Earth System Science,
A very Short Introduction
SOS Treaty - The Safe Operating Space Treaty
A New Approach to Managing Our Use of the Earth System
It is clear that international law is not yet equipped to handle the “ecological goods and services” that exist simultaneously within and outside of all states. The global commons have always been understood as geographical spaces that exist only outside the political borders of states. A vital good such as a stable climate exists both within and outside all states, and shows traditional legal approaches to be ecological nonsense. With the recent possibility of measuring and monitoring the state and functioning of the Earth System through the Planetary Boundaries framework, it is now possible to define a “Safe Operating Space of Humankind” corresponding to a biogeophysical state of Earth.
In this sense, the Common Home of Humanity is not a planet with 510 million square kilometres, but is a specific favourable state of the Earth System. Recent major scientific advances anticipate a legal paradigm shift that could overcome the disconnection between ecological realities and existing legal frameworks. If we recognize this qualitative and non-geographic space as a Common Natural Intangible Heritage of Humankind, all positive and negative “externalities” end up being included within a new maintenance system of the Common Home.