Stolen CRU emails: the rejects

Some more of the emails stolen from the Climate Research Centre in 2009 have been released. This time they are accompanied by a readme with out-of-context quotes that asserts the purpose of the release is information transparency, but that’s an obvious lie, since they’ve sat on them for two years and released them just before Durban conference. The timing suggests that the people behind the theft and release have a financial interest in preventing mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. It is most unlikely that there is anything incriminating in these emails — if there was, it would have been released two years ago.

Gavin Schmidt is providing context for the emails, Brendan DeMelle has an extensive roundup and Stephan Lewandowsky writes about the real scandal.

Comments

  1. #1 jakerman
    November 29, 2011

    >Those are exactly the same stats & methods that you earlier used to claim *”Many of potential health concerns have been identified.”* Do you still stand by that statement?

    Compared to the standard required to scientifically demonstrate the safety of GMOs, a lower threshold of certainty is required to indicate potential health concerns that should be followed up. Wouldn’t you agree?

    An under-powered trial designed by Monsanto can lead to doubt either way about weather potential harm has been identified when reanalysed. However it does not meet the standards of demonstration of saftey

    So its significant that the HCB [find that](http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/acnfp9612a2):

    >*not only the protocol but also the statistical analysis traditionally used by a number of petitioners, including Monsanto, show certain weaknesses that make it impossible to conclude with sufficient certainty that there are no health and environmental risks associated with GMOs.*

    In fact, according the HCB these weakness in both Monsanto’s protocol and statistical analysis are become more widely accepted, leading to tightening up of requirements for future trials.

    What is required now is for people who support GMO to now support these higher standards and call for new trials. Supporters of GMO should also call for the removal of the veto powers of corporations over independent safety trials using their seed.

    [Attacking the messengers](http://www.naturalfoodlist.com/4122/if-you-find-problems-with-genetically-modified-foods-watch-out/) does not bring Monsanto’s underpowered and inappropriate safety trial up to standard.

  2. #2 Alan
    November 29, 2011

    Ian at #197 – I don’t want to be accused of shooting the messenger but you’re comparing apples to oranges, herbicides and pesticides are two completely different things.

    Monsanto’s roundup resistant crops increases the use of the herbicide known as “roundup” that’s what the crop is specifically designed for. It’s no coincidence that Monsanto also make and sell roundup, so it’s a kind of razor/razor blade business model for them.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think Monsanto are even in the pesticide business.

  3. #3 Ian Forrester
    November 29, 2011

    Alan at #201, I’m not sure what your point is but pesticide is a generic term for all forms of toxic chemicals, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, agaricides etc.

    The “paper” (it is junk) that chris s referred to included both herbicides and insecticides in their claim that pesticide use had been reduced by 224 million kilograms.

    Read the paper I cited, and others, and you will see that the GM industry’s claims that their seeds are resulting in less pesticides being applied is just a lie. Herbicide tolerant crops have resulted in the use of more and more glyphosate since the weeds are becoming more resistant and thus require the use of more toxic and more expensive herbicides. This is a lose/lose situation for farmers and the environment. The use of insect toxic (BT) seeds has resulted in the use of more insecticides than previous because once again the insects are becoming resistant to the BT. In addition, other insects, which are not susceptible to the BT in the seeds are moving into the crops.

  4. #4 ianam
    November 30, 2011

    Um, Alan:

    http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx

    All pesticides in the U.S., including Roundup PROMAX, must be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they can be sold. Before the agency can approve registration, a variety of stringent toxicity, crop residue and environmental fate studies must be conducted by the company and reviewed by the EPA. Only when the EPA finds the studies to be scientifically sound and accepts them can the pesticide be registered and sold in the U.S. In addition, many state agencies carefully review these studies, examine product uses for specific geographies, and apply their own strict registration to pesticides. Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides certainly have one of the most extensive worldwide human health, occupational safety and environmental databases ever completed on a pesticide product. The study of glyphosate continues today as new requirements come into existence or as Monsanto evaluates possible questions on its own.

