Claim: 1972 Club of Rome End of World Prediction Still on Track, Thanks to Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Apparently if you adjust a few factors and squint just right, the 1972 Limits to Growth is a remarkably good fit for the doomed trajectory of our modern world.

Yep, it’s bleak, says expert who tested 1970s end-of-the-world prediction

Sun 25 Jul 2021 16.00 AEST

A controversial MIT study from 1972 forecast the collapse of civilization – and Gaya Herrington is here to deliver the bad newsSun 25 Jul 2021 16.00 AEST

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.

Read more:

The study confirming we are on track for certain eco-doom is available on the KPMG investment bank website.

Update to limits to growth

Comparing the World3 model with empirical data

Gaya Herrington

In the 1972 bestseller Limits to Growth (LtG), the authors concluded that, if global soci- ety kept pursuing economic growth, it would experience a decline in food produc- tion, industrial output, and ultimately population, within this century. The LtG authors used a system dynamics model to study interactions between global variables, vary- ing model assumptions to generate different scenarios. Previous empirical-data com- parisons since then by Turner showed closest alignment with a scenario that ended in collapse. This research constitutes a data update to LtG, by examining to what extent empirical data aligned with four LtG scenarios spanning a range of technological, resource, and societal assumptions. The research benefited from improved data avail- ability since the previous updates and included a scenario and two variables that had not been part of previous comparisons. The two scenarios aligning most closely with observed data indicate a halt in welfare, food, and industrial production over the next decade or so, which puts into question the suitability of continuous economic growth as humanity’s goal in the twenty-first century. Both scenarios also indicate subsequent declines in these variables, but only one—where declines are caused by pollution— depicts a collapse. The scenario that aligned most closely in earlier comparisons was not amongst the two closest aligning scenarios in this research. The scenario with the smallest declines aligned least with empirical data; however, absolute differences were often not yet large. The four scenarios diverge significantly more after 2020, suggest- ing that the window to align with this last scenario is closing.

Read more:

Of course, the original scenario had to be updated a little, to make it fit the evidence.

1.5 Updates to LtG

Several qualitative reviews of the LtG publications have described how dynamics in World3 could be observed in the real world (Bardi, 2014; Jack- son & Weber, 2016; Simmons, 2000). One such review was from LtG author Randers (2000). Around 1990, it became clear that non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels, had turned out to be more plentiful than assumed in the 1972 BAU scenario. Randers therefore postulated that not resource scarcity, but pollution, especially from greenhouse gases, would cause the halt in growth. This aligns with the second scenario in the LtG books. This scenario has the same assumptions as the BAU, except that it assumes double the amount of non-renewable resources. This sce- nario is referred to as BAU2, and received more focus than the BAU scenario in the second and third LtG books. More natural resources do not avoid collapse in World3; the cause changes from resource depletion to a pollution crisis.

BAU2 was quantitatively assessed in a 2015 recalibration study of World3-03 (Pasqualino, Jones, Monasterolo, & Phillips, 2015). Results indi- cated that society had invested more to abate pollution, increase food productivity, and invest in services compared to BAU2. However, the authors did not compare their calibration with SW, nor did they use their recalibrated version of World3 to run the scenario beyond the present to see if collapse was avoided. Thus, their findings could not be taken as an indication that humanity had done enough to avoid declines, as the authors themselves made sure to point out.

Quantitative comparisons between LtG scenarios and empirical data were conducted by Turner (2008, 2012, 2014). He compared global observed data for the LtG variables with 3 of the 12 scenarios from the first book: BAU, CT, and SW. Turner concluded that world data compared favorably to key features of BAU, and much more so than for the other two scenarios.

Read more: Same as above

One of the early criticisms of the original Limits to Growth was gross oversimplification. For example, the original Limits to Growth had a single factor labelled “pollution”, which we were supposed to pretend meant something. There was a suggestion in the original publication that pollution was alluding to air pollution, though it was clear they meant pollution in general, whatever that is.

In this makeover, pollution is now called Pollution (CO2) and Pollution (plastic). Neither of which is a genuine problem.

But an even bigger criticism is the setting of arbitrary limits on available resources. Bjørn Lomborg wrote a scathing critique of The Limits to Growth in 2013, which is well worth reading, which as far as I can tell applies equally to this remake.

The Limits to Panic

Jun 17, 2013

We often hear how the world as we know it will end, usually through ecological collapse. Indeed, more than 40 years after the Club of Rome released the mother of all apocalyptic forecasts, The Limits to Growth, its basic ideas – though thoroughly discredited – are still shaping mindsets and influencing public policy.

COPENHAGEN – We often hear how the world as we know it will end, usually through ecological collapse. Indeed, more than 40 years after the Club of Rome released the mother of all apocalyptic forecasts, The Limits to Growth, its basic ideas are still with us. But time has not been kind.

The Limits to Growth warned humanity in 1972 that devastating collapse was just around the corner. But, while we have seen financial panics since then, there have been no real shortages or productive breakdowns. Instead, the resources generated by human ingenuity remain far ahead of human consumption.

