Note: Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines will be released in paperback this month (September) by New Society Publishers.
- Worldwide economic activity began to decline in 2008 and does not appear set to return to 2007 levels any time soon.
- Global energy consumption likewise achieved its zenith in the years 2005 through 2007; since then, consumption growth has been confined to the Asian economies and a few oil and gas exporting nations.
- Personal income in the U.S. (excluding government benefits) is still far below total and per capita levels registered in 2007.
- Worldwide shipping, a good index of global trade and manufacturing, peaked in 2007.
During the 20th century, global production levels associated with 56 of the 57 analyzed NNRs (98%) increased annually, while global price levels associated with 45 of the 57 analyzed NNRs (79%) decreased annually. Generally increasing global NNR production levels in conjunction with generally decreasing global NNR price levels indicate relative global NNR abundance during the 20th century. On the whole, global NNR supplies kept pace with ever-increasing global demand during the 20th century.
Clugston’s conclusion: “We are not about to ‘run out’ of any NNR; we are about to run ‘critically short’ of many.”
The same message appeared in a prominent article in New Scientist magazine on May 23, 2007, “Earth’s Natural Wealth: An Audit.” Here’s a useful tidbit from that article:
Take the metal gallium, which along with indium is used to make indium gallium arsenide. This is the semiconducting material at the heart of a new generation of solar cells that promise to be up to twice as efficient as conventional designs. Reserves of both metals are disputed, but in a recent report René Kleijn, a chemist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, concludes that current reserves “would not allow a substantial contribution of these cells” to the future supply of solar electricity. He estimates gallium and indium will probably contribute to less than 1 per cent of all future solar cells—a limitation imposed purely by a lack of raw material.
- Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio, and income distribution;
- Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise, and traffic;
- Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses;
- Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline in number of psychotherapy patients;
- Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints, and lawsuits;
- Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, and crime rates; and
- Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.
The peak has happened. Get over it—and get to work.