Claim: GMO Crops are good for Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A new schism appears to be opening in the green movement, comparable to the divisions over the climate benefits of nuclear power, about whether GM crops could help save us from Climate Change.

Genetically Engineered Crops Are Safe and Possibly Good for Climate Change

The National Academy of Sciences reaffirmed GMO safety and pointed to the potential for future improvements.

Genetic engineering could play a role in making crops more resilient to climate change, but more research is still needed to understand the technology’s potential uses, the National Academy of Sciences said yesterday.

In a sweeping 400-page report, the country’s top scientific group found there was not evidence to support claims that genetically modified organisms are dangerous for either the environment or human health. At the same time, the introduction of genetically engineered crops had little apparent influence on the rate at which agricultural productivity was increasing over time.

In the future, the academy said, researchers and regulators should be sure to evaluate the safety and efficacy of specific crops, rather than focus on potential risk posed by the process of modifying the plants.

“The technology is changing so rapidly, we needed to see where it is taking us in the future,” said Fred Gould, chairman of the NAS Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops, which conducted the report, and a professor of entomology at North Carolina State University.

Michael Hansen, an evolutionary ecologist and senior scientist at the Consumers Union, called the report “schizophrenic” in its stance on safety testing of GE crops.

“On the one hand, it says that we should regulate by the product, and not the process, but then goes on to admit that the newer GE techniques, such as gene editing and synthetic biology, will produce more diverse and complex traits in more crops that could raise new safety concerns, noting that even the newer gene editing techniques have off-target effects,” he said.

Read more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/genetically-engineered-crops-are-safe-and-possibly-good-for-climate-change/

The following is the description of the report;

Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (2016)

Genetically engineered (GE) crops were first introduced commercially in the 1990s. After two decades of production, some groups and individuals remain critical of the technology based on their concerns about possible adverse effects on human health, the environment, and ethical considerations. At the same time, others are concerned that the technology is not reaching its potential to improve human health and the environment because of stringent regulations and reduced public funding to develop products offering more benefits to society. While the debate about these and other questions related to the genetic engineering techniques of the first 20 years goes on, emerging genetic-engineering technologies are adding new complexities to the conversation.

Genetically Engineered Crops builds on previous related Academies reports published between 1987 and 2010 by undertaking a retrospective examination of the purported positive and adverse effects of GE crops and to anticipate what emerging genetic-engineering technologies hold for the future. This report indicates where there are uncertainties about the economic, agronomic, health, safety, or other impacts of GE crops and food, and makes recommendations to fill gaps in safety assessments, increase regulatory clarity, and improve innovations in and access to GE technology.

Read more (paywalled): http://www.nap.edu/catalog/23395/genetically-engineered-crops-experiences-and-prospects

If there is one thing more than anything else which undermines the credibility of greens, it is these silly disagreements about the “safety” of controversial climate mitigation technologies, such as nuclear power and genetic engineering.

If greens truly believe our climate, our ecosystem, is on the brink of collapse, why are they so worried about the risk of a few nuclear meltdowns, or hypothetical food safety issues associated with GM technology?

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101 thoughts on “Claim: GMO Crops are good for Climate Change

    • The only solution they’ll accept is a reduction in humanity’s numbers.
      Personally, I think they should go first and show the rest of us how its done.

    • Grow rice without Methane pollution.

      That’s not revolutionary. Engineer rice to store the methane in its otherwise unused stems, then harvest them after the rice to make biofuels. THAT’S revolutionary.

    • “””””….. GMO Crops are good for Climate Change …..”””””
      Personally, I don’t believe that GMO crops have any observable effect on climate, or climate change.
      G

  1. If a person is simply “for” any and all genetically modified organisms being treated as perfectly safe, I consider that person ignorant, or irrational, or both.

    • Certainly GMO crops need to have their safety established on an individual basis.
      But given that we have missed the boat with greenhouse emission reduction to keep the temperature increase below 2°C, barring some massive sequestration technology appearing, We need to feed the world, and reduced need for pesticides and increased productivity, as well as capacity to make crops that are tolerant to salinity or drought or flooding are going to be an essential tool of climate adaptation.
      I think that the risks of GMO are exaggerated in the minds of a lot of people. Assisted, perhaps, in part by the increasingly lucrative organic industry’s pressure groups on policy and the press.

      • But given that we have missed the boat with greenhouse emission reduction to keep the temperature increase below 2°C,

        The is no “given”. There never was a boat to catch since reducing CO2 emissions never was a means of making any detectable change to future climate.

      • JohnKnight wrote Seth, I don’t trust you.
        Is there a particular part of what I wrote that you would like me to provide evidence of?

      • Greg wrote: There never was a boat to catch since reducing CO2 emissions never was a means of making any detectable change to future climate.
        Increasing the atmospheric concentration of CO2, and to a lesser extent other anthropogenic greenhouse gases has increased and is increasing the greenhouse effect.
        This has been detected now, so it is detectable now. In the future it will be more so.
        To stop increasing the greenhouse effect by this mechanism, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced to the rate at which they are sequestered so that the atmospheric concentration stops increasing.

      • Seth says;
        the greenhouse effect…. been detected now,
        Says you. But it has never been measured, so it’s still nothing more than a conjecture; an opinion.
        That’s not nearly good enough.

      • Since it’s impossible for CO2 to increase temperatures by 2C, even if we got back to the 7000ppm levels that were common in the past, there’s no need to worry.

      • Don’t waste your time on JohnKnight. The red flags of a message manager just went up in the word choice and tone.

