Asbestos is a set of six occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their asbestiform habit: i.e. long, thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic "fibrils" that can be released by abrasion and other processes. The minerals are chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite and actinolite. Asbestos has been mined for over 4,000 years, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century, when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties; some of those properties are sound absorption, average tensile strength and resistance to fire and electricity. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation; when asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties led to asbestos being used widely until the late 20th century. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer and asbestosis.
Asbestos is estimated to cause 255,000 deaths per year. Concern for asbestos-related illness began in the 20th century and escalated during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s, asbestos trade and use were restricted, phased out, or banned outright in an increasing number of countries. Many developing countries still support the use of asbestos as a building material, mining of asbestos is ongoing, with the top producer Russia producing around one million metric tonnes in 2015. Despite the severity of asbestos-related diseases, the material has widespread use in many areas. Continuing long-term use of asbestos after harmful health effects were known or suspected, the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure ceased, made asbestos litigation the longest, most expensive mass tort in U. S. history though a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved. Asbestos-related liability remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers and reinsurers; the word "asbestos", first used in the 1600s derives from the Ancient Greek ἄσβεστος, meaning “unquenchable” or “inextinguishable”.
The name reflects use of the substance for wicks. It was adopted via the Old French abestos, which in turn got the word from Greek via Latin, but in the original Greek, it referred to quicklime, it is said by the Oxford English Dictionary to have been wrongly used by Pliny for asbestos, who popularized the misnomer. Asbestos was referred to in Greek as amiantos, meaning "undefiled", because it was not marked when thrown into a fire; this is the source for the word for asbestos such as the Portuguese amianto. It had been called "amiant" in English in the early 15th century, but this usage was superseded by "asbestos"; the word is pronounced or. People have used asbestos for thousands of years to create flexible objects, such as napkins, that resist fire. In the modern era, companies began producing asbestos consumer goods on an industrial scale. Now people recognize the health hazard that asbestos poses, it is banned or regulated around the world. Asbestos use dates back at least 4,500 years, when the inhabitants of the Lake Juojärvi region in East Finland strengthened earthenware pots and cooking utensils with the asbestos mineral anthophyllite.
One of the first descriptions of a material that may have been asbestos is in Theophrastus, On Stones, from around 300 BC, although this identification has been questioned. In both modern and ancient Greek, the usual name for the material known in English as "asbestos" is amiantos, adapted into the French as amiante and into Spanish and Portuguese as amianto. In modern Greek, the word ἀσβεστος or ασβέστης stands and for lime; the term asbestos is traceable to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder's manuscript Natural History, his use of the term asbestinon, meaning "unquenchable". While Pliny or his nephew Pliny the Younger is popularly credited with recognising the detrimental effects of asbestos on human beings, examination of the primary sources reveals no support for either claim. Wealthy Persians amazed guests by cleaning a cloth by exposing it to fire. For example, according to Tabari, one of the curious items belonging to Khosrow II Parviz, the great Sassanian king, was a napkin that he cleaned by throwing it into fire.
Such cloth is believed to have been made of asbestos imported over the Hindu Kush. According to Biruni in his book, any cloths made of asbestos were called shostakeh; some Persians believed the fiber was the fur of an animal, called the samandar, which lived in fire and died when exposed to water, where the former belief that the salamander could tolerate fire originated. Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, is said to have had a tablecloth made of asbestos. Marco Polo recounts having been shown, in a place he calls Ghinghin talas, "a good vein from which the cloth which we call of salamander, which cannot be burnt if it is thrown into the fire, is made..."Some archaeologists believe that ancients made shrouds of asbestos, wherein they burned the bodies of their kings, in order to preserve only their ashes, prevent them being mixed with those of wood or other combustible materials used in funeral pyres. Others assert that the ancients used asbestos to make perpetual wicks for other lamps.
A famous example is the golden lamp asbestos lychnis, which the sculptor Callimachus made for the Erech
Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. In Anglo-American jurisdictions the term is most used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit in which the person bringing the suit, or "plaintiff," has suffered harm to his or her body or mind. Personal injury lawsuits are filed against the person or entity that caused the harm through negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional misconduct, in some cases on the basis of strict liability. Different jurisdictions describe the damages in different ways, but damages include the injured person's medical bills and suffering, diminished quality of life. Common types of personal injury claims include road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, product defect accidents; the term personal injury incorporates medical and dental accidents and conditions that are classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases, vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, repetitive strain injury cases.
