Rethinking the drivers of biotechnologies: a paradigm for holistic climate change solutions

By Jack A. Heinemann and Tessa C. Hiscox

Published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 59, December 2022, 101222


Humanity is under pressure to identify sustainable climate change mitigation strategies that also progress developmental and environmental goals. Urgency creates greater risk of superficial actions that could accelerate climate change. We use recent advances in plant productivity through enhanced photosynthesis to demonstrate the pitfalls of defining objectives as a vacant biotechnological service. Recast as a goal to improve well-being and nutrition, climate change-exacerbating trade-offs are easier to avoid and payoffs include climate change mitigation. These insights emerge from linking new work in both molecular biology and anthropology. We suggest a strategy for addressing the adverse effects of climate change that better accommodates the voices of nontechnical public and has a superior navigational memory that optimises progress towards sustainable solutions.