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Selection: Steffen:W [4 articles] 

Publications by author Steffen:W.
 

Trajectories of the Earth system in the Anthropocene

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (06 August 2018), 201810141, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810141115

Abstract

We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the ...

 

Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet

  
Science, Vol. 347, No. 6223. (2015), https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1259855

Abstract

[Editor summary: Crossing the boundaries in global sustainability] The planetary boundary (PB) concept, introduced in 2009, aimed to define the environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate. This approach has proved influential in global sustainability policy development. Steffen et al. provide an updated and extended analysis of the PB framework. Of the original nine proposed boundaries, they identify three (including climate change) that might push the Earth system into a new state if crossed and that also have a pervasive influence ...

 

When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal

  
Quaternary International (January 2015), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045

Abstract

We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested – an ‘early Anthropocene’ level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ∼1800 CE (Common Era); and the ‘Great Acceleration’ of the mid-twentieth century – current evidence suggests that the last of ...

 

The Anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship

  
AMBIO, Vol. 40, No. 7. (12 October 2011), pp. 739-761, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x

Abstract

Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival ...

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