Friday, August 14, 2015

Anti-GMO stance by environmental activists worsens climate change

Andrew Porterfield at the Genetic Literacy Project ("Where Science Trumps Ideology") has this article that's very critical of Greenpeace and other environmental groups. Here is an excerpt:
     As for helping to prevent climate change in the first place, GM has not been much of a slouch. Adopting GM technology has reduced pesticide spraying by nearly 9 percent. [emphasis added] This arises from replacing broad-range pesticides with glyphosate and in some cases 2,4D, reducing the volume of pesticides used and the fossil fuel needed to spray them.
     In addition, tillage, necessary for organic and some conventional farming, is usually not necessary for genetically modified crops. A Purdue University study found that no-till fields released 57 percent less nitrous oxide (another greenhouse gas) than fields that required tillage. Thus, less tillage sequesters more carbon and nitrogen in soil.
     Finally, genetic modifications produce crops that can get higher yields using less space. This means that less land needs to be disrupted—fewer trees are removed, more plants are preserved and less carbon is released (not to mention the carbon dioxide taken up by plants). The USDA recently found that organic agriculture would require almost twice and much land than is necessary using conventional methods (measured against GM crops, that number’s more dramatic. Organic agriculture would require an extra 121.7 million acres to grow all US-produced food—that’s an area the size of Spain.
Chipotle for lunch anyone?