  5. #5 Chris S.
    December 1, 2011

    Dr. Harvey am I reading your first paragraph correctly in dismissing the Green Revolution as an illusion? If you are then there’s no further point in discussion as you’re clearly looking at this through idealogical lenses that will prevent any productive discourse.

    I shall point you to Borlaug’s [30th Anniversary lecture to the Nobel Institute](http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1970/borlaug-lecture.pdf) (pdf) and draw your attention to the graph at page 22 which shows ~12,000 million hectares of land spared from cereal production between 1950-1988. I shall return to the concept of “land sparing” over “land sharing” below.

    Dr. Harvey: “That can only be done through creating socially just political systems that do not make poor nations even more beholden to the economic whims of the rich world – and this technology, if anything, will do just that.”

    I can agree with the first part of this comment but not the second part. An area the size of Germany is already farmed in Developing Nations specifically to [provide food for Europe](http://www.agripol.de/Final_Report_100505_Opera.pdf)(pdf). Of course the richer markets of the Developed World have an effect of increasing the prices of commodities further increasing the value of exported food over internal markets. This has the direct effect of reducing the food available to Developing Nations and causing starvation. And also makes “poor nations even more beholden to the economic whims of the rich world” – this is simple economics, even before you consider politics.

    “Despite vast amounts of PR, the technology is clealry not based at all on ending poverty or hunger”

    This is where our views start to diverge. You are conflating the technology itself with the current controllers of the technology. Yes, as I’ve stated several times the multi-nationals currently are the only bodies able to utilise the technology & they are more interested in profits than anything else. The technology itself does not have any political or economic view – it is technology. So to dismiss the SCIENCE on the basis of political ideology is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In this case though the babies are not merely metaphorical they are very real and they are starving.

    “There is enough food already to feed most people on Earth, its just that the political will to better distribute it through social justice and equity is absent.”

    This is a true point. Though I would argue that convincing your average Westerner to eat less rich food is more difficult than finding ways to make more food available.

    “In other words, the technology is driven by commercial aspects and the concept of “Intellectual Property”.”

    And when in the late 1990s nine US professional agricultural science societies (encompassing 80000 members) attempted to oppose in Congress more elaborate (and costly) regulation and certification processes the multi-national companies (Monsanto, Bayer etc.) supported the new regulations because that effectively blocked public sector, small businesses & charitable organisation from developing products. (More info available in Lal et. al. (2005) Climate Change and Global Food Security)

    (jakerman I think this addresses your point – I too would bring develpment of novel technologies under government control, or at least find some way of making it cheaper to bring them to market, thus loosening the grip of the multinationals on this technology).

    “The science is also extremely basic and unsophisticated. Firing genetic material using a ‘gene gun’ into the genome of a recipient organism where it may end up anywhere and have a range of unpredictable effects is dangerous in my opinion.”

    This opinion is largely based on an outdated notion of the technology and a lack of knowledge of the initial research of any new GMO “event”. I suggest you read a bit further on the current science in this area.

    “Chris has not also mentioned the resistance factor”

    I’ve mentioned before the attempts by those that are anti-GM Science to conflate issues of conventional agriculture with issues with GM technology (Ian has made a habit of it in this discussion – e.g. his Argentinian examples). I should be clear: There are issues that conventional agriculture has to tackle if ongoing food security is to be safeguarded. The resitance factor is one of them. But it is NOT an issue restricted to GM technology. Organophosphates are more or less obsolete as aphid control in the (GM-free) UK due to the resistance factor. Antibiotic resistance is a growing disaster in hospitals throughout the world. Attempts to conflate resistance with GM technology are anti-science and should be avoided.

    “GMOs will constitute a very small paret of an effective integrated pest management regimes”

    I’d take the very small out of that statement. IPM is a good new tool for agriculture…as is GM.

    “Another major problem rarely discussed by the advocates of this technology is the loss of genetic variation that accompanies it in traditional farming practices. In the south, many farmers have collected their own seeds for generations, and many of these seeds exhibit highly uself traits that make them adapted to a suite of environmental challenges.”

