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Biotech Earth Science

Solving Climate Change By Bioengineering Humans? 363

derekmead writes "Forget CFLs, hybrid cars, and organic jeans. Buying our way out of climate change — even if it's green consumption — won't get us far. A new paper (PDF), published in Ethics, Policy, and the Environment by NYU bioethics professor S. Matthew Liao, poses an answer: engineer humans to use less. The general plan laid out by Liao is straightforward, ranging from using pharmacological behavior modification to create an aversion to meat in people, to using gene therapy to create smaller, less resource-intensive children. The philosophical and ethical questions, on the other hand, are absurdly complicated. The Atlantic also has a great interview with Liao, in which he talks about gene therapy and making humans hate the taste of meat."
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Solving Climate Change By Bioengineering Humans?

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  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday March 12, 2012 @05:24PM (#39331811)

    The Green Leopard Plague []
    By Walter Jon Williams

  • Ethical concerns. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @05:24PM (#39331819)

    The ethical concerns are only absurdly complicated when trying to justify something which is clearly unethical.

  • No (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @05:25PM (#39331835)

    Problem is: Everyone sane is afraid of climate change for this very reason. Not because of "the environment". There is no moral imperative to save the species that exist today. We can not not kill all DNA based life. But we can change the current mix of species and climate for the worse for us humans. Because the current one enabled us to be the apex species on this planet. It could work out by itself. It could even get better for us. But who gambles human life on that chance? Fighting climate change is actually a very conservative position. But if we can not agree on that we might have to change ourselves rapidly.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:33PM (#39333359)

    Yet the 1991 Honda CRX/HF still gets 72 MPG

    You know, if you don't run it on crappy California reformulated gas. If you run crappy California gas, it only gets 64 MPG. Which puts it in the same ballpark as the 1991 Geo Metro convertible, which gets 64 MPG on non-crappy California reformulated gas.

    Gotta keep that Chevron refinery monopoly going, they did so well by us with MTBE. Never mind that all vehicles since 1981 have Oxygen sensors, so Oxygenation of fuels does squat for pollution, unless you are driving a 1969 Ford Thunderbird or some other vehicle more than 31 years old.

    PS: the US auto industry specifically came up with transverse crash testing to disallow the CRX/HF being imported into the US. Basically, they had to figure out a crash test they could pass that CRX/HF couldn't in order to kill it. Never mind that being simultaneously T-boned from two directions is unlikely as hell.

    -- Terry

  • Re:Oh hey look (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @11:25PM (#39335229) Homepage

    Hmm. Let's remember, the Nazis got a lot of their ideas from us. The US, at one time, was the largest proponent of eugenics.

    Which is why articles like these bother me. It's bad science, and if for no other reason, it needs to quietly die. Love the idea of genetic engineering, think we might (lol) be able to create a better human being, but I am realistic in that the human being has been evolved for many more years than I have been alive. I could study the human gene code for the rest of my life, and still not have unraveled .0001% of its mysteries by the time I've died. The technology just isn't there, the encoding scheme used on DNA is something of some brilliance, and the human mind, even with the use of machines, may not easily have the capacity to do what we want to really do.

    I'd settle for annihilating a few known bad genetic diseases.

  • Re:Going way too far (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @02:02AM (#39336043)

    And this is, in a nutshell, why I _loathe_ "Climate Change".



    Rather than, say, the mass displacement of whole populations, an unprecedented refugee crisis, extreme weather events, mass extinction and loss of biodiversity?

    That's some twisted logic right there, that in the face of the enormity of the problem, your primary concern is some guys speculation.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!