But the report’s fundamental legacy remains: we have inherited a tendency to obsess over misguided remedies for largely trivial problems, while often ignoring big problems and sensible remedies.

The genius of The Limits to Growth was to fuse these worries with fears of running out of stuff. We were doomed, because too many people would consume too much. Even if our ingenuity bought us some time, we would end up killing the planet and ourselves with pollution. The only hope was to stop economic growth itself, cut consumption, recycle, and force people to have fewer children, stabilizing society at a significantly poorer level.

That message still resonates today, though it was spectacularly wrong. For example, the authors of The Limits to Growth predicted that before 2013, the world would have run out of aluminum, copper, gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc.

Read more:

My question – given the Limits to Growth has already proven to be spectacularly wrong, why does anyone still take it seriously today?

Our cities today, at least in rich countries, are clean and healthy, with well managed pollution, except of course for those cities unfortunate enough to be managed by politicians who focus more on combatting CO2 than basic urban hygiene.

There is no evidence of any hard limit to resources. 71% of the Earth, the vastness of the ocean depths has barely been touched. In a few short years we shall have the technology to enormously enlarge our resource gathering scope.

Beyond Earth even greater riches beckon – the moon, asteroids whose density suggests billions of tons of precious metals, resources beyond any imaginable rate of consumption, just waiting for us to reach out and take them.

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Tom Halla
July 26, 2021 6:16 pm

The Club of Rome’s response is in pure Jehovah’s Witness territory as far as CYA rationales go on failed predictions. Instead of admitting their basic approach was bogus, they come up with why they were right after all, and ignore that record that makes us look bad.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 26, 2021 6:51 pm

I’d never heard of the Deagle Report before but someone noted that it’s 70% reduction in U.S. population for 2025 was in line with Biden’s 70% vaccination target. One might ask, what psyops are being played and to what end?

Reply to  Scissor
July 27, 2021 11:03 am

Are you saying that the vaccine produced under Trump’s administration is lethal?

Reply to  mcswelll
July 27, 2021 12:27 pm

Do you ever tire of trying to make your words come out of somebody else’s mouth?

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 27, 2021 5:30 am

All of these reports are simple projections of fears based on a kneejerk reaction to whatever scare stories are currently doing the rounds.

Reply to  Richard Page
July 27, 2021 1:13 pm

As intended.

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2021 6:20 pm

Randers therefore postulated that not resource scarcity, but pollution, especially from greenhouse gases, would cause the halt in growth.

So it’s not a scarcity of resources any more, it’s an over-abundance. Got it.

Is there any condition that can’t be twisted to predict Armageddon? Where’s Goldilocks when you need her?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2021 6:43 pm

The hoped for scarcity of affordable FF energy must now come from politcal controls and policy edicts.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 27, 2021 6:03 am

The scoundrels at the Club of Rome, the World Economic Forum, The United Nations’ IPCC and others were all wrong. They even got the sign wrong.
The crisis is not global warming, it is global cooling – as we correctly predicted in 2002. There are crop failures all over the world, overwhelmingly due to cold weather.
Idiot politicians have brewed the perfect storm, damaging our energy systems with unreliable, destructive green energy scams, and driving up the cost of vital energy that we need to survive.
We have little time to make corrections, and we need to do so quickly.
Regards, Allan MacRae in Calgary
Posted earlier today:
July 27, 2021 Cap Allon
What’s unique right now is that extreme weather seems to be pounding every key growing region of the globe, simultaneously. #GrandSolarMinimum
I would much rather have been wrong. This will end badly.
Earth is cooling – starting circa 2019 to early 2020. We predicted this solar-driven cooling in 2002. We were correct. .
Allan MacRae published in the Calgary Herald on September 1, 2002, based on communication with Dr Tim Patterson:
3. “If [as we believe] solar activity is the main driver of surface temperature rather than CO2, we should begin the next cooling period by 2020 to 2030.”

MacRae updated his global cooling prediction in 2013, based on cold events that occurred starting circa 2008 near the end of Solar Cycle 23:
3a. “I suggest global cooling starts by 2020 or sooner. Bundle up.”


By Allan M.R. MacRae and Joseph D’Aleo, October 27, 2019

Tom Abbott
July 28, 2021 8:43 am

“There are crop failures all over the world, overwhelmingly due to cold weather.”

I read where cold weather just recently has harmed the coffee crops in South America.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 29, 2021 1:18 pm

July 29, 2021 Cap Allon
The harshest ‘cold wave’ in living memory is currently sweeping swathes of South America, further ravaging already decimated coffee and corn crops.

July 30, 2021 8:47 am

July 30, 2021 Cap Allon
Across both hemispheres, unprecedented COLD is the prevailing weather event as Earth’s average temperature continues to fall — ignore those MSM ‘heat-chasers’.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2021 11:31 pm

“Where’s Goldilocks when you need her?”

Out shooting polar bears … so she can feed her addiction to porridge !

