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By Gerald Garvey (auth.)

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Hence society must regard interests far into the future. Pecuniary price can indicate relative gains and costs in a contemporary market. But markets less reliably serve the interests of generations unborn. " This rate reflects how quickly the good loses value as its use is anticipated to be deferred. A low discount rate, therefore, means that relatively little value is thought to be lost if the resource in question is not used up now but saved for the future. In principle, reflecting the socially optimal discount rate in current fuel prices would permit market decisions leading to a rate of depletion which maximizes the value of the resource over time.

Barthold and H. G. Pfeiffer, "High Voltage Power Transmission," May, 1964 Scientific American; 2. Citizens' Advisory Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty, Laurence Rockefeller, Chairman, The Electric Utility Industry and the Environment (November 1966), 3. Working Committee on Utilities, Report to the Vice-President and to the President's Council on Recreation and Natural Beauty (December 27, 1968). The "insulation loss" estimates at p. 476, and the apportionment of gas and oil to the heating market is based on the Bureau of Mines March 23, 1971, Mineral Industry Survey report.

But unlike the tree, a fossil fuel source cannot be replenished, except over geological time spans. With these fuels, man presides over the continuous dissipation of a fund of energy fixed in size by past biomass accumulation. Once dissipated, heat cannot be reharnessed. Hence real-world thermodynamic processes are said to be irreversible. They are one-way trips in the direction of time's arrow, yielding products like heat and ash, which can never be recombined in a sort of reverse combustion to call back the original fuel.

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