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Peak Phosphor - Not Global Warming - As The Number 1 Worry?

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#18 VictorMedvil

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 02:20 AM

We are running out now. The price has been rising for many years. We have no way of conserving it. We are using more each year. You are confident in what technology? Are you thinking that we may as well just let the disparity between supply and demand continue to increase because humanity will sort out the crisis when it gets bad enough to force a solution? How can you be sure that panic will provide the answer?  That is like going back to sleep in a burning building with the confidence that the fire brigade will arrive on time.

If we forget about phosphate for a moment, the problem is simply that the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet is finite and the population is now 3 times that.

Now is the time to act against overpopulation before a crisis arrives. 

Many of humanities other problems are related to overpopulation. For unemployment and all that goes with it, read overpopulation. As we become increasingly more efficient in manufacturing, how can we be nonchalant about increasing population?

 

First let me correct you, We are not running out now it will be what 200 years before depletion happens such as Oil will run out way before then. There are obviously ways to conserve the usage of phosphorous and there are technologies in place for such eventualities for almost every resource on this planet even if it is the case where there is massive runoff into the ocean in sewage which is the ultimate fate of much of this phosphorous we could always extract it from the ocean as needed, my point being there is always methods if they become economical to recycle phosphorous. Supply and Demand will sort out the issue as resources are determined as more expense which will lead to the conservation of the material for important uses which the most net profit can be produced as scarcity happens it has a natural way of balancing itself out. There is the issue of overpopulation but I am certain that this planet can support many more than 2.4 billion people as GAHD said this seems to be a number pulled out of a hat, while overpopulation is an issue it is not something that cannot be addressed with population control if the time arises were we actually cannot support a certain population people that cannot survive will not survive. The idea which I presented earlier in this thread will happen regardless because people with less means to survive will suffer the fate of starvation which is why any effort to prevent this lack of phosphorous situation is good, though not as critical as when the Earth runs out of fossil fuels if there is not something like Hydrogen Fusion or Bio-fuels to replace it.


Edited by VictorMedvil, 19 July 2019 - 02:28 AM.


#19 exchemist

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 02:47 AM

I repeat: The earth's carrying capacity is around 2.4 billion people without chemical fertilizer. We are now at 7 billion. The population will continue to increase until the number of people starving is the resulting control - unless we start with a serious push on population control.

What you are saying is that those who will be able to afford the phosphate - or win a war for it - will be the survivors, and they will watch the other 7 billion starve all around them. I am saying that is an enormous crisis for future generations to be saddled with and for us to be nonchalant about.

Even if you only care about your own section of humanity, you should read about the rise and fall of nations throughout history. I think you will have heard that the only thing guaranteed is change. I think it would be a stupid gamble to assume that you can predict who the winners and losers will be. Remember too that  there is considerable difference in wealth between those world powers that have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. When starvation bites and the millions are all around, currency, diamonds and gold will be worthless.

I agree that most people alive today will not be affected by it, but it seems brutal to leave a time bomb without a care.

Fitfully sleeps the head that wears the crown.

I'm afraid I've lost track of where the 2.4bn number comes from. To be frank, I am slightly suspicious of it - it seems far too definite to be real science, for one thing.

 

Can you remind me which of your references comes up with that number and how firm a figure it is? 

 

I quite agree that if that number is solid then we are all doomed, unless we reduce the human population radically. But since that will mean either mass exterminations or mass sterilisation, I am not willing to swallow this gloomy prediction without checking the numbers very carefully first. (No such message of doom is conveyed by the Oxford article I provided.)   


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#20 Mattzy

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:21 PM

exchemist, I know that you are a man of reason and bow to your knowledge on science. So I have looked at many sites that discuss the topic of the planet's carrying capacity without phosphorus. The lowest estimate I have seen is 2 billion and the highest is 10 billion. I was most convinced by 2.4 billion.

 

PDF]

What is the Earth's Carrying Capacity? - AGR Partners

 

Carrying capacity is “the maximum population of a given species that can survive indefinitely in .... For example, the “organic” carrying capacity, meaning without the use of chemical fertilizer, is estimated to be about 2.4 billion people.10,11 The expansion of our ... with fertilizers, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

 

If you are interested, just google the above topic and you will find much. Remember that most of the models on capacity do not mention unfertilized soils so you have to include that. It is this factor that dramatically reduces projections. I thought the ones I gave were quite good for starters.

