ETC Group groundbreaking report 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, che
The 'New Bioeconomy' describes the idea of a new industrial order that relies on biologically-based materials, technologies and 'services.' It is a term invented by the biotechnology industry but increasingly adopted by policymakers, technologists and global energy, forestry, agribusiness and chemical companies. They are now collaborating to construct this vision of a hi-tech, 'green' future using techniques such as synthetic biology and nanotechnology to transform living 'biomass' into fuels, chemicals and power. However, what is sold as a 'green' switch from fossil fuels to plant-based production is, in fact, a red-hot resource grab on the lands, livelihoods, knowledge and resources of the global South, where 86% of all biomass is located. The Bioeconomy is now threatening biodiversity, fueling land grabs and enabling new corporate claims on nature.