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 | 2021-10-28
Breaking Boundaries documentary launch climate-action website
The producers and partners behind the Netflix documentary on the Planetary Boundaries launch website on how consumers can reduce their own emissions
Research news | 2021-10-27
Why resilience has come of age
We speak to the Global Resilience Partnership’s CEO Nathanial Matthews about the growing global focus on resilience, expectations and hopes for success at the COP26 summit, and GRP’s role in getting there
Research news | 2021-10-26
Our engagements during COP26
The Stockholm Resilience Centre will be involved in several large campaigns and activities through the Global Resilience Partnership and the Global Commons Alliance
Research news | 2021-10-25
Strong civil society crucial to halt destruction of the world’s tropical forests
What is needed - and often missing - is a shared transformational objective and priority to keep the forests standing
Research news | 2021-10-25
The rise of Earth altruism
Humanity may only be a short distance away from new norms needed to tackle the growing global sustainability challenges
Research news | 2021-10-20
Understanding the evolution of the Anthropocene
Peter Søgaard Jørgensen reflects on how evolution relates to the real life problems of today