Partner Institution: University of Aberdeen
Start and end og PhD project: October 2016 – March 2020
Supervisors: Pete Smith, Robin Matthews and Rob Brooker
PhD title: Assessing trajectories to remain within planetary boundaries in Scotland
Description of PhD project:
In 2009 Rockstrom et al. developed the concept of “Planetary Boundaries”, global biophysical limits that it is prudent not to exceed if we want to live on a planet with stable conditions and without “surprises”, in a Holocene-like state. One of its implementations is the “Doughnut” model by K. Raworth (2012), that interweaves the planetary boundaries (outer edge of the doughnut) with the so-called “social foundation” (inner edge), that is the rights of people to conduct a worthy life, without deprivation. Society’s aim should be to live within the doughnut, in a “safe and just operating space”. Sayers et al. (2014) analysed the doughnut for Scotland, but in some boundaries there is a great uncertainty while in others, data are missing. Starting from this work, our aim is to review the biophysical boundaries for Scotland, trying to fill the gaps, to think about possible alternative variables and to assess their trends and trajectories. In order to do this, we are examining different Scottish environments to understand if, in some of them, there might be tipping points, and in order to choose the most relevant (and feasible) variable for each boundary.