2011 Top Ten: 2. Environmentalists may embrace genetically modified crops as a carbon-reduction technology.
Like nuclear power, genetically modified crops have long been the bane of environmentalists, but Stewart Brand, author of Whole Earth Discipline, argues that there are myriad benefits to them. For example, crops modified to grow without being tilled (achievable through the creation of genetically novel crop strains) could prevent carbon on the soil from being released into the atmosphere.
Rising levels of CO2 are benefiting GM crops and weeds. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been shown to stimulate growth in genetically modified soybeans—and the weeds that they’ve been modified to resist. On the downside, fast-growing invasive weeds could become even more troublesome as CO2 levels increase to a predicted 550 parts per million by 2050.