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 3:36 am

Well, so far, no one has made a massively wrong movie about the magnetic poles flipping, but that’s probably being worked on now.

I mean, look at that Iceland volcano. It’s still burping up magma, but acting a bit more mature.
Quite a tourist attraction, too. Hekla is also busy, but not quite so much.

July 26, 2021 6:23 pm

The reactions to Covid have resulted in long waits times or price jumps for a numbers of items, from circuit boards to furniture and lumber. With more companies having moved to a ‘just in time’ model of stocking supplies, there is some danger of a production collapse – not from a shortage of resources or ecological ruin, but from governments having too much power over the economy.

patrick healy
Reply to  Ted
July 27, 2021 2:53 am

Well Ted, as the proud owner of a 12 year old two litre diesel, I went to fill her up yesterday. I put in £50 worth and it only came to 75% full. The price has gone up from £1-20 a litre in January to £1-32 now that the senile Joe O’Bama is ensconced in the write House.
Sings of things to come.

patrick healy
Reply to  patrick healy
July 27, 2021 2:54 am

or even Things to come!

Reply to  patrick healy
July 29, 2021 2:39 pm

Or even signs! 😉

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ted
July 27, 2021 5:09 am

Too much power over the economy?

That will strike some of our readers like SS, Izzy, Loy, and of course griff as both ridiculous and treasonable speech.

To our fascist frenemies aforementioned, it’s “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state..”

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 27, 2021 7:16 pm

The answer to every problem is more state power.
Especially those problems that were caused by the state in the first place.

Richard Page
Reply to  Ted
July 27, 2021 5:35 am

Says you! I ordered a couple of second hand books here in the UK. Seven months later, I’m still waiting for them – “It’s Covid, we’re not allowed to go back into the shop to sort out the order. We’ll send it to you as soon as we can.” Some people are taking far too much advantage of a slightly difficult situation and buggering it up for all of us.

Reply to  Richard Page
July 27, 2021 12:01 pm

Can’t –
Because –

Auto – also fed up of excuses.

Reply to  Ted
July 27, 2021 7:03 am

What’s wrong with good old ‘waiting times’? Why is the English language getting more and more polluted? I predict that the English language will eventually go out of existence due to language pollution.

Reply to  Alba
July 27, 2021 12:04 pm

It would elp if people would speak proper english just like wot I do, innit

Rich Davis
Reply to  Notanacademic
July 29, 2021 3:17 am

Raight you are, guvner!

Reply to  Alba
July 27, 2021 12:14 pm

Nothing wrong with ‘waiting times’, other than my lack of typing skills increasing the chance of an error with every additional letter.

Reply to  Alba
July 27, 2021 7:19 pm

Only a tiny percentage of the words in “official” English, were originally English.
English actually died out centuries ago.

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2021 6:24 pm

My question – given the Limits to Growth has already proven to be spectacularly wrong, why does anyone still take it seriously today?

Because today, just as then, it suits a socialist agenda.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 1:17 pm

Yeah. A social;ist agenda concocted by apex Predator capitalists led by David Rockefeller. After all these years you Libertarian MAGA Dummies still can’t figure out who you’re enemies are.

Reply to  posa
July 27, 2021 7:21 pm

Only those who are pure enough are allowed to be on your team.

Reply to  posa
July 29, 2021 2:41 pm

At least we can figure out which your/you’re to use in the appropriate context.

Kenneth C Mitchell
July 26, 2021 6:24 pm

I read “Limits to Growth” back when it first came out, and I was impressed. In my young mind, I thought it might be a real problem.

But from the beginning, NONE of their predictions came true. We know about more recoverable oil now than we did then. We know a WHOLE lot more about mining and production, and every year it all seems more and more ridiculous. And now that I’m old and cynical, I’m convinced that the whole thing was an enormous hoax, a grift of wonderous proportions.

Reply to  Kenneth C Mitchell
July 27, 2021 12:29 pm

In the course of earning four university degrees related to this topic, I developed a response for know-it-all liberal minds convinced of Limits to Growth. I ask where the base metal mining stocks are in their own personal investment portfolio. Surely they must be up there in the top three or five investment holdings if it’s such a done deal that scarcity will drive them ever higher. Crickets follow because they aren’t really serious to begin with.

Reply to  Kenneth C Mitchell
July 27, 2021 4:57 pm

Limits to Growth was on the reading list for one of my Mineral Economics courses. Afterwards, we read Scarcity and Growth by Barnett and Morse, which is a far more realistic interpretation of non-renewable resource economics. The key is that technology beats resource limitations every time. We will hit peak oil demand before we ever hit peak supply – just one example.

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 26, 2021 6:32 pm

asteroids whose mass suggests billions of tons of precious metals

What’s often not appreciated about these resources is two very important things:

1. They are not in ore form, but mostly already pure. One asteroid alone for example has been found which contains more iron than has ever been mined on Earth.

2. They are not in a gravity well. That means that to use them in space, where most of our development will probably be, is way, way cheaper than dragging stuff up from Earth.

