Abstract for: Global Models from Malthus to C-Roads and Beyond

The World’s economy and environment are complex dynamical systems driven by multiple feedback processes, accumulations, time delays and nonlinearities, but research shows that poor understanding of these processes is widespread, even among highly educated people with strong technical backgrounds. Modelers from Malthus to the Club of Rome team to contemporary teams around the world have used dynamic simulations and analysis to address this challenge, arguably with only modest positive results. Indeed, dominant reactions include denial, resignation, and despair. And yet interactive use of a fast-running, decision-maker-oriented System Dynamics models C-ROADS and En-ROADS have shown some progress in helping build understanding and action. Here we describe the history of global models and then share our team’s most recent learning and future plans using these global climate and energy simulations to help keep human society within Earth’s carrying capacity.