The Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources

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The future challenges are huge and numerous — after graduation from the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, you can help solve them. For instance, you will know how to optimally limit pollution using economic instruments, such as for instance green taxes, subsidies or tradeable quota schemes. And you will have an insight into how a country meets its international undertakings concerning CO2 emissions in the least expensive way.

Lecture 2 (Economics of Natural Resources)

And you will be able to assess the economic value of the environment in order to include it in cost-benefit analysis and other economic decision making tools. Master's programmes - guide to studies and admission. Plastics can be good electrical conductors. Since all materials are times weaker than they theoretically should be, it ought to be possible to eliminate areas of dislocations and greatly strengthen them, enabling lesser quantities to be used. To summarize, "mining" companies will have more and more diverse products, the world economy is moving away from materials towards services, and the population seems to be levelling, all of which implies a lessening of demand growth for materials; much of the materials will be recovered from somewhat uncommon rocks, there will be much more coproducts and byproducts from a given operation, and more trade in minerals and materials.

As radical new technology impacts the materials and minerals world more and more powerfully, the materials used are more and more likely to have perpetual resources. There are already more and more materials that have perpetual resources and less and less materials that have nonrenewable resources or are strategic and critical materials. Some materials that have perpetual resources such as salt ,stone, magnesium , and common clay were mentioned previously. Thanks to new technology, synthetic diamonds were added to the list of perpetual resources, since they can be easily made from a lump of another form of carbon.

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Synthetic graphite, is made in large quantities graphite electrodes, graphite fiber from carbon precursors such as petroleum coke or a textile fiber. A firm named Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc.

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It makes amorphous metal alloys , which retain a random atomic structure when the hot metal solidifies, rather than the crystalline atomic structure with dislocations that normally forms when hot metal solidifies. The Liquidmetal alloys can supplant many high performance alloys. Exploration of the ocean bottom in the last fifty years revealed manganese nodules and phosphate nodules in many locations. More recently, polymetallic sulfide deposits have been discovered and polymetallic sulfide "black muds" are being presently deposited from "black smokers" [22] The cobalt scarcity situation of has a new option now: Partnering with Nautilus are Tech Cominco Ltd.

Natural resource economics

There are also other robot mining techniques that could be applied under the ocean. Rio Tinto is using satellite links to allow workers kilometers away to operate drilling rigs, load cargo, dig out ore and dump it on conveyor belts, and place explosives to subsequently blast rock and earth. The firm can keep workers out of danger this way, and also use fewer workers. Such technology reduces costs and offsets declines in metal content of ore reserves. Finally, what is a perpetual resource? The ASTM definition for a perpetual resource is "one that is virtually inexhaustible on a human time-scale".

Examples given include solar energy, tidal energy, and wind energy, [26] to which should be added salt, stone, magnesium, diamonds, and other materials mentioned above. A study on the biogeophysical aspects of sustainability came up with a rule of prudent practice that a resource stock should last years to achieve sustainability or become a perpetual resource, or for a worse case, years. If a resource lasting or more years is perpetual, one that lasts to years can be called an abundant resource, and is so defined here.

How long the material can be recovered from its resource depends on human need and changes in technology from extraction through the life cycle of the product to final disposal, plus recyclability of the material and availability of satisfactory substitutes. Specifically, this shows that exhaustibility does not occur until these factors weaken and play out: The most recent resource information and guidance on the kinds of resources that must be considered is covered on the Resource Guide-Update [1].

Perpetual resources can transition to being a paleoresource. A paleoresource is one that has little or no demand for the material extracted from it; an obsolescent material, humans no longer need it. The classic paleoresource is an arrowhead-grade flint resource; no one makes flint arrowheads or spearheads anymore—making a sharpened piece of scrap steel and using it is much simpler. Obsolescent products include tin cans, tin foil, the schoolhouse slate blackboard, and radium in medical technology.

Radium has been replaced by much cheaper cobalt and other radioisotopes in radiation treatment.

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Noncorroding lead as a cable covering has been replaced by plastics. Pennsylvania anthracite is another material where the trend towards obsolescence and becoming a paleoresource can be shown statistically. Production of anthracite was Since anthracite resources are so far into the perpetual resource range and demand for anthracite has dropped so far, is it possible to see how anthracite might become a paleoresource? Probably by customers continuing to disappear i. This is a mutually reinforcing process: The coal dealer's other customers are then forced to convert unless they can find another nearby coal dealer.

Finally the anthracite mine closes because it doesn't have enough sales volume to cover its costs. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message.

A supply and demand diagram, illustrating the effects of an increase in demand.

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