New Survey Finds Majority of Americans Support Incentivizing Biotech to Address Climate Change
Most Americans Recognize that Biotech Is ‘Climate Tech’
A new poll from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) shows that majorities of Americans agree that biotech plays an important role in addressing climate change and federal policymakers should incentivize biotech innovations that solve problems associated with climate change. Four in five Americans view climate change as a threat to global food security and public health — and most agree biotechnology has a significant role in protecting both.
“When you look at the many ways in which biotech companies are rising to the challenge of reducing and mitigating climate impacts, there is no question that biotech is ‘climate tech,’” said Beth Ellikidis, vice president for agriculture and environment at BIO. “Whether developing crop traits to withstand more challenging growing conditions or plant-based materials to replace fossil-based materials, these technologies are helping to reduce waste, emissions, or both.”
According to the new poll, more than half (51%) of Americans say not enough is being done to address climate change, but the American public is generally confident that the biotechnology industry will play a positive role in promoting food security (78%) and public health (75%) in the face of climate change. Additionally, 66% say federal policymakers should prioritize incentives for biotech companies to devote resources to solving the challenges brought by climate change.
The poll was conducted Nov. 23 – 25, 2023, among a sample of 4,411 adults, and has a margin of error of +/- 1%. BIO commissioned Morning Consult to conduct the poll.
There are already several biotech solutions that can reduce climate impacts:
- Crops that are bioengineered to withstand harsh environments and rising pressure from pests and diseases
- Produce engineered to stay fresh longer and reduce food waste;
- Alternatives to synthetic fertilizers;
- Animal feed additives that support digestive efficiency and can reduce methane emissions;
- Plant-based proteins that can help feed a growing world without increasing greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Biobased fuels and other materials that can reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
“As world leaders gather at COP28 and negotiate pathways to reducing climate change, they must look to reduce barriers to biotech innovations that increase food security and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” Ellikidis said.
“Governments should work together to align regulatory policy with science and accelerate the development and adoption of biotech innovations,” she added. “Biotech companies are producing the tools to reduce, mitigate, and adapt to climate change. They need regulatory systems that complement the speed of the innovation needed to meet this challenge.”
At COP28, BIO will cohost a panel discussion — “Utilizing Biotechnology for Climate Resilience: Public Policy, Innovation and Global Impact” — with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on Sunday, December 10 at 12:00 p.m. GST (3:00 a.m. EST). The event will be in the Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas Pavilion in the Blue Zone. Panelists will include Vestaron’s Anna Rath, president and CEO and chair of BIO’s Agriculture & Environment Section Board; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Jaime C. Adams, senior advisor for international affairs and U.S. AIM for Climate lead; and Agri-Food Canada’s Andréanne Lèger, a director within Canadian government.
In addition, Anna Rath will moderate a session on “Reducing Methane from Food and Agriculture” on Saturday, December 9 at 3:30 p.m. GST (6:30 a.m. EST). BIO, the International Chamber of Commerce, and USDA will cohost the session, which will take place in the Trade House Pavilion in the Blue Zone. U.S. Reps. Lori Chavez-Deremer (R-Ore.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) will provide opening remarks. Panelists will include U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.); Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and chief scientist, USDA; Justin Palfreyman, president, NW Natural; Ismael Roig, president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Archer Daniels Midland Co.; Matthias Berninger, senior vice president of public affairs, Science & Sustainability, Bayer; and Greg Downing, director of sustainability, Cargill Inc.
Visit BIO’s website to learn more about how biotech companies are addressing climate change.