Consequences of resource exploitation

Socio-economic consequences

As energy sources are depleted, energy prices will increase, eg higher petrol prices and domestic fuel bills in the UK.

This can have the result of leaving the elderly and those on low incomes in fuel poverty. In turn this could increase inequality and the gap between rich and poor could widen.

Funding will be needed for research into alternative energy, and there are increased costs for exploration and extraction of existing energy sources.

Environmental consequences

Increased carbon emissions cause global warming with consequences including climate change and sea levels rising due to melting ice caps.

Air pollution from factories could increase as countries industrialise and exploit resources. The economic miracle in China is exploiting resources at a rapid rate and making Chinese cities, such as Beijing, some of the most polluted in the world.

Ecosystems such as rainforests are under threat from exploitation as countries (eg Brazil) exploit their resources for development.

Political consequences

Global agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol have been negotiated with an aim to reduce carbon emissions. Such agreements require high levels of international cooperation.

Governments risk losing public support as domestic fuel bills and petrol prices rise. People are forced to change their lifestyle, which is unpopular.