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Peak Phosphorus The Next Inconvenient TruthInconvenient Truth

Arno RosemarinStockholm Environment Institute

Phosphorus SeminarPhosphorus SeminarGamla StanMay 19, 2010

The linear path of phosphorus in modern times (Princeton Univ.)

Vaccari, 2009

90% of the Phosphorus Reserves are in 5 Countries

, 20

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SG

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Sulfuric acid which is used in extracting the phosphorus is found in a limited number of countries as well, mainly in the north; so there are several geopolitical challenges ahead of us

Phosphate Rock Economic Reserves, 1997-2009(from USGS summaries)

18 000 000

20 000 000

14 000 000

16 000 000

k

China

10 000 000

12 000 000

000 000

ho

sph

ate

ro

c

ChinaMorocco & W. SaharaSouth Africa

8 000 000

10 000 000

00

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on

ne

s p

h

United StatesJordanOther countries

Morocco/West Sahara

4 000 000

6 000 00010

0

2 000 000

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

The definition of economic rock reserves is not standardised. China has changed the definition twice after joining the WTO in 2003. In 2009 they downgraded their economic reserve by 30%. There is a need for a world standard and global governance still non-existent.

Depletion of Global Economic Phosphorus Reserves

14000000

16000000

12000000

14000000

10000000

c to

ns years from 2008reserve (2% scenario)

8000000

000

met

ric

reserve (2% scenario)2% annual increase in extractionreserve (1% scenario)1% annual increase in extraction

4000000

600000010 1% annual increase in extraction

2010

2000000

arin

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SG

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01 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64

Ros

ema

Base

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Cordell, 2009

S di A bi

Philippines

Ireland

Syrian Arab Republic

Romania

Chile

M alaysia

Colombia

Paraguay

Uruguay

Saudi Arabia

2O

5/

yr

Egypt

Ukraine

United Kingdom

Korea, Republic of

Belarus

Chilen

nes

P2

Russian Federat ion

Japan

Italy

Germany

Bangladesh

Egypt

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Thailand

Turkey

M exico

Indonesia

Iran, Islamic Republic of

nsu

mp

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AO

STA

New Zealand

Canada

France

Poland

Spain

00

7 c

on

Brazil

Viet Nam

Australia

Pakistan

Argentina20

0 2 000 000 4 000 000 6 000 000 8 000 000 10 000 000 12 000 000

China

India

United States of America

Trends in Global Fertilizer Use

Phosphate Rock Production and Price Development(Vaccari, 2009)

The experience of 2008 showed how volatile the phosphate prices can be, this time brought on by the biofuel market when oil was running at 140 USD per barrel; this created a global food security problem which only eased off with the Wall St crisis.

2008 Highest Increase in Food Prices in 100 years

The Scenario Aheadthe US will deplete its commercially-viable reserves within 25-30 yearsthe global reserves at present extraction rates will last the global reserves at present extraction rates will last less than 75 yearsphosphorus production from rock could peak by 2030 after which demand will exceed supplypp y90% of the reserves are in 5 countries (geopolitical insecurity)as fertilizer prices rise, falling farm output and growing as fertilizer prices rise, falling farm output and growing food insecurity are likely to provide challenges for which the world is unpreparedso far UN agencies, governments and international NGOs h f il d k l d l l d h have failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to the problem

Challenges Ahead

efficiency of extraction is 50% to 70% and needs to be increasedefficiency of use: 17 Mtons of P are produced per year for fertilizer and only 20% ends up in foodstuffs and most is not recycledagricultural reforms agricultural reforms

reduce livestock density to avoid accumulation of P in feedlot areas erosion and runoff control to reduce P lossreduction of over application of P fertilisers

recovery and reuse of phosphorus from organic waste sourcesanimal manureh d b l d fhuman excreta and biosolids from sanitation systemshousehold organics (green bag programmes)other organics from solid waste

necessary changes in food consumption including less beefnecessary changes in food consumption including less beefslash and burn practices to mineralize the bound P in agrosoils will cause significant air pollution and even global cooling

Aquamor, Zimbabwe

One days urine from an adult produces a kilo of foody p(Aquamor, Harare)

Recent Developments

Conferences in 2009 on wastewater and sewage sludge reuse of phosphorus in Vancouver in May and Berlin in SeptemberArticle on peak P in Scientific American by David Viccari - June 2009 (one more coming in 2010)EU first project on sustainable use of phosphorus p j p pWageningen Univ and Stockholm Environment Institute - 2010Formation of the GPRI Task Force researchers from Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, UK - August 2009Article on peak P in Nature by Natasha Gilbert in O t b 2009October 2009

Recent Developments (contd)First PhD thesis on peak phosphorus - Cordell (Sydney Univ and Linkpings Univ) Feb 2010IFA IFDC industry study on peak phosphorus IFA-IFDC industry study on peak phosphorus announced in January 2010Phosphates 2010 industry conference in Brussels M h 22 24 2010 fi t bli di i k P March 22-24, 2010 first public discussion on peak P by industrySustainable Phosphorus Initiative (Arizona State Univ p (2010)Work of the US committee on peak phosphorus has become classified and not available to the public by become classified and not available to the public by the Dept of Trade and Commerce

Suggested Next Steps

International task forceWhite paper laying out the factsWhite paper laying out the factsCommunications and awarenessInternational commissionGlobal conventionGlobal convention

www.sei-international.org www.ecosanres.orgg