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The Power of Mind — Report on the Club of Rome Annual Conference in Bucharest


Forty years after publishing its first Report on The Limits to Growth, the Club of Rome held the 2012 Annual Conference on October 1-2, 2012, in Bucharest, Romania, where it brought together some of the world’s thought leaders to debate the most pressing challenges of our time.

In 1972, The Limits to Growth commanded critical attention and sparked debate around the world about the future of humanity. It pointed out that exceeding our global capacities for resource use and emissions would place significant limits on global economic development in the 21st century.

On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Report, two of its original authors, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers, commented on the development and progress over the last 40 years — and took a critical look into the future of our planet. Meadows stressed the inconvenient realization that humanity has entered the uncharted territory of “overshoot” and therefore “lost the option of a sustainable future”. Randers presented the findings of the newest Report to the Club of Rome 2052 — A Global Forecast for the next forty years and raised the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continued on its path of over-consumption and short-termism. Participants recognized the urgent necessity of measures to increase resilience and adaptation.

A working group on New Economy discussed a background paper by Ian Johnson and Garry Jacobs on the prospects for achieving radical and profound reform of the economic system to meet the challenges of the future. Parallel sessions explored the need for a change in humanity’s value system and sustainable pathways for future energy supply. The Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mr. Mugur Isărescu, called for reform of the International Banking System. Mircea Malitza’s reflected on his earlier Report to the Club on education, No Limits to Learning.

The Annual Assembly elected Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Germany), Co-Chair, International Panel on Sustainable Resource Use, and Anders Wijkman (Sweden), former member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chairman of the Tällberg Foundation as new Co-Presidents of the Club, and Roberto Peccei as Vice-President of the Club. All three are also Fellows of the World Academy of Art & Science.