Limits to Growth +50
Can economies keep growing indefinitely on a finite planet?
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 and environmental crises. 10 June 2022 in Oslo’s Litteraturhuset.
It is now 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 that proclaimed salvation through technology, and from environmental justice advocates, who saw it as way of diverting blame for ecological problems from the rich and powerful to the poor and marginalized. However, the thesis of limits has resurged with strength over recent years around notions like planetary boundaries, doughnut economics, and degrowth. It is also gaining new 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 International and the European Society for Ecological Economics organizes a seminar to discuss the implications of limits in the face of accelerating climate crises.
- Jørgen Randers, co-author of Limits to Growth, and Professor Emeritus of Climate Strategy at the BI Norwegian Business School.
- Tone Smith, Board Member of the European Society for Ecological Economics, Rethinking Economics Norway and
WU Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria)
- Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian Minister of Climate and the Environment
- Sofie Marhaug, Representative for Hordaland, Red Party, Parliament of Norway (Stortinget)
- Lyla Mehta, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (UK) and Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
- Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Professor of Environmental Governance, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and President-elect of International Society for Ecological Economics