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Journal Article

Defining a sustainable development target space for 2030 and 2050


van Vuuren,  Detlef P.
External Organizations;

Zimm,  Caroline
External Organizations;

Busch,  Sebastian
External Organizations;


Kriegler,  Elmar
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Leininger,  Julia
External Organizations;

Messner,  Dirk
External Organizations;

Nakicenovic,  Nebojsa
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Rockström,  Johan
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Riahi,  Keywan
External Organizations;

Sperling,  Frank
External Organizations;

Bosetti,  Valentina
External Organizations;

Cornell,  Sarah
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Gaffney,  Owen
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Lucas,  Paul L.
External Organizations;


Popp,  Alexander
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Ruhe,  Constantin
External Organizations;

von Schiller,  Armin
External Organizations;

Schmidt,  Jörn O.
External Organizations;

Soergel,  Bjoern
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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van Vuuren, D. P., Zimm, C., Busch, S., Kriegler, E., Leininger, J., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., Rockström, J., Riahi, K., Sperling, F., Bosetti, V., Cornell, S., Gaffney, O., Lucas, P. L., Popp, A., Ruhe, C., von Schiller, A., Schmidt, J. O., Soergel, B. (2022): Defining a sustainable development target space for 2030 and 2050. - One Earth, 5, 2, 142-156.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26779
With the establishment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), countries worldwide agreed to a prosperous, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable future for all. This ambition, however, exposes a critical gap in science-based insights, namely on how to achieve the 17 SDGs simultaneously. Quantitative goal-seeking scenario studies could help explore the needed systems' transformations. This requires a clear definition of the "target space." The 169 targets and 232 indicators used for monitoring SDG implementation cannot be used for this; they are too many, too broad, unstructured, and sometimes not formulated quantitatively. Here, we propose a streamlined set of science-based indicators and associated target values that are quantifiable and actionable to make scenario analysis meaningful, relevant, and simple enough to be transparent and communicable. The 36 targets are based on the SDGs, existing multilateral agreements, literature, and expert assessment. They include 2050 as a longer-term reference point. This target space can guide researchers in developing new sustainable development pathways.