      • DB, you have to remember how the mind of a troll works.
        Temperatures have gone up, CO2 has gone up. Case closed.
        (But that logic only works when it’s to the trolls favor. Any correlations that don’t favor the trolls position are just coincidence.)

      • All of the alleged CO2 stoppages and controls would barely lower the temperature; given a higher CO2 ECS than evidenced.
        The 2°C level has zero basis in science. It is and always was an alarmist claim without scientific merit.
        Just look at Earth’s history of much higher levels of CO2 and temperatures.
        Consider that our current temperatures are still very close to ice age levels. Even a 2°C temperature is barely a buffer from entering a new little ice age causing more grief from the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Famine from crop failures will help those anti-human Malthusians achieve population destruction.

        By Michael McAllister
        OPL, NWS Jacksonville, FL, If you’re not involved with cleaning a Maximum/Minimum Temperature Sensor (MMTS) sensor unit, you probably have not seen inside it. The white louvered “beehive” contains a thermistor in its center with two white wires. The wires connect it to the plug on the base of the unit. It’s really a very basic instrument. So what else is there to be discovered in the disassembly of the unit? I cannot vouch for the rest of the country, but here in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, we regularly find various critters making their home inside the beehive. At the Jacksonville, FL, NWS office, we usually replace the beehive on our annual visits. After getting the dirty beehive back to the office, and before carefully taking it apart for cleaning, we leave it in a secure outside area for a day to let any “residents” inside vacate, then we dunk it in a bucket of water to flush out any reluctant squatters.
        Red Wasps
        Our most common uninvited guest is the red wasp. These wasps enjoy the shelter, security and height of the beehive. They usually build their nest toward the top of the unit. We have found all size nests, from small ones with only four or five holes/cells to large nests that cover an entire louver.
        Typical red wasp nest
        http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/newsletters/09spring-coop.pdf
        From personal experience, I have learned to be careful in transporting the dirty beehives. At a rural site about 2 hours away from Jacksonville, I removed a beehive from its post and set it on the ground while I put a clean beehive in its place. I rolled the dirty beehive on the grass, then shook it. Nothing came out or buzzed, so I placed it in the back of the Coop van. About 10 minutes after leaving the Coop site, I noticed a couple of wasps on the back window. A few minutes later there were about5 to 10 wasps on the back window. A few more minutes and there were more wasps–and they were making their way forward! Driving with the windows down, I finally found a good place to pull over so I could remove the beehive and air out the van. I wasn’t stung but now our standard operating procedure is to place the dirty beehive in a plastic bag before putting it in the van.
        At another site, the wasps were not so docile. As I approached the dirty beehive, I noticed a couple of wasps flying nearby. I carefully removed the beehive and gently placed it on the ground. After finishing my Coop duties, I placed the beehive on its side and rolled it on the lawn. About 10 angry wasps came flying out. I did a little flying of my own away from the beehive. When things calmed down, I rolled the beehive again – and another 10 to 15 wasps flew out. A little while later I tried again, and more wasps came flying out. Finally, when nothing else came out in reaction to rolling the beehive, I bagged it. And then I noticed a wasp flying around the clean beehive I had just installed.
        Sigh…
        Mud Daubers
        Another frequent guest found in the beehive is the mud dauber/dirt dauber. These
        are also in the wasp family, but live a more solitary life. They build a mud nest, fill it with paralyzed spiders, then lay their eggs on the spiders. When the eggs hatch, the new wasps have a ready meal. Their nests are often found on eaves on houses. The nests look like a mud tube or multiple mud tubes. In the MMTS beehive, they often cover up the thermistor by building their nest on and around it. Fortunately, the mud dauber is not aggressive and will fly away when you approach its nest.
        We find spiders in the beehives at times, but not as often as one would think. Most of the time it is a jumping spider, a small colorful, active spider that is not poisonous or aggressive, though they can be territorial. We have found black widows and brown widows, which are poisonous, but fortunately, they are rare.
        The most unusual MMTS inhabitant I have found is the Cuban tree frog. The Cuban tree frog is an invasive species that grows to about 5 inches in length, 3 to 4 times the size of the native green tree frogs. It is a voracious eater of other frogs and lizards. What are they doing in a temperature shelter? I’m not sure, but they are NOT welcome!
        What Can You Do? And now the big question—do these trespassers alter the temperature readings? You betcha! Unfortunately, your NWS representative cannot always tell there is a problem when performing remote quality control.
        If the trespassers are causing a variation of only a couple of degrees from nearby sites, the difference may not be significant enough to warrant attention, or it may be rationalized away as a local effect, such as the sea breeze, nearby rainfall, air drainage area, etc.
        What can an Observer do about the situation? Call your NWS Coop manager if you suspect something nesting or living in the shelter. Do not spray the pests and risk getting stung or getting a breath full of bug spray. A buildup of chemical spray on the shelter/thermistor may not be good for it.
        Let’s hope it won’t be a weekly visit. R”

        My bolding; but note the cavalier attitude towards a difference of a few degrees…
        Before one goes wild about boats and a 2°C precipice, first make sure the science is honest. Temperature stations that easily suffer several degrees of error (warm side) should include those degrees in their error ranges; meaning that temperature measurement claims of .2°C, .6°C, .9°C are ignoring their errors!
        Consider that daily temperatures are far in excess of a 2°C swing. Seasonal changes are even greater.
        Stop panicking!

      • to keep the temperature increase below 2°C
        …you realize that’s a made up number, right?