Of these, the most common are automobile collisions. Personal injury cases may include toxic torts, in which a contaminant transmitted by air or water causes illness, injury, or death; some non-economical damages such as pain and suffering attributed to the damages, like for example having anxiety after a car accident, may be attributed to general damages that can be proved in court and may be entitled to monetary means of compensation. There are other torts, both intentional and non-intentional, that may be pursued and or mixed with personal injury. Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. Although personal injury cases may result from an intentional act, such as defamation, or from reckless conduct, most personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence. To hold a party or parties liable for injuries so damages based upon negligence, four elements must be proved: The party had a duty to act reasonably according to the circumstances.
The party breached the duty. The party’s breach of the duty caused you to be harmed. You suffered monetary damages due to the harm; the amount of compensation for a personal injury will depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements; as occurs in most civil cases, personal injury cases begin by filing with a court a document called a "complaint." A complaint in a personal injury case identifies the parties to the lawsuit, specifies what the defendant did wrong, alleges that the wrongdoing caused the plaintiff's injury, specifies what kind of compensation the plaintiff is seeking. The complaint sets out the facts that the plaintiff will attempt to prove, the defendant may attempt to disprove, throughout the litigation. In most countries, payments will be through a settlement agreement or a judgment as a result of a trial. Settlements can be either lump-sum or as a structured settlement in which the payments are made over a period of time.
In some countries, those prevailing in trial may recover their attorneys' fees from the opposing party. In the United States A party may be able to seek sanctions when the other party acts without legal basis or justifiable cause. For example, if the opposing party continues to object to the complaint without significant reason or justifiable cause, a party may apply a motion for punitive damages or that the opposing party is harassing and or speculating without merit or reason; the manner in which attorneys are compensated for representing injured plaintiffs varies by jurisdiction. For example, in the United States, attorneys represent clients on a "contingent fee basis" in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Depending upon state regulations, a plaintiff's attorney may charge 1/3 of the proceeds recovered if a case is settled out of court or 40 percent if the matter must be litigated.
Attorney fees are negotiable before hiring an attorney. Although some jurisdictions have helped people obtain affordable legal representation, those systems have been narrowed and may exclude personal injury cases. For example, in England legal aid from the government was abolished in the late 1990s and replaced with arrangements whereby the client would be charged no fee if her or his case was unsuccessful. In California, attorneys receive contingency fees of 35% of the total recovery obtained before a lawsuit is filed, 45% if the recovery occurs after filing the complaint. In some types of cases, the judge handling the case may determine the total percentage of the settlement or the payment to the attorneys. Treating doctors or health care profession and/or insurance companies, Med-Cal, or other program paying for medical treatment may assert a lien against any recovery for what was paid to treat the plaintiff; these liens are paid once a settlement is reached or a judgment is received. Many jurisdictions have statutes of limitations - laws that determine how much time
The platinum-group metals are six noble, precious metallic elements clustered together in the periodic table. These elements are all transition metals in the d-block; the six platinum-group metals are ruthenium, palladium, osmium and platinum. They have similar physical and chemical properties, tend to occur together in the same mineral deposits; however they can be further subdivided into the iridium-group platinum-group elements and the palladium-group platinum-group elements based on their behaviour in geological systems. The three elements above the platinum group in the periodic table are all ferromagnetic, these being the only known transition metals with this property. Occurring platinum and platinum-rich alloys were known by pre-Columbian Americans for many years. Though the metal was used by pre-Columbian peoples, the first European reference to platinum appears in 1557 in the writings of the Italian humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger as a description of a mysterious metal found in Central American mines between Darién and Mexico.
The name platinum is derived from the Spanish word platina “little silver", the name given to the metal by Spanish settlers in Colombia. They regarded platinum as an unwanted impurity in the silver they were mining; as of 1996, the largest applications of platinum metals were, in thousands of troy ounces/year: Pd for autocatalysts, Pt for jewelry, Pd for electronics, Pt for autocatalysts, Pd for dental, Rh for autocatalysts, Pd for chemical reagents. The platinum metals have many useful catalytic properties, they are resistant to wear and tarnish, making platinum, in particular, well suited for fine jewelry. Other distinctive properties include resistance to chemical attack, excellent high-temperature characteristics, stable electrical properties. All these properties have been exploited for industrial applications. Ultramafic and mafic igneous rocks have high, granites low, PGE trace content. Geochemically anomalous traces occur predominantly in chromian sulfides. Mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks host all primary PGM ore of the world.
