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March 19th, 2008
Forget genetically modified crops - the great environmental concerns of the future should be nanomaterials, manmade viruses and biomimetic robots.
So say researchers, policymakers and environmental campaigners, who have identified 25 potential future threats to the environment in the UK, which they say researchers should focus on.
In addition to well-publicised risks such as toxic nanomaterials, the acidification of the ocean and increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the list includes some more outlandish possibilities. These include:
• Biomimetic robots that could become new invasive species.
• Experiments involving climate engineering, for instance ocean 'fertilisation' and deploying solar shields
• Increased demand for the biomass needed to make biofuel.
• Disruption to marine ecosystems caused by offshore power generation.
• Experiments to control invasive species using genetically engineered viruses.
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