Club of Rome
|Founded||1968 by Aurelio Peccei and Alexander King
Co- Presidents: Anders Wijkman and Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
New Secretary General: Ian Johnson
Retiring Secretary General: Martin Lees
|Fields||Climate Change, Future studies, Humanitarian challenges
Current focus: New Path for World Development
The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues. Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the Club of Rome describes itself as "a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity." It consists of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders from around the globe. It raised considerable public attention in 1972 with its report The Limits to Growth. The club states that its mission is "to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public." Since 1 July 2008, the organization has its headquarters in Winterthur, Switzerland.
The Club of Rome was founded in April 1968 by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, a Scottish scientist. It was formed when a small international group of people from the fields of academia, civil society, diplomacy, and industry, met at a villa in Rome, hence the name.
The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth, which has sold 12 million copies in more than 30 translations, making it the best-selling environmental book in world history. Published in 1972 and presented for the first time at the International Students' Committee (ISC) annual Management Symposium in St. Gallen, Switzerland, it predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. The 1973 oil crisis increased public concern about this problem. However, even before Limits to Growth was published, Eduard Pestel and Mihajlo Mesarovic of Case Western Reserve University had begun work on a far more elaborate model (it distinguished ten world regions and involved 200,000 equations compared with 1000 in the Meadows model). The research had the full support of the Club and the final publication, Mankind at the Turning Point was accepted as the official Second Report to the Club of Rome in 1974. In addition to providing a more refined regional breakdown, Pestel and Mesarovic had succeeded in integrating social as well as technical data. The Second Report revised the predictions of the original Limits to Growth and gave a more optimistic prognosis for the future of the environment, noting that many of the factors were within human control and therefore that environmental and economic catastrophe were preventable or avoidable, hence the title.
In 1991, the Club published The First Global Revolution. It analyses the problems of humanity, calling these collectively or in essence the 'problematique'. It notes (laments) that, historically, social or political unity has commonly been motivated by enemies in common: "The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor. Some states have striven to overcome domestic failure and internal contradictions by blaming external enemies. The ploy of finding a scapegoat is as old as mankind itself - when things become too difficult at home, divert attention to adventure abroad. Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one, or else one invented for the purpose. With the disappearance of the traditional enemy, the temptation is to use religious or ethnic minorities as scapegoats, especially those whose differences from the majority are disturbing." "Every state has been so used to classifying its neighbours as friend or foe, that the sudden absence of traditional adversaries has left governments and public opinion with a great void to fill. New enemies have to be identified, new strategies imagined, and new weapons devised." "In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself."
A study by Graham Turner of the research organisation CSIRO in Australia in 2008 found that "30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the ‘‘standard run’’ scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century."
According to its website, the Club of Rome is composed of "scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies."
The club has two co-presidents, Anders Wijkman (Sweden) and Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Germany), and one vice-president, Dr. Roberto Peccei. The secretary-general is currently Ian Johnson, of England. He is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the club at its headquarters in Winterthur, Switzerland. Other active members include:Ugo Bardi, Benjamin Bassin, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Juan Luis Cebrian, Orio Giarini, Talat Halman, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Javier Solana, Mugur Isărescu, Kamal Hossain, Esko Kalimo, Ashok Khosla, Martin Lees, Graeme Maxton, Roberto Peccei, Maria Ramirez Ribes, Jorgen Randers, Victor A. Sadovnichy, Keith Suter, Majid Tehranian, Raoul Weiler, and Mikhail Gorbachev.
There are national CoR associations in many nations, including a number of European nations, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Asian nations. These associations analyze national problems in terms of the same factors and give advice nationally to decision-makers.
In 2009, the organization established a three-year program on "A New Path for World Development". In a flyer describing the project, it declared "The global issues which were the focus of the 1972 Report, “Limits to Growth” are even more severe and urgent today." The project has five issue areas: Environment and Resources, Globalization, International Development, Social Transformation, and Peace and Security.
The club's worldview is based on three things. First it has a global perspective in viewing different situations, with the awareness that there is an increasing interdependency of countries. Second it seeks for holistic solutions understanding the different interactions in contemporary problems. Finally, the club has a long-term perspective for solutions.
- Hans-Peter Dürr (1929-2014)
- Mahdi Elmandjra
- Mikhail Gorbachev (born 1931)
- Václav Havel (1936-2011)
- Bohdan Hawrylyshyn (born 1926, Ukraine) – Chairman International Management Institute – Kyiv (IMI-Kyiv), Honorary Council of Ukraine
- Mugur Isărescu (born 1949), the Governor of the National Bank of Romania in Bucharest
- Erich Jantsch, author of Technological Forecasting (1929-1980)
- Derrick de Kerckhove (born 1944)
- Alexander King (1909-2007) founding member
- Max Kohnstamm (Netherlands), former Secretary General of the ECSC (1914-2010)
- David Korten
- Dennis Meadows
- Donella Meadows (1941-2001)
- Mihajlo D. Mesarovic
- George P. Mitchell
- Mohan Munasinghe
- Aurelio Peccei (1908-1984) founding member
- John R. Platt (1918-1992)
- Jean Saint-Geours, Ministry of Finance in Paris
- Ivo Šlaus
- Prince Hassan bin Talal
- Hugo Thiemann (1917-2012)
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919-2000)
- Robert Uffen (1923-2009)
- Frederic Vester (1925-2003)
In popular culture
- The Club of Rome plays a prominent role in James Rollins's sixth Sigma Force novel, The Doomsday Key (2009), as does the report Limits of Growth, which concepts inspire the actions of the character Ivar Karlsen.
- Club of Budapest
- Club of Madrid
- Club of Vienna
- Futures studies
- Harlan Cleveland - DIKW
- Olduvai theory
- Peak Oil
- The Revenge of Gaia
- "The First Global Revolution". The Green Agenda. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- Club of Rome - Organization
- "About the Club of Rome". Club of Rome. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "The Legacy of Aurelio Peccei". Club of Rome. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- 30-Year Update of Limits to Growth finds global society in “Overshoot,” Foresees social, economic, and environmental decline (The Club of Rome)[dead link]
- "Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider - The First Global Revolution (Club of Rome) 1993 Edition". Scribd. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider. The First Global Revolution (The Club of Rome), 1993. p. 70
- King & Schneider, p. 115
- "A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality". Global Environmental Change. 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "The Programme of the Club of Rome on A New Path for World Development" (PDF). 11 September 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- Suter, K. (1999). The Club of Rome: The Global Conscience. Contemporary Review, 275 (1602), 1-5
- "The story of the Club of Rome". Club of Rome. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Rollins, James (2009). The Doomsday Key. p. Fact or Fiction.
- Official website
- Last Call, documentary about The Limits to Growth
- Club of Rome Reports and Bifurcations, a 40-year overview 17 March 2010 / Draft
- Analysis of "Limits to Growth" by Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1999
-  - Turner G. 2008. A Comparison of The Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality. Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED). CSIRO Working Paper Series Number 2008-09. June 2008. ISSN 1834-5638. 52 pp.
- Donella Meadows Institute
- Suter, K. (1999). The Club of Rome: The Global Conscience. Contemporary Review, 275 (1602), 1-5