1972 Membership of Rome Finish of world forecast nonetheless on monitor because of local weather change – are you carried out with that?
Guest contribution by Eric Worrall
Apparently, if you adjust a few factors and focus just right, the Limits to Growth of 1972 fits remarkably well into the doomed evolution of our modern world.
Yes, it’s bleak, says an expert who tested the prediction of the end of the world in the 1970s
Sun 25 July 2021 4 p.m. AEST A
A controversial MIT study from 1972 predicted the collapse of civilization – and Gaya Herrington is here to deliver the bad news on July 25, 2021 4:00 p.m. AEST
ONAt a UN sustainability meeting a few years ago, an economic policy officer approached Gaya Herrington and introduced himself. He took her name for a riff on James Lovelock’s Earth-as-Organism-Gaia Hypothesis and remarked, “Gaya – that’s not a name, it’s the responsibility.”
Herrington, a Dutch sustainability researcher and advisor to the Club of Rome, a Swiss think tank, has made headlines in the past few days after authoring a report that appeared to show a controversial study from the 1970s showing the collapse of civilization – apparently – predicted on time.
Amid a cascade of alarming environmental events, from forest fires in the western United States and Siberia to floods in Germany and a report suggesting the Amazon rainforest may no longer act as a carbon sink, Herrington’s work predicted the collapse was about to happen 2040 could come if the current trends held up.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/25/gaya-herrington-mit-study-the-limits-to-growth
The study, which confirms that we are on the right track for some eco-doom, is available on the KPMG investment bank website.
Update on the limits to growth
Comparison of the World3 model with empirical data
In the 1972 bestseller “Limits to Growth” (LtG), the authors concluded that if global society continued to strive for economic growth, it would experience a decline in food production, industrial production and ultimately population within this century. The LtG authors used a system dynamics model to study the interactions between global variables and use different model assumptions to generate different scenarios. Previous empirical data comparisons by Turner have since shown the closest match with a scenario that ended in a collapse. This study represents a data update for LtG by examining the extent to which empirical data matches four LtG scenarios that span a range of technological, resource and societal assumptions. The research benefited from the improved data availability since the previous updates and included a scenario and two variables that were not part of the previous comparisons. The two scenarios that most closely match the observed data point to a stalemate in welfare, food and industrial production over the next decade, which calls into question the suitability of continued economic growth as a goal of humanity in the 21st century. Both scenarios also point to subsequent decreases in these variables, but only one – where decreases are caused by pollution – shows a breakdown. The scenario that was most closely matched in previous comparisons was not among the two most closely matched scenarios in this study. The scenario with the smallest declines was least in agreement with empirical data; however, the absolute differences were often not yet great. The four scenarios differ significantly more after 2020, which suggests that the window of adjustment to this last scenario is closing.
Read more: https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2021/limits-to-growth.html
Of course, the original scenario had to be updated a bit to match the evidence.
1.5 Updates to LtG
Several qualitative reviews of LtG publications have described how dynamics in World3 can be observed in the real world (Bardi, 2014; Jackson & Weber, 2016; Simmons, 2000). Such a review comes from LtG author Randers (2000). Around 1990 it became clear that non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels, were more abundant than assumed in the 1972 BAU scenario. Randers therefore postulated that it was not scarcity of resources but environmental pollution, especially through greenhouse gases, that would bring growth to a standstill. This corresponds to the second scenario in the LtG books. This scenario has the same assumptions as the BAU, except that it assumes twice the amount of non-renewable resources. This scenario is called BAU2 and received more attention in the second and third LtG books than the BAU scenario. More natural resources will not prevent the collapse in World3; the cause changes from resource depletion to a pollution crisis.
BAU2 was quantified in a 2015 recalibration study by World3-03 (Pasqualino, Jones, Monasterolo & Phillips, 2015). The results showed that compared to BAU2, society had invested more in reducing pollution, increasing food productivity and investing in services. However, the authors did not compare their calibration to SW, nor did they use their recalibrated version of World3 to run the scenario beyond the present to see if a breakdown was avoided. Therefore, their results cannot be taken as an indication that humanity has done enough to avoid declines, as the authors themselves pointed out.
Quantitative comparisons between LtG scenarios and empirical data were carried out by Turner (2008, 2012, 2014). He compared globally observed data for the LtG variables with 3 of the 12 scenarios from the first book: BAU, CT and SW. Turner concluded that the world data compares favorably to the key characteristics of BAU, and much better than the other two scenarios.
Read more: As above
One of the early criticisms of the original growth limits was the gross simplification. For example, the original limits to growth had a single factor called “pollution” that we should pretend to mean. In the original publication there was an indication that pollution alluded to air pollution, although it was clear that they meant pollution in general, whatever that is.
In this makeover, the pollution is now referred to as Pollution (CO2) and Pollution (plastic). Neither is a real problem.
An even bigger criticism, however, is the arbitrary limitation of the resources available. Bjørn Lomborg wrote a scathing review of The Limits to Growth in 2013, which is very readable and, as far as I can tell, also applies to this remake.
The limits of panic
We often hear how the world as we know it will end, usually through an ecological breakdown. Indeed, more than 40 years after the Club of Rome published the mother of all apocalyptic predictions, The Limits to Growth, its basic ideas – though thoroughly discredited – still shape mindsets and influence public policy.
COPENHAGEN – We often hear how the world as we know it will end, usually due to an ecological breakdown. Indeed, more than 40 years after the Club of Rome published the mother of all apocalyptic prophecies, The Limits to Growth, its basic ideas are still with us. But the time wasn’t good.
The Limits to Growth warned humanity in 1972 that a devastating collapse was imminent. But while we’ve had financial panics since then, there haven’t been any real bottlenecks or lost production. Instead, the resources generated by human ingenuity stay way ahead of human consumption.
But the basic legacy of the report remains: we have inherited a tendency to seek misguided solutions to largely trivial problems, while often ignoring big problems and sensible solutions.
The genius of The Limits to Growth was to fuse those worries with the fear that the stuff would run out. We were doomed because too many people would consume too much. Even if our ingenuity bought us some time, we would end up killing the planet and ourselves with pollution. The only hope was to stop economic growth itself, reduce consumption, recycle and force people to have fewer children, which stabilized society at a significantly worse level.
That message still resonates today, even though it was spectacularly wrong. For example the authors of The Limits to Growth predicted that before 2013 the world would run out of aluminum, copper, gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten and zinc.
Read more: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/economic-growth-and-its-critics-by-bj-rn-lomborg
My question – given that the limits to growth have already proven spectacularly wrong, why is anyone still taking it seriously today?
Our cities today, in rich countries at least, are clean and healthy, with well-controlled pollution, except of course for those cities that are unfortunate enough to be run by politicians who focus more on tackling carbon than basic urban ones Hygiene.
There is no evidence of a hard limit on resources. 71% of the earth are barely touched by the depths of the sea. In a few years, we will have the technology to enormously expand our resource procurement scope.
Beyond the earth, there be even greater riches – the moon, asteroids whose density suggests billions of tons of precious metals, resources beyond all conceivable consumption rates that are just waiting for us to reach out and take them.