Johan Rockström

Johan Rockström (born 31 December 1965) is a Swedish professor who served as executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. He is a strategist on how resilience can be built into land regions which are short of water, and has published over 100 papers in fields ranging from practical land and water use to global sustainability.[3] Johan Rockström was Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute from 2004–2012.

Johan Rockström
Johan Rockström 1c389 8409.jpg
Johan Rockström in May 2011
Born (1965-12-31) 31 December 1965 (age 55)
Alma materSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Stockholm University
Known forLeading development on the Planetary Boundaries framework
AwardsThe Woods Hole Research Center's Lawrence Huntington Environmental Prize, November 6, 2014. International cosmos Prize, 2015[1] Hillary Laureate, 2017[2]
Scientific career
FieldsGlobal sustainability and water resources
InstitutionsStockholm University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre
Statement by Johan Rockström


Rockström is internationally recognized on global sustainability issues. In 2009, he led the team which developed the Planetary Boundaries framework, a proposed precondition for facilitating human development at a time when the planet is undergoing rapid change.[4] In recognition of this work, Fokus magazine named him "Swede of the Year" for "engaging and exciting work in sustainable development.[5] Rockström is vice-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research[6] and chair of the Earth System Visioning Task Team of International Council for Science (ICSU).[7] In 2010, the magazine Miljöaktuellt ranked him the second most influential person in Sweden on environmental issues, and Veckans Affärer gave him its "Social Capitalist Award".[3] In 2011 he chaired the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability in Stockholm.[8]

After 12 years as director of Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), he became 2018 joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), based in Germany, together with PIK's current deputy director Professor Ottmar Edenhofer. Rockström and Edenhofer replace PIK director Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. He has recently joined climate change charity Cool Earth as a trustee.

We are on average, moving towards four degrees warming this century. And we haven’t been in a four-degree warmer world for the past four million years. So it’s not as if it’s a place we know very well.

– Rockström, 2016[9]

Planetary boundariesEdit

In 2009, Rockström led an international group of 28 leading academics, who proposed a new Earth system framework for government and management agencies as a precondition for sustainable development. The framework posits that there are Earth system processes on the planet that have boundaries or thresholds which should not be crossed. The extent to which these boundaries are not crossed marks what the group calls the safe operating space for humanity.[10] The group identified nine "planetary life support systems" essential for human survival, and attempted to quantify just how far seven of these systems have been pushed already. They then estimated how much further we can go before our own survival is threatened; beyond these boundaries there is a risk of "irreversible and abrupt environmental change" which could make Earth less habitable.[4] Boundaries can help identify where there is room and define a "safe space for human development", which is an improvement on approaches which aim at just minimizing human impacts on the planet.[4]

According to critics, the exact location of six of these "planetary boundaries" are not proven but arbitrary, such as the 15% limit of earth use to cropland. It is claimed that increased earth use has increased global well-being. They are also connected to local rather than global consequences.[11][12]

Other activitiesEdit

  • Daimler, Member of the Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility[13]
  • KR Foundation, Member of the Board[14]


