Od ropy k informacím

Šajch Jamání, někdejší saúdskoarabský ministr ropného průmyslu a zakládající architekt OPEC, kdysi prohlásil: „Doba kamenná neskončila proto, že došlo kamení, a doba ropná neskončí kvůli vyčerpání ropy.“ Lidé přestali kámen používat, protože bronz a železo byly jako materiál lepší. Přestaneme však opravdu spotřebovávat ropu, jakmile se ukáže, že jiné energetické technologie mají větší přínos?

Hrozba vyčerpání vzácných světových zdrojů energie zůstává již od ropných šoků ze 70. let silně zakořeněna v povědomí lidí. Naše obavy se přitom neomezují jen na ropu. V klasickém bestselleru Hranice růstu z roku 1972 se například předpovídalo, že světové zásoby zlata se vyčerpají v roce 1981, stříbra a rtuti v roce 1985 a zinku v roce 1990. Dnes máme výhodu zpětného pohledu, ale většina diskusí o této otázce zůstává dodnes založena na logice Hranic růstu .

Nejde navíc jen o to, že jsme nevyčerpali přírodní zdroje. Americký ekonom Julian Simon se údajně obrátil v roce 1980 na jednu ekologickou skupinu s výzvou založenou na předpokladu, že jsou-li měřítkem nedostatku vyšší ceny, měla by skupina investovat do jakéhokoliv surového kovu. Ekologové tedy vložili peníze do chromu, niklu, cínu a wolframu a zvolili časový rámec 10 let. Cena všech těchto kovů do září 1990 poklesla: u chromu o 5%, u cínu o propastných 74%.

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