On the 50th anniversary of the publication of Limits to Growth, co-author of the iconic report, Jørgen Randers joins an expert panel to discuss its implications in the face of accelerating climate crises. 10 June 2022 in Oslo’s Litteraturhuset.
In 2022, it will be fifty years since the Club of Rome published the report Limits to Growth, triggering an earthquake in policy and academia. At its basics, the thesis of limits is straightforward: material growth cannot continue forever in a finite planet, hence deep transformations are needed in our growth-based economies to avoid climate breakdown.
The practical implications of limits have, however, generated heated and enduring debates. Environmental scientists warn about catastrophic effects of crossing tipping points; economists claim that technological innovation and resource substitution make limits of little practical relevance (a vision shared by many politicians and business representatives), whilst critical social scientists claim that discourses on limits tend to serve elite agendas.
Reaching its splendour in the 1970s, the thesis of limits declined during the 1980s and 1990s under criticism from ecological modernists and environmental justice advocates in the global South, who saw it as way of diverting blame for ecological problems from the rich and powerful to the poor. However, the thesis of limits has resurged with strength over recent years around notions of planetary boundaries, doughnut economics and degrowth. It is gaining traction as international science-policy bodies such as the United Nations Climate and Biodiversity panels call for transformative changes in economic and financial systems.
Coinciding with the 50th year anniversary of Limits to Growth, NMBU’s Sustainability Arena ‘Embedding planetary boundaries in science, policy and education’ in collaboration with the Political Ecology Forum and the European Society for Ecological Economics organizes a seminar to discuss the implications of limits in the face of accelerating climate crises.