Snakes and ladders: World development pathways’ synergies and trade-offs through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals

George Philippidis, Lindsay Shutes, Robert M'Barek, Tévécia Ronzon*, Andrzej Tabeau, Hans van Meijl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper takes three global visions of world development to 2050 and quantifies their implications for sustainable progress employing the metrics of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG outcomes are structured through the interconnectivities of the three ‘wedding cake’ layers of ‘economy’, ‘society’ and ‘biosphere’, as posited by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The key policy contribution is to quantify the resulting SDG synergies and trade-offs, whilst also decomposing and calculating the part-worth of the market drivers which contribute to these outcomes. The paper employs a global economic simulation model that combines rational market behaviour with environmental constraints (MAGNET) and is further extended with an SDG metrics module. A ‘non-sustainable’ world reveals trade-offs between economy and biosphere SDGs, with population growth of particular concern to a safe planetary operating space in the world's poorest regions. Sustainable visions could reduce natural resource pressures and emissions and meet energy requirements at potentially limited economic cost. Notwithstanding, these futures do not address income inequalities and potentially increase food security concerns for the most vulnerable members of society. Consequently, developed region led international cooperation and in-kind income transfers to developing countries, constitutes a necessary prerequisite to help remedy the SDG trade-offs exhibited within the more sustainable global pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122147
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume267
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Bioeconomy
  • CGE modelling
  • Global foresight study
  • SDGs

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  • Projects

    BioMonitor: Monitoring the Bioeconomy

    1/06/1831/05/22

    Project: EU research project

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