Nature magazine has continued to scrape out the green slime at the bottom of the enviro journalism barrel, giving Jeremy Grantham space to push the apocalyptic visions of the future that no doubt help his share portfolios along quite nicely: this kind of thing for example:
Then there is the impending shortage of two fertilizers: phosphorus (phosphate) and potassium (potash). These two elements cannot be made, cannot be substituted, are necessary to grow all life forms, and are mined and depleted. It’s a scary set of statements. Former Soviet states and Canada have more than 70% of the potash. Morocco has 85% of all high-grade phosphates. It is the most important quasi-monopoly in economic history.
Fortunately, Tim Worstall is on the case.
Oh dearie me, oh my. This is just a horrible mistake by Jeremy Grantham here. I agree that he’s a vastly better investor than I am, no doubt hugely more intelligent as well. But this really is a basic, schoolboy error.
Opinion among experts differs as to whether Worstall has got it quite right. Richard Tol, for example reckons this is an undergraduate error rather than a schoolboy one. But I think it is fair to say that there is a consensus that Grantham is talking out of his hat. It's hard not to recall Carl Wunsch's remarks about the kind of thing that gets published in Nature these days.
Readers will unsurprised to hear that Grantham's mouthpiece Bob Ward has been yapping furiously in response. It must be a thankless task having to defend your boss when he is talking nonsense.