Daily Archives: November 10, 2022

The Fertiliser Trap | IATP


  • The cost of chemical fertilisers in both the global North and South has skyrocketed over the past two years and is putting severe economic strain on farmers’ and public budgets.
  • G20 nations paid almost twice as much for key fertiliser imports in 2021 compared to 2020 and are on course to spend three times as much in 2022 — an additional cost of at least US$ 21.8 billion. For example, the UK paid an extra US$ 144 million for fertiliser imports in 2021 and 2022, and Brazil paid an extra US$ 3.5 billion.
  • Nine developing countries are on course to pay three times more in 2022 than they did in 2020. These countries include Pakistan, which paid an extra US$ 874 million, and Ethiopia, which paid an extra US$ 384 million in 2021 and 2022.
  • The world’s largest fertiliser companies are making record profits as farmers struggle to cope with increased prices. Nine of the world’s largest fertiliser companies are expected to make US$ 57 billion in profit in 2022, up more than fourfold from two years ago; their profits in 2021 and 2022 are on course to come to a total of US$ 84 billion.
  • Actions must focus on reducing the consumption of chemical fertilisers and supporting alternative technologies — not increasing production. This will cut costs, and the damage which chemical fertilisers cause to the environment and the climate.


The global food system is addicted to chemical fertilisers. For the past 50 years, these fertilisers have been heavily promoted by global institutions, governments and agribusiness as the means for increasing crop yields, while other options for increasing soil fertility and food production have been ignored or undervalued. As a result, worldwide use of chemical fertilisers has increased tenfold since the 1960s.1 Some credit chemical fertilisers for enabling global food production to keep up with population growth, but their use has come at a high cost.

Chemical fertilisers are, today, major sources of water and air pollution. Overuse is widespread and an important cause of soil health degradation; proper use requires support and extension services that are rarely available.2 Chemical fertilisers account for 2.4% of global emissions, or one out of every 40 tonnes of global greenhouse gas emissions.3

This year, the bill for these energy-intensive products has hit new heights. With the world in the midst of an energy and climate crisis, prices for chemical fertilisers are at record levels. Fertiliser corporations are using their market power to capture mega profits, while farmers and governments are scrambling to try and cope with the added costs, especially in the global South. High fertiliser prices are putting food production at severe risk in many places. In early October 2022, the United Nations warned that, if immediate action is not taken to bring fertiliser prices down, there could be a global shortage of food.4

The response so far from many governments is to look for ways to increase chemical fertiliser production. Not surprisingly, this is also the solution that the world’s largest fertiliser companies are promoting. When the G20 nations meet in Bali, Indonesia in November 2022, increased global fertiliser production is expected to be a major part of the agenda. In fact, the French President Emmanuel Macron plans to convene a preparatory meeting with the CEOs of the leading fertiliser companies ahead of the G20 gathering to find ways “to scale up production as fast as possible”.5

But increased production of chemical fertilisers will not resolve this crisis. The era of cheap fertilisers is over, and the costs have become too much to bear — both in terms of the financial burden for farmers and public budgets, the severe environmental and health impacts, and the long-term risks to food security. While some short-term actions can be taken to cut waste and address excess profit taking by fertiliser companies, it is critical that governments focus on reducing consumption in the long-term, including programmes to support farmers to transition towards environmentally-sound and more cost-effective alternatives.


A combination of factors, including the high cost of natural gas, the war in Ukraine and the oligopoly power of fertiliser companies, have caused prices for chemical fertiliser to double and in some cases even triple in the last two years.6 For example, in January 2020 Canada was paying US$ 225 for a tonne of urea from the Baltic, and by January 2022 it was paying US$ 814. Likewise, in January 2020 Mexico was paying US$ 280 for a tonne of diammonium phosphate from the US, and by January 2022 this had risen to US$ 810.7

To better understand the impact of these rising prices, we examined the wholesale costs of the three fertilisers imported in the greatest quantities to the G20 and a sample of developing countries for which data was publicly available (see Annex I for more detail about our methodology). Domestic costs and domestic production are not analysed because the data is not as readily available. This means that our findings only tell part of the story — the full extra global cost to governments and farmers is even higher than the numbers we show.

From our calculations, we estimate that G20 members (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU (including France, Germany, Italy), India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the US) paid at least US$ 21.8 billion extra for the three chemical fertilisers they import in the greatest quantities over 2021 and 2022, compared to 2020 prices. For these G20 members, this meant a 189% increase in costs for the sample of imported fertilisers in 2021, and on course for a 288% increase in 2022.

The developing countries sampled (Ghana, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Senegal, Kenya, Bangladesh, Zambia, Tanzania and Nigeria) together spent 186% more in 2021 and 295% more in 2022 for the same sample of fertilisers (a total extra bill of US$ 2.9 billion).

…(read more).

