Chris Miller of this parish brought my attention to the piece itself which led to this:
Sir, Brian Cox says that rapid depletion of resources will make the Earth uninhabitable and thus we must colonise Mars (“Our future is as Martians, says Cox”, May 21). As the author of “The No Breakfast Fallacy: why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of resources”, I must point out that there is no shortage of mineral resources. The usual mistake is to measure mineral reserves as what is available for us to use.
They are not: mineral reserves are what we have prepared for us to use. Given the way that capitalism works we spend only the money to prepare for the next few decades. Thus mineral reserves of everything always run out a few decades after any one observation. Our actual supply is what we can prepare to be mineral reserves, this being somewhere between several million and several billion years’ supply, dependent upon the element. Colonising Mars is an excellent idea, as there’s an asteroid out there with Earth’s name on it, just as there was for the dinosaurs. But running out of resources isn’t a reason for going there.
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute