Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”. It doesn’t belong there. Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. The task was very ambitious. The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash. So were they right? The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. As the MIT researchers explained in 1972, under the scenario, growing population and demands for material wealth would lead to more industrial output and pollution.
• Big Pictures
• Our Environment and its Degradation