Human development patterns and economic activities have created unprecedented sustainability challenges, such as climate change and global biodiversity loss. This raises the critical question of whether human-induced pressures are approaching or exceeding the environmental limits of planet Earth. Are current pressures, such as greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem degradation, or global resource use, jeopardizing the stability of the Earth system?
This report builds upon the previous work of the European Environment Agency (EEA) in operationalizing the planetary boundaries framework in Europe and the experiences of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in assessing environmental footprints against planetary boundaries. The report aims to define an environmentally safe operating space for Europe and test the approach using selected planetary boundaries. It involves two sequential steps that complement each other.