So, where are we now? And what does our future look like? To do this, he asked dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will evolve in the coming decades. The good news: we will see impressive advances in resource efficiency, and an increasing focus on human well-being rather than on per capita income growth. But this change might not come as we expect.
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Forty years ago, The Limits to Growth study addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth.
It predicted that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse"-or through well-managed "peak and decline.
And what does our future look like? In the book , Jorgen Randers, one of the coauthors of Limits to Growth, issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next forty years. To do this, he asked dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesized those scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.
The good news: we will see impressive advances in resource efficiency, and an increasing focus on human well-being rather than on per capita income growth. But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and GDP, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens.
Runaway global warming, too, is likely. So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? With heart, fact, and wisdom, Randers guides us along a realistic path into the future and discusses what readers can do to ensure a better life for themselves and their children during the increasing turmoil of the next forty years.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about , please sign up. This book focuses on environmental trends and reading the reviews it sound like he gets close to readers views of the future. I didn't get a hint of any predictions regarding the evolution of weaponry and how that will likely alter future environmental predictions long before arrives when I will be years old if AI hasn't wiped us all off the face of the earth by then Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 03, Hellyhaye rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fic.
Defintely don't have kids. Get solar panels instead. Oct 21, Sharman Russell rated it it was amazing. This book can seem strangely optimistic given that the author believes we won't stop climate change in time to prevent escalating disasters and climate feedback loops in the second half of this century. But--up until , things won't be so bad. I like the fact that Rander's predictions are not based on the idea that governments and people will do what is right.
He is just following certain trends. Also, people will do what makes economic sense in the short term. By , we will have doubled r This book can seem strangely optimistic given that the author believes we won't stop climate change in time to prevent escalating disasters and climate feedback loops in the second half of this century. By , we will have doubled rather than tripled the world's economic growth because as fertility declines we will have less of a productive workforce.
Most of the world's poor will get a little richer and the middle income a little richer but they will not reach the consumer heights of the current rich--who will get a little poorer. Economies like the United States will stagnate. We will have to learn to love a life with less consumption. The emissions of greenhouse gases will still be high but we will have reached drawdown. Most of us will live in megacities. We will be continually engaged in adjusting to new emergencies of weather.
Most biologically-productive land will be used for human purposes. Undisturbed nature will only exist in protected places. This all seems reasonable to me, from the author of the seminal Limits to Growth, published forty years ago.
Mar 19, John rated it liked it. Imagine you then worked the rest of your life on bringing about more positive futures, but found to your horror that your efforts were largely in vain, and that the future developing was the future in which little was done t "" comes from a powerful emotional concept: imagine that you were a graduate student, working on the first computer models to project what the future of the world might be like, and you found some in which humanity came to a stable future, and some in which it collapsed.
Imagine you then worked the rest of your life on bringing about more positive futures, but found to your horror that your efforts were largely in vain, and that the future developing was the future in which little was done to prevent resource depletion, overwhelming pollution, and environmental collapse.
Each year brought terrible news, and caused you to become overwhelmed with worry. After years of living with this distress and your family and friends living with you , you decide to seek psychological balance, and to soberly accept reality, whatever it is, in order to move on.
However, as this is the future, you decides to take your talents to do a single forecast, not of different alternatives, but with what seems to be the most likely path, in order to accept the consequences. With this, you will no longer need to worry, and be able to cheer even the littlest victories for what they are.
This book is then hamstrung by a formality. These original models, as published in the "famous in some circles" book "Limits to Growth". The book is published in , forty years after the "Limits to Growth", and for the sake of symmetry sets as its boundary. This arbitrary boundary means the upshot of the book is "people are going to respond to climate change, but too late, so there will be some serious consequences to that, but because they did respond, things will be ok-ish for a while and people will be generally not that much worse off until outside the scope of my book, when things really might get dicey.