      • Seth,
        “Is there a particular part of what I wrote that you would like me to provide evidence of?”
        Every word might help, but I kinda doubt it . . strange as this may sound, evidence does not mean proof, which would justify speaking of hard to prove things in matter of fact terms as you did, to me. Just doing that sort of “wise old uncle telling the young lad how things are in the big world” routine, demotes you (tentatively) to con-artist status in my estimation, sir.
        Ya need to acknowledge that you are not a god in your own eyes occasionally (roughly once per declaration/insinuation of absolute truth), for me to even take you seriously.

      • The Pressure Groups of Monsanto et all, seeking to patent plant species to gain monopoly control on world seeds, are the most dangerous groups out there.
        I am implacable in my belief that biodiversity must be communally owned or at the very least not controlled by a small number of powerful private interests.
        Trying to make out that Monsanto isn’t the biggest pressure group on earth in the GM debate shows a lack of understanding, a lack of respect and a lack of principle.

    • If a person is simply against any and all genetically modified organisms because they are dangerous, I consider that person ignorant, or irrational, or both.

    • JohnKnight:
      When the argument surrounding a technology boils down to a simple, “We do not understand and we fear change”; basis for disagreement, it definitely does not make any sense to listen to arm waver hysterics.
      GMO products slated for crops, food, sale, all undergo extensive trials and proofs.
      Don’t wave your arms and shriek about my approval of tested and approved GMO products. Your shrill position is the one without reason.
      When you drive down a road and spot those ‘crop marker’ signs that identify a test planting; stop and talk to the farmer. They live their lives reviewing crops.
      Ask that farmer who he sells or is growing the crop for.
      Then venture forward and ask the customer what they think.
      Journey forth to lands that golden rice will bring immense benefits. Tell those people that you don’t trust their food and you prefer that they starve…
      By the way, ask that farmer what he thinks of being forced to grow non-GMO products. Farmers don’t have problems growing crops that people want. In fact he is quite happy to charge those folks whatever extra it costs to grow a more difficult less bountiful crop.
      Look at free range chickens; their costs and the costs of their eggs for what will happen to non-GMO crop prices.
      The last source you definitely should not trust are those eco-crazy sites that repeat the same tired arguments over and over.
      Better yet; but a few hundred acres and get your hands dirty. Grow and raise your own food.

      • “We do not understand and we fear change”…
        Nooooo
        That line is a conversation stopper.
        I completely understand GMOs. I have no fear of change so I don’t fit into your straw-man category.
        Like any food producing entity the GMO producers have an obligation to the consumers. So, since the “GMOs” have tested their products, they should state the benefits of their products in writing on their labels, or state the contraindications or risks on their labels. Water is labeled in the USA. Explain why if even water requires a label, why should GMOs be exempt?
        Nutrition and food content impacts the consuming public. The public has every right to know what they consume.
        “Farmers don’t have problems growing crops that people want” Well, some farmers WANT to grow seed crops. They are legally prevented from growing seed crops and forced to use “terminator” of Round-up ready corn and many have faced legal action for patent infringement even for accidentally growing round-up ready corn. Many farmers don’t want to grow this corn but are forced to because of threat of legal action. The alfalfa crop is similar.
        It is wise to have a variety of corn etc species cultivated. Aggressive legal action by Monanto etc has resulted in widespread reduction of non-round-up ready corn etc species.
        So farmer’s choice to grow GMO is not just because of benefits of the market. It is because of fear of litigation.

        Another one:
        http://gmocorn-lawsuit.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=roundup%20ready%20corn%20lawsuit&utm_campaign=Bing%20CPC%20Campaign&st-t=bing&vt-k=%2Bcorn%20%2Blawsuits&vt-mt=p&vt-d=c

      • Paul, nice rebuttal… if people want these GMO products so much, then why are they afraid to put it on the labels? Yes, if people really wanted GMOs they would advertise them on the label. The only labels that i have ever seen advertising for are “NON GMO”…

      • afonzerelli,
        Thanks, You are right. If the stuff is so great, then the market will respond and buy into it. If there is something to hide, (which seems likely since they are hiding it) then I have a problem with that. I am all for scientific advancement with abundant disclosure. Free market, full disclosure, open debate, expand the knowledge base.

      • The whole golden rice debacle is what infuriates me. Rich people with a steady food supply have the luxury to freak out over GMOs that have been shown to be safe. Exporting the fear to developing countries and discouraging aid groups from providing golden rice is immoral. How many poor people are suffering ill health or have died, because a safe enriched food was demonized by scaremongers?
        Would people be so concerned about genetic modification if they knew about the techniques used in classical breeding? They “sound” just as scary. Which is worse, a GMO that has a natural pesticide gene inserted into its genetic sequence and requires little to no pesticide spray, or a non-GMO that has been sprayed with pesticides several times throughout the growing season? Is the non-GMO better for the farmer who is being directly exposed to the pesticide every time the plant is sprayed?
        I can understand having a problem with marketing/patenting and such, but that is not a food safety issue. As for this non-GMO labeling, I am sure at least some of it is a scam. If so much of the food supply is genetically modified, how can so many products not contain any GMOs? Is the labeling regulated properly? I am way more concerned about my food’s country of origin than I am about its gene sequence. The only thing that concerns me about GMOs is power: I do not want any entity to have complete or near complete control of a food source or supply aspect. That is a safety issue.

      • ATheoK,
        Just provide the evidence you wish me to consider, please. I don’t give a crap about your faith in human institutions/corporations. Not a freaking crap . . I’m a grown up ; )

      • One thing that I feel folks NEED to do, if they wish not to drift off into false logic land, is realize that if some “green” group is just prone to hysterics or some form of soft blackmail (contribution based alarmism levels), they will do it to things that really are dangerous/harmful in some sense, just as easily/readily as things that are safe/helpful, logically speaking.
        One cannot rightly “use” the noises such folks make as if a reliable reverse indicator, therefore. It is simply irrelevant what they claim, if they are corrupt, not indicative of a problem free situation. That a commentor (or contributor) speaks/acts as though there is some predictive value in citing opposition from “greens” causes me to be MORE skeptical of what they write, not less.

