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Club of Rome

Discuss research and forecasts regarding hydrocarbon depletion.

Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby Twilight » Sat 09 Jun 2007, 06:54:40

Club of Rome were looking 100 years ahead, a while back Simmons took a look at how well their original projections were holding up at the 1/3 point, and they weren't doing badly. Detractors like to point to some detail and claim "Aha! This hasn't happened! They were wrong about everything!" but one important property of the system dynamics approach is if you're not on the money in one place, there's an impact elsewhere and it's not necessarily positive. Thus unless the approach itself is invalid as a result of flawed assumptions in the mathematics (unlikely, as the relationships involved are pretty fundamental), an observed discrepancy is additional information which in no way devalues the enterprise.

It's going to be interesting revisiting it at the 1/2 point. I bet a lot of the current critics will be silent.
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Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 02 Sep 2014, 19:37:00

This news article is published on the front page; should be in forums too. Hope this is a good place:

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. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.

The task was very ambitious. The team tracked industrialisation, population, food, use of resources, and pollution. They modelled data up to 1970, then developed a range of scenarios out to 2100, depending on whether humanity took serious action on environmental and resource issues. If that didn’t happen, the model predicted “overshoot and collapse” – in the economy, environment and population – before 2070. This was called the “business-as-usual” scenario.

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? We decided to check in with those scenarios after 40 years. Dr Graham Turner gathered data from the UN (its department of economic and social affairs, Unesco, the food and agriculture organisation, and the UN statistics yearbook). He also checked in with the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the BP statistical review, and elsewhere. That data was plotted alongside the Limits to Growth scenarios.

The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. The data doesn’t match up with other scenarios.

The first stages of decline may already have started. The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and ongoing economic malaise may be a harbinger of the fallout from resource constraints. The pursuit of material wealth contributed to unsustainable levels of debt, with suddenly higher prices for food and oil contributing to defaults - and the GFC.

The issue of peak oil is critical. Many independent researchers conclude that “easy” conventional oil production has already peaked. Even the conservative International Energy Agency has warned about peak oil.

Peak oil could be the catalyst for global collapse. Some see new fossil fuel sources like shale oil, tar sands and coal seam gas as saviours, but the issue is how fast these resources can be extracted, for how long, and at what cost. If they soak up too much capital to extract the fallout would be widespread.

Our research does not indicate that collapse of the world economy, environment and population is a certainty. Nor do we claim the future will unfold exactly as the MIT researchers predicted back in 1972. Wars could break out; so could genuine global environmental leadership. Either could dramatically affect the trajectory.

But our findings should sound an alarm bell. It seems unlikely that the quest for ever-increasing growth can continue unchecked to 2100 without causing serious negative effects – and those effects might come sooner than we think.

It may be too late to convince the world’s politicians and wealthy elites to chart a different course. So to the rest of us, maybe it’s time to think about how we protect ourselves as we head into an uncertain future.

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. H. G. Wells.
Fatih Birol's motto: leave oil before it leaves us.
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Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 02 Sep 2014, 19:54:56

Yup, thanks.

One thing I recall reading is that once one of the major curves starts to break bad all the subsequent curves become irrelevant. The model projects only to the point where the system begins to break down, after that it is unlikely to be reliable.

In other words, the fall will likely be chaotic.
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Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby timmac » Thu 04 Sep 2014, 16:02:09

MonteQuest wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:The Club of Rome was ludicrously wrong in their predictions of an imminent collapse of civilization in the 70-80s due to a global shortage of raw materials.

Have you read the book? Their conclusions seemed to indicate that the world would run out of many resources by the year 2000. Sadly, many misread the book, which only claimed the resources known then would run out by now. This was based upon computer simulations projecting growth with known resources.

Well its almost 2015 and still plenty of resources to go round, finding new oil fields and natural gas fields daily, lots of food and fresh water still available just need better management of these resources, no shortage..
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Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 04 Sep 2014, 16:05:45

timmac wrote:Well its almost 2015 and still plenty of resources to go round, finding new oil fields and natural gas fields daily, lots of food and fresh water still available just need better management of these resources, no shortage..

Actually, there is a huge shortage of oil at $30 per barrel. All you can find these days is oil at $93 per barrel. 8)
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Re: Club of Rome got it wrong

Unread postby Lore » Thu 04 Sep 2014, 17:15:11

There will always be resources available, this side of total collapse, for those who can afford to pay for them.
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
... Theodore Roosevelt
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Peak Oil – Club Of Rome – Ian Dunlop

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 19 Dec 2017, 13:01:01

Ian Dunlop is Deputy Convener of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil. Working with the Club of Rome, Ian wrote and helped produce this presentation on Peak Oil, also available as a Flash application here (Mac Only):

Peak Oil – Club Of Rome – Ian Dunlop

Warning: Accessing the origin link contained on the page activated multiple spam/malware warnings from my antivirus/malware software.
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