Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's not enough

As it stands, economic growth is largely dependent on resource consumption. As a country grows, so does its use of natural--and limited--high-quality resources like oil, gold, and copper. But this is untenable in the long run, especially as growing countries like India and China model themselves increasingly on American habits of consumption (a car, two cell phones, and 30 pounds of meat for all!). The seemingly impossible solution: separating resource use and environmental impact from economic growth--a process with the unfortunate moniker "decoupling."
The bottom line: This decoupling needs to begin on a large scale, and fast. The report notes that we're already having a hard time finding high-quality copper and gold, and peak oil is coming--if it hasn't already. We've seen the beginnings of this in the energy industry (giant solar installations in the desert, large-scale offshore wind turbine projects, etc.) and in the vehicle industry, but it's not enough. Without major changes, today's economic woes are going to seem like a joke. But not a very funny one.

Do More With Less Or Things Will Get Ugly: Study

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