Drivers (or driving forces) are various factors that cause changes or lead the behavior of a system. They can be natural or human induced. A functional differentiation between direct and indirect drivers has proved to be useful. Direct drivers have an explicit influence on the system while indirect drivers are acting by changing the conditions of one (or more) direct drivers of the system. The identification and distinction of direct and indirect drivers is not always obvious. Typical direct drivers are the human demand for goods and services, good health and social relations, security, education, and freedom. Indirect drivers include components such as the demo-graphical development, economic and social conditions, the state of the environment, or political situations. Hence, suitable driver indicators have to describe phenomena that are strongly connected to socioeconomic conditions and forces. In general, they are not very flexible or reactive to changes in the rest of the system. But as drivers describe current conditions and trends (e.g., the energy demand of a society), they serve as a basis to assess the kind and degree of pressures on the system (e.g., the amount of CO2 emissions related to energy conversion).
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