By Robert Engelman (auth.)
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Additional resources for State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?
The suggested climate change boundary of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere aims at minimizing the risk of getting into zones of uncertainty and crossing thresholds that could lead to major changes in regional climates, alter climate-dynamics patterns F. Lamiot 24 | State of the World 2013 such as the oceanic thermohaline circulation, or cause rapid sea level rise. Current observations of a possible climate transition include the retreat of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, retreat of mountain glaciers around the world, loss of mass from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and weakening of the oceanic carbon sink.
If that question is left unspoken, it can lead to political stalemate, injustice, and suffering. So in any discussion of what it will take to achieve global environmental sustainability, it is crucial to bring the issue of international social justice in resource distribution explicitly into the framework, including into the metrics to be used. The concept of planetary boundaries offers a powerful starting point for doing just that. Between Social Boundaries and Planetary Boundaries In 2009, a group of leading Earth-system scientists brought together by Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre put forward the concept of planetary boundaries.
On the development side, the world has already met one of the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015 by the world’s governments in 2000: by 2010 the proportion of people lacking access to safe water was cut in half from 1990 levels. And the last decade has witnessed so dramatic a reduction in global poverty, central to a second development goal, that the Londonbased Overseas Development Institute urged foreign assistance agencies to redirect their aid strategies over the next 13 years to a dwindling number of the lowest-income nations, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? by Robert Engelman (auth.)