Bleak future: ‘Environmental collapse will occur by 2052’

A think tank report says dominant economic model is unsustainable.


A report launched by famous think tank The Club of Rome titled ‘2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years’ and written by Professor Jorgen Randers warns of possible pockets of local collapse if global over-consumption continues.

In the report author Randers raises essential questions: How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline? Using painstaking research, and drawing on contributions from more than 30 thinkers in the field, he concludes that:

While the process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations has started, the human response could be too slow.  The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the report) will progress.  But there will still be three billion poor in 2052.

China will be a success story, because of its ability to act.  The global population will peak in 2042, because of falling fertility in urban areas. The global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and average temperatures will increase by 2 centigrade, which may well trigger self-reinforcing climate change.

The report says the main cause of future problems is the excessively short-term predominant political and economic model. “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view,” said Professor Randers, speaking in Rotterdam. “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and we must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind.”

“We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change. Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052. We are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans.”

The Club of Rome is an international think-tank that focuses on stimulating debate on achieving a sustainable future. The launch takes place on the eve of an international meeting of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the international environmental organisation.

‘2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years’ looks at issues first raised in an earlier report published by the same think tank and author, titled ‘The Limits to Growth’, 40 years ago. The earlier report created shock waves by questioning the ideal of permanent growth.

Commenting on the findings of 2052, Club of Rome Secretary General Ian Johnson, said: “Professor Randers’ analysis of where the world could be in 40 years has demonstrated that business as usual is not an option if we want our grandchildren to live in a sustainable and equitable planet. It took 40 years before the full message of The Limits to Growth was properly understood. We cannot afford any more lost decades.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.


Moise | 9 years ago | Reply

The famous Oligarchs' club, non-transparent, unelected, unaccountable drumming the oldest mantra. FYI this planet can house 30 billion people, the poverty is due to greedy corporations and banks hogging the resources. Science and technology should replace this Malthusian fanatic dogma.

Vic | 9 years ago | Reply

Glad I'm old ... and ain't got no kids to werry 'bout

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