This figure shows a scenario of global extraction of economically used resources up to the year 2030. It is a business-as-usual scenario, i.e. a scenario without any additional policy measures to increase resource efficiency and decrease resource use. This scenario was calculated with an econometric model, the Global Interindustry Forecasting System (GINFORS) model (see www.gws-os.com), into which data from www.materialflows.net was integrated. [Click to enlarge]

Global resource extraction, 2005–2030

If the world economy continued to grow following its current development path, i.e. a "business-as-usual" scenario, global resource extraction would significantly grow in the future. Worldwide extraction of natural resources in the year 2030 could be as high as 100 billion tonnes, which means almost a doubling of extraction compared to 2005. Various assumptions are made in order to create this "business-as-usual" scenario. Resource consumption in the industrialised countries will not decrease significantly compared to today, world population will grow considerably, and emerging and developing countries will increase their per-capita resource consumption, as they aspire to the same material welfare as people in the Western world are already enjoying. It is important to note that the model used for this scenario assumes that the future demand for resources can be met. However, in the light of such strong growth scenarios, one has to question whether such growth will actually be possible or whether the world economy will face physical limits to grow in the (near) future.

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