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Limits to Growth

The second topic starts in 1968 with the foundation of the “Club of Rome,” and its 1972 publication “The Limits to Growth. 4” This publication, already forty years old now(!), started to draw global attention to exponential growth in a finite, hence limited world. Right from the start it came under huge attack from all kinds of areas of society – scientific or not. The report investigated several possible scenarios in a modelled manner: a pessimistic model, an optimistic model and a “business as usual” model. Thirty years later a report was published looking at the real data, which implied that the “business as usual” best fitted these data. 5

“We are at a pivot-point in history when the old world is slowly but irreversibly changing and the contours of a new world are just beginning to take shape. Every country – every region – is seeking to find its footing.... This is no time for business as usual. Our times demand something different – a sharper focus, a more engaged and visionary global leadership. We need big thinking and bold action.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Address at Auckland University, 6 September 2011 6.

In such sustainability debates a formula is used, the “IPAT” formula:

I = P x A x T

Here I stands for the impact on the environment.

P stands for the global population.

Population growth

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Address at Auckland University, 6 September 2011, http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=1280.
A Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality, 2008, Graham Turner, ISSN 1834-5638
The Limits to Growth, Universe Books, 1972, ISBN 0-87663-165-0