My prediction is that the asteroids will be mined by corporations, and governments will not have a look-in. In fact, he future of space travel is almost certainly corporate controlled. Capitalism will take us from the pre-industrial living that socialists dream of returning to, all the way to the stars.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 2:48 am

“That means that to use them in space, where most of our development will probably be, is way, way cheaper than dragging stuff up from Earth.”

… and before that will be possible and eventually happens, what are we going to do?

patrick healy
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 2:56 am

Look up Bezos financing a space trip for NASA today.

Kim Swain
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 7:08 am

I would expect governments to find a way to exercise control or to get some cash. After all, what right do governments have over radio frequencies but it doesn’t stop them licensing the right to use those frequencies to telecoms operators.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kim Swain
July 28, 2021 8:55 am

“I would expect governments to find a way to exercise control”

Most definitely.

I think too much government control would be very detrimental to space development. In the beginning, government involvement was necessary because of the very high costs involved, but we don’t want government picking winners and losers in the space race, as much as can be avoided.

I don’t think the Chicoms are going to allow free enterprise in their space program. That won’t matter too much to the rest of us unless the Chicom space program becomes the only space program. No rogue asteriod miners in the Chicom space program.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 9:17 am

Capitalism will tale us to communism. It is a term invented by communists to achieve their goals.

Now, FREE ENTERPRISE, on the other hand…..

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Drake
July 28, 2021 9:02 am

Free Enterprise. The perfect description of what is desirable, and the direction that should be taken.

Capitalism is a pejorative used by Marxists in an effort to tear down free enterprise by making free enterprise out to be corrupt and only for the elites of society. It’s an effort to turn “Free Enterprise” into an “ism”.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 11:12 am

You might be interested in The Expanse. SciFi, but if you don’t like that you can ignore the parts about the proto-molecule and the Ring Gates, and concentrate on the interaction among the Earthlings, the Martians (human colonists on Mars), and the Belters.

a happy little debunker
July 26, 2021 6:33 pm

Malthusians and Catastropharians abound in their evil villainy.
The only limit to growth is mankind’s ability to add value.

Reply to  a happy little debunker
July 27, 2021 9:19 am

And a rising tide lifts all boats = the more of mankind working, the more man can add value, the more wealthy ALL of humanity will be.

July 26, 2021 6:35 pm

At last, a testable hypothesis.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 27, 2021 12:59 am

As an engineer now retired, I have always said, if you make enough predictions, good or bad, one of them is bound to come true!

Richard Page
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 27, 2021 5:39 am

Plus they’ve learned to make their ‘predictions’ so vague as to be completely worthless but seemingly valid at one and the same time.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Richard Page
July 27, 2021 10:40 pm

Nostradamus isn’t dead after all then, As I understand it he made many a prediction that was say vague it could be interpretated in any way anyone wanted!!!

Joel O'Bryan
July 26, 2021 6:41 pm

The danger to humanity, and thus the environment in which we live, is NOT Climate Change.

The very real dangers are Climate Change policies enacted by politicians bent on raw, unfettered power across a once thriving Western capitalist democracies.
These Climate policies controlling affordable energy will gut the affluent middle class that currently gives the billionaire class the middle finger in the competition for resources. It will truly be a beggaring of the middle class into serfdom with controls and severe limits placed on freedoms and liberties we enjoyed, a time before the COVID lockdowns in Europe, Canada, and Australia, New Zealand.

The Climate “scam” Policies that will bring energy poverty, and thus a real poverty, and scarcity to masses. This is what socialism does and has done everywhere it touches. This will cascade into a whole host of 4 Horsemen of Apocalypse-style outcomes across the globe. The real beneficiaries of course will be the Billionaires and their bought and paid for ruling class political sycophants. This Western Democracyt descent into Socialism will align the world in a tripolar Socialism, along with China and Russia, controlling and competing for the world’s resources.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 26, 2021 7:29 pm

Yes and billionaires are free to take roller coaster rides into space, just for fun.

Reply to  Scissor
July 27, 2021 9:21 am

Not free, but paid for out of their own pocket, which is what FREE ENTERPRISE is all about.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Drake
July 28, 2021 9:12 am

Just think what the current U.S. space program would look like without the innovators like Musk and Bezos and Branson.

If it was left up solely to NASA, we would still be paying the Russans to get us up to the space station.

NASA’s job now should be to co-ordinate the private development of space. Private enterprise can get NASA to its space goals. And beyond. Just set the goal, and let Free Enterprise have at it.

James F. Evans
July 26, 2021 6:49 pm

The globalists always triple-down.

July 26, 2021 6:57 pm

Did you see the sleight of hand?

“within this century”

The original predictions used “within this century” meaning “by the year 2000.” Less than three decades from the prediction date. That was the whole point of the effort – “we have to do this now, the end is within OUR LIFETIMES!” We were going to see millions dying from famine, more millions dying from air pollution, et cetera, et cetera.

And it never happened.

