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Beyond the Limits to Growth

Beyond the Limits to Growth

Richard Heinberg

July 28, 2010

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In 1972, the now-classic book Limits to Growth explored the consequences for Earth’s ecosystems of exponential growth in population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. That book, which still stands as the best-selling environmental title ever published, reported on the first attempts to use computers to model the likely interactions between trends in resources, consumption, and population. It summarized the first major scientific study to question the assumption that economic growth can and will continue more or less uninterrupted into the foreseeable future.

The underlying premise of that book is irrefutable: At some point in time, humanity’s ever-increasing resource consumption will meet the very real limits of a planet with finite natural resources.

We, the authors of The Post Carbon Reader, believe that time has come…

This is a chapter from The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (2010).