 

So lets say it's 10 billion - instead of 2.4 billion - or pick any figure you like, even better don't think about projected figures and consider the following.

It took 200,000 years for our population to reach 1 billion, and in the last 200 years we have added 6.7 billion. I should not have said that this was exponential but I think you will get my point.

This expansion has been the result of abundant food supply since the introduction of chemical fertilizers - as predicted by Justus Von Leibig (as a chemist I think you will know of him). If you argue another cause it does not change the problem.

If phosphorus never runs out then we will soon hit natural gas shortage and the resultant incapacity to manufacture ammonium nitrate. Maybe we will have to use nuclear power to produce enough heat to fix the nitrogen to the ammonia (you can correct my chemistry).

If there is a never ending supply of ammonium nitrate and phosphor then we will run out of potassium reserves - and have to extract it from the ocean or come up with the same miracle that we did for phosphor and natural gas. Meanwhile the population growth is chasing us all the time.

Questions:

Is the planets food supply infinite?

When will the pinch point come?

What will stop human population growth?

What will the population be when we run out of natural gas? Then potassium? (Assuming we can recycle phosphor).

Where does a chemist start in tackling the extraction of phosphor from the oceans? Or from river estuaries? I really am interested. 

When will we be forced to think about population management?

How bad will the final crisis be if we allow population to be unmanaged whilst desperately trying to feed it's growth?

Are we better than lemmings or locusts?

 

I'm amazed at how much resistance I'm getting on this. I think global warming pales into insignificance by comparison.



#21 Mattzy

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 12:01 AM

I'm afraid I've lost track of where the 2.4bn number comes from. To be frank, I am slightly suspicious of it - it seems far too definite to be real science, for one thing.

 

Can you remind me which of your references comes up with that number and how firm a figure it is? 

 

I quite agree that if that number is solid then we are all doomed, unless we reduce the human population radically. But since that will mean either mass exterminations or mass sterilisation, I am not willing to swallow this gloomy prediction without checking the numbers very carefully first. (No such message of doom is conveyed by the Oxford article I provided.)   

We are starting to talk on the same wavelength here. I know that you are referring to the future generations that will be in big trouble (if the numbers are solid). By taking the matter seriously we can leave a great legacy of a better future. If we do nothing, there is no telling how bad it will be.

But a preemptive population control will not have to be as brutal as you suggest, especially if we have three or four generations to make the change.

If people are educated about the coming problem, I think they will respond positively at least to a two child per family policy. That would give a reduction straight away. Look how easily China reduced it's population - (the resulting gender imbalance is a separate issue.) A one child policy has been proved possible.

I'm not saying this would be easy. It may even be that there will have to be a period of totalitarian control at world wide scale - I hope not, but the longer we ignore the symptoms, the worse the medicine will get.

On the Oxford article, I noticed no message of doom nor any offering of a solution. You are better qualified than I am on the matter of chemistry solutions to the phosphor recycling question. A political solution is what must one day be made inevitable by some limit to world food production.



#22 exchemist

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 03:07 AM

We are starting to talk on the same wavelength here. I know that you are referring to the future generations that will be in big trouble (if the numbers are solid). By taking the matter seriously we can leave a great legacy of a better future. If we do nothing, there is no telling how bad it will be.

But a preemptive population control will not have to be as brutal as you suggest, especially if we have three or four generations to make the change.

If people are educated about the coming problem, I think they will respond positively at least to a two child per family policy. That would give a reduction straight away. Look how easily China reduced it's population - (the resulting gender imbalance is a separate issue.) A one child policy has been proved possible.

I'm not saying this would be easy. It may even be that there will have to be a period of totalitarian control at world wide scale - I hope not, but the longer we ignore the symptoms, the worse the medicine will get.

On the Oxford article, I noticed no message of doom nor any offering of a solution. You are better qualified than I am on the matter of chemistry solutions to the phosphor recycling question. A political solution is what must one day be made inevitable by some limit to world food production.

China has not reduced its population, so far as I am aware, and furthermore they are sitting on a demographic time bomb: they risk ending up with far too many old people for the working age population to support.

