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Review

01 April 2024

Desperately Seeking Sustainable Human Well-Being: A Review of Indicators, Concepts, and Methods

Evaluating progress in human development and well-being is imperative for policymakers to assess the impact of their policies. Traditional measurement methods focus mostly on economic growth and socio-economic objectives, often neglecting vital components of the natural environment, particularly the ecological determinants essential for the sustainability of human well-being. The tension between sustainability and development becomes apparent as the recognition of the dependence of human well-being on the natural environment and ecosystem services is crucial for safeguarding the environment for present and future generations. This highlights the necessity for indicators that capture the intricate relationship between human well-being and environmental changes while addressing the challenges posed by the tension between sustainable practices and traditional development models. This paper presents a literature review examining the domains, dimensions, and indicators related to the sustainability of human well-being regarding economic, social, and natural environments. Emphasizing the multidimensional nature, this paper highlights the drawbacks of relying solely on socioeconomic indicators for assessment. The review explores diverse concepts and methodologies proposed to evaluate the components and multidimensional factors influencing the sustainability of human well-being. Ultimately it offers a holistic understanding serving as a foundation for further research and policy development.

Keywords: Human well-being; Sustainable development; Ecosystem services; Assessment; Indicators; GDP; Ecological Footprint

Article

29 January 2024

The “Global Change Data Base” GCDB Facilitates a Transition to Clean Energy and Sustainability

This article presents the opportunities for constructing a global data base picturing underlying trends that drive global climate change. Energy-related CO2 emissions currently represent the key impact on climate change and thus become here the object of deep, long-term and historiographic analysis. In order to embrace all involved domains of technology, energy economy, fuel shares, economic efficacity, economic structure and population, a “Global Change Data Base” (GCDB) is suggested, based on earlier worldwide accepted data repositories. Such a GCDB works through regressions and statistical analysis of time series of data (on extensive magnitudes such as energy demand, population or Gross Domestic Product, GDP) as well as generation of derived data such as quotients of the former, yielding intensive magnitudes that describe systems and their structural properties. Moreover, the GCDB sets out to compute the first and second time derivatives of said magnitudes (and their percentual shares) which indicate new long-term developments already at very early phases. The invitation to participate in this foresight endeavour is extended to all readers. First preliminary GCDB results quantitatively portray the evolutionary structural global dynamics of economic growth, sectoral economic shifts, the shifts within energy carriers in various economic sectors, the ongoing improvements of energy intensity and energy efficiency in many economic sectors, and the structural changes within agricultural production and consumption systems.

Keywords: Forward looking; Future research; Techno-socio-economic evolution; Global development; Global scenarios; National scenarios; Foresight; Forecast; Technology assessment; Energy; Economy; Agriculture; Global Change Data Base (GCDB); Global change; Global studies; Climate change; Energy; Sustainability

Perspective

29 January 2023

Carbon Neutrality and Life Cycle Thinking

Climate change is one of the most critical sustainability challenges facing the humanity. International communities have joined forces to mitigate climate change impact and aim to achieve carbon neutrality in the coming decades. To achieve this ambitious goal, life cycle thinking can play critical roles. Specifically, life cycle thinking helps evaluate the true climate impacts to avoid shifting emissions across processes in a product life cycle. It can also help inform consumers with carbon footprint information to make climate-conscious choices. Finally, it can help identify key processes dominating the carbon footprint of a product so that future improvement can set priorities. High quality data is required for accurate and timely carbon footprint accounting and critical challenges exist to obtain and share such data.

Keywords: Carbon Neutrality; Life Cycle Thinking; Carbon Footprint; Life Cycle Assessment
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