Description of the Presentation by Ralph Nader prepared by Eaglesham, Allan
In the 1920s, a radical change in technology was championed to replace hydrocarbons with carbohydrates. Despite broad support for the concept of manufactured products from plants as raw materials rather than minerals, it did not come to fruition. Major industries, e.g. petrochemical, paper and auto, resisted the change to carbohydrates. The petrochemical industry expanded enormously in size, and products therefrom came to occupy all major market niches. Carbohydrate-based products could not compete, and the global repercussions include hazards in the workplace, environmental pollution, and waste-disposal costs. In view of this history Nader doubts that a move to a biobased economy based on biotechnology research will be successful.
Agricultural biotechnology; biobased economy; renewable inputs; production system; national security; research funding; hydrocarbons; landgrant universities
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