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Excellent, thought-provoking study
US ecologist Stewart Brand has written an extraordinary and thoughtful book on climate change, urbanisation and biotechnology. He urges us to embrace nuclear power as a means to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, and urges us to embrace genetically modified crops as a way to help feed the world's ever-growing population.
James Lovelock wrote, "only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy." Wind and solar power, being intermittent, 'remain supplemental, usually to gas-fired plants', as Brand notes. He points out that. France has an efficient process for licensing nuclear reactors' construction and operation, taking just four years to the USA's 12.
Brand says that we need a Plan B, because current efforts to cut carbon emissions are failing, so we need to explore geo-engineering options, like albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulphur injections.
Brand writes, "the environmental movement has done more harm with its opposition to genetic engineering than with any other thing we've been wrong about. We've starved people, hindered science, [and] hurt the natural environment." As he notes, "GE crops help mitigate greenhouse gases and are more ecologically benign than non-GE crops."
Based on the International Council of Science's review of 50 independent assessments, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization concluded in 2004, "Currently available genetically modified crops - and foods derived from them - have been judged safe to eat. . Millions of people worldwide have consumed foods derived from genetically modified plants (mainly maize, soybean, and oilseed rape) and to date no adverse effects have been observed."
Four separate reports from our Royal Society confirm that there is not a shred of evidence of risk to our health from GM crops. The EU's research directorate summarised the results of 81 scientific studies financed by the EU itself (not by private industry) conducted over 15 years: not one found evidence of harm to humans or to the environment. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics concluded, "There is a moral imperative for making GM crops readily and commercially available for people in developing countries who want them."
Yet Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth oppose GM foods, even golden rice with added vitamin A. FoE founder Dave Brower said, "All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent." Good intentions cut no mustard: as Robert Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health pointed out, "The ban on DDT may have killed 20 million children."
Brand concludes that we need science, engineering, nuclear power and genetically modified crops. We in Britain must ensure that we make it and grow it here.
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Posted May 7, 2012
Posted May 7, 2012
Awakens to find a she cat asking to be mates. He blinks his eyes and swallows. He glances around. "Um....I am not interested. I am very sorry. I am aiming more for med cat. Sorry. My brother Flightwing? Ask him. He is in the hunting grounds with my sister Warscrream." He yawns and falls back to sleep.
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Posted April 27, 2012
Posted October 22, 2011
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