    Again, this is a broader agriculture issue. in addition, anyone who has ever grown their own produce will tell you that seed saving leads to steadily decreasing yields and quality. Ironically the “terminator” technology that directly threatens seed saving through causing sterility is also the technology that will prevent dissemination of novel genes into the population. (As an aside I once heard about an anti-GM advocate declaring in a speech that the gene for sterility will spead through the ecosystem – I doubt she’d really thought that idea through…)

    “Once genetic variation is reduced to a bare minimum, as is likely when shifting to many GMOs”

    Speaking of not thinking things through… GM technology is, by its very nature, a technology to artificially increase variation (the clue is in the name).

    “Its too bad that many of those aggressively promting GMOs rarely address this critical fact”

    And it is too bad that those who are anti-GM science think this issue is not being worked on (one is reminded of all those climate change deniers trumpeting the divergence problem as something no-one’s ever thought of before McIntyre came along).

    “A number of the most persistent weeds have now conclusively been shown to have evolved resistance to “Roundup Ready””

    There’s glyphosate resitance in (GM free) Europe.

    “many farmers have had to increase the number of applications as well as the amount sprayed per unit of land.”

    The issue at the heart of this (and it is an issue mirrored in antibiotic resistance) is lack of education leading to increased use of pesticides as a prophlyactic or because the farmer is not aware that because a weed doesn’t shrivel up & die immediately (like they show on the adverts) the application hasn’t worked and respraying is necessary. An issue with all conventional agriculture and one that could be easily tackled with better education.

    I said I’d return to the issue of land sparing versus land sharing. The latter term encompasses the idea of farming for biodiversity through low-intensity extensive agriculture (including, but not exclusively Organic farming). This paradigm has seductive potential – much research has focussed on the benefits to farmland biodiversity of Organic farming. However, farmland biodiversity is not total biodiversity – you don’t find many (e.g.) Marsh Fritillaries or Orang Utans on farms. The land sparing paradigm focusses on keeping the area of land under agriculture as low as possible whilst maintaining yield thus leaving greater amounts of land available for nature – either through agri-environment schemes or nature reserves, green corridoors etc. Bill Kunin’s group at Leeds University have been looking at the tradeoffs of these two paradigms in detail and their latest research indicates that (economic caveats such as price elasticity aside) the land sharing paradigm needs to deliver yields of ~80% of the land sharing otion in order to show a benefit in biodiversity compared to the land sharing paradigm. At best Organic cultivation can deliver maybe ~70% of conventional yields and usually the comparisons put that much lower. So in order to maintain global human populations at the current & projected levels and also maintain biodiversity it appears that increased yield through intensification will be the better option than using more land for crops (remember the Borlaug figure at the top of this post).

    I’ll read Tokal’s book (if I get it for Xmas) in return I urge those with a genuine interest in science to get their information from better sources than those organisations (such as GMWatch & Greenpeace) that have actively encouraged anti-science activities such as destroying trial crops and have effectively removed themselves from the scientific discourse to indulge in politically-motivated campaigning.

  6. #6 Wow
    December 1, 2011

    > Dr. Harvey am I reading your first paragraph correctly in dismissing the Green Revolution as an illusion

    Even I can see you’re not reading it correctly.

    Here, for your education, is the relevant statement:

    > Like Borlaug’s green revolution, all GMOs do is convince the uninitiated that there are no limits to agricultutal production

    GMO’s definitely exist. Else James wouldn’t have to talk about them.

    HOWEVER, the revolution is proposed as giving the FALSE impression that there are no limits to food production.

    Now, you could try to remonstrate that the Green Revolution didn’t do that.

    This would be unimportant, however, since the thread of conversation is hijacked to GMOs. You would need to show that GMOs either don’t give the impression that there’s no limit to food production when being sold to the man-in-the-street (practically impossible: all ads for GMOs say that this will SOLVE starvation), or that it does make that assertion and can fulfil it.

