Urgent Policy Considerations for a Sustainable Society in the Context of Peak Resources

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* Article: Peak Metals, Minerals, Energy, Wealth, Food and Population; Urgent Policy Considerations for A Sustainable Society. Harald Ulrik Sverdrup, Deniz Koca1 and Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering B 1 (2012) 5:499-533

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": Several strategic metals, elements and energy resources are about to run into scarcity in the near future under the present paradigm of use. A global systems model has been developed (WORLD) to assess the issue of scarcity and its implications for society. We show that scarcity may lead to “peak wealth”, “peak population”, “peak waste”, and “peak civilization”, unless urgent countermeasures are systematically undertaken. Materials that underpin modern society maybe come unavailable for global mass production of goods. The material volumes that can be supplied from fossil reserves will be reduced with respect to today and resources will go up in price. The future resource supply is unsustainable without comprehensive recycling. The creation of wealth from conversion of resources and work, as well as the current extensive borrowing from the future, cause concerns that peaking energy and materials production may lead to “peak wealth” and the end of the golden age we live in. Our policy recommendations are that governments must take this issue seriously and must immediately start preparing legislations to close material cycles, optimize energy use and minimize irreversible material losses. Research efforts need to be based on systems thinking and a concerted effort is needed. "