The only way to live within planetary limits is through a just world

In the lead up to the UN meeting Stockholm +50, the co-chairs Johan Rockström, Joyeeta Gupta and Qin Dahe presented the Earth Commission in the commentary Stockholm to Stockholm: Achieving a safe Earth requires goals that incorporate a just approach in One Earth.

Already in the first UN Conference on the human environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, the delegates recognised the human destruction of nature and the global commons.

“Fifty years later, and in spite of growing evidence, we have not succeeded in achieving a way to live sustainably within the boundaries of a stable Earth system. Instead, we have reached a saturation point of the Earth’s capacity to support future generations”, the co-chairs write.

They urge the Stockholm +50 delegates to take the opportunity to reverse the ongoing destruction and introduce the Earth Commission’s mission to define a safe and just corridor for people and the planet, that could work as a North Star or Southern Cross to guide policy.

Gupta, Rockström and Qin highlight the importance of integrating justice into the setting of scientific targets for Stockholm+50 and how justice has been a missing piece in many previous attempts to to guide the world toward a safe and just future.

While safe planetary targets for the global commons are needed to guide future policy, such targets may not be inherently just for all humans, nor ensure that no one is left behind. Therefore, the Earth Commission aims to integrate aspects of avoiding harm to humans and ensuring access to resources for a dignified life into the target setting.

“By defining targets at a planetary level, the Earth Commission can spearhead momentum by Stockholm+50 to set clear targets to inform growing collective action to transform toward all humans living within a safe and just corridor on Earth”, the co-chairs conclude.

Read the full commentary here