To Choose a Future: Resource and Environmental Consequences of Alternative Growth Paths

By Ronald G. Ridker; William D. Watson | Go to book overview
est to the lowest of these growth rates would reduce cumulative energy consumption by about 25 percent, but it would reduce cumulative petroleum consumption by only 12 percent during the fifty-year period. Obviously, a decline in growth rates only for the United States would have an even smaller effect, indeed, it would save little more than a year's worth of global consumption 2025.The intermediate-run effects of various policy options on the U.S. resource situation are somewhat greater. If, for example, the United States does not attempt to restrict imports (scenario EL) or if the world price of oil were to fall in early years (DHP2), the United States would rely more heavily on resources from the rest of the world. This is reflected in lower U.S. depletion percentages for these cases in 2000. But given the price rises that would occur thereafter, this difference is all but eliminated by 2025.On the other hand, changes in other factors, such as tastes and technology, could make an enormous difference in the outcome. In these respects, our assumptions reflect the state of present, or at least recent, conventional wisdom: continuation of trends in tastes (though with some saturation), continued shifts toward electric and nuclear power, a small role for solar energy until well after 2000, substantial though undramatic efforts at conserving energy and reducing imports, and a substitution of coal for nuclear energy in case the latter fails to grow as rapidly as projected. Our analysis covers a plausible and interesting range of possibilities, and--at least in terms of availability of energy resources--all of them seem feasible. Whether they are desirable is a separate question which must also take into consideration the environmental and other consequences of these scenarios.
References
Almon, C., Jr., M. B. Bucker, L. M. Horowitz, and T. C. Reimbold. 1974. 1985: Interindustry Forecasts of the American Economy ( Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books).
Bupp, I. C., J. Derian, M. Donsimoni, and R. Treitel. 1975. "The Economics of Nuclear Power," MIT Technology Review vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 14-25.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 1977. The International Energy Situation: Outlook to 1985. ER77-102404 (April) ( Washington, D.C., CIA).
Conference Board. 1974. Energy Consumption in Manufacturing. Report to the Ford Foundation Energy Policy Project ( Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger) tables 1-3.

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To Choose a Future: Resource and Environmental Consequences of Alternative Growth Paths
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Explanatory Noted and Units of Measure xv
  • I - Approaching the Task 1
  • References 13
  • 2 - Assumptions and Scenarios 15
  • References 56
  • 3 - The National Economy 58
  • References 94
  • 4 - Nonfuel Minerals 96
  • Conclusions 148
  • References 154
  • 5 - Energy 157
  • References 216
  • 6 - Agriculture 221
  • References 248
  • 7 - Pollution Costs and Control Benefits 250
  • Conclusions 296
  • 8 - Other Environmental Concerns 325
  • References 368
  • 9 - Summary and Prospects 372
  • References 410
  • Appendix 411
  • References 452
  • Epilogue 456
  • References 459
  • Index 460
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