Sustainability, collapse and oscillations of global climate, population and economy in a simple World-Earth model. Nitzbon, J., Heitzig, J., & Parlitz, U. arXiv preprint arXiv:1702.01050, 2017. 00000
Sustainability, collapse and oscillations of global climate, population and economy in a simple World-Earth model [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
The Anthropocene is characterized by close interdependencies between the natural Earth system and the global human society, posing novel challenges to model development. Here we present a conceptual model describing the long- term co-evolution of natural and socio-economic subsystems of Earth. While the climate is represented via a global carbon cycle, we use economic concepts to model socio-metabolic flows of biomass and fossil fuels between nature and society. A well-being-dependent parametrization of fertility and mortality governs human population dynamics. Our analysis focuses on assessing possible asymptotic states of the Earth system for a qualitative understanding of its complex dynamics rather than quantitative predictions. Low dimension and simple equations enable a parameter-space analysis allowing us to identify preconditions of several asymptotic states and hence fates of humanity and planet. These include a sustainable co-evolution of nature and society, a global collapse and everlasting oscillations. We consider different scenarios corresponding to different socio-cultural stages of human history. The necessity of accounting for the “human factor” in Earth system models is highlighted by the finding that carbon stocks during the past centuries evolved opposing to what would “naturally” be expected on a planet without humans. The intensity of biomass use and the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being are found to be crucial determinants of the asymptotic state in a (pre-industrial) biomass-only scenario without capital accumulation. The capitalistic, fossil-based scenario reveals that trajectories with fundamentally different asymptotic states might still be almost indistinguishable during even a centuries-long transient phase. Given current human population levels, our study also supports the claim that besides reducing the global demand for energy, only the extensive use of renewable energies may pave the way into a sustainable future.
@article{nitzbon_sustainability_2017,
	title = {Sustainability, collapse and oscillations of global climate, population and economy in a simple {World}-{Earth} model},
	url = {https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.01050},
	abstract = {The  Anthropocene  is  characterized  by  close  interdependencies  between  the
natural Earth system and the global human society,  posing novel challenges to
model  development.   Here  we  present  a  conceptual  model  describing  the  long-
term  co-evolution  of  natural  and  socio-economic  subsystems  of  Earth.   While
the climate is represented via a global carbon cycle, we use economic concepts to
model socio-metabolic flows of biomass and fossil fuels between nature and society.
A well-being-dependent parametrization of fertility and mortality governs human
population dynamics.
Our  analysis  focuses  on  assessing  possible  asymptotic  states  of  the  Earth
system  for  a  qualitative  understanding  of  its  complex  dynamics  rather  than
quantitative   predictions. Low   dimension   and   simple   equations   enable   a parameter-space   analysis   allowing   us   to   identify   preconditions   of   several asymptotic  states  and  hence  fates  of  humanity  and  planet.    These  include  a sustainable co-evolution of nature and society, a global collapse and everlasting oscillations.
We consider different scenarios corresponding to different socio-cultural stages of human history.  The necessity of accounting for the “human factor” in Earth system  models  is  highlighted  by  the  finding  that  carbon  stocks  during  the past  centuries  evolved  opposing  to  what  would  “naturally”  be  expected  on  a planet  without  humans.   The  intensity  of  biomass  use  and  the  contribution  of ecosystem services to human well-being are found to be crucial determinants of the asymptotic state in a (pre-industrial) biomass-only scenario without capital accumulation.  The capitalistic, fossil-based scenario reveals that trajectories with fundamentally different asymptotic states might still be almost indistinguishable during even a centuries-long transient phase.  Given current human population levels, our study also supports the claim that besides reducing the global demand for energy, only the extensive use of renewable energies may pave the way into a sustainable future.},
	urldate = {2017-02-14},
	journal = {arXiv preprint arXiv:1702.01050},
	author = {Nitzbon, Jan and Heitzig, Jobst and Parlitz, Ulrich},
	year = {2017},
	note = {00000},
	keywords = {collapse, climate, models, demographics, limits-to-growth},
	file = {Nitzbon et al. - 2017 - Sustainability, collapse and oscillations of globa.pdf:C\:\\Users\\rsrs\\Documents\\Zotero Database\\storage\\RJAF9MM3\\Nitzbon et al. - 2017 - Sustainability, collapse and oscillations of globa.pdf:application/pdf}
}
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