 

But I'd still to get you to give me a source for your figure of 2.4bn being the max sustainable human population without mining phosphate for fertiliser. Can you provide that please? 



#23 exchemist

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 03:44 PM

exchemist, I know that you are a man of reason and bow to your knowledge on science. So I have looked at many sites that discuss the topic of the planet's carrying capacity without phosphorus. The lowest estimate I have seen is 2 billion and the highest is 10 billion. I was most convinced by 2.4 billion.

 

PDF]

What is the Earth's Carrying Capacity? - AGR Partners

 

Carrying capacity is “the maximum population of a given species that can survive indefinitely in .... For example, the “organic” carrying capacity, meaning without the use of chemical fertilizer, is estimated to be about 2.4 billion people.10,11 The expansion of our ... with fertilizers, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

 

If you are interested, just google the above topic and you will find much. Remember that most of the models on capacity do not mention unfertilized soils so you have to include that. It is this factor that dramatically reduces projections. I thought the ones I gave were quite good for starters.

 

So lets say it's 10 billion - instead of 2.4 billion - or pick any figure you like, even better don't think about projected figures and consider the following.

It took 200,000 years for our population to reach 1 billion, and in the last 200 years we have added 6.7 billion. I should not have said that this was exponential but I think you will get my point.

This expansion has been the result of abundant food supply since the introduction of chemical fertilizers - as predicted by Justus Von Leibig (as a chemist I think you will know of him). If you argue another cause it does not change the problem.

If phosphorus never runs out then we will soon hit natural gas shortage and the resultant incapacity to manufacture ammonium nitrate. Maybe we will have to use nuclear power to produce enough heat to fix the nitrogen to the ammonia (you can correct my chemistry).

If there is a never ending supply of ammonium nitrate and phosphor then we will run out of potassium reserves - and have to extract it from the ocean or come up with the same miracle that we did for phosphor and natural gas. Meanwhile the population growth is chasing us all the time.

Questions:

Is the planets food supply infinite?

When will the pinch point come?

What will stop human population growth?

What will the population be when we run out of natural gas? Then potassium? (Assuming we can recycle phosphor).

Where does a chemist start in tackling the extraction of phosphor from the oceans? Or from river estuaries? I really am interested. 

When will we be forced to think about population management?

How bad will the final crisis be if we allow population to be unmanaged whilst desperately trying to feed it's growth?

Are we better than lemmings or locusts?

 

I'm amazed at how much resistance I'm getting on this. I think global warming pales into insignificance by comparison.

OK thanks for the extra background. I did look up carrying capacity for myself and got a figure of 10bn from Edward O Wilson and from Joel Cohen a comment that estimates vary widely but without a number.

 

The UN published some scenarios a few years ago on the level at which the human population was expected to stabilise, without assuming food constraints and although this also had a wide range, I think 10-11 bn was the central prediction. 

 

Your 2.4bn number comes from this AGR Partners investment group. The number appears to relate to nitrogen fertiliser not phosphorus. And that is using today's methods.  It is certainly not a prediction of the future.

 

So I think you are unduly alarmist to assume that the human population will have to be reduced to 2.4bn. 

 

There is a limit, obviously. It may be that the unconstrained max population will be a number above the sustainable maximum, but it is not clear that this will be so, as far as I can see.

 

So I would have thought we ought to be raising awareness and working on ways to use less NPK fertiliser and avoiding wasting it, but not panicking and contemplating mass sterilisation or extermination programmes.

 

The key point you do not seem to acknowledge is that the rate of growth of the human population falls as the standard of living rises. In fact in many rich countries the population is already falling. As China and India (for instance) get richer, their rate of population growth will also slow down and eventually stabilise. The same goes for for other countries too. So what we need to do is help them get rich quickly! 


Edited by exchemist, 20 July 2019 - 03:45 PM.


#24 Mattzy

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:58 PM

I'm glad we are having a rational discussion. As far as China is concerned I was simply pointing out how easily governments can impose population control if they have to without reverting to extermination or mass sterilization - it was you that said that, and that was my response. I'm not suggesting that we have a perfect model, but we have to consider what may be a far worse disaster. I am being alarmist, yes, so let's see if there is a fire or not. 

1.

