Achieving the 17 sustainable development goals within 9 planetary boundaries

Author(s): J. Randers, J. Rockström, P.-E. Stoknes, U. Goluke, D. Collste, S.E. Cornell, and J.F. Donges
In: EarthArXiv. October 16. doi:10.31223/
Year: 2018
Type: Journal / article
Full reference: 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/


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 continue to decline. Additional economic growth and extra focus on SDG achievement does not change this conclusion: transformative change seems necessary. On the methodological level our main result is “proof of concept”: we show that it is possible to combine a socio-economic model of human activity with an ecological model of the resulting environmental effects, and use this “global system model” to forecast future achievement of SDGs and the resulting pressure on PBs. But model improvement is needed to reduce the uncertainty in our answers.

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