    However, since your misreading displays a level of either wilful or genuine ignorance of language, it does seem rather pointless to discuss with you anything about GMOs: you’ve displayed no ability to read. How can we take your interpretation of a trial as correct in the face of such proof of inability to read?

  7. #7 Jeff Harvey
    December 3, 2011

    ChrisS,

    I appreciate your response. I never dismissed the green revolution, but I did say that, as many anticipated, it has had serious ecological impacts. And it certainly has not reduced the equity gap between those in the north and south, which is bigger now than at any time in human history.

    You also had me on the floor with this: *food security is to be safeguarded*

    By what, GMOs? Are you kidding me? The technology exists to safeguard the distribution of food today without GMO technology, but the will does not. As long as the north covets the resource base of poor countries to the south, and pursues policies that lead to the continued concentration of wealth, then the planet’s ecological life support systems will continue to be destroyed. In 1983 Africa made up 4% of the global economy. Thirty years later, as a result of free market ideology run amok, characterized by deregulation, structual adjustment and nakedly predatory capitalism, that puny amount had shrunk to a pithy 1.3%. We are seeing capital flows increase from the south to the north, and with it deeper and deeper poverty become concentrated. I don’t even want to speculate how anyone can consider how technologies hoarded in the north (not to be shared) will create food security. This is pure and utter folly.

    GM technology, for the millionth time, has nix to do with food security. It has everything to do with profit maximization otherwise the multinationals at the heart of this technology would not be so anxious to ensure that it falls within the realm of intellectual property. And this technology is controlled by the north, and always will be. If you were to try and understand a bit more about western economic and political agendas, you’d realize that altruism towards people in the south has nothing to do with them. Samir Amin, Africa’s leading economist, spoke at the World Social Forum at Peurto Allegre in Brazil in 2003. He accurately summed up western policy towards the south when he said that integrating these countries into a cogent social order is not on the agenda; western countries only aim at looting the resources of the poor countries. This theme has been taken up well by Irish economist Patrick Bond in his outstanding book: “Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation” (2006) and Tom Athanasiou in his book, “Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor”.

    I hate to be harsh, but if you think for one moment that GM technology is being driven to create social justice and to eliminate social injustice, then I think that you are very much in need of medical attention.

    You have also not addressed the issue of the loss of genetic variation through the railroading of GM technology through traditional farming practices. I have talked with enough colleagues from the less developed nations to know that, once certain genes are lost, they are lost forever. The GM corporations don’t give a rat’s ass about ecological viability and safe methods of pest control. Their singular aim is short term profit maximization, and by short term i mean no more than 2-3 years (at most) down the road. Many new technologies have traditionally proven in the past to have nasty stings in the tail, as we know, from CFCs and fossil fuels, to synthetic organic pesticides. As I said, GMOs may deal with a few symptoms but not the underlying disease. I have to admit that I cringe every time I hear some amoral corporation pull out the PR stops and to use the specter of world hunger to foist their technology onto countries whose governments are bought, paid for and beholden to the west.

    I could write pages and pages on this topic alone, but don’t have the time. But the bottom line is that the solution to hunger and social injustice does not IMHO involve transgenic technology. It is political, and always has been, but, as I said, the will is not there.

  8. #8 Chris S.
    December 6, 2011

    Dr. Harvey thank you for the clarification. It seems to me that your argument now boils down to a) agriculture is bad for the environment, b) that GM technology won’t solve the iniquities of modern politics and c) that the multinational GM corporations are in it for profit.
    To be honest I find nothing wrong with any of those statements. But I also find no reason to dismiss the science of GM based on them. To cover these points in more detail:

    a) “as many anticipated, it has had serious ecological impacts.”

