Monday, November 08, 2010
Synthetic biology: The next assault on biodiversity and livelihoods
As global attention switches to the next climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, ETC Group releases a groundbreaking report that lifts the lid on the emerging global grab on plants, lands, ecosystems, and traditional cultures. 'The New Biomassters - Synthetic Biology and the Next Assault on Biodiversity and Livelihoods is a critique of what OECD countries are calling 'the new bioeconomy.' Concerted attempts are already underway to shift industrial production feedstocks from fossil fuels to the 230 billion tones of 'biomass' (living stuff) that the Earth produces every year – not just for liquid fuels but also for production of power, chemicals, plastics and more. This emerging bioeconomy is being sold as an ecological switch from a ‘black carbon’ (ie fossil) economy to a ‘green carbon’ (plant-based) economy, and is in fact a red-hot resource grab of the lands, livelihoods, knowledge and resources of peoples in the global South, where most of that biomass is located.