Now, this Herrington person is trying to shift the goalposts by at least 70 years, and possibly 100.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  cirby
July 26, 2021 9:20 pm

Why is KPMG disseminating this tripe?
Their Lakehouse ‘training centre’ in Orlando Florida doesn’t demonstrate much of a concern for so-called sustainability.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 26, 2021 11:41 pm

Lots of A/C but not even a token windmill or solar panel in sight (maybe they keep those in the basement !! )

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 27, 2021 9:26 am

Chris, It’s simple. It makes them money and they even know it is tripe but don’t care because of that.

Reply to  cirby
July 27, 2021 7:14 am

The article on Wikipedia says the authors claimed we would reach the limits to growth in the next hundred years. So that would suggest that Herrington was correct. Of course, perish the thought, Wikipedia could be wrong.

Reply to  Alba
July 27, 2021 11:13 am

Wikipedia co-founder: I no longer trust the website I created

Tom Abbott
Reply to  cirby
July 28, 2021 9:16 am

“Did you see the sleight of hand?
“within this century””

I saw a figure in there that said the year 2040, which caused me to think this is just the typical alarmist claim where we won’t see any results for 20 years. It’s always 20 years (or more) in the future, with these doomsters.

All except Climate Czar John Kerry who has given us only nine more years before climate disaster.

July 26, 2021 7:01 pm

“But the report’s fundamental legacy remains: we have inherited a tendency to obsess over misguided remedies for largely trivial problems, while often ignoring big problems and sensible remedies.”

The Limits to Panic
Jun 17, 2013

What made us so obsessed w the irrelevant ?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Pause2Ponder
July 27, 2021 12:02 pm

What made us so obsessed w the irrelevant ?” The wealth and leisure created by free markets.

Ale Cop
July 26, 2021 7:02 pm

Really, these people have psychiatric problems. They see everything ugly and dark

July 26, 2021 7:05 pm

I reckon there’s still a market for “The End Is Nigh” sándwich boards.

Made entirely of sustainable materials of course.

July 26, 2021 7:27 pm

The problem with Malthusian roaches is that you can’t stomp on them because they are always just over the horizon, in a future that will always be inevitable… Kind of like Thanos… 😎

Nick Kilenyi
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 27, 2021 4:43 am

Remember the Paul Ehrlich/Julian Simon bet? Ehrlich lost it big time. He did pay up, though with very bad grace.

BTW Ehrlich means “truthful” or “honest” in German!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 27, 2021 12:05 pm

Actually, they will never be in trouble as long as the watermelons are in charge of government and media. I remember the times when media asked hard questions of government.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 28, 2021 9:31 am

That must have been a long time ago.

I remember when the media asked hard questions of Republicans. The Democrats, not so much.

In prior years the media was a little less confrontational towards Republicans than they are today. The media has always gone soft on Democrats because they agree with them politically.

The one exception was Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam war. The media wasn’t so much going after Johnson as they were going after the war, but Johnson was right in the middle of it, so couldn’t avoid some critcism even from the leftwing media.

Imo, that’s why Johnson decided not to run for a second term. He didn’t want more criticism, and it appears he was generally sick of conducting the war because it was ruining his popularity and he didn’t see any way out other than leaving office.

Gary Pearse
July 26, 2021 7:30 pm

Human ingenuity is our ‘resources’. The correct retrospective on the Club of R is to recognize this elephant fact. They brush against it but don’t recognize it

“fossil fuels (and other resources), had turned out to be more plentiful than assumed in the 1972 BAU scenario.”

No! It hadn’t just”turned out”, it was the unlocking of a ‘hopelessly’ intractable source of oil and gas by the brilliant marriage of two fledgling techs – horizontal drilling and fracking of superabundant hydrocarbon-bearing shales ~ a product of human ingenuity. The petri-dish model of linear thinking Malthusians blocks their ability to recognize the elephant in the room.

Briefly, other manifestations of ingenuity at work:

a) exploration and mining tech continues to evolve rapidly, producing minerals and metals in large quantities and at lower real costs per unit.
b) miniaturization continues to reduce the amount of materials used in products (in the 1960s, a computer was housed in a large air-conditioned room. Today, a 100gr cellphone has 100s of thousands times the computing power of the 60s calculator.)
c) substitution. We dont demand zinc. We demand non-corroding barn roofs, culverts, batteries etc.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 26, 2021 8:43 pm

And it won’t be too long before we can 3d print any food from plain old CHON*, which is probably available in abundance in comets. Our potential future is limited only by imagination and the laws of physics we haven’t worked out how to bypass yet.

(* Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen Nitrogen, from which all foods can potentially be made, with a few additional trace minerals.)

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 12:06 am

mmmmmm.. CHON..

M Courtney
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 12:44 am

Add some sulphur for protein and get some NOSCH.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 27, 2021 3:43 am

Hey, wait a minute!!! Heinlein said it was all going to be made from yeast in large vats! How could he have been wrong???

Richard Page
Reply to  Sara
July 27, 2021 5:41 am

Don’t think he was – isn’t that what Quorn is?

CD in Wisconsin
July 26, 2021 7:42 pm

“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.”


