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World Philosophy and Climate Change: A Sino-German Way to Civil Evolution


MARTIN SCHÖNFELD, Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida. Specialties: climate philosophy, sustainability, civil evolution. E-mail:


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.