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Please note that this session was withdrawn and is no longer available in the respective programme. This withdrawal might have been the result of a merge with another session.


SOS! Charting a safe operating space for humanity
Convener: Jonathan Donges  | Co-Conveners: Sarah Cornell , James Dyke 

Human actions play an increasing role in shaping the Earth's planetary environment, altering the interplay between the physical climate, land surface, oceans and life, at different spatial and temporal scales. These ecosystem changes are in turn affecting socio-economic performance and human wellbeing around the world. Current critical policy processes dealing with climate change and sustainable development goals aim at setting the scene for defining and reaching desirable states of the whole Earth system: a safe operating space for humanity.

In practice, charting this safe operating space (SOS) depends as much on normative choice as on the complex landscape of human-nature coevolutionary dynamics. As a particular approach to defining the SOS, planetary boundaries mark precautionary limits for the human perturbation of critical environmental processes. Applying the planetary boundaries concept demands much deeper conceptual, analytic and practical integration of societal and environmental dynamics.

In this highly interdisciplinary session, we aim at synthesizing research on the conceptual foundations, empirical basis, data analysis and modeling of safe operating spaces for humanity. We welcome contributions from a broad range of social and natural Earth system scientists working on local, regional to global scales on various dimensions of safe operating spaces such as climate change, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, hydrology, natural hazards, environmental pollution, geoengineering and socio-ecological systems.

Drawing on the wide range of expertise in this field present at EGU, the session will facilitate a discussion on further developing and operationalizing the SOS framework as a scientific underpinning of the ongoing UN processes on climate change and sustainable development goals.