The world’s institutions are not fit to handle the compounding crises facing the world’s community, says an article recently published in Science called “Looming Global Scale Failures and Missing Institutions.” The article holds up the example of the Montreal Protocol (which united global efforts to curb depletion of the ozone layer) and calls for a new order of international institutions capable of addressing global climate change.

We strongly agree, and applaud its authors for making such a strong case that climate change research, policy, law, and even science, should be multidisciplinary.

We cofounded Three Degrees as young law students studying human rights and international law, because we recognized the critical need to craft and develop a new set of international climate institutions that could cut across global boundaries and path dependencies to address the survival needs of the world’s poorest countries, and even our own here in the US. These survival needs intertwine and cut across disciplines, legal tracks, treaty authorities, and mind sets, while the current institutions (UNFCCC, for example) operate under a single frame of mind. The IPCC, however, will be addressing the ethical impacts of climate change in its Fifth Assessment Report. The IPCC’s efforts signal an important step forward, modeling to political bodies pursuing policy agendas that governance structures must embrace a social and ecological basis.

“There are few institutional structures to achieve cooperation globally on the sort of scales now essential to avoid very serious consequences, warns lead author Professor Brian Walker,” said the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) in its synthesis of the Science article. SRC included the following video of Mr. Walker in its post.