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Transforming Systems for Sustainability

To limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius and mitigate the effects of climate change, we must transform how we power our lives, grow our food, transport our goods, and build our cities. A regenerative approach holds the key to sustainable economic growth, particularly in emerging and developing economies.

GENEVA – We used to think of crises as separate events. But in our current age of polycrisis, with the world facing a historic confluence of cascading, interlinked calamities, emergencies can no longer be viewed in isolation. Given that our food, energy, water, health, and economic systems are all interdependent, crises can and often do reinforce one another, creating chain reactions that jeopardize our livelihoods and even our survival.

The Earth Commission, a global team of scientists seeking to “define and quantify a just corridor for people and planet,” recently published a research paper outlining a framework of “earth system boundaries” aimed at keeping the planet safe from the worst effects of climate change. The study examined eight critical thresholds for planetary justice and safety, such as the 1.5º Celsius target for global warming, finding that seven of them have already been exceeded.

Given the increasing frequency and severity of droughts, wildfires, and heatwaves, the climate crisis is already an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. The recent record-breaking wildfires in Canada, the drought in East Africa – the region’s worst ever – and the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2022 have shown that extreme weather events can trigger economic and geopolitical crises, resulting in widespread job losses and forced migration.