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  1. Jun 2022
    1. Milkoreit et al. (23) propose a common definition of social tipping points (STPs) as points “within an SES at which a small quantitative change inevitably triggers a non-linear change in the social component of the SES, driven by self-reinforcing positive-feedback mechanisms, that inevitably and often irreversibly lead to a qualitatively different state of the social system.” There are historical examples of dynamic social spreading effects leading to a large self-amplification of small interventions: For example, the writings of one man, Martin Luther, injected through newly available printing technology into a public ready for such change, triggered the worldwide establishment of Protestant churches (24). An example in the field of climate policy is the introduction of tariffs, subsidies, and mandates to incentivize the growth of renewable energy production. This has led to a substantial system response in the form of mutually reinforcing market growth and exponential technology cost improvement (25, 26).In this paper, we examine a number of potential “social tipping elements” (STEs) for decarbonization (27, 28) that represent specific subdomains of the planetary social-economic system. Tipping of these subsystems could be triggered by “social tipping interventions” (STIs) that could contribute to rapid transition of the world system into a state of net zero anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.


      STP - social tipping point STE - social tipping element STI - social tipping intervention