  • Johan Rockström et al.: A roadmap for rapid decarbonization. Science 355, 6331, 2017, pp 1269–1271, doi:10.1126/science.aah3443
  • Rockström, J., Williams, J., Daily, G., Noble, A., Matthews, N., Gordon, L., Wetterstrand, H., DeClerck, F., Shah, M., Steduto, P. and de Fraiture, C., 2016. Sustainable intensification of agriculture for human prosperity and global sustainability. Ambio, pp. 1–14.
  • Rockström J, L Karlberg and M Falkenmark (2011) "Global Food Production in a water-constrained world: exploring 'green' and 'blue' challenges and solutions." In Grafton, R. Q. and K. Hussey (eds.) 2011. Water Resources Planning and Management. Cambridge University Press.
  • Rockström J and L Karlberg (2010) The quadruple squeeze: Defining the safe operating space for freshwater use to achieve a triply green revolution in the Anthropocene. AMBIO, 39(3): 257–265. doi:10.1007/s13280-010-0033-4
  • Hoff H, M Falkenmark, D Gerten, L Gordon, L Karlberg and J Rockström (eds.) (2010) Journal of Hydrology: Green-Blue Water Initiative (GBI), 384(3/4): 175–306.
  • Enfors E, J Barron, H Makurira, J Rockström and S Tumbo (2010) Yield and soil system changes from conservation tillage in dryland farming: A case study from North Eastern Tanzania. Agricultural Water Management, online 7 April. doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2010.02.013
  • Reid WV, D Chen, L Goldfarb, H Hackmann, YT Lee, K Mokhele, E Ostrom, K Raivio, J Rockström, HJ Schellnhuber and A Whyte (2010) Earth System Science for Global Sustainability: Grand Challenges. Science, 12 November, pp. 916–917. doi:10.1126/science.1196263
  • Kijne, J, J Barron, H Hoff, J Rockström, L Karlberg, J Gowing, SP Wani, D Wichelns (2009) Opportunities to increase water productivity in agriculture with special reference to Africa and South Asia. Stockholm: SEI. SEI project report.
  • Hoff H, M Falkenmark, D Gerten, L Gordon, L Karlberg and J Rockström (2010) Greening the global water system. Journal of Hydrology, 384(3/4): 177–186. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.06.026
  • Wani SP, Rockström J and Oweis TY (2009) Rainfed agriculture: unlocking the potential CABI. ISBN 978-1-84593-389-0.
  • Rockström J, M Falkenmark, L Karlberg, H Hoff, S Rost and D Gerten (2009) Future water availability for global food production: The potential of green water for increasing resilience to global change. Water Resources Research, vol. 45. doi:10.1029/2007WR006767
  • Rost S, D Gerten, H Hoff, W Lucht, M Falkenmark, J Rockström (2009) Global potential to increase crop production through water management in rainfed agriculture. Environmental Research Letters, no. 4, 9 pp. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/044002
  • Kartha S, Siebert CK, Mathur R, Nakicenovic N, Ramanathan V, Rockström J, Schellnhuber HJ, Srivastava L and Watt R (2009) A Copenhagen Prognosis: towards a safe climate future Stockholm Environment Institute.
  • Rockström J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson Å, Chapin III FS, Lambin EF, Lenton TM, Scheffer M, Folke C, Schellnhuber HJ, Nykvist B, de Wit CA, Hughes T, van der Leeuw S, Rodhe H, Sörlin S, Snyder PK, Costanza R, Svedin U, Falkenmark M, Karlberg L, Corell RW, Fabry VJ, Hansen J, Walker B, Liverman D, Richardson K, Crutzen P and Foley JA (2009) "A safe operating space for humanity" Nature, 461: 472–475. doi:10.1038/461472a* Rockström J, Vohland K, Lucht W, Lotze-Campen H, von Weizsäcker EU and Tariq Banuri T (2007) "Making progress within and beyond borders" In: Schellnhuber H-J, Stern N and Molina M (eds) Global sustainability: a Nobel cause, Chapter 4, pages 33–48. Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-76934-1.
  • Rockström, Johan. "Bounding the Planetary Future: Why We Need a Great Transition." Great Transition Initiative (April 2015),
  • Falkenmark M and Rockström J (2004) Balancing water for humans and nature: the new approach in ecohydrology Earthscan. ISBN 978-1-85383-927-6.


  1. ^ "International Cosmos Prizewinner 2015".
  2. ^ "Laureates".
  3. ^ a b Johan Rockström Stockholm Resilience Centre. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c * Rockström J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson Å, Chapin III FS, Lambin EF, Lenton TM, Scheffer M, Folke C, Schellnhuber HJ, Nykvist B, de Wit CA, Hughes T, van der Leeuw S, Rodhe H, Sörlin S, Snyder PK, Costanza R, Svedin U, Falkenmark M, Karlberg L, Corell RW, Fabry VJ, Hansen J, Walker B, Liverman D, Richardson K, Crutzen P and Foley JA (2009) "Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity" Ecology and Society, 14(2): 32.
  5. ^ Johan Rockstrom Sweden’s Person of Year . Resilience Science. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  6. ^ Scientific Advisory Board Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  7. ^ Earth System Visioning Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine International Council for Science. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  8. ^ At Stockholm Gathering of Minds: Planet Earth vs. Humanity National Geographic Daily News, 18 May 2011.
  9. ^ Johan Rockström Before the Flood, 2016.
  10. ^ "Earth's boundaries?". Nature. 461 (7263): 447–448. 2009. Bibcode:2009Natur.461R.447.. doi:10.1038/461447b. PMID 19779405.
  11. ^ Walking the Line: How to Identify Safe Limits for Human Impacts on the Planet, By David Biello | Scientific American – Wed, Jun 13, 2012
  12. ^ The Global Doomsayers' Ever-Changing Story, WSJ, June 15, 2012
  13. ^ Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility Daimler.
  14. ^ Board KR Foundation.

External linksEdit