    As serious as an additional 12 billion hectares under cultivation, for cereals alone, between the 1950s & 1990s? Perhaps, perhaps not. What is clear is that the green revolution allowed for increased food production whilst maintaining more land for non-agricultural uses than would have been the case without it. Going forward, Foley et al stated in [Solutions for a Cultivated Planet]( http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v478/n7369/full/nature10452.html#/global-environmental-impacts-of-agriculture) (Nature, 2011) that “increasing food production without agricultural expansion implies that we must increase production on our existing agricultural lands. The best places to improve crop yields may be on underperforming landscapes, where yields are currently below average … Better deployment of existing crop varieties with improved management should be able to close many yield gaps, while continued improvements in crop genetics will probably increase potential yields into the future.” (See also Fig. 3 and the supplementary materials).

    b) “The technology exists to safeguard the distribution of food today without GMO technology, but the will does not. As long as the north covets the resource base of poor countries to the south, and pursues policies that lead to the continued concentration of wealth, then the planet’s ecological life support systems will continue to be destroyed.”

    There is a great need to solve the disparity in resource use between rich & poor nations – one that is only going to widen as the BRIC, TICK & CIVETS nations increase their consumption and aspirations. To throw out a technology with potential to alleviate this issue through increased production seems a little dumb to me.
    Foley et al again: “Even if we solve these food access challenges, much more crop production will probably be needed to guarantee future food security. Recent studies suggest that production would need to roughly double to keep pace with projected demands from population growth, dietary changes (especially meat consumption), and increasing bioenergy use, unless there are dramatic changes in agricultural consumption patterns.”

    c) “GM technology, for the millionth time, has nix to do with food security. It has everything to do with profit maximization otherwise the multinationals at the heart of this technology would not be so anxious to ensure that it falls within the realm of intellectual property.”

    I’m a little confused by the idea that because the multi-nationals are in it for the money we should therefore reject the underlying science. After all, we do not reject medical science because of the predations of big-pharma, why do we with GM science?

    For insight on what can be achieved when the profit motive is largely removed from GM technology look no further than [Oxitec](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15491228) and their work on eliminating dengue vectors in the Cayman Islands & elsewhere.

    Other issues: “You have also not addressed the issue of the loss of genetic variation through the railroading of GM technology through traditional farming practices.”

    This assumes that climate change will not affect said traditional farming practices does it not? It seems a little silly to insist on preserving crops genetically adapted to a climate that is no longer there.

    “I have to admit that I cringe every time I hear some amoral corporation pull out the PR stops”

    As I cringe when the anti-GM lobby overextends itself in its own PR. As I think is clear, the anti-GM lobby left the science behind years ago to its own, and humanities detriment.

    There are two entities lobbying for increased regulation of GM crops – the anti-GM science lot and the Corporations that profit most from it. Does that not give you pause?

    “I hate to be harsh, but if you think for one moment that GM technology is being driven to create social justice and to eliminate social injustice, then I think that you are very much in need of medical attention.”

    Thanks Dr. Harvey, I think the conversation has come to an end, I’ll send the paramedics to Oxitec.

  9. #9 Wow
    December 6, 2011

    > It seems to me that your argument now boils down to a) agriculture is bad for the environment

    Wrong.

    > b) that GM technology won’t solve the iniquities of modern politics

    So are you contending it will?

    > c) that the multinational GM corporations are in it for profit.

    Are you claiming they don’t?

    > To be honest I find nothing wrong with any of those statements.

    Apparently, no.

    > But I also find no reason to dismiss the science of GM based on them.

    Nobody is dismissing the science of GM. Genetic modification can be done.

    It won’t, however, stop starvation.

    And you now seem to have thrown out the core problem with Fluffers For GM Food ™: that the selling of the idea of GM is that they will solve world hunger.

    They won’t.

  10. #10 Jeff Harvey
    December 6, 2011

    ChrisS,

    I am really busy right now and will try – that being the operative word – to reply in detail later.

    I would just like to say one short thing though – enabling a small cluster of immensesly powerful, transnational corporations to take over the human food chain should raise alarm bells with everyone. We aren’t seeing a democratic transition to GMO-based agriculture – its being forced down the throats of farming communities across wide swathes of the planet with all kinds of economic blackmail applied as a means of coercion.

