Planetary Boundaries | GEOG 30N: Environment and Society in a Changing World
Writer John Carey digs into the “planetary boundary” theory — and why friend by buffering our actions and showing its resilience,” Rockström says. . Plus, adds Steffen, “anyone who says we can cope with a four to five. Anthropocene Timeline · Planetary Boundaries · Great Acceleration · Resilience Thinking · Tipping Elements · Earth Statement · Global Goals · Leverage Points. In relation to what and whose notions of safety and control? Resilience Planetary boundaries, politics and pathways Pingback: Beyond Divides: Prospects for synergy between resilience and pathways approaches.
Under the realization from tourist operators, fishermen, the Australian Great Barrier Reef Authority, and scientists that the Great Barrier Reef is doomed under the current governance regime, global change, eutrophication of agriculture, overfishing, and unsustainable tourism, altogether placing the system in the realization of crisis.
But the window of opportunity was innovation new mindset, which today has led to a completely new governance strategy to build resilience, acknowledge redundancy and invest in the whole system as an integrated whole, and then allow for much more redundancy in the system. Sweden, the country I come from, has other examples where wetlands in southern Sweden were seen as, as in many countries, as flood-prone polluted nuisance in the peri-urban regions. But again, a crisis, new partnerships, actors locally, transforming these into a key component of sustainable urban planning.
So crisis leading into opportunities. Now what about the future? Well, the future, of course, has one massive challenge, which is feeding a world of 9 billion people. We need nothing less than a new green revolution. And the planetary boundaries analysis shows that our culture has to go from a source of greenhouse gases to a sink. It has to basically do this on current land. We cannot expand anymore because it erodes the planetary boundaries. Well, interestingly, and based on my work and others in Africa, for example, we've shown that even the most vulnerable small-scale rainfed farming systems with innovations and supplementary irrigation to bridge dry spells and droughts, sustainable sanitation systems to close the loop on nutrients from toilets back to farmers fields, and innovations and tillage systems, we can triple, quadruple yield levels on current land.
Elinor Ostrum, the latest Nobel Laureates of economics clearly shows, empirically, across the world that we can govern the commons if we invest in trust, local, action-based partnerships and cross-scale institutional innovations where local actors together can deal with the global commons at a large scale.
But even on the hard policy area we have innovations. We know we have to move from our fossil dependence very quickly into a low-carbon economy in a record time. And what shall we do? Everybody talks about carbon taxes, it won't work, emission trading schemes. But for example, one policy measure feed-in tariffs on the energy system, which is applied from China doing it on offshore wind systems all the way to the US, where you give a guaranteed price for investment in renewable energy, but you can subsidize electricity to poor people.
You get people out of poverty, you solve the climate issue with regard to the energy sector, while at the same time stimulating innovation-- examples of things that can be out-scaled quickly at the planetary level. So there is no doubt opportunity here, and we can list many, many examples of transformative opportunities around the planet. The key though, in all of these, the red thread is the shift in mindset. Moving away from a situation where we simply are pushing ourselves into a dark future, where we instead backcast our future, and we say, what is the playing field on the planet?
What are the planetary boundaries within which we can safely operate, and then backtrack innovations within that. But of course the drama is it clearly shows that incremental change is not an option. So there is scientific evidence, the so to say, the harsh news that we are facing the largest transformative development since the industrialization.
In fact, what we have to do over the next 40 years is much more dramatic and more exciting than what we did when we moved into the situation we're in today.
Now science indicates that yes, we can achieve a prosperous future within the safe operating space if we move simultaneously, collaborating on a global level, from local to global scale, in transformative options which build resilience on a finite planet. Investment in broadband high-speed internet can help small businesses create new American jobs.
Now is not the time to stall momentum or stifle innovation or investment.
Planetary boundaries - Stockholm Resilience Centre
Jobs, dreams, and the future are at stake. TED As you watch the video please think about the following questions: Note that the Holocene began about 12, years ago. Why is this time significant? What is the boundary for climate change? So, humanity is pulling nitrogen from the atmosphere and converting it to other forms. How are we doing this? Why are we doing this? Are the boundaries isolated issues or are they interrelated? Details of the research project can be found at the Stockholm Resilience Centre website.
Pay particular attention to recent updates to the Planetary Boundaries model. For the last 12, years or so, conditions on Earth have been relatively stable.
This can be seen in data from ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland: The graph shows concentrations of isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen at different times.
The important point to understand from the ice core graph is that the last 12, years or so have been relatively stable on Earth. It is during this period of stability that human civilization emerged. No one knows for sure whether civilization would have emerged without this period of stability, but we have strong reason to believe that the stability played an important role.
