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Stop looking to Mother Nature for answers to resource questions

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in Vox or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The concept of "peak oil" - the notion that the world will soon reach a point of maximum petroleum extraction, after which production will decline forever - has been a prominent topic of discussion among environmentalists and energy analysts for decades
• However, as history and technological advancements have shown, such predictions have often proven to be inaccurate

🔭 The context: The concept of 'peak oil', introduced in 1956, predicted a 1970 zenith for US oil production
• While this prediction came true momentarily, advancements in prospecting and extraction technologies caused production and prices to fluctuate throughout the years, reaching highest extraction rates in 2017

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: While there are physical limits to resource extraction, predicting them is challenging due to continually advancing technology
• Instead of running out of resources, we have to consciously shift towards cleaner energy sources, making it a policy choice rather than a forced move due to depleting resources

⏭️ What's next: The recent discovery of a 50-year supply of phosphorus in Norway serves as a reminder that resource shortages are often linked to our technological capabilities for extraction rather than the resources' innate scarcity

💬 One quote: "Petroleum burning has all the catastrophic consequences for the world that we thought. But we’re not going to “run out” — we’ll have to deliberately replace petroleum with cleaner energy sources as a policy choice." (Kelsey Piper, Senior Writer at Future Perfec)

📈 One stat: The world had confirmed reserves of around 71 billion metric tons of phosphorus. Then, Norge Mining, based on information from the Norwegian Geological Survey, recently found another 70 billion metric tons, almost doubling the known reserves overnight

Click for more news covering the latest on Environmental Sustainability

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