#rp19-speaker Johan Rockström: The planetary boundaries

Johan Rockströmis the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the most cited researchers worldwide. He developed the new Planetary Boundaries framework for human development. 

A peaceful and prosperous future for humanity on Earth can only achieved on a healthy planet. Climate stability depends on a transition from incremental to transformative change. And it requires a disruptive change in our policies now.

In 2015, world leaders signed two crucial documents: The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the legally binding Paris Agreement, committing to keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C. Both were hopeful promises for humanity. Yet today, we can see quite clearly that we're not delivering on these promises.

One crucial step towards realising the two goals is to acknowledge that they depend on each other: A stable planet is a prerequisite for good human life on Earth. The planetary boundary framework, introduced in 2009, provides a scientific guardrail on how to manage the atmosphere, oceans and forests sustainably as a common asset for all people on our planet. It allows for combining both the SDGs and the Paris goals in one analytical framework and defines a safe operating space on a stable earth system.

What the framework shows: Unless we radically change our direction, we will fail on both fronts. We will not attain the SDGs and we will transgress planetary boundaries – risking to push the earth system beyond irreversible and devastating tipping points. Hence, we need some radical thinking to enter a transformative, disruptive future.

In his keynote speech, Johan Rockström will highlight six different ways of transformation that may enable us to succeed with all SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

Find Johan Rockström’s session here.