Jun 8, 2014

Exhaustion of cheap mineral resources is terraforming Earth – scientific report | Nafeez Ahmed | Guardian

Nafeez Ahmed | Guardian -   A new landmark scientific report drawing on the work of the world's leading mineral experts forecasts that industrial civilisation's extraction of critical minerals and fossil fuel resources is reaching the limits of economic feasibility, and could lead to a collapse of key infrastructures unless new ways to manage resources are implemented.
The peer-reviewed study - the 33rd Report to the Club of Rome - is authored by Prof Ugo Bardi of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Florence, where he teaches physical chemistry. It includes specialist contributions from fifteen senior scientists and experts across the fields of geology, agriculture, energy, physics, economics, geography, transport, ecology, industrial ecology, and biology, among others.
Much of the report's focus is on the concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested, which measures the amount of energy needed to extract resources. While making clear that "we are not running out of any mineral," the report finds that "extraction is becoming more and more difficult as the easy ores are depleted. More energy is needed to maintain past production rates, and even more is needed to increase them." As a consequence, despite large quantities of remaining mineral reserves:
"The production of many mineral commodities appears to be on the verge of decline... we may be going through a century-long cycle that will lead to the disappearance of mining as we know it."