Be afraid. Be very afraid. Technocrat scientists want you to know when the end will come. This purely propaganda story hits on all cylinders: Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth, Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb, James Lovelock’s earth-as-an-organism Gaia hypothesis, sustainable development.

Welcome to the Club of Rome, where the author is an official advisor. The original study in 1974 was commissioned by the Club of Rome in an attempt to panic people into following their crazy environmental policies. The book, Limits to Growth, incessantly harped on population reduction to save the world: “The greatest possible impediment to more equal distribution of the world’s resources is population growth.” (p. 178)– TN Editor

At a UN sustainability meeting several years ago, an economic policy officer came up to Gaya Herrington and introduced himself. Taking her name for a riff on James Lovelock’s earth-as-an-organism Gaia hypothesis, he remarked: “Gaya – that’s not a name, it’s responsibility.”

Herrington, a Dutch sustainability researcher and adviser to the Club of Rome, a Swiss thinktank, has made headlines in recent days after she authored a report that appeared to show a controversial 1970s study predicting the collapse of civilization was – apparently – right on time.

Coming amid a cascade of alarming environmental events, from western US and Siberian wildfires to German floods and a report that suggests the Amazon rainforest may no longer be able to perform as a carbon sink, Herrington’s work predicted the collapse could come around 2040 if current trends held.

Research by Herrington, a rising star in efforts to place data analysis at the center of efforts to curb climate breakdown, affirmed the bleaker scenarios put forward in a landmark 1972 MIT study, The Limits to Growth, that presented various outcomes for what could happen when the growth of industrial civilization collided with finite resources.

Now, with the climate crisis increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, and many single events shown to have been made worse by global heating, the Club of Rome, publisher of original MIT paper, has returned to the study.

“From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise,” said Herrington, a sustainability analyst at the accounting giant KPMG that recently described greenhouse gas emissions as a “shared, existential challenge.”

“The MIT scientists said we needed to act now to achieve a smooth transition and avoid costs,” Herrington told the Guardian this week. “That didn’t happen, so we’re seeing the impact of climate change.”

Since its publication, The Limits to Growth has sold upwards of 30m copies. It was published just four years after Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb that forewarned of an imminent population collapse. With MIT offering analysis and the other full of doom-laden predictions, both helped to fuel the era’s environmental movements, from Greenpeace to Earth First!.

Herrington, 39, says she undertook the update (available on the KPMG website and credited to its publisher, the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology) independently “out of pure curiosity about data accuracy”. Her findings were bleak: current data aligns well with the 1970s analysis that showed economic growth could end at the end of the current decade and collapse come about 10 years later (in worst case scenarios).

The timing of Herrington’s paper, as world economies grapple with the impact of the pandemic, is highly prescient as governments largely look to return economies to business-as-usual growth, despite loud warnings that continuing economic growth is incompatible with sustainability.

Earlier this year, in a paper titled Beyond Growth, the analyst wrote plainly: “Amidst global slowdown and risks of depressed future growth potential from climate changesocial unrest, and geopolitical instability, to name a few, responsible leaders face the possibility that growth will be limited in the future. And only a fool keeps chasing an impossibility.”

Coming amid a cascade of alarming environmental events, from western US and Siberian wildfires to German floods and a report that suggests the Amazon rainforest may no longer be able to perform as a carbon sink, Herrington’s work predicted the collapse could come around 2040 if current trends held.

Research by Herrington, a rising star in efforts to place data analysis at the center of efforts to curb climate breakdown, affirmed the bleaker scenarios put forward in a landmark 1972 MIT study, The Limits to Growth, that presented various outcomes for what could happen when the growth of industrial civilization collided with finite resources.

Now, with the climate crisis increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, and many single events shown to have been made worse by global heating, the Club of Rome, publisher of original MIT paper, has returned to the study.

“From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise,” said Herrington, a sustainability analyst at the accounting giant KPMG that recently described greenhouse gas emissions as a “shared, existential challenge.”

“The MIT scientists said we needed to act now to achieve a smooth transition and avoid costs,” Herrington told the Guardian this week. “That didn’t happen, so we’re seeing the impact of climate change.”

Since its publication, The Limits to Growth has sold upwards of 30m copies. It was published just four years after Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb that forewarned of an imminent population collapse. With MIT offering analysis and the other full of doom-laden predictions, both helped to fuel the era’s environmental movements, from Greenpeace to Earth First!.

Herrington, 39, says she undertook the update (available on the KPMG website and credited to its publisher, the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology) independently “out of pure curiosity about data accuracy”. Her findings were bleak: current data aligns well with the 1970s analysis that showed economic growth could end at the end of the current decade and collapse come about 10 years later (in worst case scenarios).

The timing of Herrington’s paper, as world economies grapple with the impact of the pandemic, is highly prescient as governments largely look to return economies to business-as-usual growth, despite loud warnings that continuing economic growth is incompatible with sustainability.

Earlier this year, in a paper titled Beyond Growth, the analyst wrote plainly: “Amidst global slowdown and risks of depressed future growth potential from climate changesocial unrest, and geopolitical instability, to name a few, responsible leaders face the possibility that growth will be limited in the future. And only a fool keeps chasing an impossibility.”

Read full story here…

This post was originally published on this site