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- The issue of integenerational equity in the use of natural resources is discussed in the context of coal mining conversion. An attempt to determine if there is a clear-cut benefit to future generations in setting minimum coal extraction efficiency standards in mining is made. It is demonstrated that preserving fossil fuels beyond the economically efficient level is not necessarily beneficial to future generations even in terms of their own preferences. Setting fossil fuel conservation targets for intermediate products (i.e. energy) may increase the quantities of fossil fuels available to future generations and hence lower the costs, but there may be serious disadvantages to future generations as well. The use of relatively inexpensive fossil fuels in this generation may result in more infrastructure development and more knowledge production available to future generations. The value of fossil fuels versus these other endowments in the future depends on many factors which cannot possibly be evaluated at present. Since there is no idea of whether future generations are being helped or harmed, it is recommended that integenerational equity not be used as a factor in setting coal mine extraction efficiency standards, or in establishing requirements.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19800021360.
Accession ID: 80N29861.
- No Copyright.
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