I thought for a long time, that the result of the study “The Limits to Growth” by the “Club of Rome” are clearly disproved. But then I investigated a little bit and found that it doesn’t seem to be the case. This worries me a lot, as the model (World3) they use predicts a collapse of society around 2030-2050.
Serious critisism to the study seems to be:
- The model is very sensitive to initial starting values. No sensitivity analysis of the model has been done.
- The model only includes a single limited natural resource. This does not incorporate the possibility that a limited resource like oil can be substituted by another less limited resource.
However I found studies investigating the sensitivity of the model (see links below), so point one is clearly not true. What I’m missing is a similar thing like in weather forecast there they show the temperature mean and the variance. So instead o showing only the mean value in all the plots, the investigators of the world3 model sould also show the variance of the outcome .
- The input data for the model is choosen, so that it fits to the predictions of the model in the past.
The model only shows the global means, like a global mean temperature.
- Dennis Meadows: Erhalt überkommener Industrien: german newspaper article
- Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
- World3 model used in Limits to Growth
- Graham Turner: A Comparison of the Limits to Growth with 30 Years of Reality : Very frightening, it seems like the World3 model is basically correct!!
- Google Scholar: Meadows
- Sensitivity analysis
- Active nonlinear tests (ANTs) of complex simulation models
- Statistical screening of system dynamics model
- Google Scholar: sensitivity limits of growth
- Google Scholar: sensitivity analysis world3