Operationalizing the concept of a safe operating space at the EU level – first steps and explorations
This study has made an initial disaggregation, allocation and benchmarking analysis to the EU-28 level, for the planetary boundaries for climate change, biosphere integrity, land systems change, freshwater use, biogeochemical flows (nitrogen and phosphorus), and novel entities (chemical pollution).
The following overarching insights relate to all PBs:
Based on equal-per capita allocation of the global safe operating space, the EU does not appear to be “living within the limits of our planet” for most of the boundaries analysed.
From a consumption-based (footprint) perspective, Europe’s per-capita contribution to the different PBs is significantly higher than the global average.
Regarding past trends, decreases in Europe’s territorial pressures are mostly outweighed by increasing environmental pressures in other world regions, thereby externalising the EU’s environmental footprint. As a result, Europe’s total consumption-based environmental performance does not show an improvement trend for most PBs.
The social and ecological impacts of pressures on PBs can be more severe in the locations to which the pressures are externalized, compared to the same pressure exerted within Europe.
Data and information limitations present challenges, but the initial PB downscaling and benchmarking has been possible using available data, and is an informative exercise for both policy implementation and future research
Research news | 2024-02-20
Having good neighbours and few top predators make predatory fish populations more resilient
A regime shift is gradually spreading through the archipelagos of the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, where shallow bays, previously dominated by pike and perch have one by one become dominated by one of their prey species, the three-spined stickleback.
Research news | 2024-02-08
Eating new plant-based foods can be good for the environment, your health and your economy
Replacing animal-source foods with plant-based alternatives or whole foods decreases environmental impact, meets nutrition recommendations, and can be cost-competitive with the current average Swedish diet
Research news | 2024-01-29
Bird AI and sailing drones – green game changers for marine ecosystems
Groups of guillemots on an island in the Baltic Sea have unknowingly inspired how marine research can be done. Two AI-powered research projects can change how to monitor marine ecosystems – and potentially manage them in real-time
Research news | 2024-01-24
Centralised social networks can hinder innovation by making decision-making too similar
Social systems where influence is centred around one or two individuals can lead to pack mentality and groupthink in farming communities
Research news | 2024-01-23
Planetary Commons: Fostering global cooperation to safeguard critical Earth system functions
We should look at tipping elements of the Earth system as global commons, argue researchers in a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Research news | 2024-01-22
Soy: A world journey from success to uncertainty
From a bean valued for its multitude of functions in ancient China to one of the most traded agricultural commodities of the modern world: the soybean has gone through dramatic changes throughout the millennia.