      • Paul Westhaver:
        And the knowledge on a label makes you feel better? Backed by some mighty governmental organization I suppose. More nanny regulations to no benefit.
        What happens at the farmer level? Do you really expect farmers and small growers to invest in lab studies so they can print ersatz labels for your pleasure?
        And those products without a label? Are you stating that you will never purchase them?
        Just what is that fear then?
        Fear of GMO?
        Fear of not knowing?
        Just fear of unlabeled items?
        fear that if the product isn’t from a giant multinational corporation then it isn’t edible?
        You’re another one who needs to live off their own grown/raised/harvested foods for awhile. Selling some crops on the side might be entertaining too.

      • JohnKnight :

        “Just provide the evidence you wish me to consider, please. I don’t give a crap about your faith in human institutions/corporations. Not a freaking crap . . I’m a grown up ; )”

        Is that your claim? Speaking of needing evidence.
        GMO plants and product have been through rigorous tests and trial.
        You got any real evidence? publish it!
        Oh yeah, let us know when the eco-crazies actually focus on real problems or truly dangerous actions; instead of the touchy feely frantic emotions.

      • We’ve got a bunch of eggheads splicin’ and dicin’ all the dna on planet earth and that’s not a “real problem”? (and what makes you think that these eggheads are any better than the eggheads who gave us agw?)…

      • ATheoK,
        “GMO plants and product have been through rigorous tests and trial.”
        I’ll try to give your impression/opinion all the weight it deserves . . Thanks.

      • JohnKnight ,
        Exactly,
        A broken clock is correct twice a day.
        Heaping appropriate caution regarding GMO labeling in with green crazy does not disqualify the appropriate caution.

      • ATheoK,
        “And the knowledge on a label makes you feel better?”
        In a sense yes. The process required to obtain labels forces the food producers to put research data into the public domain where it can be scrutinized. Check the FDA food labeling process.
        “What happens at the farmer level? Do you really expect farmers and small growers to invest in lab studies so they can print ersatz labels for your pleasure?”
        Certain foods are exempt because they existed for human consumption prior to the establishment of the FDA. Time has tested these foods. Also, I doubt I would derive any pleasure. just information.
        And those products without a label? Are you stating that you will never purchase them?
        Maybe, maybe not. If I am comfortable with them I might. It depends I guess.
        Just what is that fear then?
        Fear of GMO?

        Nope. Not fear. Why would you think “fear”? I am not fearful of GMOs. I am suspicious of people and governments and what that have done to people since forever. The really has been no limit to the atrocities. 262,000,000 people murdered by their own governments since 1900. Scientists are just people with axes to grind.
        Fear of not knowing?
        Nope, Not fear. Suspicion.
        ibid ibid
        You’re another one who needs to live off their own grown/raised/harvested foods for awhile.
        Nope. I could I suppose but in my view, it is simpler for everyone if novel food producers would simply disclose the food content through the label acquisition process, state why their food is novel and what, if any testing was done. What are you afraid of? spooky information?

    • Since the existing GMO crops have been shown to be perfectly safe, why shouldn’t they be treated as such?

      • Why do you assume that increased agricultural productivity is the goal of Monsanto’s GMO research and development efforts

      • We shop a local “Organic” street Farmers Market almost every Saturday morning to buy vegetables.
        Never in my life have I seen such a variety of deliberately prefabricated food types.
        Cauliflower is white; it’s not supposed to be bright purple or hot orange. Ordinary potatoes come in sacks containing more than half a dozen totally different skin colors for what clearly is exactly the same type of potato.
        They all come out the same when you cook them and mash them, so why does the skin color justify tripling the price ??
        At least I know that GMOs are concocted to achieve a specific crop end result that is reliable.
        And the purpose in keeping such crops seedless is to prevent accidental propagation of properties, by dabblers who have no understanding of what they are doing.
        Monsanto has plenty of industry competitors (in all of their product businesses).
        So if you don’t like their products (for whatever reason you have), buy from their competitors instead.
        G

    • Just think of all of the NOT genetically modified organisms that are not even remotely safe.
      Can you give us an example of a GMO that you would consider to be quite safe.
      G

  2. “If greens truly believe our climate, our ecosystem, is on the brink of collapse, why are they so worried about the risk of a few nuclear meltdowns, or hypothetical food safety issues associated with GM technology?”
    Because the aim of the Greens is the reduction of the human population to a tenth of it’s present size and a return to a medieval economy. Alleviation gets in the way. I don’t know whether they’ve worked out the problem of soft toilet tissue in the Green Utopia – could be a show-stopper.

    • Of course the greens have worked out the TP issue. It’s the same solution Socialists and Communists always come to when faced with the inevitable shortages their planes lead. After all, Do you think Khrushchev, Castro, Mao, or any of the Kim’s ever had to go without a roll? The leaders of the revolution always get first pick, as payment for their diligence.
      And the true believers of the climate revolution all assume they are going to be among the elite.

      • Venezuela has already solved the toilet paper problem. If there is no toilet paper to buy, there is no problem!
        What is the modern equivalent of a Sears and Roebuck catalogue?

  3. ‘At the same time, the introduction of genetically engineered crops had little apparent influence on the rate at which agricultural productivity was increasing over time.’
    Maybe Monsanto needs to change the message.

