Claims that genetically modified crops combat climate change and help feeding a warming world are far from the truth, a new report shows.

The report, ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops’, examines the evidence for these claims, and exposes that genetically modified (GM) crops could actually increase carbon emissions while failing to feed the world.

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.

The report is published today (23 February) by Friends of the Earth Europe.

The report 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.

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. In Scotland the Government has operated a de facto moratorium, effectively defending Scotland’s clean image as a source of natural produce.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Juliet Swann said: “For years we’ve been hearing claims from the biotech industry about how GM crops are a magic solution to both climate change and a starving world.

“The truth is quite the opposite: GM crops transfer control over the food chain to multinational businesses and are proving to be environmentally and socially destructive, as this report shows.

“What the world needs is genetically diverse, ecological farming and traditional knowledge. Small farmers across the world are already using planet-friendly methods to feed themselves and cool the planet, and should be supported, rather than sidelined by GM cultivation.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops 2010’ report from Friend of the Earth Europe www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/Who_Benefits/who_benefits_full_report_2010.pdf

2. 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.

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk