Peak Phosphorus - The Next Inconvinient Truth


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Seminar report and presentations
Geopolitics, Food Security, Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Rights: Implications for Western Sahara

Bååtska Rummet, Munkbron 17, Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Wednesday 19th May 2010, 14:00 – 17:00

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI)
Nordic Africa Institute (NAI)
Riksdagens tvärpolitiska nätverk för Västsahara
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Swedish Section)

Summary Report:

Seminar on the Perils of Peak Phosphorus


Peak Phosphorus – The next inconvenient truth. Dr Arno Rosemarin, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
New Policy Regimes to Achieve Food Security in Africa. Dr Kjell Havnevik, Nordic Africa Institute
Brief Overview on Western Sahara Natural Resources. Mr Sören Lindh, VästsaharaAktionen
Respect for Human Rights and Relevant Legal Aspects in Western Sahara. Ms Cecilia Asklöf, International Commission of Jurists – Swedish Section.
How Investors can Facilitate Corporate Responsibility through Active Engagement – Western
Sahara as a Case Study. Dr Magnus Furugård, GES Investment Services International

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Peak Phosphorus - The Next Inconvinient Truth

  1. 1. Peak Phosphorus – The NextInconvenient TruthArno RosemarinStockholm Environment InstitutePhosphorus SeminarGamla StanMay 19, 2010
  2. 2. The linear path of phosphorus in modern times (Princeton Univ.)
  3. 3. Vaccari, 2009
  4. 4. 90% of the Phosphorus Reserves are in 5 CountriesCaldwell,SEI,basedonUSGS,2009Sulfuric acid which is used in extracting the phosphorus is found in a limited number ofcountries as well, mainly in the north; so there are several geopolitical challenges ahead of us
  5. 5. Phosphate Rock Economic Reserves, 1997-2009(from USGS summaries)02 000 0004 000 0006 000 0008 000 00010 000 00012 000 00014 000 00016 000 00018 000 00020 000 0001997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 20091000tonnesphosphaterockChinaMorocco & W. SaharaSouth AfricaUnited StatesJordanOther countriesThe definition of economic rock reserves is not standardised. China has changed the definitiontwice 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.Morocco/West SaharaChina
  6. 6. Depletion of Global Economic Phosphorus Reserves02000000400000060000008000000100000001200000014000000160000001 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 641000metrictonsyears from 2008reserve (2% scenario)2% annual increase in extractionreserve (1% scenario)1% annual increase in extractionRosemarin,SEIBasedonUSGSdata2010
  7. 7. Cordell, 2009
  8. 8. 0 2 000 000 4 000 000 6 000 000 8 000 000 10 000 000 12 000 000ChinaIndiaUnited States of AmericaBrazilViet NamAustraliaPakistanArgentinaNew ZealandCanadaFrancePolandSpainThailandTurkeyM exicoIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofRussian FederationJapanItalyGermanyBangladeshEgyptUkraineUnited KingdomKorea, Republic ofBelarusChileM alaysiaColombiaParaguayUruguaySaudi ArabiaPhilippinesIrelandSyrian Arab RepublicRomania2007consu2O5/yr(FAOSTAT,2009)
  9. 9. Trends in Global Fertilizer Use
  10. 10. Phosphate Rock Production and Price Development(Vaccari, 2009)The experience of 2008 showed how volatile the phosphate prices can be, this timebrought on by the biofuel market when oil was running at 140 USD per barrel; thiscreated a global food security problem which only eased off with the Wall St crisis.
  11. 11. 2008 Highest Increase in Food Prices in 100 years
  12. 12. The Scenario Ahead the US will deplete its commercially-viable reserveswithin 25-30 years the global reserves at present extraction rates will lastless than 75 years phosphorus production from rock could peak by 2030– after which demand will exceed supply 90% of the reserves are in 5 countries (geopoliticalinsecurity) as fertilizer prices rise, falling farm output and growingfood insecurity are likely to provide challenges for whichthe world is unprepared so far UN agencies, governments and international NGOshave failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to theproblem
  13. 13. Challenges Ahead efficiency of extraction is 50% to 70% and needs to be increased efficiency of use: 17 Mtons of P are produced per year for fertilizerand only 20% ends up in foodstuffs and most is not recycled agricultural reforms reduce livestock density to avoid accumulation of P in feedlotareas erosion and runoff control to reduce P loss reduction of over application of P fertilisers recovery and reuse of phosphorus from organic waste sources animal manure human excreta and ”biosolids” from sanitation systems household organics (green bag programmes) other organics from solid waste necessary changes in food consumption including less beef slash and burn practices to mineralize the bound P in agrosoils willcause significant air pollution and even global cooling
  14. 14. One day’s urine from an adult produces a kilo of food(Aquamor, Harare)Aquamor, Zimbabwe
  15. 15. Recent Developments Conferences in 2009 on wastewater and sewagesludge reuse of phosphorus in Vancouver in May andBerlin in September Article on peak P in Scientific American by DavidViccari - June 2009 (one more coming in 2010) EU first project on sustainable use of phosphorus –Wageningen Univ and Stockholm EnvironmentInstitute - 2010 Formation of the GPRI Task Force – researchers fromAustralia, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, UK - August2009 Article on peak P in Nature by Natasha Gilbert inOctober 2009
  16. 16. Recent Developments (cont’d) First PhD thesis on peak phosphorus - Cordell(Sydney Univ and Linköpings Univ) Feb 2010 IFA-IFDC industry study on peak phosphorusannounced in January 2010 Phosphates 2010 industry conference in BrusselsMarch 22-24, 2010 – first public discussion on peak Pby industry Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative (Arizona State Univ2010) Work of the US committee on peak phosphorus hasbecome classified and not available to the public bythe Dept of Trade and Commerce
  17. 17. Suggested Next Steps International task force White paper laying out the facts Communications and awareness International commission Global convention
  18. 18.
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