Nobel winners slam Greenpeace on GMO crops

Addressed to Greenpeace, the United Nations and global governments, the letter signed by Nobel laureates says the environmental
Addressed to Greenpeace, the United Nations and global governments, the letter signed by Nobel laureates says the environmental group has "misrepresented the risks, benefits and impacts" of genetically altered food plants

About a third of living Nobel laureates—108 at last count—have signed an open letter Thursday which attacks Greenpeace for campaigning against genetically modified crops, especially one called Golden Rice.

Addressed to the global environmental group, the United Nations and governments, the letter says Greenpeace has "misrepresented the risks, benefits and impacts" of genetically altered food plants.

"There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative outcome for humans or animals from their consumption," wrote the top scientists.

The group included 41 Nobel medicine laureates among them James Watson, honoured in 1962 for co-discovering the basic structure of DNA.

The letter called on Greenpeace to "cease and desist" in its efforts to block GMO crops, and on governments to embrace "seeds improved through biotechnology."

"Opposition based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped."

The Nobel winners singled out Golden Rice as a genetically modified crop with huge potential to improve health and save lives in the developing world.

A patented strain developed in the 1990s, Golden Rice contains an artificially inserted gene which boosts the level of vitamin A-rich beta-carotene.

The World Health Organization estimates that a quarter of a billion people in developing nations suffer from vitamin A deficiency, causing up to two million preventable deaths per year and half-a-million cases of childhood blindness.

Golden Rice's developers say a single serving provides about 60 percent of daily vitamin A requirements. It is currently distributed royalty-free to indigent farmers on a humanitarian basis.

Greenpeace however hit back at the Nobel laureates.

"Accusations that anyone is blocking genetically engineered 'Golden' rice are false," Wilhelmina Pelegrina of Greenpeace Southeast Asia wrote in a statement.

Corporations are using the strain "to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops," she said.

Greenpeace's longstanding position is to oppose all patents on plants or animals, or their genes, and that "life is not an industrial commodity".

Previously, the environmental NGO has said Golden Rice was "environmentally irresponsible, poses risks to human health, and could compromise food, nutrition and financial security."

The NGO also maintains that organisms should be held back "since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health."


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© 2016 AFP

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Jun 30, 2016
Greenpeace's longstanding position is to oppose all patents on plants or animals, or their genes, and that "life is not an industrial commodity".
Can anyone name one thing, from governments to universities, that bank-engineered debt-driven industrial capitalism has NOT corrupted? I can: the actual science. Pay-to-play is bad enough, but pay-to-stay-alive is just plain dystopian.

Science is the engine of prosperity (Kaku). I don't know about you, but my robot's happy to be paid with sunlight and raw materials, and we're both better off (more productive) without all the pseudoscientific bean counting.

[/wall writing]

Jun 30, 2016
The people that are opposed to this technology are not watching their children starve to death in their arms.

Jun 30, 2016
I think Goebbels would be more happy with all the brown people dying from starvation.

Whenever people start ranting about GMOs I find it frustrating because what they're angry about is a lack of corporate regulation. Their problem is Monsanto.

The fact is the science behind GMOs is sound, they're safe and effective and the technology is vital if we want to feed 7 billion people. But instead of grounding these arguments in science, people embrace bogus pseudoscience because they don't like unfettered corporatism. But those same people refuse to vote for the kind of corporate regulation that would stop Monsanto and other companies from behaving unethically.

Monsanto isn't some evil entity. It's a corporation geared to profit maximisation within the bounds of international law. If you don't like that, then vote to *change the law*. Don't act like it's a supervillian in a Bond film and don't repeat ridiculous anti-scientific nonsense about GMOs.

Jun 30, 2016
Monsanto may have been involved in the development of Golden Rice for PR reasons but that's completely irrelevant to whether the product is worthwhile. Greenpeace itself admits its problem with Golden Rice is the Monsanto link rather than the GMOs themselves and as such their position is myopic.If they want to lobby for greater corporate regulation, fantastic! Let's all do that. It's a good thing. But there are literally no downsides to the use of the grain and a million benefits.

Jul 01, 2016
@leenant: Didn't mean to downvote the last comment.

Anyhow, Greenpeace show themselves as the fascist thinkers they are, never mind the misery they show upon other people.

Despite being informed that there is enough info, Greenpeace claim know better than the experts. (But have no references to point at.) I don't like unfettered pseudoscience; can we ban Greenpeace?

Jul 02, 2016
I find most people that use the word FASCIST, call everybody they don't agree with fascist.

Jul 02, 2016
If the problem is corporate behavior, don't blame the rice. Just that simple.

We have increasing numbers to be fed and a looming climate problem growing food. Opposing things that not only improve food but also improve peoples' lives is Crazy Eddie.

For those who have not read The Mote in God's Eye, when every resource in and coming in to the city is strained to the utmost, and everyone must work as long and hard as they can to make sure everyone gets fed, Crazy Eddie is the one who leads the collectors of garbage on a strike for better working conditions.

Jul 04, 2016
Much the same garbage.
Among other things, why didn't the remaining two thirds of living "Nobel laureates" also sign the letter?
They mouth that there are no "confirmed cases" of health damage. A "confirmed case" is one where they keep records. That's how they manage to spread the lie that store front abortion "clinics" don't harm women's health, because the "clinics" keep no records at all, and those are the only things "science" and the "courts" will accept as evidence!
And, if "feeding the starving" is so important, why do articles from Popular Science to Bloomberg indicate that crop yields are just sitting in storage? Bloomberg says they're being piled in parking lots and Popular Science says they're rotting in silos because "distribution costs are too high".
It's all a fraud.

Jul 04, 2016
Greenpeace itself admits its problem with Golden Rice is the Monsanto link rather than the GMOs themselves


What the Greenpeace doesn't admit but continuously demonstrates is that they're not against GMOs, Golden Rice, OR Monsanto - they need them, becuse the make money and do politics by blowing a whistle - greenpeace fights to fight, not to win, and in that they don't need to tell the truth or resolve anything. They simply need to get people scared and angry.

Greenpeace is itself a moneymaking machine that works exactly by making dubious claims and trolling people with environmental issues. It opposes anything and everything that gets them membership fees, donations and sponsorship, as well as political money for e.g. lobbying for banning shale gas extraction in Europe in order to ensure demand for Russia.

It's a thoroughly harmful organization

Jul 04, 2016
It seems that most of those opposed to GMO foods are forgetting that pretty much everything we eat is a GMO, due to selective breeding over decades and centuries. Modern technology is just speeding up the process.

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