Updates: news releases and updates

Nanotechnology’s true climate and energy cost exposed

Posted Dec. 7, 2010 / Posted by: Ian Illuminato

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday November 16, 2010

Contact:
Sarah Mier, 202-222-0751, smier@foe.org
Ian Illuminato, 250-478-7135, iilluminato@foe.org

Nanotechnology’s true climate and energy cost exposed

Report reveals large net energy cost and other environmental threats posed by nanotechnology

Washington, D.C.—Friends of the Earth groups around the world today released the report, Nanotechnology, climate and energy: over-heated promises and hot air, debunking the promises made by the nanotechnology industry about its ability to increase energy efficiency and alleviate climate change.

The report delves into the complex issues raised by nanotechnology and concludes that nanotechnology fails to exhibit much potential as a solution to global warming, resource depletion or pollution.

“Despite claims that nanotechnology can limit climate change and promote energy efficiency, we’ve found that the use of nanotechnology actually comes at a large environmental cost,” said Ian Illuminato of Friends of the Earth U.S., a coauthor of the report. “Rather than substantively reducing our environmental footprint, it instead allows people to continue with ‘business as usual’ and avoid serious improvements in energy efficiency and behavioral changes.”

“Worse, the report reveals that the world’s biggest petrochemical companies have established a joint, U.S.-based, consortium to use nanotechnology to find and extract more oil and gas, which would have extremely adverse environmental impacts.”

According to the report, nanotechnology has the potential to transform the way we harness, use and store energy. However, the manufacture of nanotechnology products requires large amounts of energy, and the products may not deliver promised energy. The report also highlights how the technology is primarily used in products that do not provide energy savings, such as clothing, cosmetics and sporting goods.

In response to the report, 350.org founder Bill McKibben said, “Very few people have looked beyond the shiny promise of nanotechnology to try and understand how this far-reaching new technique is actually developing.

This report is an excellent glimpse inside, and it offers a judicious and balanced account of a subject we need very much to be thinking about.”

“Nanotechnology has been the focus of considerable ‘greenwash’ and industry has promoted it as is a solution to environmental concerns. It is important the public understands that many nanotechnology applications actually come at a high environmental cost. Worse, at a time when we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, there is growing investment in nanotechnology to find and extract more oil and gas,” said report coauthor Georgia Miller, of Friends of the Earth Australia.

The report can be viewed at: http://www.foe.org/nano-climate

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Friends of the Earth and our network of 83 grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

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