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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers whether long-run resource scarcity limits economic growth. It distinguishes between renewable and non-renewable resources, as types of natural capital. Using the example of oil, it shows that the depletion of non-renewables is not a binding constraint. It critiques the peak oil concept, and, in particular, notes that it fails to take account of either technical progress or the impact of prices in allocating resources. On renewables there are serious depletion concerns; the chapter advances the aggregate natural capital rule, and sets out how this provides a rigorous asset-base constraint on sustainable economic growth. The operationalization of this rule requires a natural capital balance sheet, a risk register for renewable resources, and the provision of capital maintenance.

Keywords: natural capital, renewable and non-renewable resources, aggregate natural capital rule, capital maintenance, natural balance sheets peak oil, depletion thresholds

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