I think you will agree that NPK is always used in ratio for all crops. The 2.4 billion carrying capacity (AGR Partners) is the organic sustainable population without any additional supplements. This is the important factor that must be considered for true sustainability. I saw the Edward O Wilson figures but he assumes adequate supply of NPK. Unless we can recycle phosphor we will have to go back to about half of current food production at best!  However we have been able to farm areas that were previously useless by using NPK, so those areas will have to be abandoned!

That makes the 2.4 figure look quite good to me - as crop rotation may be as little as a third of fertilized capacity.

 

Have a look at this site. Don't forget that phosphor is needed in ratio.

 

https://ourworldinda...fertilizer-feed

 

The UN predicts population to be 9.7 billion by 2050.  So what will it be by 2100 ?  How much phosphor will be available in 2100 ? Many say it will be gone in 100 years!

All the indications are that this will be the most important resource in the not very distant future, and that mismanagement is happening now.

I am joining the alarmist camp.

Given all the other problems associated with overpopulation we are crazy not to start efforts to reduce it.



#25 Mattzy

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:36 AM

OK thanks for the extra background. I did look up carrying capacity for myself and got a figure of 10bn from Edward O Wilson and from Joel Cohen a comment that estimates vary widely but without a number.

 

The UN published some scenarios a few years ago on the level at which the human population was expected to stabilise, without assuming food constraints and although this also had a wide range, I think 10-11 bn was the central prediction. 

 

Your 2.4bn number comes from this AGR Partners investment group. The number appears to relate to nitrogen fertiliser not phosphorus. And that is using today's methods.  It is certainly not a prediction of the future.

 

So I think you are unduly alarmist to assume that the human population will have to be reduced to 2.4bn. 

 

There is a limit, obviously. It may be that the unconstrained max population will be a number above the sustainable maximum, but it is not clear that this will be so, as far as I can see.

 

So I would have thought we ought to be raising awareness and working on ways to use less NPK fertiliser and avoiding wasting it, but not panicking and contemplating mass sterilisation or extermination programmes.

 

The key point you do not seem to acknowledge is that the rate of growth of the human population falls as the standard of living rises. In fact in many rich countries the population is already falling. As China and India (for instance) get richer, their rate of population growth will also slow down and eventually stabilise. The same goes for for other countries too. So what we need to do is help them get rich quickly! 

 

The key point you do not seem to acknowledge is that the rate of growth of the human population falls as the standard of living rises...………………………………….... So what we need to do is help them get rich quickly! 

 

I forgot to discuss this point about the rich v poor population issue. This is a fact, yes, I do acknowledge that but you are gambling a great deal on the hope that you can lift an enormous number of people out of poverty by political policy and stabilise the world population on time for phosphor depletion. There has been considerable socialist efforts for many generations now (you know this of course) unfortunately nations fight wars to stop the poor becoming as wealthy as the rich - as I'm sure you are aware too  I think you will agree that as over population goes hand in hand with poverty it keeps going back to the easiest possible solution. For me that may have to be direct control of childbirth to force stabilisation. At least the controls will only be in birth control, that way we don't have to enforce economic (communist or something like it) measures to distribute wealth amongst an enormous number which have clearly seemed to have been resisted by most countries to date.

I know this is not a political site so we had better not go too far on that but even if we were both communists we would still have time pressure to get population down if we want to feed everyone.

 

Here is the UN link for stabilisation projection for 2100 (11.2 billion). The organic sustainability (you have my refs) is less than this - between 2 and 10 billion.

Jun 21, 2017 - The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a ...
Missing: stabilisation ‎| Must include: stabilisation


#26 exchemist

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 01:47 AM

 

The key point you do not seem to acknowledge is that the rate of growth of the human population falls as the standard of living rises...………………………………….... So what we need to do is help them get rich quickly! 

 

I forgot to discuss this point about the rich v poor population issue. This is a fact, yes, I do acknowledge that but you are gambling a great deal on the hope that you can lift an enormous number of people out of poverty by political policy and stabilise the world population on time for phosphor depletion. There has been considerable socialist efforts for many generations now (you know this of course) unfortunately nations fight wars to stop the poor becoming as wealthy as the rich - as I'm sure you are aware too  I think you will agree that as over population goes hand in hand with poverty it keeps going back to the easiest possible solution. For me that may have to be direct control of childbirth to force stabilisation. At least the controls will only be in birth control, that way we don't have to enforce economic (communist or something like it) measures to distribute wealth amongst an enormous number which have clearly seemed to have been resisted by most countries to date.

