Nanotechnology's green claims don't stack up

Friends of the Earth has released a new report debunking industry promises that nanotechnology offers solutions to our most pressing environmental problems, including climate change.

Media Release: Friends of the Earth Australia
Wednesday November 17, 2010


Friends of the Earth has released a new report debunking industry promises that nanotechnology offers solutions to our most pressing environmental problems, including climate change.


The report, “Nanotechnology, climate and energy: over-heated promises and hot air?” was released internationally last night.

“Despite claims that nanotechnology can limit climate change and promote energy efficiency, this research shows that the use of nanotechnology actually comes at a large environmental cost,” said Friends of the Earth Australia nanotechnology spokesperson Georgia Miller, a co-author of the report.

“Rather than substantially reducing our environmental footprint, the use of nanotechnology in products such as face creams, odour repellent socks, golf clubs and televisions will increase the energy demands of making these products, while posing new health and environment risks”.

The report also reveals that despite governments’ green rhetoric, public funding is being used to develop nanotechnology to find and extract more oil and gas.

“Not only have the world’s biggest petrochemical companies established a joint consortium to develop nanotechnology to find and extract more oil and gas, public funding is being used to support similar research in Australia and elsewhere.”

“Nanotechnology has been the focus of considerable ‘greenwash’ and industry has promoted it as a solution to environmental concerns.”

“Federal governments from both Labor and Liberal parties have touted nanotechnology’s green credentials as a key reason to justify generous public funding of the sector. Yet while they have shown much interest in the industry’s economic prospects, they have shown little interest in asking the key question: does nanotechnology actually deliver for the environment?”

“This report cuts through the greenwash, evaluates the evidence, and concludes that the nanotechnology industry’s green claims don’t stack up. It demands that the Federal Government reassess its assumptions about nanotechnology’s role in responding to climate change".

United States environmentalist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben has commended the report: “Very few people have looked beyond the shiny promise of nanotechnology to try and understand how this far-reaching new technique is actually developing. This report is an excellent glimpse inside, and it offers a judicious and balanced account of a subject we need very much to be thinking about.”

From 17 November, the report can be viewed here.
Further information: Georgia Miller 0437 979 402