The Limits to Constraint
THE SOURCE: “Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now” by Bjorn Lomborg, in Foreign Affairs, July–Aug. 2012.
Forty years ago, it would have been impossible to escape The Limits to Growth (1972). The report, issued by the Club of Rome, an international group of world leaders in business, government, and academia, argued that the depletion of economic, social, and environmental resources would lead the world economic system to collapse around 2010. That frighteningly persuasive vision helped the book sell more than 12 million copies in dozens of languages.
Now that the world is safely past its predicted expiration date, it’s clear the authors got the story “spectacularly wrong,” writes Bjorn Lomborg, the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001). Yet its influence abides. The book, Lomborg writes, “helped send the world down a path of worrying obsessively about misguided remedies for minor problems while ignoring much greater concerns and sensible ways of dealing with them.”
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