Planetary boundaries research

The Planetary Boundaries framework has now been updated, published in Science on 16 January 2015. Read more here and find the figures and data from the 2015 article here.

The framework was first introduced in 2009, when a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists identified and quantified the first set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Respecting the boundaries reduces the risks to human society of crossing these thresholds.

In this TED talk from 2010 Johan Rockström introduces the Planetary Boundaries framework

Since the planetary boundaries were first presented, researchers from around the world have been working to advance the concept.
Read more about ongoing research here

The Centre is currently running an online course together with SDSN entitled "Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities". Read more about the online course here

Discussions of the Planetary Boundaries concept:

Will Steffen, Johan Rockström and Katherine Richardson respond to critique in the New York Times' Dot Earth blog (scroll to bottom of page)(2015 paper)

Johan Rockström: addressing some key misconceptions (2009 paper)

Planetary Boundaries concept is valuable for policy (2009 paper)

Read more about planetary boundaries
  • Contacts
    For direct inquiries about the planetary boundaries concept and its research, please refer to these contacts
  • Publications
    Here you can find the original articles behind the research along with related publications
  • Background
    How did the research on the planetary boundaries come about?
  • About the research
    Since the planetary boundaries were first presented in 2009, researchers from around the world have sought to advance the concept
Related info

Read more about the updated Planetary Boundaries

Find the figures and data for the 2015 publication here

Read the full 2009 scientific article here in Ecology and Society

Download supplementary information from the 2009 publicationPDF (pdf, 425.1 kB)

Read the 2009 Nature feature article and special Planetary Boundaries section

Download Planetary Boundaries for BusinessPDF (pdf, 937.4 kB)

Download 2015 Planetary Boundaries illustration * (credit: F. Pharand-Deschênes /Globaïa)

Download 2009 Planetary Boundaries illustration JPG* (credit: Azote Images/Stockholm Resilience Centre)

Download 2009 Planetary Boundaries illustration EPS* (credit: Azote Images/Stockholm Resilience Centre)

*The 2009 and 2015 illustrations are free to use in publications, scientific or otherwise, describing the planetary boundaries concept. Correct credit is required

2009 illustration: Azote Images/Stockholm Resilience Centre

2015 illustration: F. Pharand-Deschênes /Globaïa

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