2052 - A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years
The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. (February 2013)
2252 - A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years is a description of trends in global development of Jørgen Randers, that is a follow-up of The Limits to Growth which in 1972 was the first known worldwide report to the Club of Rome.
There are three differences to the previous report. First, it does not describe a disaster scenario, but shows only trends. Secondly, it is to be read in the light of experience since 1972, namely, that all of humanity has responded to the report, but with a delay of 20 to 40 years. Thirdly, it offers not only future scenarios, it makes concrete proposals on how the individual should respond to emerging developments.
Randers's reflections are based on two central questions: "What will happen to the consumer over the next 40 years?" and "Under what conditions - in which social and natural environment - this future consumption will take place?" (P.78) He uses computer models to make sure feedback effects are not overlooked.
- Forecast on population and consumption
The population will decline from about the 2040th. The working population will peak around 2030. Productivity will grow, but there will be obstacles. The gross domestic product will grow, but more slowly. Investments - forced and voluntary - will increase. There will be new costs. Costs for adaptation to the new climate and for repair of disasters will explode. The state will become more involved. Consumption will stagnate and decline in some places.
- Forecast on energy and CO2
The energy efficiency will continue to increase. Energy demand is expected to rise, but not indefinitely. CO2 emissions from energy consumption will peak in 2030. The temperature will rise by more than two degrees, and that will cause serious problems.
- Forecast on nutrition and ecological footprint
The race for natural resources will be hard, the biocapacity of the world will be used more and more. The cities become richer sources of raw materials for metal than the mineral deposits in nature (urban mining). In the same way that zoos have already become the last refuge for many endangered species, parks will take over this role for nature in general.
- The non-physical future
Randers argues the global gross domestic product will fail to increase as it has in the past because of population decline, and general aging and declining productivity growth.
The Internet will give rise to a completely new understanding of private and public. Knowledge will not be a scarce resource any more, but that will not lead to more rational decisions in most of the cases, because the knowledge on its own is not sufficient to change behavior when strong interests are involved. Therefore, probably there will be needed a "green team" to enforce environmental behavior, like today, the peacekeeping forces (blue berets).