Still time to change Earth's long-term forecast

● By Prof. Jørgen Randers, BI Norwegian Business School ● After a lifetime promoting sustainability – sadly, with limited success – last year I sat down to consider what will happen to my beloved world over the next 40 years. The main question I asked myself was whether I should continue worrying about the future during my final 20 to 25 years here on Earth. My answer is in 2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. The main message is simple: I predict that the world average temperature will surpass 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times – the internationally agreed danger threshold – in 2052. And the temperature will continue rising, condemning our grandchildren to the likelihood of climate disaster in the second half of the 21st century. This means that the global future will resemble one of the 12 scenarios from The Limits to Growth, which I co-authored in 1972. The world will resemble the “persistent pollution scenario”, with carbon dioxide as the “persistent” pollutant which, once emitted, resides in the atmosphere with a half-life of 100 years. (For more on the original Limits to Growth forecasts and how they fared compared to reality, you can read this CSIRO discussion paper or this article in The Conversation.) I do not forecast an energy crisis, a resource crisis, a food crisis, a water crisis – but neither do I expect to see one of the more optimistic “sustainability” scenarios from Limits. I believe that man-made greenhouse gas emissions will prove to be the real problem. This is because the human footprint will be smaller than most people expect. The future world population and gross domestic product (GDP) will be much lower than commonly forecast: the global population will peak at 8 billion around 2040, and the world GDP will only grow at 2% per year to 2052 – half historical rates. There are two major reasons: women will choose to have fewer children and economies will find it more difficult to grow as they mature ...Zum vollständigen Artikel


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