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19/01/2024NewsEarth Commission News

25 Jan | Stockholm Seminars presents:

Event at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: 10 Principles and a Protocol: How to translate Earth System Boundaries for cities and businesses


Welcome to this in person seminar with distinguished Prof. Xuemei Bai, Australian National University and Earth Commissioner who will introduce how strategic and transparent procedures can help cities and businesses align their sustainability efforts with Earth system boundaries (ESBs).

Date: 25 January 2024

Time: 14.00-15.00 CET

Location: Linnésalen, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 4A Lilla Frescativägen, 114 18, Stockholm

About the seminar

Earth system boundaries (ESBs) define safe and just limits – in relation to the climate, the terrestrial biosphere, freshwater, nutrients, and air pollution – within which a functioning Earth system can be maintained without incurring significant harm to people. Yet before they can be operationalised by cities and businesses, the safe and just boundaries have to be ‘translated’

In this talk, Prof. Xuemei Bai will present a range of new principles and a protocol, designed to support local actors contribute meaningfully to global efforts to live within safe and just boundaries. Specifically, cities and businesses that are often overlooked in sustainability plans but whose decisions can have widespread environmental impacts.

Respecting ESBs requires concerted actions from diverse actors – including states, cities, businesses – based on a clear and shared understanding of their fair share of resources and responsibilities,” Professor Bai explains, highlighting the importance of collaboration and shared commitment to implement this work.

Translating ESBs across actors operating at different scales and in different contexts is still in its infancy. By developing common principles and a clear protocol, the aim is to ensure ESB translation is robust, transparent, fair, and comparable across domains and geographies.

Read the full article in Nature Sustainability here.

No registration required. The seminar will be recorded.

About the speaker

Professor Bai is Professor of Urban Environment and Human Ecology at the Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Beijing Normal University.

Professor Bai’s research focuses on several frontiers of urban sustainability science and policy, including the drivers and consequences of urbanisation, structure, function, processes, and the evolution of urban socio-ecological systems, urban metabolism, urban sustainability experiments and transition, cities and climate change, and urban environmental policy and governance. 

Professor Bai has authored and co-authored over 100 publications, including several in Nature and Science. She served as a Lead Author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Global Energy Assessment, and is a Lead Author for IPBES Global Assessment and IPCC AR6. 

Professor Bai served as an inaugural member of the Science Committee of Future Earth, is an Earth Commissioner and Deputy Editor of Global Sustainability, amongst many other accolades. 

She is a Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 2017, and was named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy in 2019. She is the 2018 Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize

Stockholm Seminars – frontiers in sustainability science

The Stockholm Seminars cover a broad range of sustainability science perspectives with a focus on the dynamics and stewardship of social-ecological systems. The seminar series is co-hosted by the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in collaboration with Future Earth, the Anthropocene Laboratory at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Albaeco, and Stockholm Resilience Centre. The seminars are popular among scientists, students, media and policy makers.

The seminars are open to the public and free of charge.