    This is not the way to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security – its just another example of economic neocolonialism with potentially grave social, political and environmental consequences that will unfold in the coming decades.

  11. #11 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    clearly looking at this through idealogical lenses that will prevent any productive discourse

    Snort.

  12. #12 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    There are two entities lobbying for increased regulation of GM crops – the anti-GM science lot and the Corporations that profit most from it.

    Which one is Dr. Harvey a part of?

    Honestly, not regulating such technology is clearly foolhardy, and implying that, other than profit-oriented corporations, the only people who favor regulation are “anti-science” is the ultimate in intellectual dishonesty and ideological lenses.

  13. #13 Chris S.
    December 6, 2011

    ianam, you may have missed this as it was buried in a previous comment so I’ll repeat it here:

    “In the late 1990s nine US professional agricultural science societies (encompassing 80000 members) attempted to oppose in Congress more elaborate (and costly) regulation and certification processes, the multi-national companies supported the new regulations.”

    For more on this see Havener et al. in Lal et al. Climate Change & Global Food Security.

    Havener et al. go on to say: “the documentation required by regulators for any single GMO “event” is likely to cost upwards of US$ 1 million. This high cost becomes a barrier to all but the largest research organisations – and the most profitable GMO traits. It prevents smaller research laboratories from bringing products to market, as well as public sector research efforts. Effectively, the regulations have created a large and growing divide between the R&D functions, with publicly funded organizations focussing on the “R” for an array of useful traits, but with little hope to engage actively in the “D” function of bringing research findings to fruition in the marketplace. This regulatory barrier has already been encountered with the so-called pro-Vitamin A “golden rice” and is likely to affect most GMO research in orphan crops and the new work to expand micronutrient biofortification. A return to more reasonable regulations – based on the effect of the trait and not the transformation process itself – is urgently needed … [T]he private sector will only invest when and where a future stream of profits is envisioned.”

    Fittingly, Havener et al. conclude: “As citizens priveliged to speak our hearts and minds, we must become advocates for access of all people, both at home and abroad, to adequate health care and improved educational systems. We must also become more active environmentalists. It is truly a shame that by and large those of us highly trained in the biological and natural sciences have left the field of environmental advocacy to those who are much less well trained and frequently highly biased in their approach. Our silence has often contributed to unfortunate policies based on ignorance. Finally, we can and must become spokespersons for “science in the service of humankind”. The recent debates surrounding GMOs is but one of many contemporary issues, but it illustrates dramatically how ill-informed policymakers can directly harm the lives of poor people. We must defend good and useful science whenever and wherever it is challenged”.

  14. #14 Wow
    December 6, 2011

    > This high cost becomes a barrier to all but the largest research organisations

    But this barrier is the result of the complete inability of corporations and the profit motive from being able to self-regulate.

    And again doesn’t refute Jeff’s original point: GMO is presented as the solution to starvation when it isn’t.

  15. #15 Wow
    December 6, 2011

    PS I think this conversation needs to go on an Open Thread, not one about the CRU email controversy rejects.

  16. #16 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    I think the conversation has come to an end

    Just can’t stick that flounce, eh Chris?

    Your economic arguments for why regulation is a bad bad thing do not sway me.

  17. #17 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    P.S. I would note that `#`212 is entirely an argument from authority. I have no reason to think that Tammy Havener’s opinions on this matter are more credible than the opinions of other scientists who differ.

  18. #18 Chris S.
    December 6, 2011

    [http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/in-nepal-farmers-struggle-as-city-dwellers-fight-monsanto/](Synchronicity?)

    “What is important is that decision makers and stakeholders bring the focus of the debate back to the core question: the appropriate role of hybrids as part of a comprehensive strategy for Nepal’s agricultural development. To single out Monsanto, or any other company, serves no useful purpose in this discussion and distracts from the critical issues to be addressed …

    Other opponents of hybrid seeds argue that hybrids encourage dependence and are part of a new form of economic imperialism by the developed world. I disagree, but at the end of the day what I believe is not important. Nepalis must make that decision for themselves. I urge, however, that you listen not just to the foes but that you give just as much consideration to the voice of the farmer who argues that greater productivity and increased incomes stemming from hybrid use can improve his life and the future of his children while transforming agriculture in Nepal.