    • But dogmatic Greens themselves DO always pick and choose!
      – They call climate skeptics “Science deniers” because a majority of climate scientists do follow the current and career-enhancing fashion and bolster the CAGW hypothesis. But the Greens themselves won’t accept the findings of an overwhelming majority of food and plant researchers who state that GMO is totally safe for food or agricultural use.
      – They vilify the technique of fracking for oil and natural gas production but are quite willing to accept the very same technique for geothermal energy generation.
      – They wail constantly about killed birds by spilled crude oil or plastic garbage in the environment but simply ignore the likely even greater number of birds, bats or orangutans which are killed daily by “green energy” sources like wind turbines or gigantic palm-oil-plantations in formerly pristine rain forests!

      • Gentle, i get the worst of both worlds. Not only am i a climate change denier, but i’m also a GMO science denier. Just imagine how schizo i get in the whole foods market. To my delight i see all the organic and non gmo food on the shelf, but when i get to the check out they won’t even give me plastic bags for my purchase! (ever try to carry a paper bag full of groceries home in the rain? {8•(])-<~< )

      • @afonzarelli
        Your “organic food in a paper bag in the pouring rain”-fate is very gruesome indeed – but there must be some punishment for your double-denial of science, of course… 😉
        BTW: More than 300 million US citizens eat more or less daily GMO food during about 20 years. There is no health problem which can attributed to this gigantic real-life-experiment (the US obesity problem has its origin in too much sugar and carbohydrate consumption but not in GMO).
        Do you really believe the US government or food industry could cover up any real danger by GMO food for so long and with so many people exposed to it ???

      • Your missing the point… what are we doing in a “gigantic real-life-experiment” in the first place? There was nothing wrong with the food in the first place. You can’t improve on food as nature intends it to be. (we can do worse, but we can’t do better) And the last thing i want is the same dopey scientists who gave us climate change telling us that GMOs are safe to eat and safe for the environment…

      • @afonzarelli
        afonzarelli: “(we can do worse, but we can’t do better)”
        Don’t agree. If you were right, we would still live as hunter-gatherers in little caves and would die between an age of 20 – 40. Don’t you realize the big progresses in health care and food production during the human development since the end of the last great glacial? (BTW: I think the current interglacial was an important and essential condition for this progress. Thus a new glacial would be a much greater threat for mankind than a rather mild warming of 2°C which would bring likely more rainfall and smaller deserts as well.)
        afonzarelli: “And the last thing i want is the same dopey scientists who gave us climate change telling us that GMOs are safe to eat and safe for the environment…”
        Well, I don’t think that these are “the same dopey” researches. I have much more respect for GMO scientists than for average “cargo-cult climate-change” proponents. The latter were/are mostly just clever or indoctrinated free riders of the powerful zeitgeisty eco-fashion in society and science, but the first group had to work and to stand against the same – and more and more – totalitarian ideology, which means, the GMO researchers have proven their intellectual independence.

      • Gent… no, what i mean is that (say if we take the tomato), if a tomato is non gmo then it’s as healthy and good for you as a tomato can be. Once we start tinkering with the dna in the tomato then it could be just as healthy (and good for you) as a non gmo tomato OR it could be worse than the non gmo tomato… and we don’t really know which it is.
        Now, you may well be right about gmo scientists. (to me an egghead is an egghead…) But at least with climate change scientists, i don’t wind up EATING their mistakes. And i think that, at least, the “optics” of the science looks really bad. Can they at least put gmo products on the label so that i can opt out of being their guinea pig? Are they making proper precautions to make sure the good stuff doesn’t get contaminated by gmos (by using terminator seeds or what ever)? After all, this is about the very food that we eat and not just some relatively harmless intellectual exercise as is climate science…

    • But dogmatic Greens themselves DO always pick and choose!
      – They call climate skeptics “Science deniers” because a majority of climate scientists do follow the current and career-enhancing fashion and bolster the CAGW hypothesis. But the Greens themselves won’t accept the findings of an overwhelming majority of food and plant researchers who state that GMO is safe for food or agricultural use.
      – They vilify the technique of fracking for oil and natural gas production but are quite willing to accept the very same technique for geothermal energy generation.
      – They wail constantly about killed birds by spilled crude oil or plastic garbage in the environment but simply ignore the likely even greater number of birds, bats or orangutans which are killed daily by “green” energy sources like wind turbines or gigantic palm oil plantations in formerly pristine rain forests!

      • Sorry for sending the same comment twice, but since there is no longer the formerly used hint “your comment is awaiting moderation”, one could think there was just a technical failure…
        Thus it would be helpful for wuwt commenters to bring back the former and transparent information policy in such cases. Thank you for considering this request.

  4. I’m not against GMOs but I am against GRUTs (Genetic use restriction technology) which destroys the lives of farmers who not only use them but those around them who don’t.

    • Dear Dog,
      GURTs don’t exist. This was a postulated mechanism to stop modified trees from spreading and was never actually shown to work in a plant. It was developed as a theoretical process by the USDA (who filed for a patent) and a cotton breeding company licensed it, but never got it to work.
      Don’t confuse the technical term “terminator” – which refers to a piece of DNA which marks the end of a structural gene – with a piece of activist propaganda.

  5. Breeding specialized food through a robust process over a long long time is what we do. Once the gene hackers start F’n with food attributes that “they” deem important, that is where I draw the line. I just want labels on the food, stating exactly what is in the food.
    For example it is possible to grow food that people cannot metabolize. ie Empty calories.
    It is possible to steer prevalence of the sex of human offspring.
    Ever heard of round-up ready corn?
    Fine, just state it on the food label.
    The gene hackers don’t know as much about latent gene expressions as they need to know.

