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Limits to Growth: Natural gas fertilizer that feeds 4 billion of us

Limits to Growth: Natural gas fertilizer that feeds 4 billion of us

Preface.  In chapter 4 of my book “Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy“, I explain how it came to be that fertilizer is made out of natural gas, using the energy of natural gas, and why it allows at least 4 billion of us to be alive. Yet natural gas is finite. And now there are shortages due to high prices.  In the U.S. Congress voted to allow natural gas to be exported several years ago, partly to help Europeans not become dependent on Russian gas and fall into their sphere of influence.  But now it’s costing farmers all over the world so much many will go out of business. In the U.S., especially small farmers who don’t get subsidies like the huge farms do.

High Natural gas prices in the news:

2022 Rising price of fertilizer is forcing NC farmers out of the business. North Carolina farmers say the cost of fertilizer has tripled over the past two years and is threatening to drive smaller farms out of the business entirely. The spike in cost has left family farms looking for ways to stay afloat while still producing enough food. As one of the most essential tools in agriculture, fertilizer makes up 15% of all farming costs in the U.S., according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. But since September 2020, the cost of fertilizer nationwide has spiked up to 300% as demand for its primary ingredients like ammonia and liquid nitrogen has soared. One farmer said that “Now everybody’s going to chicken litter, and we can’t even find the chicken litter now to do for our farm.”

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2021 This Chemical Is in Short Supply, and the Whole World Feels It. New York Times.

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