Peak phosphorus: clarifying the key issues of a vigorous debate about long-term phosphorus security

MDPI Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sustainability, 2011, 3 (10), pp. 2027 - 2049
Issue Date:
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This paper first reviews latest information and perspectives on global phosphorus scarcity. Phosphorus is essential for food production and modern agriculture currently sources phosphorus fertilizers from phosphate rock. The 2008 price spike triggered increased concerns regarding the timeline of depletion of finite phosphate rock reserves. While estimates range from 30 years to 300 years and are shrouded by lack of public available data and substantial uncertainty, there is general consensus that the quality of remaining reserves are decreasing and costs will increase. This paper then asks what would it take to achieve global phosphorus security? What would a `hard-landing response look like from Africa to Australia, and how could preferred `soft-landing responses be achieved?
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