2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


GROAT, Charles G., US Geol Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA 20192-0002, cgroat@usgs.gov

The world as a whole is not running out of resources. We have enough minerals, energy, water, and biota to supply the needs of the population for the foreseeable future. However, the world's resources are distributed unevenly around the planet, and local abundance or scarcity, as well as politics, may strongly affect national and economic vitality. This should not cause us to be parochial in our consideration of resource availability; rather, it should provide motivation for increased international cooperation.

Federal science agencies have a critical role in developing global assessments that describe the location, form, quantity, and quality of various natural resources. For example, USGS scientists worked successfully with counterparts from other nations in preparing the World Petroleum Assessment 2000 and are now beginning a new assessment of global mineral resources. Increased collaboration on a regional scale is also important. Work on water issues on the island of Cyprus has proved extremely successful, both in delineating the resource and in building cooperation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot geological surveys.

Sound science provides the fundamental information about the resources; sound policies, and political will, are needed to provide the guidelines and infrastructure to distribute the resources efficiently and fairly. While science alone cannot eliminate global conflict, by working together scientists can help build international cooperation as they develop a better and more globally based understanding of the Earth's energy, mineral, water, and environmental resources.