IS IT POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE A GOOD LIFE FOR ALL WITHIN PLANETARY BOUNDARIES?
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Is it possible to achieve a good life for all within planetary boundaries?

 

The safe and just space framework devised by Raworth calls for the world’s nations to achieve key minimum thresholds in social welfare while remaining within planetary boundaries. Using data on social and biophysical indicators provided by O’Neill et al., this paper argues that it is theoretically possible to achieve a good life for all within planetary boundaries in poor nations by building on existing exemplary models and by adopting fairer distributive policies. However, the additional biophysical pressure that this entails at a global level requires that rich nations dramatically reduce their biophysical footprints by 40–50%. Extant empirical studies suggest that this degree of reduction is unlikely to be achieved solely through efforts to decouple GDP growth from environmental impact, even under highly optimistic conditions. Therefore, for rich nations to fit within the boundaries of the safe and just space will require that they abandon growth as a policy objective and shift to post-capitalist economic models.

Keywords: Sustainable development, planetary boundaries, de-growth, ecology

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