Morning Report no2

commonly, Ministers like Brownlee will quote extractable volumes with the qualifier: “at present rates of extraction”.

Then they advocate ‘growth’, which is exponential, not linear, and is expressed in terms of ‘doubling time’.

3% growth ‘doubles’ in 24 years. 10% growth ‘doubles’ in 7 years!

So you have to assess his claims in that light. 300 years ‘at current rates’, could mean 40 years with compound growth. Or Less.

Folk (reporters included) fail by holding on to the 300 years, as if it is set in stone regardless if increase in extraction rate.

Don’t be fooled…

Globally, we are into the last possible ‘doubling-time’ of them all. You should know this – after all, Will Catton wrote ‘Overshoot’ back about 1982…….

For the record, economists – who you quote as gospel all the time – were only trained in the course of a short-time phase.

That period is over.

I look forward to the first NZ reporter who grasps this, and asks the relevant questions.

There’s still time….

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One Response

  1. Yes, that ‘at present rates of extraction’ is an interesting one. As natural resources are depleted and peak production levels are reached around the world, those few places that aren’t already at peak will be asked to take up the slack. Those taking up the slack will see huge increases in what’s being asked of them.

    When you consider a giant user, like China, and a small supplier like NZ, we could be asked to increase supply of something we have that’s dwindling elsewhere (hmm, say coal). Say they use 1000 x each year, of which we supply (eg.) 10 x and 990 x comes from places other than NZ. Then next year the other contributors can only supply 950 x, then China will ask us for 50 x instead of 10. You get the idea… It might come to a question of how fast can you get it out of the ground, because we’ll take it all, today, if possible, that you very much.

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