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Jorgen Randers

The German version of the latest Report to the Club of Rome, “2052-A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years”, written by Jorgen Randers is now available. The German translation is published by oekom Publishing House.

You can find more information on the German version and a possibility to order here.

For further background material or if you wished to make your own forecast, please refer to:


On May 9, 2012, the Club of Rome launched a new Report to the Club of Rome, entitled “2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” (published by Chelsea Green). In it, author Jorgen Randers (one of the co-authors of the original “Limits to Growth”) tries to answer the question, what our world will look like in forty years time. “2052” has been accepted as “Report to the Club of Rome” on the basis of a peer review by Club of Rome Members. “2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” is part of a larger “2052” – campaign by the Club of Rome.

In launching this Report, the Club of Rome continued its tradition of raising fundamental questions about the challenges facing humankind in a systemic, holistic and long-term manner. This Report revisited issues first raised 40 years ago in Limits to Growth, a report that created shock waves when it was published.

The Limits to Growth did not offer predictions, rather it portrayed different scenarios based on trends and different policy decisions. 2052, like Limits to Growth, is pragmatic. It dares to give highly educated guesses, combining data, modelling and hard science with an understanding of human nature and its systems and intuitions. Its findings are sufficiently unsettling and startling to start the debate about the need for fundamental change.

The response in Europe and the rest of the world since its launch (resulting so far in hundreds of articles and features) has demonstrated that the time is right to take a pragmatic look into what might be our future in four decades time.



Humanity’s systems, which uphold “business-as usual” are very resilient towards real change. Rapid change does not happen until people’s patience caused by the negative consequences of “business-as-usual” (climate change effects, inequity, resource depletion) runs out. Society’s main institutions: democracy and economy are based on short-termism, resulting in a slow societal response to challenges, which need long-term solutions and investments.


“Limits to Growth” addressed an important question: Is the world in overshoot and if yes, will the landing be soft or will it be hard? Randers clearly believes, that humanity is in overshoot (mainly climate-related) and that the landing will not be soft, but less hard than feared. He believes, that

  • Humanity has a forty-year window to avoid the most serious negative consequences of its decades-long overconsumption splurge
  • The process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations may be too slow to stop planetary decline. Currently the human demand on the biosphere exceeds the global bio-capacity by some 40%
  • Global population will grow, peaking at 8.1 billion people in 2042 because of rapid decline in urban fertility
  • Global GDP will grow, but much slower than generally expected because of slow productivity growth in mature economies, and lack of take-off in the 186 poorer countries.
  • Global GDP will peak after 2052, and investment share of the GDP will grow as society is gradually forced to handle issues of depletion, pollution, biodiversity decline, climate change and inequity, slowing growth in consumption growth will slow, with fall in disposable income in some places
  • Global energy use will reach a peak in 2040, because of continued increase in energy efficiency
  • CO2 emissions will peak in 2030, because of a shift toward low-carbon sources of power and heat. Nevertheless, CO2 concentrations will grow, and the global average temperature will pass the danger threshold of +2 C by 2050, and peak at 2.8 C in 2080, which could trigger self-reinforcing “run-away” warming with a possible collapse in the second half of the 21st century
  • The United States will experience the greatest stagnation, while the process of stagnation will occur more gradually in the otherOECD countries. China and Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies will progress, but this will still leave 3 billion people in severe poverty.



Today’s cataclysmic climatic effects demonstrate that regardless of modern society’s many achievements, we could be on a path of un-managed decline. We have the opportunity to fundamentally change our ways, but it seems that rather than controlling our destiny, we are merely drifting into our future.

The fundamental questions are:

  • Where is the world heading?
  • What world do we want to live in and how do we get there within the time available?
  • Are our main societal systems: capitalism and democracy capable, in their current form, of leading us into an equitable and sustainable world? Are they truly fit for purpose?

Over the next 18 months, the Club of Rome 2052: Shaping Our Future campaign is opening a debate on the future of the planet. It is asking: What will the world be like in 40 years time? Where will the current dynamics lead us? Will it be the sort of world in which we want to live? What world do we want to live in and how can we make it a reality?

Opening the debate on ideas

The Club of Rome campaign addresses the root causes of the systemic crisis from a number of important aspects: the need for a different set of values underlying society and economy; the need to change economic theory and practice and safeguard resources; the need to create a more equitable society, which also produces near to full employment; and the need to redesign governance systems that put people at their centre.

A number of activities are planned to open the debate on ideas., amongst them several new Reports to the Club of Rome, an interdisciplinary project on values and an interactive website “Change Course:

Money and sustainability

A report by Bernard Liaeter on the fundamental flaws of our monetary system, which make our financial system intrinsically unstable, and threaten human wellbeing and the environment. The Report has been published on May 30, 2012, in Brussels.

Bankrupting Nature

A report on what is going wrong in economy and how outdated economic theory and practice destabilize the planet. Anders Wijkman and Johan Rockstrom will present this Report (Published by Routledge/Earthscan) to the Club of Rome in early autumn 2012

An interdisciplinary project on values.

This kicks off with a brainstorming meeting in June, bringing together religious thinkers, economists, atheists and academics to outline what values for the future should look like and how to integrate the values needed for a sustainable and equitable society into our daily life, our economy (of which finance is a part) and our governance systems.