I know this is not a political site so we had better not go too far on that but even if we were both communists we would still have time pressure to get population down if we want to feed everyone.

 

Here is the UN link for stabilisation projection for 2100 (11.2 billion). The organic sustainability (you have my refs) is less than this - between 2 and 10 billion.

Jun 21, 2017 - The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a ...
Missing: stabilisation ‎| Must include: stabilisation

 

Yes many points in this I would agree with, though I'm not sure why you bring socialism into it: the meteoric rise in the standards of living in China and elsewhere in Asia are due to replacing communism by market capitalism. Socialism seems to me to have proved it is useless for the required purpose. 

 

I'm not trying to suggest there is nothing to worry about. I acknowledged in an earlier post that our use of a finite phosphorus resource is clearly an issue we need to start working on.

 

Where I part company from you is that I do not see a justification for adopting 2.4bn as the sustainable maximum population. It seems a great deal lower than other estimates, which are a lot closer to forecasts of the unconstrained maximum population.  


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#27 Mattzy

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 01:21 AM

OK, that is a reasonable question. My response is that I have quoted it because I read it, that is all - I admit. But it is a widely held view that we have already exceeded the earths organic carrying capacity. If you google that term you will find much more about why I am alarmist. Have you checked that the carrying capacity estimates that you have seen are without fertiliser supplements? The Edward O Wilson estimates assume adequate supply of fertilizer - and even that falls short by over a billion for supply by 2100.

The only reason I said socialism was by concept of raising people out of poverty - you suggest it can be done be done with capitalism, maybe, but as I said, I think you are being dangerously hopeful of any political or economic doctrine when the stakes are so high. 

There are other points to be made on these estimates that we have been quoting too. The UN projection that the world population will stabilise for instance, this seems to be less safe than my prediction that we will have a phosphor crisis. It is worth noting that the economic projections from the worlds great organisations (the IMF, the World Bank and the UN etc all said that the world economy was in good shape just before the global crisis in 2007! They had no idea it was coming!

So lets forget about projections and look at facts.

- The population growth of the last 200 years due to NPK farming.

- The impossibility of adequate phosphor recycling.

- The effects of over population today (rising unemployment, environmental pollution, cramped living conditions and social problems, health care for the masses.)

- Our ongoing failure to combat poverty.

 

This post asks if we should put peak phosphor ahead of global warming as a matter of international priority. Humans will adapt far more easily to climate change - we have lived through two ice ages and the warm periods between - than we will to global famine. A reduction in population would obviate global warming anyway! So even if we doubt the estimates, we can look at the facts.

The sooner we reduce population the better the future will be. I continue to be alarmist.



#28 exchemist

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 03:29 AM

OK, that is a reasonable question. My response is that I have quoted it because I read it, that is all - I admit. But it is a widely held view that we have already exceeded the earths organic carrying capacity. If you google that term you will find much more about why I am alarmist. Have you checked that the carrying capacity estimates that you have seen are without fertiliser supplements? The Edward O Wilson estimates assume adequate supply of fertilizer - and even that falls short by over a billion for supply by 2100.

The only reason I said socialism was by concept of raising people out of poverty - you suggest it can be done be done with capitalism, maybe, but as I said, I think you are being dangerously hopeful of any political or economic doctrine when the stakes are so high. 

There are other points to be made on these estimates that we have been quoting too. The UN projection that the world population will stabilise for instance, this seems to be less safe than my prediction that we will have a phosphor crisis. It is worth noting that the economic projections from the worlds great organisations (the IMF, the World Bank and the UN etc all said that the world economy was in good shape just before the global crisis in 2007! They had no idea it was coming!

So lets forget about projections and look at facts.

- The population growth of the last 200 years due to NPK farming.

- The impossibility of adequate phosphor recycling.

- The effects of over population today (rising unemployment, environmental pollution, cramped living conditions and social problems, health care for the masses.)

- Our ongoing failure to combat poverty.