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California sues companies over ‘forever chemicals

Associated Press – Nov 10, 2022

(11 Nov 2022) A lawsuit announced Thursday by the state of California accuses 3M, Dupont and 16 smaller companies of covering up the harm from “PFAS” chemicals used in consumer products such as nonstick frying pans, cleaning sprays and stain-resistant rugs. (Nov. 10) (AP video by Terry Chea)

The Food and Climate Crises Must Be Confronted Together

Past U.N. climate summits neglected food. That needs to change at COP27.

By Kabir Agarwal, an independent journalist who writes about food systems, climate change, and political economy.

November 9, 2022, 4:34 PM

The world’s food systems are among the biggest contributors to climate change—and one of its biggest casualties. Yet at past United Nations climate summits, negotiations have largely overlooked food. That needs to change at this year’s conference, known as COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Simply put, there is no way of tackling the climate crisis without fundamentally overhauling the world’s food systems. A 2021 analysis by Our World in Data showed that even if fossil fuel emissions magically disappeared, emissions from just the food sector would take the world beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, the aspirational target set in the 2015 Paris agreement.

That alone should be enough to spur action at COP27. But rising food insecurity has made the problem impossible to ignore. Egypt, which holds the COP27 presidency, is among the countries suffering the worst consequences of the global food crisis. Egypt has said its representatives will bring food systems into sharper focus at this summit. NGOs and other institutions have also been more active in raising awareness around the issue. Already, on the summit’s second day, 14 of the world’s largest food firms launched a plan to end deforestation in some of their major supply chains by 2025.

Given this push, food systems will feature more prominently in Sharm el-Sheikh than they have at any other U.N. climate summit. But in order to translate awareness around food systems into tangible action down the line, ministers, negotiators, and pressure groups must build off of this momentum and use all the tools they have at COP27 to push for food system transformation.

…(read more).

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Trump Embarrassment: GOP-Hyped Red Wave Crumbles As Dems Demolish MAGA Extremists

MSNBC – Nov 10, 2022

The midterm election results show Democrats outperforming history and Republicans blowing the kind of midterm opening that has won the opposition party 50 or 60 seats in other years. MSNBC’s Ari Melber reports on how the so-called “red wave” was fueled by echoing a misleading, corrupt disinformation campaign peddled by right-wing operatives and how stoked expectations made extreme candidates seem more mainstream.

TS Nicole damages homes in Daytona

ABC Action News – Nov 10, 2022

Drone video of homes in Daytona, Florida, damaged from Tropical Storm Nicole.

Nicole leaves path of destruction in Florida

Associated Press – Nov 10, 2022

(10 Nov 2022) Tropical Storm Nicole sent multiple homes collapsing into the Atlantic Ocean and damaged many others. Its damaging coastal surge hit beachfront properties, some that had lost their last protections during Hurricane Ian. (Nov.10) (AP Video: Daniel Kozin)

‘He Failed’: Woodward Reveals Trump’s ‘Danger’ In Newly Released Tapes

Oct 27, 2022

Legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward just released eight hours of Trump audio tapes from 20 interviews. In this interview, you will hear from Trump himself, behind closed doors, in the midst of some of the most controversial days of his presidency. Woodward joins MSNBC’s Ari Melber recounting these never-before-heard moments, analyzing Trump’s mindset in office, and the current legal and civic challenges in the MAGA era. Woodward’s key takeaway… the facts still matter.

How Democrats Can Combat A Morally Bankrupt GOP | The Mehdi Hasan Show

Oct 24, 2022

Republicans are taking full advantage of voters’ willingness to vote for amoral partisans — even alleged criminals — by running controversial candidates like Herschel Walker. But if anyone knows about what it takes to beat a Republican accused of outrageous things, it’s former Sen. Doug Jones. He joins Mehdi to discuss how he did it.

Big Midterm Victories That Give Me Hope For The Future

Nov 10, 2022

We don’t know the full results of Tuesday’s midterms, but one thing is clear: progressives are the future. A string of victories across the country proves just that.

David Rothkopf: The Untold Story of the American Resistance to Save Our Country

Nov 10, 2022

When federal employees start working for the U.S. Government, each person takes an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” During the Trump administration, some employees surprisingly found themselves fighting their own commander-in-chief, creating a resistance movement within the government that created tensions throughout the executive branch and various federal agencies.

Political affairs analyst David Rothkopf chronicles the unprecedented role many in the government felt they were forced to play during this tumultuous time and the consequences they faced for their actions.

Rothkopf focuses on the experiences of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother Yevgeny, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill, and others who felt they needed to speak out publicly to protect our country. These once-obscure federal bureaucrats rose to national prominence by choosing to fight for what they believed, and Rothkopf believes their stories of resistance need to be told to truly understand what was really at stake for our country.

Rothkopf photo by Christopher Leaman.

November 10, 2022


David Rothkopf Podcast Host; Visiting Professor, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Author, American Resistance: The Inside Story of How the Deep State Saved the Nation; Twitter @djrothkopf

Michael Krasny Host, “Grey Matter with Michael Krasny”; Former Host, “KQED Forum”—Moderator

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