Monday, December 28, 2015

Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

The relatively stable, 11,700-year-long Holocene epoch is the only state of the Earth System (ES) that we know for certain can support contemporary human societies. There is increasing evidence that human activities are affecting ES functioning to a degree that threatens the resilience of the ES—its ability to persist in a Holocene-like state in the face of increasing human pressures and shocks. The Planetary Boundary (PB) framework is based on critical processes that regulate ES functioning. By combining improved scientific understanding of ES functioning with the precautionary principle, the PB framework identifies levels of anthropogenic perturbations below which the risk of destabilization of the ES is likely to remain low—a “safe operating space” for global societal development. A zone of uncertainty for each PB highlights the area of increasing risk. The current level of anthropogenic impact on the ES, and thus the risk to the stability of the ES, is assessed by comparison with the proposed PB

Steffen et al Science 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Restarting the global economy

Three areas of concerted public action — boosting global demand (with an emphasis on investment and essential services), unblocking the flow of surplus funds towards unmet investment needs, and mitigating rising inequality — are mutually reinforcing. The analytical arguments behind them are strong. Public policy solutions are possible to deal with many economic challenges if political consensus can be achieved on tackling them, both nationally and globally

Restarting the global economy: Three mismatches that need concerted public action 

Michael Spence, Danny Leipziger, James Manyika, Ravi Kanbur