A web-based campaign, launched in April, 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, a symbol for human hybris and short-sightedness. It is an open forum to develop ideas on why we need to change course if we want a sustainable and equitable future.

May 7: Launch of major new Report to the Club of Rome : 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, by Jorgen Randers

PART I of the Launch on May 7th 2012

Part II if the Launch on May 7th 2012

(Rotterdam, the Netherlands): 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, by Jorgen Randers, launched by the Club of Rome on May 7, raises the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism.

In the Report author Jorgen Randers raises essential questions: How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline? Using painstaking research, and drawing on contributions from more than 30 thinkers in the field, he concludes that:

  • While the process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations has started, the human response could be too slow.
  • The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the Report) will progress.
  • But there will still be 3 billion poor in 2052.
  • China will be a success story, because of its ability to act.
  • Global population will peak in 2042, because of falling fertility in urban areas
  • Global GDP will grow much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.
  • CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause +2°C in 2052; temperatures will reach +2.8°C in 2080, which may well trigger self-reinforcing climate change.

The Report says the main cause of future problems is the excessively short-term predominant political and economic model. “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view”, said Professor Randers, speaking in Rotterdam. “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind”.

“We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change. Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052 – we are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans.”

The launch was organised by the Club of Rome, the international think-tank that focuses on stimulating debate on achieving a sustainable future. The Club is continuing its tradition of supporting work that raises fundamental questions and promotes far-sighted solutions. The launch takes place on the eve of an international meeting of WWF, the international environmental organisation.

Published in the run-up to the Rio Summit, this Report to the Club of Rome: 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (published by US publishers Chelsea Green) looks at issues first raised in The Limits to Growth, 40 years ago. This earlier Report, also to the Club of Rome, of which Randers was a co-author, created shock waves by questioning the ideal of permanent growth.

Commenting on the findings of 2052, Ian Johnson, Club of Rome Secretary General said: “Professor Randers’ analysis of where the world could be in 40 years has demonstrated that ‘Business as usual’ is not an option if we want our grand-children to live in a sustainable and equitable planet. It took 40 years before the full message of The Limits to Growth was properly understood. We cannot afford any more lost decades.”

How many people will the planet need to support? Which nations will prosper and which will suffer? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will the shift to Chinese economic superiority be peaceful? And will runaway climate change have taken hold?

2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Jorgen Randers can be ordered from the publisher Chelsea Green:

The launch of 2052 is part of a broader 18-month campaign by the Club of Rome: 2052: the world in 40 years to stimulate ideas on future options to shape the world in a sustainable way. The campaign takes its context from the 1972 The Limits to Growth Report.

For press enquiries relating to the 2052 campaign, please contact:

Daphne Davies
Phone: 44 (0)777 0230251
d.davies at

The World in 2052
Global limits, a systemic crisis and its root causes
2052: What will the future hold?
Shaping the future: Six Global Goals
Institutions and delivery mechanisms

Forty years ago a seminal book was published that changed the way in which we thought of the world. “Limits to Growth” concluded that if the then present trends of industrial change, pollution, consumption and resource depletion continued, the world would reach limits to economic growth and would move into “overshoot”, that is the world would become unsustainable. Criticised at the time, there is now an emerging consensus that not only are there limits to growth but indeed there are limits of growth in terms of what it can deliver in social, ecological, equitable and individual outcomes. “Limits to Growth” also noted that it was possible to alter these growth trends and establish the conditions for a more equitable and desirable world that would provide stability, sustainability and global equilibrium. The key issue today is not only whether we can move towards a global lifestyle that lives within the planet’s limits but how we can do so. The framework for the Club is to build upon the pioneering work over the past forty years and ask the question “What do we need to do between now and the middle of this Century to place our planet on a new, stable path?”

The Club of Rome, an affiliation of individual members and over thirty national associations, is unique and the network of Club members and their institutions is extensive. It draws from all sectors and disciplines and includes senior individuals from the banking and financial sector, scientists, academics, technologists, social scientists and philosophers. Many are world famous, Nobel recipients and exceptional individuals. The members of the Club of Rome work on a wide variety of issues relevant to the future of human kind. Its’ mission is to undertake forward looking analysis and assessments for the betterment of humanity and to provide a range of options and ways forward towards a happier, more contented, resilient and sustainable planet.

The Club of Rome pursues its objectives through scientific analysis, communications, networking and advocacy. Its work is independent, objective and peer reviewed through its wide membership. The work is undertaken by members and their affiliated institutions and by the International Centre through working groups and projects with members, partners and National Associations. Each focal area outlined below has a number of members actively researching and thinking about the issues and the actions most needed between now and 2052. National Associations are encouraged to discuss and debate issues within their country and help shape national agendas.

Club members, in their individual capacity, manage and conduct research and prepare policy papers and technical papers covering a wide spectrum of views. Where warranted, and by mutual consent, such work can be converted to Club of Rome reports and occasional papers. The Club promotes such work as an integral part of its communications work. A “Report to the Club of Rome” is considered a highly valued product dealing with key global issues. Thus far over thirty books have been prepared and many more articles and published papers.

The main products of the Club of Rome are books, discussion papers, policy briefs, conferences, webinars, lectures, high-level meetings and events. Key findings are used to challenge policy makers in both the public and private sector and to help them (and us) shift to new ways of thinking and to new forms of action.

Pictures of last event

European Green Deal: The reaction from the Club of Rome