Friday, April 27, 2012

White House Promotes a Bioeconomy

 The Obama administration is expected to announce a broad plan on Thursday to foster development of the nation’s “bioeconomy,” including the use of renewable resources and biological manufacturing methods.
The National Bioeconomy Blueprint, as the plan is called, discusses a variety of measures and strategies to spur research and development of medical treatments, crops, biofuels and biological manufacturing processes that would replace harsher industrial methods.
Read it at The New York Times | Energy & Environment
White House Promotes a Bioeconomy
By Andrew Pollack

Economics needs to abandon mechanistic models, which came in with the Industrial Revolution, Newtonian physics, and technological innovtion, and get back to biological models, which were characteristic of the Agricultural Age. Think the film, Being There.

There's a down side though, too:
Some groups are also calling for regulation of a field that could be a cornerstone of the bioeconomy, synthetic biology, which involves synthesizing DNA to create novel organisms to perform specific tasks. The blueprint does note that creation and use of novel organisms “carry potential safety and security risks if misapplied.”

Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, an environmental organization, said the whole idea of a bioeconomy was misguided. Using crops and other plants for energy or manufacturing could lead to destruction of forests, particularly in the tropics, and increases in food prices“A biomass economy is the recipe for more land grabs, increased hunger, particularly in the developing world, and putting more control of land and food production in the hand of large agribusiness,” he said.

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