What Next for Sustainable Development?
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What Next for Sustainable Development?

Our Common Future at Thirty

Edited by James Meadowcroft, David Banister, Erling Holden, Oluf Langhelle, Kristin Linnerud and Geoffrey Gilpin

This book examines the international experience with sustainable development since the concept was brought to world-wide attention in Our Common Future, the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds engage with three critical themes: negotiating environmental limits; equity, environment and development; and transitions and transformations. In light of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, they ask what lies ahead for sustainable development.
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Chapter 5: Implications of deep decarbonization pathways for sustainabledevelopment

Sabine Fuss


Sustainability goals are clearly threatened by the impacts of ongoing climate change. Yet, the fact that climate change mitigation has been delayed and that we are now faced with lower carbon budgets and have less time to achieve the even more ambitious temperature targets pronounced in the Paris Agreement pose an enormous challenge to humanity. The Paris Agreement declares it as an aim ‘to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development’—acknowledging that such a huge mitigation challenge in itself can imply trade-offs with other sustainable development goals. For example, the large amounts of biomass to be cultivated for bioenergy in the low stabilization pathways are feared to be at odds with the goals of ensuring food security and safeguarding terrestrial ecosystems. However, many mitigation options also have positive interactions with sustainable development goals. This chapter reviews the knowledge that has emerged on the interactions between climate change and sustainable development over the past 30 years. It highlights the most important debates and offers an extended perspective on the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development.

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