Peak Phosphorus

You’ve heard of peak oil. You haven’t? Peak oil is just another way of saying that the rate at which we are extracting fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas is much, much faster that the rate at which they are replaced. It took many millions of years to produce the large deposits that we have in just a couple of centuries significantly depleted. They will run out. The only question is when. Peak oil is the moment when the global production of oil starts to decrease. Year on year reductions until there is none left. Time for solar power. Or nuclear. Or wind. Or something else.

Just like oil, we are currently consuming mineral phosphorus at a much greater rate than its natural replenishment. In fact, given that we get most of our phosphourus from rocks which take geological timescales to renew, we can assume that it doesn’t get renewed at all. And so at some point we will reach peak phosphorus. This is actually something of a big deal. Potentialy much more so than peak oil. Why? Continue reading