Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. / Richardson, Katherine; Rockström, Johan; Steffen, Will; Noone, Kevin; Persson, Åsa; Chapin, F. Stuart; Lambin, Eric F.; Lenton, Timothy M.; Scheffner, Marten; Folke, Carl; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim; Nykvist, Björn; de Wit, Cynthia A.; Hughes, Terry; van der Leeuw, Sander; rodhe, Henning; Sörlin, Sverker; Snyder, Peter K.; Costanza, Robert; Svedin, Uno; Falkenmark, Malin; Karlberg, Louise; Corell, Robert W.; Fabry, Victoria J.; Hansen, James; Walker, Brian; Liverman, Diana; Crutzen, Paul; Foley, Jonathan A.

In: Ecology and Society, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

Richardson, K, Rockström, J, Steffen, W, Noone, K, Persson, Å, Chapin, FS, Lambin, EF, Lenton, TM, Scheffner, M, Folke, C, Schellnhuber, HJ, Nykvist, B, de Wit, CA, Hughes, T, van der Leeuw, S, rodhe, H, Sörlin, S, Snyder, PK, Costanza, R, Svedin, U, Falkenmark, M, Karlberg, L, Corell, RW, Fabry, VJ, Hansen, J, Walker, B, Liverman, D, Crutzen, P & Foley, JA 2009, 'Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity', Ecology and Society, vol. 14, no. 2.

APA

Richardson, K., Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin, F. S., ... Foley, J. A. (2009). Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Ecology and Society, 14(2).

Vancouver

Richardson K, Rockström J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson Å, Chapin FS et al. Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Ecology and Society. 2009;14(2).

Author

Richardson, Katherine ; Rockström, Johan ; Steffen, Will ; Noone, Kevin ; Persson, Åsa ; Chapin, F. Stuart ; Lambin, Eric F. ; Lenton, Timothy M. ; Scheffner, Marten ; Folke, Carl ; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim ; Nykvist, Björn ; de Wit, Cynthia A. ; Hughes, Terry ; van der Leeuw, Sander ; rodhe, Henning ; Sörlin, Sverker ; Snyder, Peter K. ; Costanza, Robert ; Svedin, Uno ; Falkenmark, Malin ; Karlberg, Louise ; Corell, Robert W. ; Fabry, Victoria J. ; Hansen, James ; Walker, Brian ; Liverman, Diana ; Crutzen, Paul ; Foley, Jonathan A. / Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. In: Ecology and Society. 2009 ; Vol. 14, No. 2.

Bibtex

@article{940b8c2000f011df825d000ea68e967b,
title = "Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity",
abstract = "Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m-2 in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite = 80{\%} of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5{\%} reduction in O3 concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N2 to 35 Tg N yr-1) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km3 yr-1 of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15{\%} of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social-ecological resilience of the affected societies. Our proposed boundaries are rough, first estimates only, surrounded by large uncertainties and knowledge gaps. Filling these gaps will require major advancements in Earth System and resilience science. The proposed concept of {"}planetary boundaries{"} lays the groundwork for shifting our approach to governance and management, away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of the safe space for human development. Planetary boundaries define, as it were, the boundaries of the {"}planetary playing field{"} for humanity if we want to be sure of avoiding major human-induced environmental change on a global scale.  ",
author = "Katherine Richardson and Johan Rockstr{\"o}m and Will Steffen and Kevin Noone and {\AA}sa Persson and Chapin, {F. Stuart} and Lambin, {Eric F.} and Lenton, {Timothy M.} and Marten Scheffner and Carl Folke and Schellnhuber, {Hans Joachim} and Bj{\"o}rn Nykvist and {de Wit}, {Cynthia A.} and Terry Hughes and {van der Leeuw}, Sander and Henning rodhe and Sverker S{\"o}rlin and Snyder, {Peter K.} and Robert Costanza and Uno Svedin and Malin Falkenmark and Louise Karlberg and Corell, {Robert W.} and Fabry, {Victoria J.} and James Hansen and Brian Walker and Diana Liverman and Paul Crutzen and Foley, {Jonathan A.}",
note = "Key words: atmospheric aerosol loading; biogeochemical nitrogen cycle; biological diversity; chemical pollution; climate change; Earth; global freshwater use; land system change; ocean acidification; phosphorus cycle; planetary boundaries; stratospheric ozone; sustainability",
year = "2009",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
journal = "Ecology and Society",
issn = "1708-3087",
publisher = "Resilience Alliance",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity

AU - Richardson, Katherine

AU - Rockström, Johan

AU - Steffen, Will

AU - Noone, Kevin

AU - Persson, Åsa

AU - Chapin, F. Stuart

AU - Lambin, Eric F.

AU - Lenton, Timothy M.

AU - Scheffner, Marten

AU - Folke, Carl

AU - Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim

AU - Nykvist, Björn

AU - de Wit, Cynthia A.

AU - Hughes, Terry

AU - van der Leeuw, Sander

AU - rodhe, Henning

AU - Sörlin, Sverker

AU - Snyder, Peter K.

AU - Costanza, Robert

AU - Svedin, Uno

AU - Falkenmark, Malin

AU - Karlberg, Louise

AU - Corell, Robert W.

AU - Fabry, Victoria J.

AU - Hansen, James

AU - Walker, Brian

AU - Liverman, Diana

AU - Crutzen, Paul

AU - Foley, Jonathan A.

N1 - Key words: atmospheric aerosol loading; biogeochemical nitrogen cycle; biological diversity; chemical pollution; climate change; Earth; global freshwater use; land system change; ocean acidification; phosphorus cycle; planetary boundaries; stratospheric ozone; sustainability

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m-2 in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite = 80% of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5% reduction in O3 concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N2 to 35 Tg N yr-1) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km3 yr-1 of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15% of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social-ecological resilience of the affected societies. Our proposed boundaries are rough, first estimates only, surrounded by large uncertainties and knowledge gaps. Filling these gaps will require major advancements in Earth System and resilience science. The proposed concept of "planetary boundaries" lays the groundwork for shifting our approach to governance and management, away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of the safe space for human development. Planetary boundaries define, as it were, the boundaries of the "planetary playing field" for humanity if we want to be sure of avoiding major human-induced environmental change on a global scale.  

AB - Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m-2 in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite = 80% of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5% reduction in O3 concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N2 to 35 Tg N yr-1) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km3 yr-1 of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15% of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social-ecological resilience of the affected societies. Our proposed boundaries are rough, first estimates only, surrounded by large uncertainties and knowledge gaps. Filling these gaps will require major advancements in Earth System and resilience science. The proposed concept of "planetary boundaries" lays the groundwork for shifting our approach to governance and management, away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of the safe space for human development. Planetary boundaries define, as it were, the boundaries of the "planetary playing field" for humanity if we want to be sure of avoiding major human-induced environmental change on a global scale.  

M3 - Journal article

VL - 14

JO - Ecology and Society

JF - Ecology and Society

SN - 1708-3087

IS - 2

ER -

ID: 16971450