Planetary Guardrails as Policy Guidance for Sustainable Development

Planetary guardrails are science-based suggestions of limiting human-induced changes in the Earth system in order to avoid intolerable effects on ecosystems and human societies. This brief outlines the guardrail concept as developed by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, an independent, scientific advisory body to the German federal government), illuminates its crucial relevance for sustainable development, and explains its importance for policy makers. It draws heavily on a recently published WBGU Policy Paper (WBGU 2014).

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