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Resources and reserves in a carbon-constrained world


  • Peter J. Cook

    (University of Melbourne)


For many years, definition and production of non-renewable resources has been crucial to meeting industrial and societal demands for energy and materials. In the evolving energy transition, the priority is to meet not only the world’s increasing energy requirements but also societal expectations of net zero by 2050 or sooner. Renewable energy will play a key role in achieving this, but this will require key and critical minerals and materials, whether for use in wind turbines or for building new energy distribution systems. Fossil fuels will continue to be used for some energy and industrial processes and increasingly for the production of hydrogen. Essential to the energy transition will be ongoing assessment of resources and reserves, including of critical minerals, geological sites for CO2 and H2, carbon-based and carbon-free fuels. Some of the principles underpinning the traditional use of the terms reserves and resources can be usefully applied to provide rigour and uniformity to the assessment of renewable energy opportunities. Carbon offsets, negative emissions and recycling will also be used to achieve net zero. Whatever the energy transition pathway that countries choose to take, knowledge of and ready access to non-renewable resources and reserves will be essential to achieving a clean energy future.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Cook, 2022. "Resources and reserves in a carbon-constrained world," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 35(3), pages 361-371, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:35:y:2022:i:3:d:10.1007_s13563-022-00318-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-022-00318-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Friedrich -W. Wellmer & Roland W. Scholz, 2017. "Peak minerals: What can we learn from the history of mineral economics and the cases of gold and phosphorus?," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 30(2), pages 73-93, July.
    2. Giulia Realmonte & Laurent Drouet & Ajay Gambhir & James Glynn & Adam Hawkes & Alexandre C. Köberle & Massimo Tavoni, 2019. "An inter-model assessment of the role of direct air capture in deep mitigation pathways," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 10(1), pages 1-12, December.
    3. Friedrich-W. Wellmer & Roland W. Scholz, 2015. "The Right to Know the Geopotential of Minerals for Ensuring Food Supply Security: The Case of Phosphorus," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 19(1), pages 3-6, February.
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    Resources; Reserves; Carbon;
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