In 1972, the Club of Rome commissioned a report – The Limits to Growth – to look at the interconnected issues and complex problems faced by humanity. The findings showed that if growth trends continued, we would overshoot the carrying capacity of the Earth, but this could be avoided with the implementation of forward-looking policies. The model behind the study – World3 – has been shown to be remarkably accurate and has undergone a number of developments.
For 50 years, since The Limits to Growth report and the 1972 UN Stockholm summit, the world has ignored the risk of system collapse.
In 2020, Earth4All brought together scientists, economic thinkers, and communicators to explore how we could accelerate the systems-change needed to achieve wellbeing for all on a finite planet.
Combining the best available science with new economic thinking, the teams worked together to explore and develop bold proposals for the 21st century.
Our analysis focuses on three deeply intertwined systems: economy, society and ecology. It is grounded in systems thinking, a branch of science whose tools help us understand complexity, feedback loops, tipping points and exponential impacts.
Our findings show the minimum actions we need to take now – 5 extraordinary turnarounds for poverty, inequality, empowerment, food and energy – to achieve wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries.
Earth4All uses models to show how different policies are likely to affect human wellbeing, societies and ecosystems in the short and long-term. Our modelling looks at the quantitative and causal interactions between environmental variables and socio-economic variables, such as investments, energy use, taxes, savings, education, inequality and social trust.
The main purpose of using the models is to answer questions like: What happens if societies adopt policies to redistribute wealth more fairly? What happens if policies to empower women are adopted? Or, what happens to our Earth if we turn around our energy system?
The great strength of models lies in answering the questions on the scale they were built for. Therefore, we rely on different models for our work:
Discover who is part of the Earth4All modelling team.
Read the Earth4All model methodological note.
Explore the global model.
The Transformational Economics Commission is made up of economists and economic thinkers from across the globe. They contributed to the Earth4All model by bringing forward new economic ideas whose long-term impact on people, economies, nature and the planet was tested by the model. Members of the Transformational Economics Commissions also critiqued and challenged the model’s outputs. Today, they contribute regularly to the Earth4All initiative by developing thought-provoking papers called “Earth4All deep-dives”, exploring new paradigms for our economic and societal operating systems.
Who is part of the Transformational Economics Commission
Read the Earth4All deep dives