So let’s review here:

Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb in 1968. The coming Ice Age scare in the 1970’s. And now a total of 25 (going on 26) worthless COP(OUT) conferences to address on non-existent climate crisis. And plenty of other phony predictions and scares in between them all.

It is truly amazing how these false scares and predictions keep happening over and over again through the years and decades with no history of being correct. Yet they attract an army of believers every time a new one is produced.

All I can say is recall Einstein’s definition of insanity:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 26, 2021 8:01 pm

It seems like fear is more important than accuracy.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Scissor
July 27, 2021 12:09 pm

It pays better for politicians, bureaucrats, NGOs, academia, crony capitalists, etc.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 26, 2021 8:45 pm

And we can live perfectly well without the Amazon rainforests being ‘carbon’ sinks. Plankton is doing way more than trees anyway.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 27, 2021 3:44 am

All you have to do is shut off their access to electricity. And don’t restore it, period.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 28, 2021 9:50 am

“Yet they attract an army of believers every time a new one is produced.”

I think that’s raises the question of our time.

Many humans seem to be easily? misled/influenced. I put a question mark there because under our current situation the human population is being constantly bombarded with false realities of many flavors, from all sides, so maybe we live in unusual circumstances when it comes to mass influencing of the people. Maybe it’s not so easy unless there is a big effort made.

Then again, even with all the leftwing lies and propaganda flying around currently, the polls still show that many people are seeing through these distortions. The popularity of our leftwing political leaders is falling dramatically. In two months American sentiment has gone from 65 percent optimistic to 58 percent pessimistic. From majority optimistic to majority pessimistic since Biden took office. That’s quite a switch, but it reflects the reality people are seeing.

The People need to see through the whole radical Democrat lie, if we are to save ourselves from Democrat Delusions. As soon as possible.

July 26, 2021 7:49 pm

Wasn’t global cooling all the rage in 1972? Pretty hard to fit global warming into that scenario.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Art
July 27, 2021 4:57 am

No, no, no! You got that all wrong! The geophysicists who wrote about global cooling, had conferences about it and wrote to the president were in fact hoodwinked by those nasty oil companies; they knew!

The real climate scientists at the time knew better. Because they had models, no less!

Richard Page
Reply to  Art
July 27, 2021 5:44 am

Wait until sometime around 2050 – it’ll be making a comeback just about then!

Reply to  Art
July 28, 2021 6:40 am

That’s why they renamed their cult Climate Change: always on the money.

Walter Sobchak
July 26, 2021 8:15 pm

In other news, the devotes of the environmental religion are expecting that the predictions made by Thomas Malthus in his 1798 book “An Essay on the Principle of Population” are going to come true Real Soon Now.

These guys have been on a losing streak for 223 years. You just have to wonder how long it is going to take to get them to shut up and go home.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 26, 2021 8:48 pm

My prediction is that these same people (well, their descendants) will be wailing about the same things once we’ve filled the galaxy. Just about the time that we figure out how to get to neighbouring galaxies.

Prediction 2: Alien Xenomorph Lives Matter!

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 26, 2021 10:34 pm

I am not sure that Malthus made any prediction. His was a steady-state theory. Population keeps up with food supply.

Max More
Reply to  Mactoul
July 26, 2021 11:25 pm

No. Malthus thought that population would grow exponentially and food only linearly. Eventually population would crash until people could eat again. And so on. He wasn’t far off as a description of the past but failed utterly at projecting the future.

Reply to  Max More
August 6, 2021 1:37 am

Malthus also cited pestilence and war as controllers of population. Looks like he was right about those at least.

John Hultquist
July 26, 2021 8:34 pm

Gloom & Doom types remind me of chickens scratching in weeds for insects and seeds, or anything else they can eat. In this case blame.

Alistair Crooks
July 26, 2021 9:18 pm

I think you all miss the point here. Limits to Growth did not provide a prediction for “End of Civilization” but a TARGET for End of Civilization”. Yes, The Club of Rome (now called the Trilateral Commission) are still out there working towards their goal, and they are still on target!

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Alistair Crooks
July 26, 2021 9:41 pm

👍 Gaya Herrington and her ilk are the disease for which they purport to be the cure.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Alistair Crooks
July 27, 2021 12:32 am

Yes, but not all civilization. Their goal then and now was/is to crush the USA. They may be succeeding.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
July 27, 2021 10:38 am

If they predicted 2040 they might have been rather generous…

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 27, 2021 1:05 am

Perhaps her nickname is Red Herrington.

Geoff Sherrington
July 27, 2021 1:53 am

Please do not confuse the author’s name “Herrington” with mine “Sherrington”. There is a world of difference in that lone “S”. Briefly, I have no interest in Club of Rome fables unless it is to be sarcastic about their amateurism. Geoff S

July 27, 2021 2:26 am

The failures of Malthusian thought have been clear for decades now – just a quick example is Brazil’s incredibly efficient and increasingly productive agricultural output (and NO, without “killing the rainforest” no matter what Greta tells you), which shows that such catastrophic scenarios cannot be taken seriously.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ric
July 28, 2021 9:58 am

Even China’s population numbers are declining.

