If We Plunder the Moon …
… the Moon will become a lifeless, barren wasteland where nothing can grow!
We might also run into problems with the Sulva liberation movement.
One of the comments on the Guardian article mentioned this article, which claims:
Speaking as a science-fiction fan, I'm always interested in news from alternate universes. Here we have a post from an alternate universe with no uranium in it.
However, as we have seen, such a civilization has only a very narrow window of opportunity in which to transition from a civilization wholly dependent upon planetary energy and material resources, to one able to utilize the thousandfold greater resources of the entire solar system. This is because of the rapid onset of peak oil and global climate change, which in turn swiftly terminates high energy planetary civilization. Once such a civilization falls it can never be restarted again, as the easily exploitable hydrocarbon resources, as well as necessary metals and minerals, are gone.
The hydrocarbon energy available to a planetary civilization is analogous to the yolk of an egg: just as the yolk offers a newly emerged creature needed energy to break out of the egg and get established in the wider world, so too does a planet's hydrocarbon energy deposits provide an emergent technological civilization the boost it needs to leave its birthworld and establish itself in its solar system. It offers a very brief window of opportunity to allow a species to develop the technologies and techniques to bootstrap itself off of its planet of origin. Once out into space, a civilization can take advantage of the thousandfold greater material and energy resources found across the solar system. Meanwhile the birthworld can rest and regenerate from its difficult birthing.