etary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity The

Etary boundaries that define a safe operating space

This preview shows page 22 - 24 out of 136 pages.

etary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity. The transgression of these boundar- ies is likely to cause unacceptable and irreversible environmental damage. The boundaries reflect nine interlinked processes: 1. Climate change; 2. Biodiversity loss (terrestrial and marine); 3. Bio-geochemical change (interference with the nitrogen cycle); 4. Change in land use; 5. Global freshwater use; 6. Ocean acidification; 7. Stratospheric ozone depletion; 8. Chemical pollution; and 9. Atmospheric aerosol loading. With respect to the first three processes, we have already exceeded the safe boundaries while we are close to overstepping them for processes 4-6. With respect to the remaining boundaries, we are still within safe operating limits (land use and strato- spheric ozone depletion), or we do not yet know the extent of the problem (chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading). The highest priority should be to address the problems created by the transgressions already made. However, although the processes can often be addressed individually with specific measures, the interdependent nature of the problems should be recognised. In the words of Rockstrom et al.: ‘Because many of the boundaries are linked, ex-ceeding one will have implications for others in ways that we do not as yet completely understand’ (2009, p. 475). However, some of the interlinking processes have already been mapped. For example, the rise in sea levels caused by climate change may accelerate diversity loss and change conditions for freshwater use through the intrusion of saltwater. The fact that addressing one problem may come at expense of others is another aspect of the interde- LOW-CARBON INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT 19
Image of page 22
pendency. For example, concentrated solar power (CSP) is a promising technology that addresses cli- mate change, but the vast quantity of freshwater required presents a problem; CSP systems are typ- ically located in places with scarce water resources (Bucknall, 2013). Although hydropower is anoth-er promising technology, it often has major nega-tive consequences for the communities affected by construction of dams, and freshwater withdrawal is a serious threat (Wales, 2013). 2 There are count- less such trade-offs and unintended consequences effects. It is clear that addressing human -induced cli- mate change in itself will not lead to environmen- tally sustainable development. Climate change mitigation is a necessary, although insufficient, step toward this goal. Such development requires that all the planetary boundaries be respected. At present, climate change is the most urgent issue, but an overly narrow focus on low- carbon inno-vation may mean not only that the other bounda-ries receive inadequate attention, but also that their interdependencies are overlooked (Alten-burg & Pegels, 2012, p. 8; Mulugetta & Urban, 2010, p. 7549). Any solution involved in climate change mitigation needs to be considered in rela-tion to the broader perspective of sustainable de-velopment.
Image of page 23
Image of page 24

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 136 pages?

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask ( soon) You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors