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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


November-December 2009

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Editorial - Paths of Transition

Transition: 1(a): passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another: change (b): a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another (Merriam-Webster)

As we write, the leaders of the world have convened at the United Nations in New York City to reenergize the negotiations for the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December. In recent days, India and China have announced national programs to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while Japan's new prime minister has pledged to reduce his nation's emissions 25 percent by 2020. It remains unclear at this time, however, how the United States will respond, both nationally and internationally, or whether negotiators can finally break the deadlock and forge a new global agreement that launches the world onto the path of transition.

Meanwhile, we here at Environment have embarked on our own path of transition. A few months ago, our publisher, Heldref, sold the magazine, along with others, to the international publishing house Taylor & Francis. We are deeply grateful to Heldref for many years of stewardship, helping to maintain Environment as a critical voice bridging science and society in the effort to promote global sustainability. We are also deeply saddened to lose our dear friends and colleagues, including our managing editor Sarah Beam, assistant editors David Heath and Laura Searfoss, and design director Linda Lord. They, more than anyone else, deserve a standing ovation for their devotion to the magazine and the consistently high quality we have come to take for granted. Thank you so much for all your hard work—we will miss you greatly.

But with transition come new opportunities and new friendships. We are excited to work with a publisher of the size and stature of Taylor & Francis, long known for excellence in academic publishing. Our new owners assure us that they remain committed to Environment and its unique voice and mission. We are currently pursuing several new opportunities with Taylor & Francis to further strengthen and amplify our voice, drawing on their tremendous experience and larger resources. We remain firmly committed to advancing public discourse and engagement with the critical sustainability issues of our time. While we are sad to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues at Heldref, we anticipate great things for Environment and the environment in the coming years.

The next few months mark a critical moment in the evolution of global civilization—in which the world may finally commit to a clean energy, low-carbon, and more sustainable future through a series of fundamental transitions—in our energy systems, our economies, our agricultural and forestry practices, among others. While Copenhagen is a critical milestone, the transition itself neither succeeds nor fails with the agreements reached in Denmark. This transition began decades ago, has accelerated greatly in recent years, and will continue well after the heads of government and negotiators have all gone home. This transition is occurring every day all around the world: in scientific laboratories, inventors' garages, farmers' fields, homes and neighborhoods, cities and states, corporate boardrooms, consumer markets, the streets of public protest, and halls of international diplomacy. We look forward to working with our new publisher, managing editor, contributing editors, authors, and readers to help continue to catalyze this historic transition in the pages of Environment.

—Anthony  A.  Leiserowitz, Susan  L.  Cutter, Ruth  S.  DeFries, Alan  H.  McGowan, and Timothy  O'Riordan

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