The planetary boundaries concept presents a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.


The 2023 update to the Planetary boundaries. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Credit: “Azote for Stockholm Resilience Centre, based on analysis in Richardson et al 2023”.


In September 2023, a team of scientists quantified, for the first time, all nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth system. These nine planetary boundaries were first proposed by former centre director Johan Rockström and a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists in 2009. Since then, their framework has been revised several times

Now the latest update not only quantified all boundaries, it also concludes that six of the nine boundaries have been transgressed (see graph below).

Crossing boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Drastic changes will not necessarily happen overnight, but together the boundaries mark a critical threshold for increasing risks to people and the ecosystems we are part of.

Boundaries are interrelated processes within the complex biophysical Earth system. This means that a global focus on climate change alone is not sufficient for increased sustainability. Instead, understanding the interplay of boundaries, especially climate, and loss of biodiversity, is key in science and practice.

Since its first conceptualization, the planetary boundaries framework has generated enormous interest within science, policy, and practice.

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