The 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years

The 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years


A recent report challenges mankind’s ability to survive without a major change in direction

(Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 8th.): The 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years report by Jørgen Randers, launched by the Club of Rome on May 7TH., raises the possibility that mankind might not survive on the planet if it persists on its path of overconsumption and short-termism.  

Jørgen Randers, the author of the report, raises some essential questions: how many people will the planet be able to hold? Will the blind belief in perpetual growth crumble? Will uncontrolled climate change take hold? At which point will quality of life improve, and where will it deteriorate? Based on meticulous research and the contributions of thirty field experts, Randers reaches the following conclusions:

  • Although humankind’s adaptation process to the planet’s limitations has already started, the human response could be way too slow. 
  • The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten emerging economies (referred to as “BRIZE” in the report), will progress.
  • However, in 2052 there will still be 3 billion poor people across the world.
  • China’s ability to act will ensure the country’s success.
  • The world’s population will reach a turning point by 2042 owing to the decline of birth rate in urban areas.
  • The global GDP will grow slower than expected, due to the slowdown in productivity growth in mature economies.
  • CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause a 2°C increase in temperature in 2052. In 2080, the increase will reach 2.8C, which could well trigger climate change feedback. 

According to the report, the main cause of future problems will be the excessive shorttermism of the predominant political and economic models. “We need a governance system capable of a greater breadth of vision”, says Professor Randers in a lecture in Rotterdam. “In the current framework, it is unlikely that governments will pass the necessary regulations to force the markets to allocate more funds to environment-friendly solutions, and we cannot assume that markets will work towards the benefit of humankind”. 

We already live in a manner that cannot be sustained for future generations unless we make major changes. Humanity has far exceeded the planet’s limitations, and in some cases we will witness the collapse of local resources before 2052. We must bear in mind that yearly emissions of greenhouse gas effects are already twice as much as the absorption capacity of the world’s forests and oceans”. 

The launch of the report was organized by the Club of Rome, a think-tank that focuses on promoting debate to achieve a sustainable future. The Club of Rome builds on its tradition to support the efforts of those who raise substantive questions and promote far-sighted solutions. The launch takes place on the eve of the WWF (World WildLife Fund) international meeting.  

Published in the run-up to the Rio summit, 2052: a global forecast for the next forty years (published in the US by Chelsea Green) probes into the issues that were first raised in The Limits To Growth, the original report presented to the Club of Rome forty years ago. This earlier report of which Randers was a co-author, had an enormous impact by questioning the ideal of perpetual growth. 

Commenting on the findings of 2052, Ian Johnson, Secretary General of the Club of Rome, said: “Professor Randers’ analysis of the world’s scenario within forty years has shown that nonchalance is not an option if we want our grandchildren to live in a sustainable and equitable planet. It took forty years before the full message of The Limits to Growth could be clearly understood. We cannot afford wasting any more time”. 


The launch of 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years is part of a broader 18-month campaign with the motto 2052: the world in 40 years, with which the Club of Rome aims at promoting ideas to contribute to a sustainable world on the basis of the Limits to Growth report.


Professor Jørgen works on climate issues and scenario analysis at the BI Norwegian Business School, and lectures about sustainable development and climate in many countries across the world. He is a non-executive member of different corporate board of directors, and is the author of numerous books and scientific papers. 

Download words of Jørgen Randers here

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