Affluence leads to smaller populations. Humans seem to be unconsciously reigning in the number of children they have depending on how well they are doing financially. It’s a trend all over the world.

If we want to deal with population numbers, the best way is to make everyone in the world affluent to a certain degree. There’s no downside that I can see.

July 27, 2021 3:10 am

These modern day Nostradamuses never factor in mankind’s ability to create technology and adapt. Doing more with less and doing things in a new way is not considered.

It’s why they will always fail.

July 27, 2021 3:33 am

We were supposed to run out of crude oil in 2010, according to one Doomsday TV movie – can’t remember the name of it, there were so many – and yet, well — we’re still pumping.

Has anyone squelched that methane gas firehole in Siberia yet? Anyone? Vlad?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Sara
July 27, 2021 11:02 pm

BBC tv Panorama c1970 had “experts” predicting that we’d run out of oil by around 2020, so we’d have to cut down on our lifestyles big time to survive!!! More fossil fuels now than ever before, result bigtime failure!!! With Brazil recently discovering the largest oil/gas field on Earth so far & that great Socialist eco-bunny lawyer Obama offering unlimited help to extract those resources from the good old US of A!!!

July 27, 2021 4:00 am

If you don’t know about, the Simon Aby um ndance Index is an interesting source of reality, versus doom-syaing predictions that are simply wrong in their ex anti and a priori presumptions before they start. The more people there are and the more their economies prisper, the cheaper and more plentiful the necessary resources become.

Counter intuitive but true, because we the more we need the more we look for and find, and also develop natural and synthetic replacemnts for, such a plastics for metal and glass, while the refinement of ores and the processes of manufacturing and recycling all improve with the wealth and technology generated by energy use.

REality trumps green delusion, every time.

Richard Page
Reply to  Brian R Catt
July 27, 2021 5:49 am

What the hell did you type that with? Were you wearing thick mittens or oven gloves? Any chance you could redo at least the first part, it’s barely legible.

July 27, 2021 4:35 am

what we need is?
limits to gullibility

Richard Page
Reply to  ozspeaksup
July 27, 2021 5:56 am

The Club of Rome is motivated by greed and self-interest, as are those who seek to profit by feeding on their leftovers. Limiting gullibility wouldn’t solve the problem, just make for fewer victims.

July 27, 2021 4:55 am

The update is wrong because CO2 is “neither a pollutant nor toxic but it is a greenhouse gas”.
Source: Former Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr. Alan Finkel in “Getting to Zero”,Quarterly Essay,No.81, April 2021.
So it is all down to what the greenhouse effect produces in temperature change over time and whether such change is significant and dangerous.
“Carbon pollution” is propaganda not science.

July 27, 2021 7:25 am

Seriously, these pathetic squashbubbles really need therapy, some kind of comfy room where they can chuck their cares right out the window and watch the clouds float by.

Just think, if they had their very own enclosed habitat, with no contact with “other”, or with the real world which is whizzing along in its orbit quite nicely, they could talk all they like, watch the clouds come and go, and have food served to them.

They really do need their own habitat. They are such a peculiar species all on their own that they need to be observed by Real Science People (from a distance, of course) and the rest of us can go about our business just fine without them.

July 27, 2021 8:05 am

A few years ago I did an update to a 2000 graph by an Australian researcher (Matthew Simmons) using data up to 2015. It actually doesn´t look so bad for a 50-year old prediction.
comment image

It is going to look much closer to the predictions in a few years considering the COVID pandemic effects. A lot of countries are going down the drain: Libano, Egypt, Tunnis, India.

Peak Oil took place in late 2018 (no longer in the future).
comment image

Peak Car took place in 2017.

These peaks took place before COVID. Recovery will not be possible. We are entering an affordability crisis as we keep adding 70 million people to the world every year. Adding more debt to pay for things will eventually stop working.

I know this comment will not be popular here, but I am data-bound and I tell things as I see them, regardless of ideology.

Reply to  Javier
July 27, 2021 8:48 am

Being “data-bound”, as you say, your own data (just eyeballing) says that “Non-renewable resources remaining” in 2015 were some 30% higher than predicted in 2000, “Food per capita” also higher than predicted, while “Global pollution” was 30% LOWER than predicted. Conveniently, all of the predicted peaking points postdate 2015 so the actual data, though trending very differently, still looks “in the same direction” at least with enough squinting and handwaving. No trace in the curves for Food, Services, Non-renewables of heading for a peak or even a major “dent” in the curve any time soon, just following the trajectory they already were on in 1970 or earlier. The slight underperformance in “Industrial output per capita” compared to the prediction can probably be blamed on the Ecofascist movement having massively hobbled European industry since the late 1970s (anti-nuclear and anti-“pollution” movements with subsequent over-regulation of industry resulting in reduced productivity and efficiency). Without this, not only the “Industrial” but also the “Non-renewables” curves would both be a few percents further up. The “peak oil” curve shows the Covid breakdown in Spring 2020, surely something transient rather than the beginning of a long and steady downslope: Despite the “best” efforts to continue locking down the ecomony, 1/3rd of the enforced 2020 reduction has already picked up, and at that tempo 2023 is already likely to be as high as, or higher than, 2018. “Peak car” is being orchestrated by anti-car laws (absurd “emission targets” to ruin the industry, efforts to replace workable ICE cars by useless battery-powered ones that nobody buys), so the curve again shows Ecofascism in action – a free-market car industry would continue to flourish, just as the oil industry wouldn’t have stopped flourishing in 2020 except for the anti-wealth and anti-human Covid interventions of “our” governments.