Mafic layered intrusions, including the Bushveld Complex, outweigh by far all other geological settings of platinum deposits. Other economically significant PGE deposits include mafic intrusions related to flood basalts, ultramafic complexes of the Alaska, Urals type. Typical ores for PGMs contain ca. 10 g PGM/ton ore, thus the identity of the particular mineral is unknown. Platinum can occur as a native metal, but it can occur in various different minerals and alloys; that said, Sperrylite ore is by far the most significant source of this metal. A occurring platinum-iridium alloy, platiniridium, is found in the mineral cooperite. Platinum in a native state accompanied by small amounts of other platinum metals, is found in alluvial and placer deposits in Colombia, the Ural Mountains, in certain western American states. Platinum is produced commercially as a by-product of nickel ore processing; the huge quantities of nickel ore processed makes up for the fact that platinum makes up only two parts per million of the ore.
South Africa, with vast platinum ore deposits in the Merensky Reef of the Bushveld complex, is the world's largest producer of platinum, followed by Russia. Platinum and palladium are mined commercially from the Stillwater igneous complex in Montana, USA. Leaders of primary platinum production are South Africa and Russia, followed by Canada, Zimbabwe and USA. Osmiridium is a occurring alloy of iridium and osmium found in platinum-bearing river sands in the Ural Mountains and in North and South America. Trace amounts of osmium exist in nickel-bearing ores found in the Sudbury, Ontario region along with other platinum group metals. Though the quantity of platinum metals found in these ores is small, the large volume of nickel ores processed makes commercial recovery possible. Metallic iridium is found with platinum and other platinum group metals in alluvial deposits. Occurring iridium alloys include osmiridium and iridosmine, both of which are mixtures of iridium and osmium, it is recovered commercially as a by-product from nickel processing.
Ruthenium is found in ores with the other platinum group metals in the Ural Mountains and in North and South America. Small but commercially important quantities are found in pentlandite extracted from Sudbury, Ontario and in pyroxenite deposits in South Africa; the industrial extraction of rhodium is complex, because it occurs in ores mixed with other metals such as palladium, silver and gold. It is found in platinum ores and obtained free as a white inert metal, difficult to fuse. Principal sources of this element are located in South Africa, in river sands of the Ural Mountains, in North and South America, in the copper-nickel sulfide mining area of the Sudbury Basin region. Although the quantity at Sudbury is small, the large amount of nickel ore processed makes rhodium recovery cost effective. However, the annual world production in 2003 of this element is only 7 or 8 tons and there are few rhodium minerals. Palladium is preferentially hosted in sulphide minerals in pyrrhotite. Palladium is found as a free metal and alloyed with platinum and gold with platinum group meta
An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy. Heat engines, like the internal combustion engine, burn a fuel to create heat, used to do work. Electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical motion, pneumatic motors use compressed air, clockwork motors in wind-up toys use elastic energy. In biological systems, molecular motors, like myosins in muscles, use chemical energy to create forces and motion; the word engine derives from Old French engin, from the Latin ingenium–the root of the word ingenious. Pre-industrial weapons of war, such as catapults and battering rams, were called siege engines, knowledge of how to construct them was treated as a military secret; the word gin, as in cotton gin, is short for engine. Most mechanical devices invented during the industrial revolution were described as engines—the steam engine being a notable example. However, the original steam engines, such as those by Thomas Savery, were not mechanical engines but pumps.
In this manner, a fire engine in its original form was a water pump, with the engine being transported to the fire by horses. In modern usage, the term engine describes devices, like steam engines and internal combustion engines, that burn or otherwise consume fuel to perform mechanical work by exerting a torque or linear force. Devices converting heat energy into motion are referred to as engines. Examples of engines which exert a torque include the familiar automobile gasoline and diesel engines, as well as turboshafts. Examples of engines which produce thrust include rockets; when the internal combustion engine was invented, the term motor was used to distinguish it from the steam engine—which was in wide use at the time, powering locomotives and other vehicles such as steam rollers. The term motor derives from the Latin verb moto which means to maintain motion, thus a motor is a device. Motor and engine are interchangeable in standard English. In some engineering jargons, the two words have different meanings, in which engine is a device that burns or otherwise consumes fuel, changing its chemical composition, a motor is a device driven by electricity, air, or hydraulic pressure, which does not change the chemical composition of its energy source.