    • There is a great deal of booga-booga in what you wrote. How deliberate genetic engineering is more dangerous than induced mutations, which does not count as GMO in the demonology of the green blob is totally beyond me. The major purpose of labeling is to enable a boycott, as “veggie-libel” laws are unconstitutional in the US, and most of the “danger” is libelous.

      • How ’bout drugs Tom? Shall we switch the burden of proof concerning their safety onto the people too, do you figure? Lotta drugs in nature, ya know?

      • Tom,
        When you go to a supermarket to buy anything that you will consume you will observe that each and every product possesses a LABEL. The FDA has complete control over who gets to place a LABEL on a product in the USA. What goes on the LABEL is dictated by the FDA. Ketchup must have a LABEL. Apple sauce must have a LABEL.
        Regardless of whether the food is good or not, the food must have a LABEL.
        The purpose of all labels is to connect the efforts (testing & inspections) to secure permission to obtain a LABEL to the exact product. This is what is done now to all food sold in the USA.
        It isn’t booga booga to require a company to LABEL its products in accordance to it’s content. It is NORMAL. It is ABNORMAL for companies NOT to label their products. It is ABNORMAL to conceal the contents of a package from the consumer. It is dangerous to allow companies to conceal the package content. The record of food content abuse is centuries long and populated with numerous instances where unscrupulous people hurt unwitting members of the public with fake remedies, fake food attributes, and fake nutritional information.
        I would like you to reconsider the LABEL on all the food products, drugs, and goods you have provided to your family and ask yourself if you have EVER read a LABEL?
        I am sure you have.
        GMOs are not a special class of foods that should be exempted from the principle of informing the public.
        The GMOs are not above the FDAs mandate to control labels.
        Even water requires a label in the USA!

      • Speaking of labels, Lewis Black has some great points about labeling bottles of water. It starts at 3:15 of the video. FYI, Lewis Black is an angry Jewish man who is quite funny. Some foul language and if you have time watch the whole thing, you will get a good laugh.

    • “It is possible to steer prevalence of the sex of human offspring.”
      The paranoia is strong in this one.

    • MarkW,
      “John, GMO crops are tested, thoroughly.”
      Show us the evidence, and I’ll conciser it . . ’cause I don’t do blind faith . . and certainly not in mega corporations.

    • By all means! Let us label it all!
      The label for your taco box will be about five feet long, of course. Eight point type. With three lines at the bottom for the changes made with “GMO”…

  6. It all depends on what you mean by genetically modified. The marker assisted selection (MAS) is an accelerated version of selective breeding which is outperforming traditional and gene splicing so badly that the gene splicing companies are buying them up to splice in a gene and patent them. With MAS you get the traits you want without introducing novel proteins to the human diet like gene splicing does and in one tenth or less the time that traditional selective breeding works.
    There are really 2 issues with so called “GMO” crops (gene spliced ones). One is the novel proteins they introduce to the human diet and the other is the fact that they are primarily done to enable them not to die when sprayed with glyphosate (Roundup). Separate but overlapping issues.
    Recently (last 15 years) even conventional crops are sprayed with glyphosate as a desicant just before harvest to ensure an even dry crop to harvest. This poisons the gut bacteria in the human stomach and is not a safe practice. Ironically the gene spliced crops don’t die when sprayed with glyphosate and as such it isn’t used as a desicant on them so there may be less residue.
    I’ll avoid it all except for the MAS without glyphosate until they sort out all the issues. I’m not going to pay to poison myself. Gut bacteria are vital to the immune system, neurotransmitter production and inflammation. To play Russian roulette with that is silly, to pay to do so beyond foolish.

  7. “If greens truly believe our climate, our ecosystem, is on the brink of collapse, why are they so worried about the risk of a few nuclear meltdowns, or hypothetical food safety issues associated with GM technology?”
    Because as soon as it becomes more and more apparent to Joe Blow that CAGW is the greatest money stealing scheme yet invented, their gravy trains will start going off the tracks. Also what Kevin Lohse said. 1 billion progs are easier to control than 10 billion. Or it could simply be they are mentally unstable to the nth degree.

  8. Of course GMO crops are “good” for Climate Change. Climate Change? Are they good for cooling or warming? When did Climate ChangeTM become a catch all for whatever Greenpeas gets money to promote?
    It’s so far out of hand now it must detonate soon, or just fly right out past the heliosphere and never be heard from again…

  9. GMO’s are an accident looking for a place to happen. I believe that the technology of gene splicing is not new, just new to our era of civilization. Atlantis experimented, producing noxious plants, weeds and in the animal kingdom, monsters that terrorized the populace. This is indicated in the Book of Enoch and some translations of Genesis.
    Like the Nuclear Genie, once out of the bottle it refuses to go back in, metaphorically.
    We are not knowledgeable enough yet to be playing with life itself. GMO crops have already demonstrated the ability to jump their altered genes into adjacent plants, creating superweeds.
    Unintended consequences abound.

