Abstract for: What Models Are Required To Understand Global Limits To Growth In The Next Two Decades?

The industrialized democracies will experience more change in the two decades, 2005-2025 than they did in the entire 20th century. The change will be driven in part by the exploding effects of physical limits to growth such as water scarcity, declining availability of fossil fuels, climate change, and soil erosion. These changes will confront society with an enormous challenge - finding ways that information about longer-term problems can be presented so that it has a constructive impact on political and corporate leaders, who typically have very short-term perspectives. There will be a new set of dynamic questions to explore. For example, how can an society continue to satisfy the needs of its people while experiencing an aging population and declining labor force? How can an economy adapt to rising energy prices without reducing the well-being of its citizens? How can research on temperature-tolerant food species be introduced into the agricultural system without disrupting existing food chains? Dennis Meadows will list several of the important limits, give data on their current and likely future impact, and describe some of the system dynamics modeling opportunities they will afford.