However, rocketry uses the term rocket motor though they consume fuel. A heat engine may serve as a prime mover—a component that transforms the flow or changes in pressure of a fluid into mechanical energy. An automobile powered by an internal combustion engine may make use of various motors and pumps, but all such devices derive their power from the engine. Another way of looking at it is that a motor receives power from an external source, converts it into mechanical energy, while an engine creates power from pressure. Simple machines, such as the club and oar, are prehistoric. More complex engines using human power, animal power, water power, wind power and steam power date back to antiquity. Human power was focused by the use of simple engines, such as the capstan, windlass or treadmill, with ropes and block and tackle arrangements; these were used in cranes and aboard ships in Ancient Greece, as well as in mines, water pumps and siege engines in Ancient Rome. The writers of those times, including Vitruvius and Pliny the Elder, treat these engines as commonplace, so their invention may be more ancient.
By the 1st century AD, cattle and horses were used in mills, driving machines similar to those powered by humans in earlier times. According to Strabo, a water powered mill was built in Kaberia of the kingdom of Mithridates during the 1st century BC. Use of water wheels in mills spread throughout the Roman Empire over the next few centuries; some were quite complex, with aqueducts and sluices to maintain and channel the water, along with systems of gears, or toothed-wheels made of wood and metal to regulate the speed of rotation. More sophisticated small devices, such as the Antikythera Mechanism used complex trains of gears and dials to act as calendars or predict astronomical events. In a poem by Ausonius in the 4th century AD, he mentions a stone-cutting saw powered by water. Hero of Alexandria is credited with many such wind and steam powered machines in the 1st century AD, including the Aeolipile and the vending machine these machines were associated with worship, such as animated altars and automated temple doors.
Medieval Muslim engineers employed gears in mills and water-raising machines, used dams as a source of water power to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. In the medieval Islamic world, such advances made it possible to mechanize many industrial tasks carried out by manual labour. In 1206, al-Jazari employed a crank-conrod system for two of his water-raising machines. A rudimentary steam turbine device was described by Taqi al-Din in 1551 and by Giovanni Branca in 1629. In the 13th century, the solid rocket motor was invented in China. Driven by gunpowder, this simplest form of internal combustion engine was unable to deliver sustained power, but was useful for propelling weaponry at high speeds towards enemies in battle and for fireworks. After invention, this innovation spread throughout Europe; the Watt steam engine was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston he
The Great Recession was a period of general economic decline observed in world markets during the late 2000s and early 2010s. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country; the International Monetary Fund concluded that the overall impact was the most severe since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession stemmed from the collapse of the United States real-estate market in relation to the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 and the U. S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 to 2009. According to the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession in the U. S. ended in June 2009, thus extending over 19 months. The Great Recession resulted in a scarcity of valuable assets in the market economy and the collapse of the financial sector in the world economy. S. federal government. The recession was not felt around the world. Two senses of the word "recession" exist: one sense referring broadly to "a period of reduced economic activity" and ongoing hardship.
Under the academic definition, the recession ended in the United States in June or July 2009. Robert Kuttner argues, “’The Great Recession,’ is a misnomer. We should stop using it. Recessions are mild dips in the business cycle that are either self-correcting or soon cured by modest fiscal or monetary stimulus; because of the continuing deflationary trap, it would be more accurate to call this decade's stagnant economy The Lesser Depression or The Great Deflation." The Great Recession met the IMF criteria for being a global recession only in the single calendar year 2009. That IMF definition requires a decline in annual real world GDP per‑capita. Despite the fact that quarterly data are being used as recession definition criteria by all G20 members, representing 85% of the world GDP, the International Monetary Fund has decided—in the absence of a complete data set—not to declare/measure global recessions according to quarterly GDP data; the seasonally adjusted PPP‑weighted real GDP for the G20‑zone, however, is a good indicator for the world GDP, it was measured to have suffered a direct quarter on quarter decline during the three quarters from Q3‑2008 until Q1‑2009, which more mark when the recession took place at the global level.
