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Journal / article
Wang-Erlandsson, L., Tobian, A., van der Ent, R., Fetzer, I., te Wierik, S., Porkka, M., Staal, A., Jaramillo, F., Dahlmann, H., Singh, C., Greve, P., Gerten, D., Keys, P., Gleeson, T., Cornell, S., Steffen, W., Bai, X., Rockström, J. 2022. A planetary boundary for green water. Nature Reviews Earth and Environment. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43017-022-00287-8
Green water — terrestrial precipitation, evaporation and soil moisture — is fundamental to Earth system dynamics and is now extensively perturbed by human pressures at continental to planetary scales. However, green water lacks explicit consideration in the existing planetary boundaries framework that demarcates a global safe operating space for humanity. In this Perspective, we propose a green water planetary boundary and es...
Chrysafi, A., Virkki, V., Jalava, M. et al. 2022. Quantifying Earth system interactions for sustainable food production via expert elicitation. Nature Sustainability. https://doi-org.ezproxy.its.uu.se/10.1038/s41893-022-00940-6
Several safe boundaries of critical Earth system processes have already been crossed due to human perturbations; not accounting for their interactions may further narrow the safe operating space for humanity. Using expert knowledge elicitation, we explored interactions among seven variables representing Earth system processes relevant to food production, identifying many interactions little explored in Earth system literature....
Policy brief or report
A safe operating space for New Zealand/Aotearoa: Translating the planetary boundaries framework. 2020. Report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change. Commissioned by New Zealand Ministry for the Environment.
The purpose of the report is to translate the planetary boundaries framework for New Zealand to inform government approaches to environmental stewardship, well-being and economic development. • The planetary boundaries framework provides an international and long-term context for national policy setting. It can be used as a benchmark for measuring progress towards environmental goals. • The framework provides a systems view ...
Journal / article
Gerten, D., Heck, V., Jägermyr, J., Bodirsky, B., L., Fetzer, I., et.al. 2020. Feeding ten billion people is possible within four terrestrial planetary boundaries. Nat Sustain (2020) doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0465-1
Global agriculture puts heavy pressure on planetary boundaries, posing the challenge to achieve future food security without compromising Earth system resilience. On the basis of process-detailed, spatially explicit representation of four interlinked planetary boundaries (biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, nitrogen flows) and agricultural systems in an internally consistent model framework, we here show t...
Zipper, S.C., Jaramillo, F., Erlandsson, L-W., Cornell, S.E., Gleeson, T., Poorka. M. 2020. Integrating the water planetary boundary with water management from local to global scales. Earth's Future, DOI: 10.1029/2019EF001377
The planetary boundaries framework defines the “safe operating space for humanity” represented by nine global processes that can destabilize the Earth System if perturbed. The water planetary boundary attempts to provide a global limit to anthropogenic water cycle modifications, but it has been challenging to translate and apply it to the regional and local scales at which water problems and management typically occur. We dev...
Journal / article
Bjørn, A., Sim, S., King, H., Keys, P., Erlandsson, L-W., Cornell, S.E. et.al. 2019. Challenges and opportunities towards improved application of the planetary boundary for land-system change in life cycle assessment of products. Science of The Total Environment Volume 696, 15 December 2019, 133964
Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used to translate the planetary boundaries (PBs) concept to the scale of decisions related to products. Existing PB-LCA methods convert quantified resource use and emissions to changes in the values of PB control variables. However, the control variable for the Land-system change PB, “area of forested land remaining”, is not suitable for use in LCA, since it is expressed at the beginning of a...
Downing, A., Bhowmik, A., Collste, D. Cornell, S.E., Donges, J., et.al. 2019. Matching scope, purpose and uses of planetary boundaries science. Environ. Res. Lett. 14 073005. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab22c9
Background : The Planetary Boundaries concept (PBc) has emerged as a key global sustainability concept in international sustainable development arenas. Initially presented as an agenda for global sustainability research, it now shows potential for sustainability governance. We use the fact that it is widely cited in scientific literature (>3500 citations) and an extensively studied concept to analyse how it has been used and...
Journal / article
Steffen, W., Rockström, J., Richardson, K., Lenton, T.M. et.al. 2018. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. PNAS August 14, 2018 115 (33) 8252-8259. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810141115
We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years a...
Heitzig, J., Barfuss, W., Donges, J.F. 2018. A Thought Experiment on Sustainable Management of the Earth System. Sustainability, 10, 1947. DOI: 10.3390/su10061947
We introduce and analyze a simple formal thought experiment designed to reflect a qualitative decision dilemma humanity might currently face in view of anthropogenic climate change. In this exercise, each generation can choose between two options, either setting humanity on a pathway to certain high wellbeing after one generation of suffering, or leaving the next generation in the same state as the current one with the same op...
Randers, Jorgen, Johan Rockström, Per E. Stoknes, Ulrich Goluke, David Collste, and Sarah Cornell. 2018. “Achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Within 9 Planetary Boundaries.” EarthArXiv. October 16. doi:10.31223/osf.io/xwevb
We have built a simulation model (Earth3) to help answer two research questions: How many of the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be achieved by 2030? And: What will be the resulting pressure on 9 planetary boundaries (PBs)? Our tentative answer is that he world will not reach all SDGs by 2030, nor by 2050, and that the global safety margin (the buffer between the human impact and planetary boundaries) will cont...
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