News Releases

Groups Criticize Presidential Commission’s Recommendations on Synthetic Biology

‘Business as usual’ wins out over precaution

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released its recommendations on the oversight of synthetic biology, provoking strong criticism from public interest watchdogs for its failure to respond to key environmental and public health risks.

In a letter sent to the commission, 58 environmental, public interest, and religious groups rejected the recommendations as a deeply flawed response to advances in synthetic biology, including the creation this year of the first entirely synthetic organism, that demand strong federal oversight.

What does the UN Moratorium on Geoengineering mean?

The Geoengineering Moratorium under the Convention on Biological Diversity

On 29 October 2010, the Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision that amounts to a de facto moratorium on geoengineering and, almost as importantly, affirmed the UN’s leadership in addressing these issues. Since then, many commentators (both those opposed to and supportive of geoengineering) have circulated erroneous statements concerning the import of the decision.

News release: Geoengineering Moratorium at UN Ministerial in Japan

Risky Climate Techno-fixes Blocked

In a landmark consensus decision, the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) closed its tenth biennial meeting with a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments. “Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” stated Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group.

Media Advisory: Press Conference on CBD Geoengineering Moratorium

ETC Group, an international civil society organization that monitors new technologies, explains and comments on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP 10 consensus decision to adopt a moratorium on geoengineering.  Webcast of the press conference given by ETC Group representatives at (link not active)

The speakers:

Mr. Pat Mooney  - Executive Director, ETC Group (Canada)
Ms. Silvia Ribeiro – Director Latin America, ETC Group (Mexico)


New Report on Gene Giants and “Climate-Ready” Crops

Under the guise of developing “climate-ready” crops, the world’s largest seed and agrochemical corporations are filing hundreds of sweeping, multi-genome patents in a bid to control the world’s plant biomass, according to a report released by ETC Group today.

A handful of multinational corporations are pressuring governments to allow what could become the broadest and most dangerous patent claims in history, warns the group at the United Nations’ Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan (18-29 October 2010).

Civil Society Calls for Moratorium on Geoengineering

Extreme Risk Calls for Extreme Precaution

One of the hottest issues before the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan is a set of crucial decisions that could bring about a moratorium on proposed experiments in geoengineering, a set of high-risk climate technofixes. At the opening plenary of the conference, the CBD Alliance on behalf of civil society organizations called for a moratorium on geoengineering experiments.

UN to Confront Sci-fi Climate Solutions at Biodiversity Meeting

Civil Society Calls for Precaution

As environment ministers from 193 countries take stock of the globe’s dramatic loss of biodiversity at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan next week (18-29 October 2010), ETC Group warns that high-risk “technological fixes” that claim to hold the key for solving the climate crisis should be put on ice.

The global meeting, marking the International Year of Biodiversity, will debate a de facto moratorium on the release into the environment of synthetic life forms (a form of extreme genetic engineering marketed by industry as the building blocks of the “green economy”) and on geoengineering activities (massive intentional manipulations of the Earth’s systems). Existing international law has no adequate controls for these controversial new technologies.

ETC Group released three new reports on these technofixes, explaining the interests behind them and the risks inherent in their uncontrolled development.

Nature Communications article shows 'true colours' of biochar advocates

Groups condemn implied land-grab for biochar

Press Release by African Biodiversity Network, Amigransa Venezuela, Biofuelwatch, CESTA (Friends of the Earth El Salvador), COECOCEIBA Costa Rica, Econexus, ETC Group, FASE Brasil, Gaia Foundation, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project, Latin American Network against Monoculture Tree Plantations (RECOMA), NOAH Food and Agriculture (FoE Denmark), Observatorio de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA) Chile, Otros Mundos Mexico, Rettet den Regenwald, Salva la Selva, Save America's Forests, Sobrevivencia (Friends of the Earth Paraguay) Timberwatch Coalition and World Rainforest Movement

Twenty one groups today expressed their dismay at an article by leading biochar advocates, published by the science magazine Nature, which proposes that an area larger than the land mass of India could be turned into charcoal plantations in the name of climate change mitigation.[1] The paper’s own figures contradict the authors’ claims that biochar will not lead to large-scale land grabbing in the global South.


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