Mark Lynas

Went to see Mark Lynas speak at Church Stretton school yesterday .  Not sure what I came away thinking other than like me he had come round to the fact that if we want to feed and power a continually growing planet we are going to have to accommodate nuclear and GM crops .  I cannot really see any other way.

I take the view that frankly we need to do something pretty drastic to sort out power and food problems that are not going to cause more problems to the planet .  I appreciate that GM might be a genie in a box we don’t want to open but am not sure what we can do otherwise.

Re power its pretty certain that frankly energy requirements are going to increase and merely using new types of fossil fuels isn’t going to help the planet.  One argument  against nuclear is the number of people who will die if there is a malfunction.  That is taking a direct number of deaths if you like.  Re fossil fuels we have to look at indirect deaths (Iraq anyone).  I would love it if we merely used solar/wind/wave etc but until fusion /hydrogen comes on board we are stuck with a power requirement that needs to be quick to install and doesn’t get us into a worse predicament.  I look at it as someone who needs surgery.  We can kid ourselves that pills and plasters will work when what we need is an operation.  It will hurt more, be painful but will end up buying us time!

Re food as the population grows, they want more food, better food, with global warming a certain amount of land will cease to be cultivable, reducing the amount in use .  We will have problems with greater use of pesticides/fertilisers to increase yields (most of these fossil fuel based) couple with a large proportion of land now going to fuel production (ethanol etc).  I just can’t see how we can get more from less without a major shift in crop production.

Maybe the solution is nuclear so we don’t need to use arable land for fuel production and persuade everyone to eat crops rather than animals.  I believe the calorie production differential of arable land for say wheat and veg rather than meat/dairy is almost thousands.