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Abstract

The environmental crisis is the collision of civilization with biospherical limits. Its sign is climate change, which is brought about by a cultural maladaptation, and which threatens to lead to scarcity, displacement, and violence. The solution will have to be a global transformation—a civil evolution—to a postcarbon and sustainable world order. China and Germany, I argue, are well positioned to achieve this new adaptation to living within limits, whereas the United States may have difficulties to respond adequately to the new realities. Here I explore cultural and historical reasons for this Sino-German convergence.