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The planetary boundary framework presents a ‘planetary dashboard’ of humanity’s globally aggregated performance on a set of environmental issues that endanger the Earth system’s capacity to support humanity. While this framework has been highly influential, a critical shortcoming for its application in sustainability governance is that it currently fails to represent how impacts related to one of the planetary boundaries affect the status of other planetary boundaries. Here, we surveyed and provisionally quantified interactions between the Earth system processes represented by the planetary boundaries and investigated their consequences for sustainability governance. We identified a dense network of interactions between the planetary boundaries. The resulting cascades and feedbacks predominantly amplify human impacts on the Earth system and thereby shrink the safe operating space for future human impacts on the Earth system. Our results show that an integrated understanding of Earth system dynamics is critical to navigating towards a sustainable future.
Research news | 2020-04-03
Study shows one third of cases erupt within seven days. Countries with political exclusion, low human development and large populations most vulnerable
Research news | 2020-04-02
Drier dry seasons combined with more degraded forests means regions can easily transform to pasture land, researchers warn
Research news | 2020-04-01
What we can learn from a Samí crafts artist and a fisher from Stockholm about connections between local ecological knowledge, work, technology and sustainability
Research news | 2020-03-31
Marine resources and the benefits from the ocean are not equitably distributed. Ocean economics is in need of a shift, report says
General news | 2020-03-30
We have never before produced so many peer-reviewed papers – and in high-impact journals – as in 2019
Research news | 2020-03-26
Three major innovations helped shape the global food system in the past. How can we learn from them to develop a more sustainable system for the future?