其实，早在36年前，罗马俱乐部在其发布的报告《增长的极限》（The Limits to Growth）中就提及这个问题。 他们提出“如果在世界人口、工业化、污染、粮食生产和资源消耗方面现在的趋势继续下去，这个行星上增长的极限有朝一日将在今后100年中发生。”自《增长的极限》发表以来，世界人口增加了近30亿，而资源消耗仍在增加，主要污染物的排放数量已接近或超过了环境自净能力，期间虽然提出了要走可持续发展道路的呼吁并进行了一定范围的实践，但是行动的力度和规模却未能扭转我们发展道路上的被动局面，以“大量生产、大量消费、大量废弃”为显著特征的工业文明发展模式依然盛行，罗马俱乐部所讲的增长的极限有可能在我们大多数人的有生之年就会到来。因此，从这个角度看，传统增长方式的有极性日趋明了。
To Exceed the Limits to Growth
By Jia Feng
Longing for growth is a doubtless common understanding no matter for developed or developing countries. The former is intending to further strengthen the happiness of people, but the latter is aiming to relieve poverty and let people to live a decent life.
However, the supporting ability of those resources maintaining the present economic growth such as oil, natural gas, etc., global environmental capacity and eco-systems’ service of the earth are limited. As the economic scale of the world is getting larger, this limit is more obvious. At the end of June, the oil price reached a historical high of 143$/b. Though the devaluated dollar, unstable geo-situation and “gamblers” making waves, etc. are likely raising the oil price higher, but a fact can not be ignored is that we are entering into a times with the oil supply and demand not in-phase, which is the right main reason for high oil price.
On the other hand, as the phenomenon of ice melting, sea level’s up, climate abnormity, more droughts and flooding are getting serious, so that it threatened human’s survive. What is more is that CO2 and other GHGs will reach 883 PPM if the world’s economy and population growth keeping on relying on fossil energy according to IPCC’s forecasting model, and then the average temperature of the earth will be 4 0 C higher. This will bring eco-disaster on the ecology, economy and society of the world.
How can we solve these difficulties as below when faced with these limits?
First of all, the energy consumption of OECD countries accounting for only 15% of the world population is not obviously declining, they consumed more than half of the global recourses; but in developing countries, though with a lower average energy consuming, they are following the developed countries’ footstep in order to get rid of poverty. Looking from the globe, many countries and businesses are realizing the necessity of developing renewable energy and low carbon economy, but the practice is not very good in both political will and investing scale as well as R&D.
In this way, with the limits mentioned above overlapped each other, the growth we used to pursue seems coming to an end.
In fact, as early as 36 years ago, this problem was mentioned in “The Limits to Growth” issued by Roman Club. They said that “This limit of growth will appear someday in 100 years to come if the momentum of present population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resources consuming went on.” Since the publication of The Limits to Growth, the world’ population increased by 3 billion, at the same time resources consuming is going up, too; the quantity of main pollutants emission is close to or over the capacity of self-clearing. Although during this time there were some calling for sustainable approach and certain range of practices, the tense and arrange of the action did not turn the passiveness. The industrial developing way with the characteristics of “massive production, consumption and disposal” is now still prevailing, The Limits to Growth may come to truth in lifetime for most of us. So from this angle it is getting more obvious that the traditional growth model does have limit.
However, we also noticed gladly that China has started an unprecedented reform, namely to adjust industrial construction from the aspect of energy saving and pollution reduction, to speed up development of renewable energy and low carbon economy in order to surpass the industrial civilization development model formed in the past 200 years, to create and use a new eco-civilization model on the base of resource supply ability and environmental loading of the earth. Chinese efforts are appreciated by the world, yet the success of China relies to large extent the understanding and support of other countries, especially the developed ones.
All in all, the limit of growth is in relative to the traditional economic model; if by using the sustainable model and implementing low carbon economy, then the limit of growth will disappear, or we will certainly go beyond growth. Some research explains that this growth is synchronous and crossing the South and the North, also a common pursuing for different countries in different developing stages as well. The faster we do, the larger the possibility will be for us to break through the limit.