Abstract for: Looking to the Future with 2020 Hindsight: Was the Limits to Growth Right?

The Limits to Growth book appeared in 1972 and presented 12 scenarios for global development to the year 2100 – some portraying “global collapse”. What did Limits actually say about the future? What has happened since? And what is likely to happen towards 2050? This paper shows that the world has evolved inside the envelope of Limits scenarios, and is likely to continue to do so until 2050. The world has chosen a path that resembles the “pollution crisis” scenario in Limits. But the chosen path will not lead to global collapse in population or GDP. Instead there will be collapse in general wellbeing, as the world gets increasingly warmer because humanity continuous to postpone strong action on climate change.