Earth Grab

Posted in : - Book reviews -, Global Warming? on by : petersen Comments: 0

Earth Grab considers  how global capitalism’s deployment of technology  is liable to lead to disaster  for the planet and  most  of those who live on it. It groups  approaches to the deployment of technology into three:

1. “Geopiracy”. This  relates to geo-engineering. Definitions are contested, but the following extracts from  the work of reputable organisations such as the US  National Academy of Sciences and the UK Royal Society give  the flavour  of what may be involved: deliberately  exerting a cooling influence on the Earth in order to moderate global warming by reflecting sunlight,carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, constructing vertical pipes in the ocean to increase downward heat transfer. Neither I nor Earth Grab are able to give any explanation of why these august bodies should waste  their time considering what is surely sheer madness.

2. “The New Biomassters”. Biomass is targeted by industry as a source of living “green”  carbon which can generate electricity,produce fuels, ferilizers and chemicals and  partially replace “black” fossil carbon –oil,coal and gas.

3. “Capturing Climate Genes”. The world’s six largest agrochemical and seed  corporations are marketing  genetically engineered  crops  designed  to withstand environmental stresses such as heat, cold and drought. Their aim is to monopolise patents to control most of the world’s biomass.

Common characteristic of all these ingenious approaches is that they  represent “technological fixes” to complex worldwide social, economic and technical problems, and that the motivation for advocating, developing and implementing these “solutions”   is the pursuit of profits by corporate giants.

The book identifies  potential  harmful side-effects likely to be caused  by such  initiatives, and proposes numerous  ingenious and imaginative measures by which they should be countered.  But it cannot  provide solutions  likely to be  adopted in  the real world economy,   which  is run by  major corporations aided and abetted by governments and international bodies. A  vast and ever increasing  number of those who govern these bodies believe against all the evidence such as that provided in Earth Grab that  competitive capitalism can be managed and controlled in order to benefit the majority of the world’s population without causing undue damage to the environment.

Bronson, D.,  et al.,  2011,  Earth Grab : Geopiracy, The New Biomassters and Capturing Climate Genes, Oxford, UK., Pambazuka  Press.

The full review was published in Energy and Environment, 2012, Vol23, No4: 755-756.

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