Shortages of scarce natural resources coming, warn chemists


Wheat close-upLeading chemists from around the world have warned that scarce natural resources, such as phosphate minerals mined for fertilisers, are “dwindling at an alarming rate” and shortages could hit within a generation. (See Nature’s coverage of the phosphate crisis here and here.)

Five scientific societies, including the Chinese Chemical Society, the German Chemical Society, and the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry, warn in a report today that falling supplies of these essential elements are “a potentially more pressing concern than the decreasing supply of oil.”

More (Click here)

The full report:

A Sustainable Global Society
How Can Materials Chemistry Help?
A white paper from the Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3) 2010
March 2011

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One Response to Shortages of scarce natural resources coming, warn chemists

  1. Alan Burke says:

    See also: Back to the Wild to Build Better, Climate-Resilient Wheat

    Genetic archaeology may help save wheat from climate change

    A genetic archaeologist of sorts, Cary Fowler works to save the wild species threatened by crop domestication.

    Fowler is the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an organization that seeks to preserve the genetic diversity of plants in seed banks. By providing a backup of wild varieties for their domesticated crop cousins, seed banks provide insurance in the case of a devastating blow to yields.

    Given the losses in Russia and Australia in the past year that constricted global supply and generated conflicts over rising food prices, this insurance against climate uncertainty is critical. “Diversity equals options,” said Fowler. “One of the things I know we’re going to need is resilience. We’re going to have to broaden the genetic base of our crops, because we’re going to experience a lot of fluctuation.”

    More (Click here)

    Tiffany Stecker, ClimateWire, Scientific American | March 25, 2011

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