Despite this, the perspective is interesting, if a little vanilla. As a result of it being one forecast, it doesn't include anything dramatic happening either way. Occasionally, there will be some government in which there's some social strife, which slows down adaptation, but also cancels out economic growth, so that more or less balances out. There really isn't that much methodology, which I found unfortunate because I find that kind of thing potentially productive. The book ends with the pragmatic advice of expected defeat: get used to the way things will be, see ecological and cultural treasures while they exist and are comparatively affordable to visit, get to like electronic entertainment, don't raise your children to expect the same kinds of pleasures, do more than your fair share while there is work that can be done, etc.
In what has probably turned out to be unfortunate for the author's attempt to regain psychological balance, the possibility that the future might be worse than the middle of the road seemingly doesn't occur to him. Published right as the United States was getting under way with Obama's second term, he might not have seen that we are not actually at the beginning of real progress, but at the start of a vulgar and reactionary denial to climate change, or any environmental issue, as a widely-understood threat to human flourishing.
This has lead to a full-scale pursuit of petro-infrastructure as economic salvation, including a variety of reduced regulatory protections. I like to imagine the author being more sanguine and proposing something like the following: we get a later start, pulling us yet closer to the point of no return, but may yet respond with an equal vigor. Either way, some of our fate might as well be sealed: the of these projections will probably come sooner or later.
Despite all, do the best work you can to protect the Earth and its poor for the sake of your own integrity. May 27, Adam rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , school-reading , the-problem-of-civilization , abandoned , appleton-public-library. In my Independent Study on the works and thought of Derrick Jensen last year, we imagined the utility of an "Intergovernmental Panel on Global Collapse," a group that could use models and environmental and economic data to form a set of rough constraints and scenarios about the path industrial civilization could take.
Collapse theorists like Aric McBay and John Michael Greer offer their near-certain prognosis that "collapse" is either with us now or on the near horizon. However, for lack of data In my Independent Study on the works and thought of Derrick Jensen last year, we imagined the utility of an "Intergovernmental Panel on Global Collapse," a group that could use models and environmental and economic data to form a set of rough constraints and scenarios about the path industrial civilization could take.
However, for lack of data and computational power to predict the future, such analysts end up falling a bit flat because their scenarios and arguments differ only in the personality of the teller - Greer has little evidence to support his claim that collapse is gradual, and McBay and the other catastrophists find it difficult to support their interpretation that there will be a more-or-less datable collapse in the future.
They struggle to pin down the specific nature of collapse - will it be a collapse of the American Empire, of the global financial market, of the industrial food distribution system, of fossil fuel extraction as an enterprise? This is not because they don't see the need or value of such predictions, but because they're basically impossible. Randers seemed to offer the next best thing to a serious, well funded and interdisciplinary effort to examine this most important of all possible questions.
The disappointing truth is that his model apparently writes out the possibility of unforeseen state shifts like sudden catastrophic collapses in ecosystem service delivery, financial markets, nuclear war, or the discovery of abundant new gas reserves some of which are more likely than others. The nature of modeling is to take existing trends and extend them into the future; thresholds and deep feedbacks can only be elucidated by serious research.
Randers further disappoints by extending his forecast only to as he points out, all the interesting and catastrophic things are likely to happen in the second half of the century and beyond, when climate change feedbacks kick into gear.
The result is modestly interesting - Randers predicts no reduction of carbon emissions until peak oil, increasing use of renewable energy and biofuels, stable and then declining global population, China's emerging hegemony, rising GDP in the developing world, increasing starvation and malnutrition, etc.
Nothing new or interesting or particularly compelling. That's why I just skimmed the bulk of the book. Early in the book, Randers recounts the time he realized that humans weren't going to change their behavior in time to avoid the worst effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global poverty. He says that at that time, he kept the realization a secret: some more optimistic people needed the hope to keep doing good work that he wanted them to do, so he felt it would be ill-advised to spread his bad news.
However, now he apparently sees more value in coming to terms with our place in the vast machinations of history.
2052. Der neue Bericht an den Club of Rome
2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years