There’s a lesson for New Zealand here:
Europe’s refusal to permit its farmers to cultivate genetically engineered (GE) crops led to the avoidable emission of millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide, a new scientific analysis reveals.
The opportunity cost of the EU’s refusal to allow cultivation of GE varieties of key crops currently totals 33 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the experts say.
This is equivalent to 7.5 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the entire European agricultural sector, or roughly what might be emitted each year by 10-20 coal-fired power stations.
Given that farmers in North and South America adopted GE crops from the late 1990s onward, this analysis implies that over subsequent decades the additional carbon emitted due to the EU’s opposition to genetic engineering will likely be in the hundreds of millions of tonnes.
The findings result from from the fact that GE versions of major crops produce a higher yield because they can better resist damage from insects and competition from weeds.
With Europe’s farmers condemned to lower total agricultural yields because of GE crop non-adoption, more farmland globally has to be kept in production or plowed up which otherwise might be available for forests to sequester carbon in trees and soil. . .
Can our government learn from the EU’s mistake?
If they want us to accept the science on climate change it must base policy on countering it on science and allow us to use tools which science has proved are both safe and effective.