Stable conditions made developing agriculture much easier since our ancestors could breed plants customized for stable local growing conditions. This may explain why — as we saw in Module 5 — agriculture emerged in several parts of the world within the last 12, years, but had not emerged anywhere else prior to then.
For those of you interested in religion and its history, you might even ask whether it is a coincidence that in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the world and everything else was created about 6, years ago… and that this tradition originated in the Fertile Crescent. So, what does this all have to do with climate change?
Simply put, climate change threatens to cross a planetary boundary, to put the Earth system into a new state, a state different from that in which civilization emerged.
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- Navigating the surprises of the anthropocene
Our civilization remains highly customized to Holocene Earth. Climate change may force us to make major adaptations. At this time, it is uncertain whether civilization can survive climate change intact. The recycling decisions of the Xerox corporation could be either thought of as a common pool resource or as a private property resource. We therefore need to be asking further questions: About boundaries Who defines them and how?
In relation to what and whose notions of safety and control? About goals Towards whose visions of the future? Sustainability and resilience of what for whom, where? About pathway choices How are these made, and by whom?
And about the politics of distribution Who gains and who loses from particular interventions and patterns of change?
The non-negotiability, urgency and control in planetary boundaries ideas leads all too easily to new forms of environmental authoritarianism. Overall, this is an impressive attempt to define a safety zone. The notion of a single boundary is just devoid of serious content. In what way is an extinction rate 10 times the background rate acceptable?
He thinks waiting until we near some suggested limit will just permit us to continue to a point where it is too late. They also provide benchmarks and direction for science. As we improve our understanding of Earth processes and complex inter-relationships, these benchmarks can and will be updated Disruption of the global nitrogen cycle is one clear example: How can such ethical and economic issues be matched with a simple call to set limits?
We need to know how to live within the unusually stable conditions of our present Holocene period and not do anything that causes irreversible environmental change Their paper has profound implications for future governance systems, offering some of the 'wiring' needed to link governance of national and global economies with governance of the environment and natural resources.
The planetary boundaries concept should enable policymakers to understand more clearly that, like human rights and representative government, environmental change knows no borders. Importantly, this novel concept highlights the risk of reaching thresholds or tipping points for non-linear or abrupt changes in Earth-system processes. As such, it can help society to reach the agreements required for dealing effectively with existing global environmental threats, such as climate change.
A future worth choosing", The High-level Panel on Global Sustainability called for bold global efforts, "including launching a major global scientific initiative, to strengthen the interface between science and policy. We must define, through science, what scientists refer to as "planetary boundaries", "environmental thresholds" and "tipping points".
This language is unacceptable to most of the developing countries as they fear that an emphasis on boundaries would place unacceptable brakes on poor countries.
The 9 limits of our planet … and how we’ve raced past 4 of them
For example, the UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner states that the challenge of agriculture is to "feed a growing global population without pushing humanity's footprint beyond planetary boundaries. Red bars show temperatures above and blue bars show temperatures below the average temperature.
Positive radiative forcing results in warming. From the start of the industrial revolution in tothe increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has led to a positive radiative forcing, averaging about 1.
She puts emphasis in choosing policies that minimize costs and preserve consensus. She favors a system of green-house gas emissions taxand emissions tradingas ways to prevent global warming. She thinks that too-ambitious objectives, like the boundary limit on CO2, may discourage such actions. The challenge is to make conservation attractive—from economic and cultural perspectives. We cannot go on treating nature like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
We depend on nature for food security, clean water, climate stability, seafood, timber, and other biological and physical services. To maintain these benefits, we need not just remote reserves but places everywhere—more like 'ecosystem service stations. The Costa Rican government is paying landowners for ecosystem services from tropical forests, including carbon offsets, hydropower production, biodiversity conservation and scenic beauty.
The country is also creating "ecosystem function conservation areas" that make up 18 percent of its land area. Colombia and South Africa have made dramatic policy changes, too. Three advances would help the rest of the world scale such models of success. Much of this new reactive nitrogen pollutes waterways and coastal zones, is emitted back to the atmosphere in changed forms, or accumulates in the terrestrial biosphere.
Most of the nitrogen and phosphorus ends up in rivers, lakes and the sea, where excess amounts stress aquatic ecosystems. For example, fertilizer which discharges from rivers into the Gulf of Mexico has damaged shrimp fisheries because of hypoxia. He says the boundary suggested for phosphorus is not sustainable, and would exhaust the known phosphorus reserves in less than years.
The single largest contributor is fertilizer use. But the burning of fossil fuels actually dominates the problem in some regions, such as the northeastern U. The solution in that case is to conserve energy and use it more efficiently. Hybrid vehicles are another excellent fix; their nitrogen emissions are significantly less than traditional vehicles because their engines turn off while the vehicle is stopped.
Emissions from conventional vehicles actually rise when the engine is idling.