Addicted to Oil
Like the addicts we are, we must recognise that we can only cure ourselves if we first recognise our addiction.
The ‘cure’ lies in the One Planet Equation,
1 = P*C*I Where P = population (growth), C = consumption (growth) and I = resource intensity.
We have to reduce the resource intensity (I) by the factor P*C to keep the equation equal to 1
It is generally thought that the population will reach about 9 billion by 2050 a factor of 1.5 from today. Consumption (Growth) is anyone’s guess from the levels we are experiencing to the 9-10% of China and India, then P*C could become 1.5 * 1.1 to the power 45 – about 100 (written in 2005 and many argued then that many choke points had already been passed)
We have to reduce the resource intensity of products and services by about, at least 6 and possibly 100 by 2050
Possibilities to change the situation by changing the population will be in vain on this timescale as, even though climate change and resource scarcity will lead to substantial reduction in the world population, these will not be the ones with the highest per capita consumption.
Having accepted this then the only way forward is to apply research, legislation, incentives and ingenuity to drive down, as fast as possible, the resource intensity of goods and services.
Only in this way can we have economic growth and the increasing availability of goods and services.
From this point all decisions must be based on whether, on the balance of probabilities, actions will lead to the reduction of resource intensity and contribute to the actual, rather than the perceived needs and well-being of individuals.