Elimination of GMO Crops Would Cause Hike in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Source: Purdue University (4 Nov 2016)
Author: Natalie van Hoose
A new study from Purdue University, United States, finds that a global ban on genetically modified (GM) crops would raise food prices and result in the addition of nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The researchers assessed a world in which GMO corn, soybeans and cotton were replaced with conventionally bred varieties worldwide. The change would lead to a 0.27 to 2.2 percent increase in food costs, depending on the region, with poorer countries suffering the most. Moreover, a ban on GMOs would lead, the researchers say, to conversion of pastures and forests to cropland, releasing substantial amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere. Conversely, the researchers found that if countries already planting GMOs expanded their use to match that of the U.S., global greenhouse gas emissions would fall by the equivalent of 0.2 billion tons of CO2, and return 0.8 million hectares of cropland to forest and pasture. “Some of the same groups that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also want to ban GMOs. But you can’t have it both ways,” said Wally Tyner, a professor of agricultural economics. “Planting GMO crops is an effective way for agriculture to lower its carbon footprint.” Tyner added that the economic consequences of a GMO ban were not surprising to him, but the toll such a ban would have on the environment, was. “It’s quite fine for people to be concerned about GMOs – there’s no scientific basis to those concerns, but that’s their right,” he said. “But the adverse impact on greenhouse gases without GMOs is something that is not widely known. It is important that this element enter into the public conversation.” The team’s findings were published in the Journal of Environmental Protection. more



source=Meridian institute

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