Identifying a Safe and Just Corridor for People and the Planet

Johan Rockström*, Joyeeta Gupta, Timothy M. Lenton, Dahe Qin, Steven J. Lade, Jesse F. Abrams, Lisa Jacobson, Juan C. Rocha, Caroline Zimm, Xuemei Bai, Govindasamy Bala, Stefan Bringezu, Wendy Broadgate, Stuart E. Bunn, Fabrice DeClerck, Kristie L. Ebi, Peng Gong, Chris Gordon, Norichika Kanie, Diana M. LivermanNebojsa Nakicenovic, David Obura, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Peter H. Verburg, Detlef P. van Vuuren, Ricarda Winkelmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalComment / Letter to the editorAcademic


Keeping the Earth system in a stable and resilient state, to safeguard Earth's life support systems while ensuring that Earth's benefits, risks, and related responsibilities are equitably shared, constitutes the grand challenge for human development in the Anthropocene. Here, we describe a framework that the recently formed Earth Commission will use to define and quantify target ranges for a “safe and just corridor” that meets these goals. Although “safe” and “just” Earth system targets are interrelated, we see safe as primarily referring to a stable Earth system and just targets as being associated with meeting human needs and reducing exposure to risks. To align safe and just dimensions, we propose to address the equity dimensions of each safe target for Earth system regulating systems and processes. The more stringent of the safe or just target ranges then defines the corridor. Identifying levers of social transformation aimed at meeting the safe and just targets and challenges associated with translating the corridor to actors at multiple scales present scope for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020EF001866
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number4
Early online date14 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was made possible through the support of Global Commons Alliance, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, with support from Oak Foundation, MAVA, Porticus, and the Global Environment Facility and the Global Challenges Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Earth system
  • equity
  • human development
  • stability


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