When ‘Limits to Growth’ was published in the seventies, mainstream economists and politicians felt able to dismiss it as unnecessarily alarmist and pessimistic about resource availability. Since then, the huge growth in world population and debate about climate change have finally brought home to the world that unthinking extraction and consumption of scarce resources such as forests, water and fish stocks will have major consequences in the future and need new mechanisms to address them.

Many of these changes require people to accept limitations on their current behaviour and the repricing of subsidised everyday items – that is not easily achieved in competitive, democratic societies where politicians are elected on promises of future increased prosperity.

Technological developments can help to change the picture through research into lower cost approaches, identifying and improving perceptions of risk, and making it easier for people to see the real costs of their current behaviour and the opportunities they have to change.

Torus Business Web is active in supporting these initiatives in a number of ways.

We have partnered with Verdiem to use their product, SURVEYOR, to deliver reductions in the PC power consumption and carbon emission of any large organisation.

We are building on the pioneering systems dynamics work at MIT of Jay Forrester and John Sterman and their application in the Oil and Gas Industries to create better ways to model development and operation for renewable energy opportunities such as off-shore wind farms.

Our thought piece on how to improve the regulation of one unconstrained global industry, banking, recently won a top-ten award in an FT-sponsored competition.

We are enthusiastic users of Mathematica, which in conjunction with Wolfram Alpha, and its recent enhancements to deal with the largest of data sets, makes it the world’s most powerful language for the modelling, simulation and visualisation of what is really involved in tackling these massive and daunting challenges.