The Biosphere and Humanity. Paper Presented on IIASA's 20th Anniversary

Chadwick MJ, Munn RE, & Amann M (1994). The Biosphere and Humanity. Paper Presented on IIASA's 20th Anniversary. IIASA Collaborative Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: CP-94-004

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Abstract

IIASA celebrated its twentieth anniversary on May 12-13 with its fourth general conference, IIASA '92: An International Conference on the Challenges to Systems Analysis in the Nineties and Beyond. The conference focused on the relations between environment and development and on studies that integrate the methods and findings of several disciplines. The role of systems analysis, a method especially suited to taking account of the linkages between phenomena and of the hierarchical organization of the natural and social world, was also assessed, taking account of the implications this has for IIASA's research approach and activities.

This paper is one of six IIASA Collaborative Papers published as part of the report on the conference, an earlier instalment of which was Science and Sustainability, published in 1992.

In his paper Dr. Chadwick provides a summary of the principal global models to attract attention over the last few years. What may be called the "global modeling movement" reached its peak in the 1970s -- ten are listed in Chadwick's summary -- and then declined down to two in the 1980s, but apparently the movement has by no means lost its force in the 1990s.

To this reader the interest of the models is in the varied and often mutually contradicting results that they produced, all working from similar data and using computer programs with about the same features. Thus the World 2 model, attributed to Jay Forrester, and World 3, developed by Meadows et al., both showed that the world has already, or on present trends will soon, pass its sustainable limit and then collapse. The Rariloche model, originating in Argentina that has had financial difficulties, considers that if the developed countries can pass down two percent of GNP as aid all will be well - the environmental problem is less urgent than the financial. The Japanese model, FUGI, would attain harmonious growth by shifting investment to developing countries, provided there is coordination among the investing countries.

Dr. Chadwick's group is preparing its own model, POLESTAR, that should be released soon. Much of the paper is concerned with the new model, that will have some novel and potentially valuable features. What are the criteria of success of a model? In the past the main criterion has been to arouse the interest of a wide public. POLESTAR seeks to meet more exacting requirements than this. We will have to wait for the results before its success can be judged. Meanwhile the reader will be interested in the plan on which it is being created.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Collaborative Paper)
Research Programs: Directorate (DIR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:04
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2016 04:53
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/4217

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