Outsmarting Nature?

Synthetic Biology and Climate Smart Agriculture

Many of the world's largest agro-industrial corporations are pushing forward the poorly-defined idea of "Climate-Smart Agriculture"(CSA) to re-market industrial agriculture as 'climate-ready'. This report uncovers how some advocates of CSA are embracing the extreme genetic engineering tools of synthetic biology ("Syn Bio") to develop a set of false solutions to the climate crisis.

The 20-page report includes:

-       An overview of the Players lining up behind the “Climate-Smart” brand and the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA).

Report Release: Extreme Biotech meets Extreme Energy

New report exposes biotech’s big bet to prop up fossil fuels + International video release.

Paris, 24th November 2015 - At the upcoming Climate summit in Paris, some governments and much of civil society will be pushing for an urgent transition away from the carbon-rich fossil fuels responsible for climate chaos. However, one hi-tech sector, the multi-billion dollar Synthetic Biology industry, is now actively tying its future to the very oil, coal and gas extraction it once claimed to be able to displace. That’s the conclusion of a new report released jointly today from the ETC Group and Heinrich Böll Foundation. Titled “Extreme Biotech meets Extreme Energy”, the report predicts that as the extreme biotech industry and the extreme extraction industry move towards deeper collaboration, the biosafety risks and climate threats emanating from them will become ever more entangled.

Extreme Biotech meets Extreme Energy

an ETC Group and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Report

As the synthetic biology industry and the extreme extraction industry move towards deeper collaboration, the climate and biosafety risks and threats from both will become more entangled.

A Bad Bet on Synthetic Biology

Cargill's Eversweet is competing with farmers and misleading consumers

Las Vegas seems to be an apt place to launch a risky corporate gamble that could destroy the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers. Earlier this month, the international food conglomerate Cargill chose the city’s famous Strip to introduce what it hopes will be its next blockbuster product: EverSweet, a sweetener made of “the same sweet components in the stevia plant.”
And yet, despite Cargill’s heavy reliance on stevia in its promotional material, EverSweet does not contain a single leaf of the plant. Cargill’s new product is an example of synthetic biology, a form of genetic engineering that uses modified organisms to manufacture compounds that would never be produced naturally. What makes EverSweet taste sweet is not stevia; it is a compound produced by a bioengineered yeast.

Mega-Mergers in the Global Agricultural Inputs Sector: Threats to Food Security & Climate Resilience

Powerpoint Presentation and Webinar

Today, six corporations control global markets for industrial seeds/agrochemicals. They determine the priorities and future direction of agricultural research. What are implications of ag mega-mergers for food sovereignty and climate change? What can be done?

Brazil Aims to Torpedo International Moratorium on Terminator Seeds

Farmers’ Rights and Food Sovereignty Under Fire

At a time when just three corporations – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – control 55% of the world’s commercial seeds, industrial farming interests in the Brazilian Congress have introduced a bill that aims to overturn the country’s 10-year old ban on Terminator technology – seeds that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds. The technology is designed to secure corporate profits by eliminating the age-old right of farmers to save and re-plant harvested seeds.

Time to Wave the White Flag for a Failed Techno-Fix?

The Volkswagen scandal is a warning that the Fossil Majors can’t be trusted to control GHG emissions

Try though they might, Volkswagen can’t seem to get off the air those three little old ladies in their television commercials waving a white scarf in front of a Volkswagen diesel exhaust pipe. (See cartoon.) Volkswagen’s emission scandal is just a prelude to a much bigger emissions sleight of hand that will be rolled out in Paris this December at the Climate Change Summit.

Monsanto/Syngenta: From Gene Giants to Agribehemoths

A proposed merger of seed and pesticide conglomerates portends a new level of monopoly over the first link in the global food chain
 
If allowed, a proposed merger between two global agribusiness giants could further consolidate the power of a handful of companies over the global food system through seeds, according to a report released by ETC Group today. The results of concentrating control over plant varieties in a few "Gene Giants," the authors say, could have dangerous consequences.
 

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