Can Resource Depletion Be Omitted from Environmental Impact Assessments?
INTRODUCTION: The Nature of the Resource Problem
The main problem involved in valuing resource depletion is that the effect or damage occurs in the future and therefore our assessment depends on our assumptions on how this future looks like.
Resource depletion may not in itself be a problem if there is adequate time for humanity to develop technologies to deal with an imminent depletion, i.e.:
* technologies for harvesting adequate amounts of sustainable energy, and/or
* technologies (including societal arrangements) for a voluntary regulation of the size of the human population so that it becomes stable and adjusted to a size which can be sustained by the actual size of the resource basis.
The problem is that these technologies may not be developed in time to avoid damage during the transition period.
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