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2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years Paperback – June 13, 2012
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In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Limits to Growth (CH, Nov'73), Randers (climate strategy, BI Norwegian Business School) forecasts changes in population, consumption, energy use, emissions, quality of life, and climate over the next 40 years. As one of the original contributors to Limits to Growth, the author's current forecast is based on the ‘overshoot and collapse’ scenario. Regional scenarios highlight the distribution of benefits and costs from climate change across the globe, underscoring the distinct consequences on the developed and developing world. The author emphasizes that shortsighted decision making associated with democracy is ill suited to handle climate change, given its long-term outcomes. A novel feature of this work is the inclusion of predictions from more than two dozen experts working in ecology, political science, industry, and economics. These individual contributions are woven into the larger story to provide comparison with the author's predictions. Overall, this work is accessible to a general audience; however, Randers's limited analysis and justification of model assumption restrict the usefulness of this book as a stand-alone text. It could be useful in conjunction with some formal texts on globalization, economics, and the environment. Summing Up: Optional. General readers and undergraduate students.
Randers has made it his life's work to caution the world about the dangers of unfettered expansion, and to seek out solutions to current and prospective problems. Beginning with The Limits to Growth in 1972, he has explored possible scenarios for our social, economic, and environmental future. In this global study, Randers presents a forecast for the next 40 years, supported by ‘statistical data, anecdotal stories, impressions from traveling the world…formal analyses of particular developments,’ and short essays by a variety of experts. While he discusses his own opinions―such as his belief that the world economy must shift its focus from ‘fossil-fuelled economic growth’ to ‘sustainable well-being’ ― the enormous amount of information and speculation here function additionally as an excellent springboard for a timely discourse. And open and informed conversation seems crucial to Randers's project―indeed, he posits that unchecked climate change is not a technological problem, but a political one. Randers and his colleagues present a portrait of the future that is radically different from today, but not entirely bleak: while he believes that the worst of his predictions are possible, he humbly asks his readers to ‘help make my forecast wrong.’
"This thoughtful and thought-provoking book will be inspiring, and challenging, for all who really care about our common future."--Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway; leader, World Commission on Environment and Development
"A sober, cogent, and courageous assessment of a future not dictated by fate, or economics, or limits to technology, but by the most egregious leadership failure in history. But there is still time to change course...just enough time and no more."--David W. Orr, Oberlin College, author of Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse
"Read 2052 and get the views of a great futurist-one with a fine track record of being right."--Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Dominant Animal
"This is an extraordinary and profoundly important book. Randers' mastery of many fields is impressive, and he presents his 'best guess' future with clarity and force. As a result, he provides a challenging template against which we can judge our own expectations for mid-century."--James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible
"An unconventional and lucid explanation of the likely macroeconomic developments of the world over the next forty years."--Lord Nicholas Stern, author, The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change; chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics
"With clarity, conscience, and courage, global-systems pioneer Jorgen Randers and his distinguished contributors map the forces that will shape the next four decades. Their sobering but far from despairing insights will encourage all who strive in applied hope to build a society worthy of nature's legacy and humans' potential."--Amory B. Lovins, chairman and chief scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute; senior author, Reinventing Fire; coauthor, Natural Capitalism
"It's too late to wonder how different and refreshingly breathable the world would be if everyone had listened hard to Jorgen Randers 40 years ago. The question now is if we'll heed him this time. Here's our chance. Please seize it, everyone."--Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us and Gaviotas
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Top Customer Reviews
Randers freely admits that his forecast has very large uncertainties. He admits that there are many wild cards out there. It's always possible that some huge, new oil or gas discovery might be made. Randers makes the point that this would be good for economic growth in the short-term, but would also make climate change worse and delay efforts to improve energy efficiency, so that it's hard to say how much long-term change this would cause. It's possible that some considerably nastier things might happen, from financial meltdown and nuclear war to epidemic disease and ecological collapse. It's even possible that humanity might wake up and decide to put a serious effort into population control and reducing pollution, which would probably mean a much more pleasant future. But Randers is mainly interested in what he sees as the most likely future based on the scientific data available now. If you are a "doomer," Randers' forecast will probably not please you, because he thinks that everyday life for humanity in 2052 will probably not be wildly different from today. He thinks life will be more unpleasant in 2052 in many ways, with climate change at crisis levels and wild nature almost gone.Read more ›
I know of no other book that looks at the future from so many angles, including climate, markets and economy, population, urbanization, technological improvements, social evolution, politics, civil unrest, resource depletion - and many more - in so clear and concise a manner.
Different areas of the world - The US, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America - are examined; global changes will affect different geopolitical zones differently, and different countries will respond and adapt with varying degrees of swiftness and efficiency.
The news is not all doom and gloom, at least not yet, not everywhere, possibly, maybe - but we're on a downhill slope and accelerating fast toward an inevitably altered world, and we need to mobilize to avert catastrophe. This is a wonderful book. Thought provoking, informative, necessary.
I find Jorgen's approach of having "experts" write out 1500 word scenario essays on the their area of expertise set in the future to be useful and although he has editorial privileges before and after, the scenes, the diverse viewpoints are informative and not so diluted to be blindered or too tangential.
There is actionable information in this forecast for business, government, NGO and individuals - and that meets my definition of a useful forecast. The data is presented in easily read prose with most of the author's biases openly exposed and consistently adhered too.
I find the Kindle version easy to read even though there are several charts and separate notes to be referred to for critical reading - the links seem to be reliable and easily navigated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jorgen Randers has done an excellent job of compiling data and projections from numerous credible sources to assemble a reasonable picture of life on earth in the year 2052. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Judah Freed
This book is well written and researched with exception of the articles on China. Agree that we should pass cleaner Earth to the next generation.Published 6 months ago by Atsushi Numa
This book is written by one of the authors of the groundbreaking "Limits to Growth", published in 1972. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kristi Berrier
A sensible examination of the future as affected by climate changes as forecast by various experts. Written with some humor, which for this subject is unusual. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Daniel Desulis
This series of books (i.e., this one and the "Limits to Growth" series) are always my favorite. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Yunfei Chen
Very well done, and the use of 3rd party experts to add value to specific themes was a bonus. There was little in the presentation that conflicted with what I have also come to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dr. David DeYoe
Ever wonder what the world will be like in forty years? Will climate change have a significant impact on our planet and will we have enough resources to continue endless growth? Read morePublished 16 months ago by Matt Cibotti