2010 press releases
Cancun package merely prevents collapse and leaves kyoto protocol on life support
governments urged not to rush into redd deal and focus on effective forest conservation
World Bank should stay out of carbon markets and climate finance
cancun week 2: friends of the earth international analysis
nnimmo bassey to receive 'alternative nobel prize'
the people’s voices: mobilizations in cancun
rich countries must reject any secret text that puts in place process that could kill kyoto
Japan threatens progress at climate talks in Cancun
Forest deals set to harm the environment and reward corporate investors
Governments urged to turn away from carbon trading at climate talks
EUROPE'S BIOFUELS PLANS DRIVING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION
GLOBAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF KEN SARO-WIWA'S MURDER
UN ADVISORY GROUP ON CLIMATE FINANCE REPORT FALLS FLAT
high level advisory group on climate change must avoid pitfalls
Market mechanisms are a false solution to biodiversity loss
CLIMATE CHANGE: RICH NATIONS BACKTRACKING
Climate Talks : Developed Countries Must Stop Stalling
'Alternative Nobel Prize' Awarded to FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey
HEADS OF STATE MUST TAKE FIRM STEPS TO HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS
TREE PLANTATIONS CAUSE GRAVE PROBLEMS
WORLD BANK LAND GRAB REPORT COMMENT: BIOFUELS CAUSE LAND GRABS
Biofuels for Europe driving land grabbing in Africa
OUTRAGE AT SHELL-FUNDED UN REPORT ON NIGERIA OIL SPILLS
un climate talks: developed nations strangle hope of progress
eu-brazil biofuels deal: "land-grabbing charter"
g20 summit: leaders should aim for 'robin hood tax'
US actions in Bonn threaten strong and just climate agreement
Launch of 'responsible soy' label faces global opposition
Developed countries attempt to launder aid money through World Bank and call it 'climate funds'
Fairness must guide Bonn climate talks: UN must not cede to weak US proposals
biodiversity lost at unprecedented rate
european union complicit in human right violations in latin america
European Transnationals Accused of Rights Violations in Latin America
2010 photo competition winners announced
world bank accused of promoting land grabbing
Bolivian Government Increases its Moral Authority on Climate Change
friends of the earth swaziland director wins prestigious goldman prize
BOLIVIAN CLIMATE CONFERENCE SIGNALS HOPE
FAO Accused of Favouring Polluting Industrial Agriculture
GM crops failing to tackle climate change
'Solidarity and Movements' Photo Competition Starts Today
2010 BIODIVERSITY YEAR: URGENT ACTION NEEDED
 
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2010 / GM crops failing to tackle climate change

GM crops failing to tackle climate change

Amsterdam / Uruguay, 23 February 2010 – On the day of the release of annual industry-sponsored figures, a new report from Friends of the Earth International reveals that claims made by the biotech industry that genetically modified (GM) crops can combat climate change are both exaggerated and premature.[1]

The report, ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops?’, examines the evidence for these claims, and exposes that GM crops could actually increase carbon emissions while failing to feed the world. This is because, GM crops are responsible for huge increases in the use of pesticides in the US and South America, intensifying fossil fuel use. The cultivation of GM soy to feed factory farmed animals is also contributing to widespread deforestation in South America, causing massive climate emissions.[2]


The report also exposes that globally GM crops remain confined to less than 3% of agricultural land and more than 99% are grown for animal feed and agrofuels, rather than food. There is still not a single commercial GM crop with increased yield, drought-tolerance, salt-tolerance, enhanced nutrition or other beneficial traits long promised by biotech companies.[3]

Ongoing concerns about the negative impacts of GM crops means many Governments are still cautious about adopting them. India has placed a moratorium on the planting of its first GM food crop due to widespread concerns on its health, environmental and socio-economic impact. In Europe the area planted with GM crops has declined for the 5th consecutive year for the same reasons.

Millions are being spent by Governments on GM crops, and, promoted as a solution to climate change, they could be funded in the future through the UN climate emission reduction Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Friends of the Earth Europe GM campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said,

"GM crops are being promoted as a solution to feed us in a warming world, when in reality they are wiping out forests, damaging farmers’ livelihoods and increasing harmful emissions. Given the damaging track record of GM crops to date, and unfulfilled promises to feed the world, we would be well advised to disregard claims that GM crops can combat climate change."

In South America, a cocktail of pesticides is being applied on GM soy, which is poisoning communities and contaminating the environment. GM crops, and the corporate control of seeds, are also hindering the development of real solutions by starving them of funding and restricting farmers’ access to seeds and knowledge. Genetically diverse, ecological farming and traditional knowledge have been identified key to facing future challenges.[4]

Friends of the Earth International food coordinator Martin Drago said,

"The reality is that GM farming is not a success story. Small farmers across the world are already using planet-friendly methods to feed themselves and cool the planet. These methods must be supported rather than environmentally and socially destructive GM farming."

For more information please contact

Europe: Kirtana Chandrasekaran, GM campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7566 1669 and +44 (0) 79619 86956 (UK mobile)

Sam Fleet, Communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe:
Tel: +32 (0) 2 893 1012 and +32 (0) 470 072 049 (Belgian Mobile)

Martin Drago GM campaigner REDES, Friends of the Earth Uruguay
Tel: (+ 5982) 9022355 – 9082730 and Uruguayan Mobile: (+ 598 99) 138559

NOTES

[1] The Friends of the Earth International report is released to coincide with the annual release of the 'Global Status of Commercialized Biotech' report of the industry-sponsored International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) - which promotes GM crops as a key solution to hunger and poverty.

Read 'Who Benefits from GM Crops 2010?'

[2] Recent US Department of Agriculture data has shown that compared to pesticide use in the absence of GM crops, farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides over the last 13 years as a result of planting GM seeds. In Brazil pesticide use increased 5 fold between 1995 and 2005. In 2008, GM crops in the US required over 26% more kilograms of pesticides per hectare than conventional varieties. In Argentina, more than two hundred thousand hectares of native forest disappear every year, mainly due to the expansion of GM soy plantations.

[3] 99% of biotech agriculture consists of four crops with just two traits, herbicide-tolerance and/or insect-resistance. The vast majority of GM crops in the pipeline are also herbicide tolerant or insect resistant crops.

For more info see FoEI, 2009, ‘Killing Fields’, http://www.feedingfactoryfarms.org

[4] UNEP, 2008 Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. See
http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ditcted200715_en.pdf

IAASTD, 2008 Agriculture at a Crossroads Key finding 7. See
http://www.agassessment.org/

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