GEOL100 5-9-08
Geological Resource Policy

Supply: Generally speaking, the longevity of supplies of any non-renewable substance is a function of consumption rate and the rate at which resources can be converted to reserves.

Petroleum: Consumption has increased rapidly, with as much being consumed in the last 20 years (i.e. your lifetimes) as in the previous 100. Obviously, at some point in thefuture, production will decrease as reserves are depleted. When this will happen depends on two the two stated factors:

Coal: Abundant in US, environmentally disruptive to mine and use.

Nuclear: We've discussed briefly the risks: Industrial accidents and pollution from waste material. Now a little detail on the latter. We don't think as much about nuclear waste pollution as we do about reactor accidents or weapons proliferation because it is not as spectacular, but after a half century, it has already become a very bad problem.

Mineral resources: Similar to energy resources, but with two big differences: