Although climate change catches the headlines, it is not the only doomsday scenario out there. A smaller but no less fervent band of worriers think that peak phosphate—a catastrophic decline in output of an essential fertilizer—will get us first.
of the worriers is Jeremy Grantham of the global investment management
firm GMO. Grantham foresees a coming crash of the earth’s population
from a projected 10 billion to no more than 1.5 billion. He thinks the
rest of humanity will starve to death because we are running out of
phosphate fertilizer. This post on Business Insider from late last year provides an array of alarming charts to back up his warning.
Foreign Policy agrees
that phosphate shortages are a potential threat. “If we fail to meet
this challenge,” write contributors James Elser and Stuart White,
“humanity faces a Malthusian trap of widespread famine on a scale that
we have not yet experienced. The geopolitical impacts of such
disruptions will be severe, as an increasing number of states fail to
provide their citizens with a sufficient food supply.”
going on here? Is this really “the biggest problem we’ve never heard
of,” as Elser puts it? Or are phosphate shortages something that global
markets can cope with? Let’s take a closer look. >>>Read more
Follow this link to view or download a classroom-ready slideshow that features peak phosphate as a case study in supply and demand.