  10. In India, GMO — Bt-Cotton is in use since 2003 [I filed a case against it in the State High Court in 2003 and at the final stage our Advocate was purchased by the Bt-Cotton group]
    There is no difference in yields in Bt and non-Bt except the cost of inputs are very high in Bt-Cotton and highly susceptable to vegaries of weather. Bt-Cotton is grown in 5 states [Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh] wherein farmers suicides are maximum since 2003.
    Bt was changed three times since 2003 — Bt1, Bt2 & Bt3. In each of these the toxin levels are increased. Resulting new pests-diseases affecting the crop.
    They simply change high yielding non-Bt seed in to Bt seed to get ten to twenty times higher price by selling the seed converrted in to Bt seed.
    Bt-cotton only works under the green revolution technology [a highly polluting technology: air, water, soil & food pollution], that introduced technology drought in addition to weather drought.
    Recently, announced Telangana government to replace cotton growing areas with other crops — I sent my proposals also, wherein I suggested use of crop rotation, that is in alternate years non-cotton crops under traditional inputs. In tobacco this is in practice.
    Talk of GMO with Climate Change is an uneducated argument.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Hello Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy thank you for the information.
      Monsanto also comes to mind, just how evil can a corporation be to endanger natural seed selection with a GMO seeds that is already proving to be a huge and deadly mistake. Typical of mercenary corporations and green fanatics to cast nature aside to get their way at any cost,

    • cont— while scientific community started to under the impact of Bt1 on nature and human beings/animals, it lost its potency; in place of Bt1, introduced Bt2. While the process is repeated but Bt2 also lost its potency; In place of Bt2, introduced Bt3. Now the process started. All this happened in 13 years. How, anybody say Bt is safe!!!!
      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • If GMO crops cost more and have no advantages, then they don’t have to be outlawed, no farmer would voluntarily use them.

      • A farmer may use them unintentionally, since in the real world stuff tends to move around, so to speak.

      • In India, the strategy of GM seed PR groups are making sure that non-GM seed is available in the market. The same PR groups help seed companies to test illegally GM crop seeds. As long as corruption with poor governance this will continue.
        Also, the GMO groups collected native land races and put them in their gene banks and now trying to destroy land races — lot of these issues we published and even questioned the Noble Prize winner Norman Borlough on such issues as he was one of the top PR man for GM. Noble Prize is legitamised to bad technologies like green revolution chemical input technology & GMO technology. They helped the business interests of fertilizer companies and seed companies.
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • correction — making sure non-GM seed should “not” available in the market
        sjreddy

    • Why do the farmers buy Bt-cotton seed if there is a cheaper, more profitable seed available? Are they obliged to use Bt-cotton?

  11. So be it..
    GMOs, to my mind, are delaying The Inevitable.
    why?
    They are an improvement in efficiency which, as we are all familiar with Jevon’s Paradox, leads to an overall increase in consumption. They will simply produce more people.
    The people imagine that having A Bureaucracy looking after them is a good thing, and for the most part it is as long as it sticks to building roads, bridges and public infrastructure. But, as we all also know, bureacracies constantly expand (witness the EPA) and introduce more and more non-productive people into their societies. These people must be fed, housed, paid, provided with ivory towers etc etc and a stable & settled population is required. You cannot tax nomads.
    But, the crunch comes, as any farmer will tell you, in that you cannot grow the same crops on the same ground over and over again and also expect greater and greater yeilds. You exhaust the dirt, as witnessed by rising levels of CO2 in the sky, rising tempertures through less dirt based water retention and lowered albedo. Also floods happen because of the altered hydrologic properties of the soil and also because all, these extra people put houses where they really shouldn’t. primarily because they have no choice of course.
    An added complication comes because the people are eating tastelss and nutrient-free mush (carbohydrate) which makes them fat, lazy and chronically depressed. Manifestations of this depression are inabilities to think and act quickly & decisively, reluctance to be sceptical and a total inability to accept responsibility, in other words, to endlessly pass the buck. so it is with cAGW – it is always someone else’s fault isn’t it? Always.
    Eventually this ever expanding, ever accelerating gravy train loaded with slow witted (effectively drunk) individuals will hit the buffers.
    Ask the Romans, Phonecians, Himyars, Maya, Aztec, Rapa-Nui…….

    • Even Malthus realized that he was wrong before he died.
      To bad his acolytes can’t manage the same thing.

    • “An added complication comes because the people are eating tastelss and nutrient-free mush (carbohydrate) which makes them fat, lazy and chronically depressed. Manifestations of this depression are inabilities to think and act quickly & decisively, reluctance to be sceptical and a total inability to accept responsibility, in other words, to endlessly pass the buck.”
      Perhaps that was the plan after all. Let the masses eat themselves into reliance on Big Brother. Next you take their guns and money and there you have it, grain feed dictatorship.