 

This post asks if we should put peak phosphor ahead of global warming as a matter of international priority. Humans will adapt far more easily to climate change - we have lived through two ice ages and the warm periods between - than we will to global famine. A reduction in population would obviate global warming anyway! So even if we doubt the estimates, we can look at the facts.

The sooner we reduce population the better the future will be. I continue to be alarmist.

I would say no, definitely.

 

Climate change affects the whole planet, possibly irrevocably, with knock-on effects we cannot even fully predict. The mechanics of how we feed ourselves has to be secondary to that. But in any case, I see no reason to present these two as choices. There is nothing to stop mankind tackling both at once, seeing as they are independent of one another.   

 

And now you start to make unsubstantiated statements:

 

i) the rise in population has been driven by better health and decreased mortality rates: increased use of fertilisers for food has a been a result of that, rather than a cause. I see no evidence that in former times the population was limited by mass starvation.

 

ii) There is no evidence that phosphorus cannot be recycled. In fact the Oxford paper I drew your attention to proposed exactly that, as one of the solutions.  

 

I do not think you help your case by overstating it. Generally that makes people suspicious. 

 

But anyway thanks for drawing my attention to the phosphorus issue. I had not previously been aware of it.


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#29 GAHD

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 04:41 AM

I'm glad we are having a rational discussion. As far as China is concerned I was simply pointing out how easily governments can impose population control if they have to without reverting to extermination or mass sterilization

https://www.cnn.com/...irls/index.html

Not exactly true. Also likely that the "lost girls" issue does in fact point to a lot of infanticide as well as some strange social changes in the culture over the past 40-some years.



#30 Mattzy

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:12 AM

I would say no, definitely.

 

Climate change affects the whole planet, possibly irrevocably, with knock-on effects we cannot even fully predict. The mechanics of how we feed ourselves has to be secondary to that. But in any case, I see no reason to present these two as choices. There is nothing to stop mankind tackling both at once, seeing as they are independent of one another.   

 

And now you start to make unsubstantiated statements:

 

i) the rise in population has been driven by better health and decreased mortality rates: increased use of fertilisers for food has a been a result of that, rather than a cause. I see no evidence that in former times the population was limited by mass starvation.

 

ii) There is no evidence that phosphorus cannot be recycled. In fact the Oxford paper I drew your attention to proposed exactly that, as one of the solutions.  

 

I do not think you help your case by overstating it. Generally that makes people suspicious. 

 

But anyway thanks for drawing my attention to the phosphorus issue. I had not previously been aware of it.

I think that is a good point that the issues are separate. I just think the phosphor problem is much more urgent. I hope the world doesn't lose focus on one at the expense of the other.  Ironically I suspect that global warming is overstated and I have always been suspicious of the argument that it is man made. We all think that others are overstating when we don't agree with them. Perhaps we are both feeling the same way here.

I had hoped that you might be able to tell me that phosphor can be recycled from the oceans - which would solve the problem. But as I understand it this is just not feasible at such low concentrations. Any mention of phosphor recycling that I have found so far is referring only to micro economic operations at feed lots or conveniently placed crops in catchment zones or reticulation systems etc. The vast bulk of it goes directly into the oceans without being taken up by the crop at all (the Oxford paper gave nothing on how).

Maybe you are right about the reasons for the recent population explosion - although it does coincide with fertilizer usage - but the numbers are undeniable, and they all need food. You say there is no evidence that starvation has limited population in the past. What of the future? Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I mentioned a number of other problems related to over population too - and I forgot to mention de-forestation - which I think add weight to the argument for population control. Solving those problems would be an enormous bonus.



#31 exchemist

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:39 AM

I think that is a good point that the issues are separate. I just think the phosphor problem is much more urgent. I hope the world doesn't lose focus on one at the expense of the other.  Ironically I suspect that global warming is overstated and I have always been suspicious of the argument that it is man made. We all think that others are overstating when we don't agree with them. Perhaps we are both feeling the same way here.

I had hoped that you might be able to tell me that phosphor can be recycled from the oceans - which would solve the problem. But as I understand it this is just not feasible at such low concentrations. Any mention of phosphor recycling that I have found so far is referring only to micro economic operations at feed lots or conveniently placed crops in catchment zones or reticulation systems etc. The vast bulk of it goes directly into the oceans without being taken up by the crop at all (the Oxford paper gave nothing on how).

