Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” as Want to Read:
2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Forty years ago, The Limits to Growth study addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth. It predicted that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse"-or through well-managed "peak and decline."

So, where a
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 13th 2012 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published May 25th 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  286 ratings  ·  42 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
Defintely don't have kids. Get solar panels instead. ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
"2052" comes from a powerful emotional concept: imagine that you were a graduate student, working on the first computer models to project what the future of the world might be like, and you found some in which humanity came to a stable future, and some in which it collapsed. Imagine you then worked the rest of your life on bringing about more positive futures, but found to your horror that your efforts were largely in vain, and that the future developing was the future in which little was done t ...more
Sharman Russell
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book can seem strangely optimistic given that the author believes we won't stop climate change in time to prevent escalating disasters and climate feedback loops in the second half of this century. But--up until 2052, things won't be so bad. I like the fact that Rander's predictions are not based on the idea that governments and people will do what is right. He is just following certain trends. Also, people will do what makes economic sense in the short term. By 2052, we will have doubled r ...more
In my Independent Study on the works and thought of Derrick Jensen last year, we imagined the utility of an "Intergovernmental Panel on Global Collapse," a group that could use models and environmental and economic data to form a set of rough constraints and scenarios about the path industrial civilization could take. Collapse theorists like Aric McBay and John Michael Greer offer their near-certain prognosis that "collapse" is either with us now or on the near horizon.

However, for lack of data
Sep 04, 2012 marked it as to-read
The author was one of the researchers for the alarm-bell-ringing "Limits to Growth" 40 years ago, so now he takes another whack at extrapolation for the next 40 years. Wow - what a long retrospective!

The introduction spells out his approach: governments simply will not move quickly enough to avert the coming disasters in climate change and overpopulation, but the best reaction to this realization is to mourn the loss of what could have been and then work to rebuild expectations and sustainabilit
Elinor Hurst
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book took me a while to read, because it was dense with information. It is based on a model similar to that used by the Limits To Growth forecasters (of which Jorgen Randers is one), but updated to include current data and focused on what the author assesses to be the most likely scenario over the next forty years. What is often not well understood about LTG is that it was a scenario analysis rather than a forecast; the idea was to analyse the impact of various social behaviours and decisio ...more
Ben Jackson
The book has "glimpses" from different authors, outlining what they think will happen in the future of their area of expertise to 2052. These are very interesting - the book could have just collated these with minimal commentary.

The rest isn't quite as good. I also don't know how much faith to put in his model (built in Excel) which always seems to indicate that the big disasters will happen just outside the 2052 timeframe.
Eric Dennis
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
c1 worrying about the future
c2 five big issues toward 2052
the sustainability revolution
five central issues involving system change
end of capitalism
end of eco growth
end of slow democracy
end of generational harmony
end of stable climate

p2-my global forecast
c3 the logic behind forecast
the guiding star/ broad brush picture/ my story/ deterministic

back bone/linear presentation of circular maze
c4 population and consumption to 2052
investment will be more than consumed goods,
Soren Molander
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fact-books
This is probably one of the most sobering books I have read about the future of the Planet. Unlike the original book The Limits of Growth from 1973 - scenario forecasting -, this attempts at trend forecasting using a wealth of data that wasn't available when the original book was written. For me the most important lessons is that is that the overshoot is already here, markets and politics will remain short term, more of us will live in congested cities and there will probably be 2 billion people ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Jorgen Randers extends the trends to make predictions about the future.

Most of it was pretty predictable, and non-radical. There is still a stock market, a free market econonmy will still be the goal of humanity, money is still the measure of all things, and solar PV panels will go forth and multiply on earth.

His predictions may well come to be true in the short term (more of the same, just worse), but he makes no effort to predict the future when things begin to unravel - politically, economic
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent continuation of the work started in Limits to Growth. Randers was part of the original team that wrote Limits to Growth. The only problem is that he has to issue many caveats as to how global warming will affect his extrapolations. While the forecasts in Limits to Growth have proven remarkably accurate, recent global warming studies are showing that it is progressing much faster than predicted, so the worst case scenarios Randers envisions are likely not dire enough.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Without giving too much away, make it your short term plan to read this book (i.e. don't wait forty years). Then, switch to long term thinking and convince others to do likewise. And yes, the revolution is coming. ...more
Anthony Decaro
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although I did not enjoy nor appreciate much of Randers insights on our future, the snippets of stories selected by the author were fantastic. Each short story provides predictions about what our future environment and economy will resemble. Very interesting and concerning at the same time.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Did not go into that much depth
Space Goat
Sep 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
The book starts with a noble cause -- to make a not-over-optimistic estimation of things that could happen in the context of climate change between 2012 and 2052.
It aims for the stars and lands in the bushes.
While the writing contains some useful factoids, they're burried in fluff, and there are more to-the-point reads on the same matters.
While it might be a useful start to people who are 100% new to the interconnectedness of the world, and climate change in general... despite it's 'multidiscipl
Will Bell
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its a fun read, its quite thought provoking if not a little repetitive and it has some wonderful contributions. In 2019 it is starting to show its age which is to be expected but is still remarkably relevant. I think it might have benefited from more diverse perspectives in the "glimpses" which were the expert views given throughout the book. The people who contributed to these were of fairly similar backgrounds and perspectives to the author. I believe at least a third of them were from Scandin ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good and clear analysis of what the future might have in store. Even though it was published in 2012, a lot of the information in this book still stands. There are moments where I realised how much has changed since 2012 (mainly centred around the current political divide, the politicalization of the current climate debare etc), and the current pandemic will obviously also influence the predictions made in this book, but the main point of reasoning still stands. I like the little ...more
John Carmichael
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author came to my attention because of a critique for his first attempt at projecting the future some forty years ago. But in this book I found an honest, concerned individual doing his best by using his skills to project the next forty for anyone might having an interest. He did not seem to be grandstanding in the least and sought other expert opinions as well.