Reply to  AlexBerlin
July 27, 2021 1:37 pm

During the up-trend the peak keeps being postponed as many have noticed in these post comments. During the down-trend it is the recovery that will keep being postponed. Now it is 2023, then it will be 2024, 2025…

The truth is that the oil price required to increase production to the point it was by the end of 2018 cannot be supported by the world economy and constant decline has a heavy hand, so in a few years it will be imposible regardless of price. The oil reduction will have a perverse effect as it will affect some countries a lot and others very little, as the export market dries up.

Renewables have failed. The industrial civilization is starting its energy descent. We’ll just have to adapt.

The elites know this was coming, obviously. Hence the Agenda 2030 with its “by 2030 you’ll own nothing and be happy,” except that we are not going to be happy at all.

Reply to  Javier
July 27, 2021 7:37 pm

Every dip in oil consumption is proof that peak oil has FINALLY arrived.
Until the old records are surpassed as demand starts growing again.

July 27, 2021 9:03 am

How many end-of-world cults have people followed, predicting the end on this day, no that day, no the other day, and yet people keep following? How many “experts” have had their predictions go wrong over and over and over, yet people keep hanging on their every word? (i.e. Krugman)

We see this repeatedly. I’ve never understood it, but apparently that’s just how people are.

Won’t be any different here.

July 27, 2021 11:11 am

It’s always depressing to see resource econ illiteracy expressed in all directions from the “think tank” prediction to the targeted public and commented and interpreted by “journalists” with no training or education in the field.

July 27, 2021 11:15 am

It is illiteracy that keeps the scarcity message alive and profitable.

July 27, 2021 12:50 pm

One of my favorite web comics is xkcd. Today’s xkcd is about the way activists deal with stubborn reality that doesn’t behave according to their beautiful theories. link

Robert Alfred Taylor
July 27, 2021 4:25 pm

Recommend “Merchants of Despair” by Robert Zubrin. It’s old, but explicitly revelant.

Kevin kilty
July 27, 2021 4:39 pm

Bjørn Lomborg wrote a scathing critique of The Limits to Growth in 2013, which is well worth reading, which as far as I can tell applies equally to this remake.

Petr Beckmann wrote a critique that was not only scathing, but so darned funny, I had tears running down my face while reading it. Now, some of his humor won’t resonate with a modern, young audience because he speaks of things like a “stop card” in the Club of Rome similations deck, pertinent to the days of assembling a deck of punch cards to make the model run. Yet, the many points he raised in his book “Ecohysterics and the Technophobes” (1973) are surprisingly little changed from then. The fearmongering is sometimes updated slightly, but can’t be put away.

Michael S. Kelly
July 27, 2021 6:35 pm

“…the Club of Rome, a Swiss thinktank…”

Not to be outdone, the Club of Poughkeepsie, a Burkina Faso (neé Upper Volta) thinktank, went one better than the Club of Rome with its landmark 1975 tome “The Limits to Limits.”

Using the Functional Algorithm Programming (FAP) language, the Burkinabé researchers performed extensive simulations of the World. FAP is a mid-level, scripting, misinterpreted, object-ignorant language with ultra-doubleplus-doublespeak syntax, a kernel written in Super Mario Brothers, and the rest written in…well, Super Mario Brothers. It allows the programmer to simply diddle the keyboard at random, producing code which can ingest any amount of data and, without crashing, produce vast amounts of numbers having less than no relationship to reality (it’s a very popular language in the climate science community).

Years of non-stop FAP analysis (or “FAPping”, as the programmers like to call it) produced no usable results, so the Club of Poughkeepsie senior analysts locked themselves into a room, and set about thinking through the problem. Unfortunately, they hadn’t told anyone they were doing this, and didn’t have a key with them. Their remains were discovered some months later, along with the manuscript for the The Limits to Limits.

The document was presented to the world in a 1975 press conference. The presenter spoke the most obscure of the 59 Burkina Faso languages, so no one really knows what he said. Or who he was. Or if it was even really about The Limits to Limits.

But the document’s findings have been ably summarized by later scholars, and amount to this: The limits that humanity imposes on itself in order to avoid catastrophe will be limited by the limits humanity imposes on itself, so that, in effect, our best efforts to limit ourselves will be self-limiting, and lead to the unlimited, which is always catastrophic.

Now who can argue with that?

July 29, 2021 3:01 am

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

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