2052: A Global Forecast for the Next 40 Years

Is it possible to predict what the world will look like in 2052? Jorgen Randers thinks so, and his global forecast may surprise you.

| August 2012

  • 2052-Cover
    In “2052,” Jorgen Randers draws on his own experience in the sustainability arena, global forecasting tools, and the predictions of more than 30 leading scientists, economists, futurists and other thinkers to guide us through the future he feels is most likely to emerge.

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We know what we want the world to be like in 40 years. We know what the world could be like in 40 years if we all did what needs to be done to create a more sustainable future. But what do we know about what the world will actually be like in 40 years. This is the question Jorgen Randers tries to answer in 2052 (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012). Randers' glimpse of the future asks: How many people will the planet need to support? Will there be enough food and energy? Will the young revolt under the debt and pension burden of the old? Which nations will prosper and which will suffer? And several more pressing questions. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, “Worrying About the Future.” 

I have lived my whole adult life worrying about the future. Not about my personal future, but the global future—the future of humanity—on its small planet Earth.

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Now, at sixty-six, I see that I have been worrying in vain. Not because the global future looks problem free and rosy. My worrying has been in vain because it hasn’t had much impact on global evolution over the long generation since I started worrying.

It all began when I arrived as a PhD student in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 1970. I had lived my prior life in little, safe, and egalitarian Norway, well shielded from global developments, focused on the mysteries of solid-state physics. Through a complicated sequence of events, by the summer of 1970 I was deeply involved in what was to become the first report to the Club of Rome on “The Predicament of Mankind,” working as a researcher in the A. P. Sloan School of Management at MIT. The report—called The Limits to Growth—described various scenarios for world development to 2100. The scenarios were based on simulation runs from a computer model, my new field of expertise.

Within a few months, my worrying was in full bloom. Our research task was to consider what would happen if the global population and economy continued their recent developments for a hundred years or so. It did not take much quantitative skill to discover that our planet was much too small, and that humanity was facing serious trouble some fifty years down the line—that is, unless humanity made a conscious and unconventional decision to change its ways.

7/18/2014 11:41:42 PM

This world can be changed for the better but only if we all decide to make it that way, first we need to stop the wars over weapons and bio chemical warfare. If we want this world that we all share and call home to be a better place then we all need to step up and do our part to make it a better world to live in for the sake of our children, and grand children. We all got to be here, so why not? Yes that means even taking weapons from the goverment as well, because right down to it no one is better than anybody we are all equals in this life we share no better and no worse. I know there is many different eligions out there but in the time we spend fighting who's is who's and what is what we could have been focused on the true problems like global warming and polution instead of fighting over oil that will be here long after we are all dead, why not give to the lives that haven't had the chance to live yet like future generations? Noone owns the lands no matter what a piece of paper say's these lands will hopefully be around for a million more years for future families to live off of. So i guess the next 40 years will be what we make it but time is running out for hope, one day nature is going to turn her back on us if we don't start somewhere i hope at least some of this makes since to someone. I will do my partin a better future for mankind and this planet that we all call home...will you?

6/18/2014 4:07:00 AM

This book is worth buying. It's one of those good books that you can't live without. http://www.pinterest.com/seodress/granite-bay-real-estate-expert-realtor-in-all-thin/

6/17/2014 3:53:43 AM

This is very interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teIqRglpa-E

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