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Bridging the gap between resource use and Planetary Boundaries
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy Systems Analysis.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Impacts of human agency have become a major driver in the Earth System, with magnitude comparable to that of natural occurring global processes. Several earth system processes are under substantial pressure.  These human induced pressures are likely to increase, potentially leading to undesirable changes at planetary scale. In that context, the Planetary Boundaries concept has been put forward aiming at defining a “safe operating space” for future endurance of humanity: relevant processes were identified with associated boundaries that, if respected, would avoid large-scale or irreversible change. The present study explores how human driven resource use relates to the Planetary Boundaries concept, through a water-food-energy-climate nexus perspective. It aims at identifying alternatives for the consideration of biophysical constraints in ways resources are modelled, and it presents an account of the current elements that hinder the integration of new constraints. The study found that existing Integrated Assessment Models and conceptual models for exploring Climate-Land-Energy-Water Strategies present important contributions, but further integration is necessary. Furthermore, decision-making support tools in these models were designed to assess mitigation options for climate, but cannot yet be used for multi-goal or multi-constraints studies. Scenario studies were found to be an important and yet underappreciated tool for such integration. The study identified novel techniques for scenario construction that could be applied in this context – they can allow the construction of sets of scenarios to bridge across scales or to connect separate modelling communities. The study suggests that for bridging the current gaps that exist between concepts it is necessary to develop an active interface across research communities involved in global change research, integrated assessment and resource modelling communities. These interfaces need to allow the co-development of concepts, the sharing of data and the confrontation of different perspectives on the shared challenge of exploring potential pathways for sustainability. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Planetary Boundaries, Integrated Resource Management, Sustainability
National Category
Environmental Sciences Energy Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-129479OAI: diva2:652480
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master of Science - Management and Engineering of Environment and Energy
2013-07-02, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nantes 4 Rue Alfred Kastler 44300, Nantes France, 09:30 (English)
Planetary Boundaries research initiative
Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-09-30 Last updated: 2013-12-20Bibliographically approved

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