According to the U. S. National Bureau of Economic Research the recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, thus extended over eighteen months; the years leading up to the crisis were characterized by an exorbitant rise in asset prices and associated boom in economic demand. Further, the U. S. shadow banking system had grown to rival the depository system yet was not subject to the same regulatory oversight, making it vulnerable to a bank run. US mortgage-backed securities, which had risks that were hard to assess, were marketed around the world, as they offered higher yields than U. S. government bonds. Many of these securities were backed by subprime mortgages, which collapsed in value when the U. S. housing bubble burst during 2006 and homeowners began to default on their mortgage payments in large numbers starting in 2007. The emergence of sub-prime loan losses in 2007 began the crisis and exposed other risky loans and over-inflated asset prices. With loan losses mounting and the fall of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, a major panic broke out on the inter-bank loan market.
There was the equivalent of a bank run on the shadow banking system, resulting in many large and well established investment and commercial banks in the United States and Europe suffering huge losses and facing bankruptcy, resulting in massive public financial assistance. The global recession that followed resulted in a sharp drop in international trade, rising unemployment and slumping commodity prices. Several economists predicted that recovery might not appear until 2011 and that the recession would be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Economist Paul Krugman once commented on this as the beginning of "a second Great Depression". Governments and central banks responded with fiscal and monetary policies to stimulate national economies and reduce financial system risks; the recession has renewed interest in Keynesian economic ideas on how to combat recessionary conditions. Economists advise that the stimulus should be withdrawn as soon as the economies recover enough to "chart a path to sustainable growth".
The distribution of household incomes in the United States has become more unequal during the post-2008 economic recovery. Income inequality in the United States has grown from 2005 to 2012 in more than 2 out of 3 metropolitan areas. Median household wealth fell 35% in the US, from $106,591 to $68,839 between 2005 and 2011; the majority report provided by U. S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, composed of six Democratic and four Republican appointees, reported its findings in January 2011, it concluded that "the crisis was avoidable and was caused by: Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve's failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent agency of the United States federal government for environmental protection. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970 and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order; the order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator, appointed by the President and approved by Congress; the current Administrator is former Deputy Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, acting administrator since July 2018; the EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the Administrator is given cabinet rank. The EPA has its headquarters in Washington, D. C. regional offices for each of the agency's ten regions, 27 laboratories. The agency conducts environmental assessment and education, it has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state and local governments. It delegates some permitting and enforcement responsibility to U.
S. states and the federally recognized tribes. EPA enforcement powers include fines and other measures; the agency works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts. In 2018, the agency had 14,172 full-time employees. More than half of EPA's employees are engineers and environmental protection specialists; the Environmental Protection Agency can only act under statutes, which are the authority of laws passed by Congress. Congress must approve the statute and they have the power to authorize or prohibit certain actions, which the EPA has to implement and enforce. Appropriations statutes authorize how much money the agency can spend each year to carry out the approved statutes; the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to issue regulations. A regulation is a standard or rule written by the agency to interpret the statute, apply it in situations and enforce it. Congress allows the EPA to write regulations in order to solve a problem, but the agency must include a rationale of why the regulations need to be implemented.
The regulations can be challenged by the Courts, where the regulation is confirmed. Many public health and environmental groups advocate for the agency and believe that it is creating a better world. Other critics believe that the agency commits government overreach by adding unnecessary regulations on business and property owners. Beginning in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, Congress reacted to increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. Senator James E. Murray introduced a bill, the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959, in the 86th Congress; the 1962 publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson alerted the public about the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. In the years following, similar bills were introduced and hearings were held to discuss the state of the environment and Congress's potential responses. In 1968, a joint House–Senate colloquium was convened by the chairmen of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Senator Henry M. Jackson, the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Representative George P. Miller, to discuss the need for and means of implementing a national environmental policy.
In the colloquium, some members of Congress expressed a continuing concern over federal agency actions affecting the environment. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was modeled on the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959. RCA would have established a Council on Environmental Quality in the office of the President, declared a national environmental policy, required the preparation of an annual environmental report. President Nixon signed NEPA into law on January 1, 1970; the law created the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. NEPA required that a detailed statement of environmental impacts be prepared for all major federal actions affecting the environment; the "detailed statement" would be referred to as an environmental impact statement. On July 9, 1970, Nixon proposed an executive reorganization that consolidated many environmental responsibilities of the federal government under one agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency; this proposal included merging antipollution programs from a number of departments, such as the combination of pesticide programs from the United States Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, U.