Maybe you are right about the reasons for the recent population explosion - although it does coincide with fertilizer usage - but the numbers are undeniable, and they all need food. You say there is no evidence that starvation has limited population in the past. What of the future? Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I mentioned a number of other problems related to over population too - and I forgot to mention de-forestation - which I think add weight to the argument for population control. Solving those problems would be an enormous bonus.

Well if you think near-doubling the atmospheric CO2 (which is a fact) won't have any consequences, when the physics is well-modelled and we can see the effects around us already, you are among a small minority of  - mostly very ignorant and politically motivated -  people. But that's another discussion, already aired at enormous length elsewhere.

 

It seems to me you have convinced yourself that the human population needs to be radically reduced and now you are producing an ever wider range of arguments to justify your belief. I'm not interested in arguing this way round.  



#32 fahrquad

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 07:04 AM

The world population was 3 billion in 1960, but now stands at 7.7 billion.  The rate of population increase has been declining since 1988.  I personally favor mandatory sterilization of all men after they sire one child. The limit can be increased to two children after the world population drops below 3 billion. You are welcome to my allotment, but don't expect support payments.

 

 

https://www.worldome...lation-by-year/


Edited by fahrquad, 02 August 2019 - 09:10 PM.


#33 Mattzy

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 10:39 PM

Well if you think near-doubling the atmospheric CO2 (which is a fact) won't have any consequences, when the physics is well-modelled and we can see the effects around us already, you are among a small minority of  - mostly very ignorant and politically motivated -  people. But that's another discussion, already aired at enormous length elsewhere.

 

It seems to me you have convinced yourself that the human population needs to be radically reduced and now you are producing an ever wider range of arguments to justify your belief. I'm not interested in arguing this way round.  

Your global warming problem is a function of ever increasing human causes. I think we can agree on that. There may soon be the worst financial crisis that has ever happened - perhaps a complete collapse within two years, we have terrible plastic pollution, de-forestation and I am arguing that we should add the very real - I believe inevitable - famine on an enormous scale.  

All of these are human mismanagement issues. The economic problem is indicative of our inability to manage large international problems just as all of the others. We can argue about details of which is the most urgent or which will hit first or which is over stated or political but lets stop doing that and look at the most useful action that should be taken.

Population control and a solution on how to maintain a stable economy without population growth would solve all of these problems - though not at the same time.

One of our human problems is that we tend to fight corners for singular issues - like phosphor v. global warming - while other matters arise around us. I will accept a view that phosphor depletion is - say - third priority, but an eclectic view that we are not managing population and all that stems from it is surely beneficial to us all.

The world Bank has stated many years ago that world over population is our biggest problem. The World Health Organisation, IMF and the UN have all published studies over many years on the matter but to no useful effect.

Better action against poverty, education and contraception programs have been discussed in India, Indonesia and Africa but malnutrition and starvation has been accepted so far by the developed world as the norm.

China had a serious over population crisis and proved that - with harsh discipline (no need for sterilisation) - reduction can be achieved. Their looming problem of age to youth ratio is solvable - I read that they are planning to grant guest worker visas (like they do in Switzerland) many of which will be from over populated areas! This is better than starvation.

The depletion of phosphor and increasing world population beyond organic carrying capacity will cause the same effects on a truly global scale.

Peak phosphor is a new pressure that should not be treated lightly. 



#34 Mattzy

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 11:01 PM

The world population was 3 billion in 1960, but now stands at 7.7 billion.  The rate of population increase has been declining since 1988.  I personally favor mandatory sterilization of all men after they sire one child. The limit can be increased to two children after the world population drops below 3 billion. You are welcome to my allotment, but don't expect support payments.

 

 

https://www.worldome...lation-by-year/

It's still increasing. We don't seem to have good studies on organic carrying capacity. Neither do we seem to be sure about the causes for this massive population growth, neither are we sure about which of it's associated problems are most urgent, surely we have to agree that it has to be managed for optimum sustainability.

I hope your allotment will go to someone down the line for generations to come without any need for sterilization - though I doubt that could be enforced (and I realize that you are probably joking.) Those gardeners need us to think of them before they are born.