We look at the links between the conflict in Ukraine and the sustainability of our energy and food supply—and the important role for biotech in ensuring the stability of our world’s resources. Also, it’s officially 100 days until the BIO International Convention—back…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
March 7, 2022
We look at the links between the conflict in Ukraine and the sustainability of our energy and food supply—and the important role for biotech in ensuring the stability of our world’s resources. Also, it’s officially 100 days until the BIO International Convention—back in person! (632 words, 3 minutes, 9 seconds)
‘Climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots: fossil fuels’
The conflict in Ukraine and violence from Russia defies international law, norms and modern sensibilities—and it’s also highlighting the urgency of ensuring stable, sustainable, and diverse energy and food sources.
“Russia supplies nearly 40 percent, on average, of the gas that European countries use for heat and electricity,”explains The New York Times, “making it very hard for Europe (and the United States) to impose sanctions on Russia’s fossil fuel industry, the country’s main moneymaker.”
Global food could be affected, too: Ukraine supplies 10% of the world’s wheat and 15% of corn; Ukraine and Russia combined supply about 30% of wheat, 30% of barley, and 80% of sunflower oil, says NPR. Russia and Belarus supply 15% of fertilizer.
We’re running out of time to adapt our food and energy systems,said last week’s IPCC report—and it’s urgent we deploy technologies (like biofuels and gene editing for crops) that will not only make our resources more environmentally sustainable, but also ensure they’re stable, whatever crisis the future brings.
The EU’s expected to announce a proposal to “accelerate the clean energy transition,” which The New York Times reports includes provisions to attract investment in renewables and “produce more energy from biomass.”
NCBIO: CMS decision not to cover Alzheimer’s treatment a bad one “A new study from Vital Transformation found that the CMS decision could add three or more years to the process of approving new Alzheimer’s therapies for coverage.”
STAT News: Black biotech entrepreneurs still struggle for funding as the industry pledges to diversify “Over the past year and a half, diversity, equity, and inclusion have become buzzwords in biotech, as they have in so many other industries. But Black entrepreneurs still struggle for support, funding, and recognition. They cite everything from unconscious bias by investors and colleagues to limited access to helpful networks and resources.”
The Washington Post: White House must go further on new pandemic response, say former Biden advisers, outside experts “The group’s road map for 'living with COVID’ focuses on boosting indoor air quality, helping those with long COVID and broadening focus to other respiratory diseases."
Japanese American biologist and biochemist Dr. Ruby Hirose overcame anti-Asian racism and violence to save countless lives with her groundbreaking research, which led to the development of the polio vaccine.
President Biden’s Monday: As the conflict in Ukraine is expected to continue to define the week, a group of former Biden COVID-19 advisors and experts warned against “complacency, inaction, or premature triumphalism” in the pandemic response, reports The Washington Post; the group’s 250 recommendations are available at www.covidroadmap.org.
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Congress has until Friday to fund the federal government; the White House has requested billions in additional defense-related funding in response to the conflict in Ukraine, reports The Wall Street Journal.