The controversy over the possible health hazards arising from Britain’s
switch from traditional light-bulbs to low-energy lighting is a small example of
the way that the need to tackle climate change is being seized on by snake-oil
salesmen around the world to push their products.
Take biofuels. Oil is a major contributor to global warming, they say - so let’s
run cars, trucks and buses on fuel derived from crops.
Lured by the possibility of profits and quick-fixes to a complicated problem,
the world moves into action. The European Union sets targets for biofuel
production, Brazil sees a way of cashing in on its years of research into sugar
cane-based fuel, North American farmers look to an exciting new global market,
various African leaders envisage an agricultural revolution.
Only afterwards do the voices of caution sound. Nobel Prize-winning scientist
Paul Crutzen warns that switching from fossil fuels to biofuels ...