S. Department of Interior. After conducting hearings during that summer, the House and Senate approved the proposal; the EPA was created 90 days before it had to operate, opened its doors on December 2, 1970. The agency's first Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, took the oath of office on December 4, 1970. In its first year, the EPA had 5,800 employees. At its start, the EPA was a technical assistance agency that set goals and standards. Soon, new acts and amendments passed by Congress gave the agency its regulatory authority. EPA staff recall that in the early days there was "an enormous sense of purpose and excitement" and the expectation that "there was this agency, going to do something about a problem, on the minds of a lot of people in this country," leading to tens of thousands of resumes from those eager to participate in the mighty effort to clean up America's environment; when EPA first began operation, members of the private sector felt that the environ
International Resource Panel
The International Resource Panel is a scientific panel of experts that aims to help nations use natural resources sustainably without compromising economic growth and human needs. It provides independent scientific assessments and expert advice on a variety of areas, including: the volume of selected raw material reserves and how efficiently these resources are being used the lifecycle-long environmental impacts of products and services created and consumed around the globe options to meet human and economic needs with fewer or cleaner resources; the Secretariat of the IRP is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme through its office in Paris, France. Supported by a small Secretariat, the International Resource Panel comprises up to 40 expert members drawn from a wide range of academic institutions and scientific organizations, it is co-chaired by Janez Potočnik, former European Environment Commissioner, Izabella Teixeira, former Environment Minister of Brazil. A Its Steering Committee includes over 20 governments as well as the European Commission and UN Environment.
A number of international bodies and civil society organizations are strategic partners, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The International Council for Science and the SUN Foundation. While climate change and biodiversity loss have emerged as the world’s most pressing environmental issues in recent decades, both issues are being seen as symptomatic of a broader problem of overuse of resources and lack of attention to the impacts on the environment they cause; the resources in question include materials, water and energy. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment found that rapid rises in human demands for natural resources have caused substantial and irreversible loss of biodiversity Our current rate of consumption of resources such as fossil fuels, metals and timber, is unsustainable and inequitable.
WWF has pointed out that if we continue to consume resources at current levels, by 2050 we will need two planet’s worth of natural materials to support the human race. The concept of sustainable use of resources was placed on the global governance agenda in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By 2005, several leading international environmental organisations were undertaking disparate work related to natural resources; the OECD was investigating sustainable materials management, the European Commission put forward a new Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources used in Europe and UN Environment was conducting detailed studies into the way we use resources and their impacts. As various authorities began shaping policies to encourage sustainable consumption and production, two issues emerged. One was that the field was lacking the kind of rigorous scientific assessments that underpinned research into other environmental disciplines, such as climate change and Ozone.
The other was that as raw materials are sourced, manufactured into products and consumed in locations around the world, any scientific assessments would need to be global in scope. Different regions tended to treat the topic differently, depending on the volume of resources they used, methods they used to process resources and whether they had access to domestic resources or depended on imports; the IRP was founded in 2007 as a way to address this void and support diverse efforts being made to shift the world towards sustainable consumption and production. By mid-2011, the IRP had released in-depth assessments on decoupling, metal stocks, plus priority products and materials; the IRP a number of assessments, the topics of which include greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, efficiency of water use, plus land and soils. By providing the best available scientific information on using resources efficiently, the IRP aims to help the world shift to a ‘green economy’, where patterns of consumption and production are sustainable, all citizens have equitable access to resources and the enduring quality of the global commons is assured.
Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth report Recycling Rates of Metals report Priority Products and Materials report Metal Stocks in Society report Assessing Biofuels report Measuring Water Use in a Green Economy City-level Decoupling: Urban Resource Flows and the Governance of Infrastructure Transitions Metal Recycling: Opportunities, Infrastructure Environmental Risks and Challenges of Anthropogenic Metals Flows and Cycles Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity Green Technology Choices: The Environmental and Resource Implications of Low-Carbon Technologies Assessing Global Resource Use: A Systems Approach to Resource Efficiency and Pollution Reduction The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization Re-defining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution: Remanufacturing, Refurbishment and Direct Reuse in the Circular Economy The Global Resources Outlook 2019: Natural Resources for the Future We Want www.resourcepanel.org www.unep.org Decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth Recycling rates of metals: A status report (2011