The Club of Rome's report The Limits to Growth, published in 1972, asserted the necessity to stop economic and demographic growth in order to avoid the collapse of the world system. It summarised several heterogeneous approaches of the future, somewhere between an ecologically alarmist approach and a typically managerial approach of technological forecasting. The report caused a storm in political and academic circles, but it also led to the development of several modelling methods that in turn framed the issue in a new way, swapping a 'for or against growth' type of approach for a 'what type of growth may be desirable' approach or a 'how to rethink growth to keep it going' approach. Among those, the cost–benefit approach of pollution would turn out to be a significant tool to understand climate change.
Keywords: future, environmental pollution, limits to growth, mathematical modelling, sustainable development, climate change models, cost–benefit