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Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9864-9889; doi:10.3390/su7089864

Understanding Global Systems Today—A Calibration of the World3-03 Model between 1995 and 2012

1
Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
2
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University, 67 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
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Abstract

In 1972 the Limits to Growth report was published. It used the World3 model to better understand the dynamics of global systems and their relationship to finite resource availability, land use, and persistent pollution accumulation. The trends of resource depletion and degradation of physical systems which were identified by Limits to Growth have continued. Although World3 forecast scenarios are based on key measures and assumptions that cannot be easily assessed using available data (i.e., non-renewable resources, persistent pollution), the dynamics of growth components of the model can be compared with publicly available global data trends. Based on Scenario 2 of the Limits to Growth study, we present a calibration of the updated World3-03 model using historical data from 1995 to 2012 to better understand the dynamics of today’s economic and resource system. Given that accurate data on physical limits does not currently exist, the dynamics of overshoot to global limits are not assessed. In this paper we offer a new interpretation of the parametrisation of World3-03 using these data to explore how its assumptions on global dynamics, environmental footprints and responses have changed over the past 40 years. The results show that human society has invested more to abate persistent pollution, to increase food productivity and have a more productive service sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: systems dynamics; World3; natural resources; limits to growth; footprint systems dynamics; World3; natural resources; limits to growth; footprint
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pasqualino, R.; Jones, A.W.; Monasterolo, I.; Phillips, A. Understanding Global Systems Today—A Calibration of the World3-03 Model between 1995 and 2012. Sustainability 2015, 7, 9864-9889.

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