    The bottom line? Let facts, not conjecture, emotion or misinformation, inform this important debate.”

    -Scott deLisi, quoted by Andy Revkin.

  19. #19 Wow
    December 6, 2011

    Chris, give it a rest.

    Nobody is buying you have anything worth reading to say on the subject.

  20. #20 gator
    December 6, 2011

    For an interesting vision of where capitalism + GMO could go, read “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi.

  21. #21 jakerman
    December 6, 2011

    >*”In the late 1990s nine US professional agricultural science societies (encompassing 80000 members) attempted to oppose in Congress more elaborate (and costly) regulation and certification processes, the multi-national companies supported the new regulations.”*

    “*[M]ore elaborate (and costly) regulation*” does not mean well designed nor did it require open independent trials. “[E]laborate (and costly) regulation” can be pushed by corporations for their own designs rather than the public good.

    Monsanto still get to veto research studies they don’t like, and Monsanto gained approval for their product with trials that are now widely understood to be inappropriate and which:

    >*show certain weaknesses that make it impossible to conclude with sufficient certainty that there are no health and environmental risks associated with GMOs.*

  22. #22 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    `#`217: Argument from authority and strawman. I notice that nowhere in his statement does Ambassador DeLisi rail against regulation or accuse those who favor it of being anti-science.

  23. #23 ianam
    December 6, 2011

    For an interesting vision of where capitalism + GMO could go, read “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi.

    Yes, well, it’s SciFi, which is a medium for visions irrespective of their accuracy or plausibility … I would not cite such things as any sort of argument for or against anything.

  24. #24 Ian Forrester
    December 6, 2011

    There is a very good reason that Nepal does not want hybrid maize whether it is from Monsanto or any one else. It has failed in many places. Farmers are very skeptical of Western companies pushing their “solutions”, “solutions” which they now know to be not working in the West.

    Here is a report [from Nepal](http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2011/11/09/top-story/hybrid-maize-controversy-nepali-officials-deny-monsanto-deal/228014.html):

    The USAID statement said Nepal needs assistance in maize production to help farmers reap benefits by producing high corn yields through the introduction of hybrid seeds.

    However, agronomists say that hybrid seeds introduced in the past have failed to improve food security.

    “Our local breeds are as good as hybrid seeds. However, the introduction of hybrid seeds to help farmers to yield good production in a short span without considering the huge costs involved in it has threatened the existence of our own local breeds,” said Mina Nath Poudel, senior agronomist and scientist at the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC), who has carried out research on open pollinated seed varieties found locally. Once farmers start using the hybrid and GM seeds, they become totally dependent on companies or firms distributing the seeds, Poudel said. The high dependency of the farmers on the companies and firms and the need to invest more on pesticides and fertilizers make the use of hybrid sees rather expensive for Nepali farmers, experts say.

    In a recent case in 2010, farmers in Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Parsa and Nawalparasi districts demonstrated against the government after their maize crops failed. Under the maize mission programme implemented by the Swiss Development Cooperation, the farmers were provided hybrid maize seeds at subsidised rates by multinational companies. However, the production plunged by 53 percent in the third year of cultivation in these districts in 2010 that left the poor farmers high and dry.

    Solutions in these countries will have to involve local farmers and people who understand the local conditions.

    There is a big misconception that only GM technology can solve the food problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact only non-GM technology has offered any benefits to local farmers. There are many examples where traditional technology has resulted in crops with benefits to farmers. If anyone is interested in looking at this a very good starting point is [this page](http://www.gmwatch.org/component/content/article/31-need-gm/12305-non-gm-index).

    New technologies such as “marker assisted breeding” is making traditional plant breeding much quicker and better.