GM benefits environment, report claims

GENETICALLY modified crops can ‘significantly’ benefit the environment, a report has said. Experts at PG Economics in Dorset said GM crops had contributed to reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices.

In their report, GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2009, they said the reduction was equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road for one year.

The Agricultural Biotechnology Council’s Mark Buckingham said: “This report demonstrates yet again the benefits associated with the use of GM technology - based on the experiences of its widespread use over the past 15 years in countries such as the USA, Argentina and South Africa. Not only does GM boost farm incomes, it can also play a significant role in reducing the environmental impact of farming, helping to meet emissions reductions targets.”

Mr Buckingham said while GM crops were not a ‘silver bullet’ which could provide all the answers to the impact of agriculture on the environment, they, along with a range of other tools, can be part of the solution through using resources more efficiently.

“ABC looks forward to a time when European policy markers recognise the inherent benefits and track record of safety associated with the technology and implement a sensible regulatory framework for its potential to be realised,” Mr Buckingham added.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Having just gained a 1st degree in environmental science, I can confirm that this report has been issued by the manufacturers of GM products. Researchers who produce disgracefully biased work like this should be sent to Monsanto immediately.

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  • Once DNA is altered, and it gets out into environment, it can not be put back. (Where have I heard this before?). Pollen from maize for example has been tracked in the upper atmosphere and can be blown for hundreds of miles. Maize being a wind pollenated crop, can pick up DNA from other maize plants from two hundred miles away.

    All it will take is one mistake. One error and like radiation, the DNA will spread out across the planet doing what DNA does, reproducing itself.

    It is just wrong; just as feeding meat, blood and bone meal from ruminants to ruminants was wrong. Just as injecting cattle and sheep with hormones to increase yield, was wrong.

    We don't need GM.

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  • Listening to these comments I am moved to suggest we ban the wheel....after all it all went downhill (no pun intended) from thereon.....better still let's go back to the dark ages, which were a result of 'modern' Britain rejecting all that the Romans did for us in their short stay-cation in the UK. If you people wish to go back to worshipping the sun and the moon, fine, but don't expect me to hold your hand on the way down. The rest of the world has embraced biotechnology and is living better, healthier and more sustainable lives than us. One billion hectares of GM crops since 1999 can't be all wrong....

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  • No not at all Robin, modern farming is very good and there is so much that we do that the rest of society just take for granted. I just don't feel that we need another food scare like BSE but this time in plant crop because some one has made a mistake "stitching" in a rogue gene.
    I spoke out against feeding bone meal from ruminants to ruminats years ago and do you know what, they said then something very similar to what you've said. "It's progress, we live in a modern age and if its cooked well there's no problem, you don't know what you're talking about, you're no scientist. What possible harm can there be?"

    Speaking as beef farmer, I'd say there was quite a lot of harm done, wouldn't you say so?

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  • Quite right, Newt; that’s what they said about the flint axe head. “First it was fire now they’ve invented this new-fangled flint knapping to make axe-heads”. No good can come of it: remember how Mrs. Jones’ hut burned down when she lit her fire while in bed? Better to be safe with what we know even if we do have to use those awful bone scrapers and axes which won’t go through anything.

    Speaking as a beef eater, I think that fire has been quite good for us: I like my beef well-done. I’m all for new technology; why, after those new axe-heads somebody might invent steel knives. That would indeed put the wind up the traditionalists!

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  • Lovely argument Valentine, eloquent, amusing and I give in, you're right, I am a stone age man struggling to make sense of a modern world that has gone quite mad. I bow out gracefully from an argument I can see that is above my tiny head.

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