2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years is a 2012 book describing trends in global development. It is written by Jørgen Randers and is a follow-up to The Limits to Growth, which in 1972 was the first worldwide report by the Club of Rome.
It differs in three ways from the previous report. First, it does not describe an impending disaster scenario, but shows only trends. Secondly, it is to be read in the light of experience since 1972, namely, that all of humanity has responded to the report, but with a delay of 20 to 40 years. Thirdly, it offers not only future scenarios, it makes concrete proposals on how the individual should respond to emerging developments.
Randers repeatedly points out that he does not want to predict specific events, only general trends.
Predictions about the future are always difficult to make. However, we can engage in a game of scenario building and try to see at least what kind of alternatives we might be facing. Jorgen Randers described a detailed four-decade scenario in his book2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, in which he describes the possible evolution of a world squeezed between climate change and mineral depletion. Randers’s conclusions are that the change may be gradual and involve some degree of adaptation but that, overall, we’ll fail to react decisively and effectively against the tremendous difficulties we’ll face in terms of climate change, overpopulation, and resource depletion. Randers’s work is just an illustration of the many ways of seeing the future. Such attempts at predicting the future are fraught with difficulty, but they can be worthwhile if we don’t attempt to make detailed predictions. Long-term trends, on the other hand, can be identified and analyzed.