Hi Henryk. According to the Our World In Data charts you linked, phosphorus production has been on the rise globally for the last 60 years, and North America has contributed to that trend. American phosphorus production, according to your source, has not been stable for the past 50 years. Production has declined in Europe, but, as your source confirms, global production is climbing every year. The article you cite concludes that synthetic fertilizers have contributed to stark decreases in global hunger, and that is certainly a good thing. It is silent, however, on the long term availability of nutrients--such as phosphorus--that are essential ingredients in those fertilizers.


This article, from the Journal of Global Environmental Change, is the "hard data" that I relied on for my post. I encourage you to read it. It predicts phosphorus shortages as early as 2030 and total depletion within 50-100 years if we continue with business as usual. Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem, but we have to make people aware that the problem exists if we're to confront it effectively. That's what my article is meant to do.

Thanks for reading.


I write about movies, books, culture, politics, and the intersection between them. MA in English, words in The Ascent, PSILU, The Writing Cooperative, and more.

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