A revised version of this working paper has been published as:

Biermann, Frank. 2012. Planetary Boundaries and Earth System Governance: Exploring the Links. Ecological Economics, 81.

This working paper discusses the concept of planetary boundaries that has been advanced by a group of leading experts around Johan Rockström. It places the concept of planetary boundaries in the larger framework of the emerging research paradigm of earth system governance, welcoming it as a crucial contribution that defines the overall goals of governance. Yet the working paper also elaborates on the political conflicts that surround the identification of planetary boundaries, which are, in the end, a social construct. The paper then explores the policy and governance responses that may follow from the planetary boundary approach. In the conclusion, it points to several research challenges that flow from the current state of knowledge on planetary boundaries.