A prototype Earth system impact metric that accounts for cross-scale interactions
Human activities are disrupting the Earth system's biophysical processes, which underlie human wellbeing. The planetary boundary framework sets 'safe' global limits on these pressures, but a sub-global assessment of these pressures, their interactions and subsequent systemic effects is needed to enable corporate and public entities to assess the systemic environmental impacts of their decisions. Here, we developed a prototype Earth system impact metric that is savvy to Earth system interactions.
First, we quantified sub-global interactions between climate change, surface water runoff, and vegetation cover using the dynamic vegetation model LPJmL. Second, we used a feedback model to study how these interactions amplify environmental impacts. We found, for example, that interactions more than double the Earth system impacts of deforestation in some tropical forests. Finally, we combined these amplification factors with an assessment of the current state of the Earth system to create a prototype Earth system impact metric. We envision that future versions of our prototype metric will allow corporate and public actors to better assess the systemic environmental impacts of their decisions.
Our ambition is that these results catalyse further scientific work to extend and improve this metric, as well as action by investors, companies, cities, and governments to deliver sustainable outcomes across the private and public sectors.
Research news | 2023-06-02
More freshwater experts needed in the IPBES biodiversity panel
Centre researcher Jan Kuiper lists why and how more freshwater experts could contribute to the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
General news | 2023-06-01
Centre researcher Juan Rocha elected into Young Academy of Sweden
Centre researcher Juan Rocha joins the Young Academy of Sweden, a junior version of the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, for a five-year term
Research news | 2023-05-31
Groundbreaking study quantifies safe and just Earth system boundaries
International commission proposes new safe and just boundaries for maintaining a healthy planet and protecting people from significant harm
Research news | 2023-05-25
AI could create a perfect storm of climate misinformation
The speed and the way misinformation about climate change and sustainability issues moves around the world is rapidly changing. Now, the Centre presents a new synthesis on AI and climate misinformation in connection to the Nobel Prize Summit 2023, "Truth, Trust and Hope"
Research news | 2023-05-22
Financial actors and academia join forces to build back biodiversity
Today is International Biodiversity Day! This year with the theme “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity”, and for us, that is a good reason to highlight the potential of the finance sector in reviving biodiversity
General news | 2023-05-17
Maria Tengö appointed special professor at Wageningen University
Maria Tengö is the most recently appointed professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre