Scotland – The 9th Wealthiest Nation on Earth by Natural Resources Per Head

As some of you will be aware, there was a recent study conducted into the value of all of the UK’s resources by the Office for National Statistics.  Within that report, the conclusion (as of 2015 – so already nearly 4 full years out of date) was that Scotland has 34% of all UK natural resources, with only 8.2% of the entire UK population.  This is a partial asset value (as of 2015) of £273,000,000,000, which, with inflation is £297,302,352,941 as of 2018.  That, of course, is not accounting for Scotland’s successive natural asset economic growth since 2015, discoveries of more oil and gas fields and further installations of renewable energy.  I believe it’s safe to say we are way over the £300,000,000,000 mark as of today.  Maybe we’ll need to wait another 4 years to find out the 2019 value?

Some of the key findings from the report are:

  • Oil and gas accounted for 57% of the total asset value.
  • Between 2007 and 2015, renewables and timber asset value more than doubled.
  • Provisioning services (i.e. food, water and materials produced by nature) and consumed by the population had an annual value of over £1,500,000,000.
  • Water abstraction fell to its lowest level in history, despite increased demand. This is because of less water leakages and waste.
  • Between 2000 and 2017, there was a 5 fold increase in renewable energy production, representing 58% of all energy production in Scotland.
  • Scots spend 65% more time outdoors than our counterparts elsewhere in the UK.

Now, of course, this report doesn’t look at future asset value from any other perspective other than estimated potential and current value but there is one key resource Scotland has in huge abundance, which will be in huge demand within the next decade or two by other constituent parts of the UK.  It is literally the life blood of everyone and, in my opinion, the oil of the future.

Water.

Scotland has 90% of the entire UKs fresh water supply.  We have 8.2% of the population.  Roughly translated, the entire UK fresh water supply sits at around 36,160,000,000,000 litres.  Scotland has 28,760,000,000,000 litres of that number.  The average consumption rate is 140 litres per day per household, so even if it were 140 litres per day per person, Scotland would use 759,500,000 litres per day.  Over a year, we would use 277,217,500,000 litres.  If it didn’t rain for an entire year, Scotland would still have 28,482,782,500,000 litres available to sell, or 99%.

In other words, Scotland, per year only uses 1% of all of its fresh water supply (at the extreme end).  If it didn’t rain for a whole year, we would still have 99% of our entire fresh water reserves, or 89% of all the UK supply.

So tell me, when England is expected to run out of fresh water within the next 20 years, who will be in a more powerful financial position? Who will hold the cards then?

Don’t let this be another “oil” moment Scotland.  Water is the future.

Back to the main point in this article.

Scotland’s natural asset value, at current inflation prices is equal to £54,746 per person.

I wonder what the other top ten countries in the world are equivalent too and where Scotland fits in?   Let’s check shall we?

Country

Population Natural Asset Value Value Per Head

China

1,386,000,000 £17,658,710,000,000 £12,741

Saudi Arabia

32,940,000

£26,411,288,000,000

£801,800

Canada

37,060,000

£25,489,964,000,000

£687,803

India

1,339,000,000

£77,078,408,000,000

£44,196

Russia

144,500,000

£57,582,750,000,000

£398,497

Brazil

209,300,000

£16,737,386,000,000

£79,968

USA

327,200,000

£34,549,650,000,000

£105,592

Venezuela

31,980,000

£10,979,111,000,000

£343,312

DRC

81,340,000

£18,426,480,000,000

£226,537

Australia

24,600,000

£15,278,623,000,000

£621,082

Scotland

5,425,000 £297,000,000,000 £54,747
 

Oh, that’s a nice surprise.

When you look at the natural asset value per head of population, the table looks like this.

Capture

So Scotland, according to the UK Governments own figures, on a per head of population basis, is currently sitting at number 9 in the world’s wealthiest countries by natural assets per head of population.

That’s not including our untapped future potential in biomass, carbon capture, tidal power and fresh water supply.  This is the here and now (or at least 2015).

It is also not accounting for the fact that Scotland is restricted by 75% of its fiscal levers being withheld, nor is it accounting for the restrictions on what it can or cannot change or do for betterment of its own future potential and what it spends its money on, or invests it in.

Some things are priceless!

So the next time anyone tells you Scotland cannot afford to be independent, take pleasure in showing them this blog post.

p.s. And just for laughs, here is the rUK status of natural asset value per head (nearly 4 times as poor)

Country

Population

Natural Asset Value

Value Per Head

rUK

60,615,000

£873,529,411,765

£14,411

Now before anyone jumps on the bandwagon, i am aware that the current top 10 list is based on countries that actually measure their natural asset value.  Some countries do not do it – but i cannot help that!

Sources

Scottish natural capital report

England water supply

Top 10 natural asset countries

India natural asset value