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Author Topic: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015  (Read 6139 times)


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Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« on: April 08, 2015, 06:25:31 PM »


The Limits to Growth “standard run” (or business-as-usual, BAU) scenario produced about forty years ago aligns well with historical data that has been updated in this paper. The BAU scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment (where standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions), subsequently forcing population down.

Although the modeled fall in population occurs after about 2030—with death rates rising from 2020 onward, reversing contemporary trends—the general onset of collapse first appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline.

Obviously, these dates were never intended to be precise to the year. Still, the fact that such a prescient study pinpoints this year as the one where long-term collapse gets underway in earnest is...notable.

(Thanks to hank at realclimate for this link.)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 06:35:59 PM by wili »
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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2015, 03:12:13 PM »
That is interesting but doesn't it predict collapse begining this year? Annyway, I suppose we won't really know for another few years but itheir projections sound plausible.


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2015, 06:36:23 PM »
Please keep in mind that the Limits to Growth studies never predicted anything.  They extrapolate trends to indicate what will likely happen should BAU continue along its trajectories measured at the time of the studies. 

The reason they have hit the trends so precisely is that their warnings of what the extrapolations of BAU would lead to were ignored.  BAU is suicide is what the studies indicated was likely and after 40 years of BAU it sure looks accurate.

The biggest thing to keep in mind about discussions related to the Limits to Growth works and our current emphasis on climate change is that they are two different mechanisms and processes.  The Limits to Growth works do not take climate change into account.  This is a huge point.  The Limits to Growth work is almost totally related to the global carrying capacity issues and subjects.  Leaving climate change completely out of the analysis those studies which are now seen as incredibly accurate point to a civilizational collapse.

Thus we are left in this situation.

Civilization will collapse over the next few decades due to our exceeding the globes carrying capacity if we continue to pursue BAU scenarios (black or green does not matter) detailed in LTG.

Civilization will collapse over the next 30-40 years due to climate change regardless of whether we pursue BAU or not (that is ignoring carrying capacity realities).

In combination the effects of exceeding the globes carrying capacity and worsening climate change present a death sentence to our complex civilization but they also present an existential threat to the survival of large numbers of our species.

The only path forward which satisfies a rational risk/benefit analysis is to pursue a vigorous program of global degrowth (or managed collapse for those who prefer frank language).  And let's get started in 2005 at the latest.

There is an interesting quote in the paper that is almost identical to one I have made many times ..and got beat up for making.

This suggests, from a rational risk based perspective, that we have squandered the past decades, and that preparing for a collapsing global system could be even more important than trying to avoid collapse.

BAU won't work.  Get over it.

As to the 2015 projected peak in per capita industrial production being the prime metric for determining when collapse starts I an not sure I agree with using that metric.   I think one can make a good argument collapse started some time ago or one could make a fair argument that we are on sort of a plateau at peak and have not really started measurable decline.  But those arguments are not really important as we can clearly see the freight train coming at us at this point.  You can jump in the river and try and swim for it, or you can stay on the tracks and try and stop the train.  Your choice. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 01:53:08 PM »


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 02:04:30 PM »
Even though it sounds dystopic, could be too realistic too.

Ocean acidification, for example, is green for no reason.

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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 02:53:17 PM »
Ocean acidification is green because it has become problematic.


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 03:56:47 PM »
Pourquoi no collapse - yet?

Natural systems can absorb much punishment with  little visible effect - up to a point.

My favourite example is eutrophication of a body of water. E.g. One can over a long time chuck large quantities of nitrates and phosphates from agricultural run-off into a region of water with little visible effect. Then add just just a little bit more and the body of water becomes instantly toxic to life that depends on oxygen.

The other possibility is a favourite(?) word from AbruptSLR - hysteresis, defines as -
The phenomenon in which the value of a physical property lags behind changes in the effect causing it, as for instance when magnetic induction lags behind the magnetizing force."

In other words, the shit has hit the fan but the inevitable result is delayed by inertia in the system.

The other possibility, though in my opinion becoming fainter every day, is "it will be alright on the night".
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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 04:02:56 PM »
hysteresis does not just mean a delay in suffering the results of our offenses to the Earth's systems, it also means a delay in the recovery from those results.
For example, suppose we push CO2e up to 560 ppm and the temperature will rise by 3 C. But it doesn't do so for a few decades after we hit 560. That is the hysteresis you spoke of. Then, by superhuman effort, we get CO2e back down to 280. But the temperature may not recover for many decades after this! That is the hysteresis that will really bite us.


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2019, 08:34:51 PM »
The metaphor of walking off a cliff captures the possible abruptness of changes in natural systems once a limit has been breached. The second before you put that last step forward you are fine, the next second you are done for and there is nothing you can do about it. If you survive it will also take a very long time for you to fully recover, if ever.


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2019, 03:59:33 PM »
Source Risks As Constraints to Future Metal Supply

The effects that environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks will have on the global supply of metals without major innovations in the mining industry have been highlighted by University of Queensland researchers.

..."The majority of the 296 copper orebodies, 324 iron orebodies and 50 bauxite orebodies we examined are in complex environmental, social, or governmental (ESG) contexts which could either prevent, delay or disrupt mining operations,"

... "Iron orebodies show a mix of low and high risks, with the high risk orebodies generally characterized by social vulnerability, political fragility, and approval and permitting challenges.

"Almost all the bauxite orebodies we studied are located in high risk contexts, making it the highest risk of the three commodities.

"Copper orebodies are more evenly distributed but water and waste risks are prevalent, with 65 percent of orebodies located in regions with medium to extremely high water risk.
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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2019, 05:42:27 PM »


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Re: Limits To Growth Predicts Collapse in 2015
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2019, 06:21:16 AM »
Colapsology is an interesting science, when you look at what people see as causes for the colapse of the Roman Empire at different times in our history, you can find out what scared people most at that time.
I would use as starting point for our colapse in 2005 when petrol stopped to be cheap, but it could be in the 1970' when petrol availability per capita first went down, we are a fossil fuel civilisation.
I would say that the hyseresis comes from our optimization capability, experience and knowledge makes it possible to do more with less. The hysteresis the other way could come from the fact that we rely so much on technology and than we lost so many knowledges (like producing seeds) that are required for "normal" living.
Energy transition is a nice try to avoid collapsing, but I believe that degrowth is needed because there is no way to power all our "hobbies" with renewables, and furthermore energy is not the only issue that brings us to a collapse.