I read the Kindle version but have asked for a gift of the hard copy just to have on my bookshelf.
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The key takeaway is that the author predicts that China will have a per capita GDP or 3/4 of that of United States, and reach the same level of other developed countries on 2052

Reading this book due to being curious about my own life choice. Four stars due to being too succinct, and incomplete, in the predictions. I was expecting the author talking about countries such as US and China for 40 pages, not 4 pages.
Hamilton Carvalho
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sound description of what lies ahead. Most people don't get how inertia makes the trajectories of social systems discernible over long stretches of time. The book is alarming, but not enough to move media and political cogs to prevent the upcoming (in decades) collapse. A must-read. ...more
Beginner's Luck
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book is a very realistic and yet optimistic about the future of the earth. I can't forget, after 5 years of reading the book, the chapter teaching the reader how to live with the losses, that we will inevitably witness in our lifetime.. and most of all, what to tell our children.. ...more
Ch Nasir
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good contribution, but from a hasty small-sized, innovative established economies e.g EU/Nordic, with a fast paced need to invent. Norway has to seriously reform everything before 2050 or have 80k people unemployed for periods.
Georg Hohbach
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very comprehensive book with lots of information that is not really uplifting as the author describes how politics continuous to fail to solve the environmental crisis by ignoring huge problems.
Glenn Mar
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would rate this a "must read" for anyone interested in the future. It is well-written and set out.
The author's name may not ring a bell, but perhaps you have heard of, or even read "The Limits to Growth" by the Club of Rome (1972). Jorgon Randers was part of the team for that book and this book written for the fortieth anniversary of "Limits" as the title says forecasts for now + 40 (from 2012 = 2052).
Randers comes across as a very competent computer modeller and his forecasts have an air of r
Aden Date
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This book fills a valuable niche in the raft of books on climate change and dynamic systems in that it tries to offer a predictive account, rather than one that includes comforting ideas of what our "collective humanity," can "choose." The entire premise is an exercise in powerlessness, but as the author himself states, "the first step down the road is... to obtain a precise description of the future... then to accept it."

The book uses a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data to justify it
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
The author was part of the team behind the ground breaking classic The Limits to Growth, which I am greatly impressed with. This is his personal forecast of the near future to 2052, an update of LTG of sorts based solely on his own assumptions framed by experience over the last few decades.

While Meadows, lead author of the original work continues to believe in the predictions in the LTG model, that we will face collapse in almost all scenarios by mid 21st century, Randers takes a more sanguine v
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
I had been looking forward to reading this title for a long time but when I finally got around to it I had rather mixed feelings. One can certain laud Randers' attempt to use computational models to build a rigorous, internally consistent approach to building his forecast. On top of that, this material is essentially "open source" and can be found here: Nonetheless, I could not help but think that a number of things missed the mark widely. The possibility of permafrost thawing and rot ...more
Olavo Soares
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I must confess that I've read this book in a rather superficial way. That been said, I feel this huge bulk of information has a strong left-wing bias. Expressions like a "benevolent dictator" (is there such a thing?) are frequent in the text, and the author is somewhat skeptical about democracy as a way to find solutions for future challenges, which is definitely not my political point of view.

One of the main points of this book is that problems created by climate change will play a key role in
Sep 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: peak-oil
In a nutshell, a disappointment from the co-author of the three famous “Limits to Growth” books.

Instead of a dynamic model with dependencies – a stupid spreadsheet, like those used in “Business Plan for Dummies” series. Type any number you want, and get any answer you want. Coal production at 5 btoe per year? No probs. Limit population growth to 8.05 bln? Easy. Food production at 5.2 t/ha in the “Rest of the world” category? Yeah, right. Most important, the prediction graphs are conveniently cro
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I plan to use this as a basic text for an advanced high school social science course called "Global Futures". Randers makes a rational and convincing argument which he repeatedly explains and reinforces throughout the book. Futurology is not a hard science, but Randers is able to ground his argument in economic factors and environmental data while demonstrating their possible relation to history and to future political, social, and cultural factors. I especially enjoyed the provocative "glimpses ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
  • Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen (Aber wissen sollten)
  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
  • Lie With Me
  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
  • Suitcase of Dreams
  • Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  • Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)
  • A California Story
  • How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
  • And the Weak Suffer What They Must?  Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future
  • Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society
  • How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System
  • Factotum
  • Dust to Dust (Deconstruction #1)
  • Die Physiker
  • Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Climbing Performance
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Related Articles

It's June, which means it's time to celebrate Pride month in honor of the LGBTQ+ community! This year, we wanted to highlight the...
256 likes · 47 comments
“slow decision making will expose us to damage before we obtain the answer from delayed investments in new solutions.” 0 likes
“At a private lunch when I recently asked one of the world’s highest-ranking international diplomats what, among all the possible scenarios for Pakistan, was the most positive vision she held, everyone around the table laughed nervously. This diplomat was surprisingly honest. She admitted that she had not one positive vision for Pakistan. She was candid about a view that leaders widely hold but seldom acknowledge: humanity is on a slippery slope of resource depletion. It is unlikely leaders can do anything about it. Hence, their job is to make sure their people will lose last. This means securing for their people enough resources from the globe’s diminishing resource pie to ensure that their nation will float even if others sink. From this vantage point, money shields a population from losing first. Leaders beholden to this view therefore embrace even more vigorously GDP growth as their key objective; the financial advantage will allow their constituency to stay just a bit further ahead of the others in the resource race to 2052.” 0 likes
More quotes…