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Human well-being in the Anthropocene: limits to growth

Abstract : Transforming the world towards sustainability in line with the 2030 Agenda requires progress on multiple dimensions of human well-being. We track development of relevant indicators for SDGs 1-7 against GDP per person in seven world regions and the world as a whole. Across the regions, we find uniform development patterns where SDGs 1-7-and therefore main human needs-are reached at around US$15 000 measured in 2011 US$ purchasing power parity (PPP). Technical summary: How does GDP per person relate to the achievement of well-being as targeted by the 2030 Agenda? The 2030 Agenda includes global ambitions to meet human needs and aspirations. However, these need to be met within planetary boundaries. In nascent World-Earth modelling, human well-being as well as global environmental impacts are linked through economic production, which is tracked by GDP. We examined historic developments on five-year intervals, 1980-2015, between average income and the advancement on indicators of SDGs 1 to 7. This was done both for seven world regions and the world as a whole. We find uniform patterns of saturation for all regions above an income threshold somewhere around US$15 000 measured in 2011 US$ purchasing power parity (PPP). At this level, main human needs and capabilities are met. The level is also consistent with studies of life satisfaction and the Easterlin paradox. We observe stark differences with respect to scale: the patterns of the world as an aggregated whole develop differently from all its seven regions, with implications for World-Earth model construction-and sustainability transformations. Social media summary: Across world regions, reaching human well-being #SDGs takes GDP levels of $15 000 per person (2011US$PPP). This insight may help shape transformation to a world that respects #PlanetaryBoundaries.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 10:28:26 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 10:06:05 AM


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David Collste, Sarah Cornell, Jorgen Randers, Johan Rockström, Per Espen Stoknes. Human well-being in the Anthropocene: limits to growth. Global Sustainability, Cambridge University Press 2021, pp.1 - 17. ⟨10.1017/sus.2021.26⟩. ⟨hal-03481110⟩



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