This article references a study that cites the expected peak production in the next couple decades of many commonly used resources including copper, lithium, zinc and uranium. The conclusion seems to be that society needs to move to a much more efficient and circular economy to avoid the collapse of civilization. I've heard oil used in the past as an example of a resource that we thought would run out long ago but it hasn't due to a number of innovations. So I'm a bit skeptical of the prediction but curious who else might be doing research in this area and what everyone's thoughts are as to the seriousness of this topic.




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I've done some work on this and I made some comments on this 80k podcast. I don't think running out of mineral resources is a significant threat.

I've just put together a collection of related resources. Fossil fuel depletion is the only mineral resource suggested to have longtermist sugnificance in WWOTF. Metals can be efficiently recycled for long enough that I expect us to develop AGI/nanotechnology before their depletion could start to become problematic. Recycling uranium would be quite advantageous, but I'd be skeptical regarding its tractability and it seems we'll get by with renewable energy.

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Our local group held a meeting on longtermism this week and one of the questions was "what are time-sensitive (<100yr) longtermism related actions that are NOT related to existential risk?". The two we came up with were the philosophy around space governance/travel and element/mineral resource drawdown. The effective environmentalism subgroup of EA brings up resources drawdown occasionally, but I haven't seen an in depth report on it yet within the EA/EE sphere.