly dawned on him that what was being discussed represented a revolutionary new approach to maintaining the life of, and life on, our planet. For the first time, these scientists were beginning to understand not only that there are a number of processes, or systems, that are crucial to the stability and sustainability of human life on Earth, and not only that there is a 'boundary' value for each system, a level below which the Earth can function safely, above which it will spiral into catastrophe, but also, critically, that all these systems are intimately linked to each other and can only be properly understood and managed together, not individually. Climate change is just one of these systems; the others include the nitrogen cycle, land use, ocean acidity and so on.
These scientists -- the boundaries team, as Mark calls them are suggesting that we need to move from a world of Mutually Assured Destruction of competing national interests to Mutually Assured Survival of co-operation and shared interest. THE GOD SPECIES is an incredibly important and timely next step in the debate on global warming.