  12. I find the main resistance against GMO is because the seeds are made some big evil corporation. The anti-GMO people may say all sorts of other reasons why they are against it, but I can guarantee you that if the GMO seeds were made by an eco-activist organization, it would be welcomed with open arms. The way people protest against Monsanto, you would think the company has a factory designed to specifically punch puppies and kick kittens.
    I started to looking into this whole issue after I watched the documentary Food, Inc. It very clearly was anti-big business when it comes to food. And a company the documentary specifically focused on was Monsanto. Being the kind of person I am, and not being ruled by only emotion like the greenies, I decided to investigate. (Side point: I did agree with the documentary that some food businesses have too much power. I believe Big Corn is a scourge to our planet. Big Corn is why I have to drive 5 miles out of my way and pay $0.90 more for 100% gasoline. Big Corn is why our sodas has high-fructose corn syrup instead of the much better sugar. I would happily drive 5000 miles to get a Dr. Pepper with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Fortunately, I can find Mountain Dew and Pepsi with cane sugar easily enough.)
    The Food, Inc documentary talked about a poor, helpless farmer who was sued by Monsanto for improperly using their seeds. It was entirely one-sided and left out key facts. Specifically, the farmer was not acting out of ignorance. Don’t misunderstand, Monsanto is not some benevolent business. But neither are they punching puppies or kicking kittens. (Also, it has been years since I looked into the farmer that was sued by Monsanto, I may have misremembered something. I do know that the farmer was not as innocent as the documentary claimed.)
    After watching Food, Inc I soon asked a local farmer what he thought about Monsanto. I had a very low opinion of the company because of the documentary. So what this farmer said to me surprised me. He had a very high opinion of Monsanto. ‘But what about all the pesticides and herbicides you spray?’ Monsanto sells seeds that are resistant to Round Up so that farmers can spray the chemicals in bulk on their fields. I was told that the vegetables were washed so much before they sold them that there is not going to be little to no trace of them left. This farmer actually laughed at the notion of pesticides being evil. Ever since that day, I have refused to pay more for organic. To be sure, I talked to another farmer. They didn’t grow anything Monsanto sold, but the other farmers they know also didn’t have a negative opinion of Monsanto.
    So who should I believe? People who have to deal directly with Monsanto? Or people who never once worked in a garden? That is an easy choice to make.
    My brother and his wife and two of my cousins are very much into this organic craze. ‘All these ingredients in food are killing you!’ The way I counter that is simple: “I am 165 pounds (p.s. I’m 5’11”) and I don’t buy organic or healthy foods. I do avoid anything with that nasty tasting high-fructose corn syrup and anything cooked in grease; I hardly ever eat anything clearly unhealthy. I’m not big on sweets, but I am big on my sweet tea and the occasional sugar soda and beer and wine. I don’t get organic, do I look unhealthy? If the mass produced breads, canned food, and other stuff in the grocery store is really that bad for you, then why isn’t it affecting my health?” They have no answer, just emotion. Unfortunately, my cousins are hippies who are anti-big business but fortunately my brother and his wife are not. Still, I doubt I will ever convince them that mass produced food isn’t as unhealthy as you claim.

  13. “GMO Crops are good for Climate Change”
    I feel a disturbance in the farce, it’s as if thousands of liberal heads all exploded at once.

  14. It’s high time that all food products be labelled with their carbon content, so that the environmentally conscious can minimize and eventually eliminate their daily intake (sarc/off).

  15. Well, I never thought I’d see Greens promoting nuclear energy.
    Thing is I’m no Green but I recognize the dangers associated with watercooled reactor technology. I would have been inclined to agree with them, even pre-Chernobyl, that it was a risky technology. The problems are not strictly nuclear in nature, but are the use of a volatile pressurised coolant, and zirconium fuel pin cladding.
    It shows how obsessive they have become about this climate change meme that they are wiling to abandon their previous principles for its sake. That in spite of the fact that the more informed of their number probably have studied the Chernobyl reports in depth, and know just how serious that incident was. They probably are also aware that Chernobyl was not nearly as bad as it might have been. Had the entire core been ejected as dust, and the winds been unfavourable, a large part of Europe could have been made uninhabitable.
    Nuclear energy need not be unsafe; it’s the reactor designs which are the problem.

    • You do realize that the design of Chernobyl bore no relationship with the design of western reactors?
      If not, then you don’t know enough about nuclear power to have an opinion on the subject.

  16. You didnt even mention the massive hypocrisy of wanting to attempt huge, experimental projects with completely unknown results, such as attempting to increase the albedo of the earth in various ways, yet still opposing such things as GMO’s and nuclear power.

  17. Toxicologist M.A. Gallo, Emeritus professor of Environmental & Occupational Medicine (Rutgers U.), recently commented on his team review of 400 reports of genetically engineered (GE) crops. Concerning those on human health from Mayo Clinic data base on celiac disease they “… found no discernible connection with the introduction of GE foods …) & , like the USA, celiac disease is “… also on the rise in the United Kingdom, where people do not typically eat GE foods…” Their “… general conclusion was that GE crops tested were no more harmful than non-GE versions….”
    (2016) From National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reporting committee of 20 members commentator bjc70 posted cover of (at 8:16pm) & rd50 then gives link to.

  18. From the article: “Genetic engineering could play a role in making crops more resilient to climate change, but more research is still needed to understand the technology’s potential uses, the National Academy of Sciences said yesterday.”
    What is needed even more is more research into whether humans have anything to do with causing the Earth’s climate to change.
    It should first be established that CAGW is real and causing climate changes, before making all those plans to mitigate it.
    CAGW has not been established as fact. We are far enough down the road now to understand that there are serious problems with the CAGW theory. Treating CAGW as fact is creating a false reality, or living in one. Planning for a false reality is a little silly.
    Unfortunately, the Climate science grant money turns “silly” into “profitable”.

    • When it comes to whether we should be looking into how to make plants more tolerant of climate change, the only thing that matters is whether the climate is changing.
      Why the climate is changing (if it is) is not relevant.
      PS, there’s no need to make plants more heat tolerant, all that’s needed is to shift the belts where each type of crop is being grown a few miles poleward.
      I have read about research into making crops that are better able to tolerate salty soils. This would help in that land that currently can’t be farmed, may be made productive.

      • This is applicable to any crop — GM or non-GM. Temperature tollerance is part of breeding new varieties under variable day lengths, which plays significant role in the crop development. Some of these issues, in fact, I discussed in my Book published in 1993 — Agroclimatic/Agrometeorological Techniques: As applicable to dry-land agriculture in developing coiuntries and as well papers published in Agric. For. Meteorology in 80s-90s [Elsveir Scientific Publ.].
        The word climate change is used simply to attract the attention of peers and readers of the paper with zero relationship. It is most unfortunate thing in modern science.
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  19. Stir in some research news of car crash deaths linked to marijuana use in Washington state and you get a crash and smash derby of advocacy groups in chaos.

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