Monday, February 13, 2012

GM Crop Totals, With an Obligatory Link to Climate Science

You never need an excuse to post a good chart, and the Guardian has one on the area of GM crops in 2011, in hectares. (1 ha = 10,000 m2 = 2.47 acres.) About 50% of all GM crops are now grown in developing countries -- 15 years ago GM crops only composed 1.7 million hectares worldwide.

Are GM crops a problem? I've never been able to find a problem from eating them, though I'm not convinced they're not, in part, a strategy of Big Biotech to corner the market. They may not be a containable as the industry promised, but their use is now inevitable, though some activists continue to fight them. Americans don't seem to have a clue either way.

The ISAAA (who are supreme cheerleaders for biotech crops, so skepticism is warranted) says biotech crops saved 1.7 billion kg of CO2 in 2010 due to decreased use of fossil fuels, equivalent to 800,000 cars. That sounds impressive, but it's only 1.7 million metric tons of CO2 in a world that now emits about 29,000 Mt CO2 every year from fossil fuel consumption -- so it's only 0.007%.

Like (it seems) every science issue that intersects with politics, the GM food/crop debate has devolved into hard positions on both sides and, without devoting your life to it, it's difficult to know who to believe. But, thanks in part to the corruption of our government, it's clear the industry has gotten what they want and will no doubt continue to do so....

Via Technology Review.

[Speaking of corruption, is the US now the most corrupt government in history, relative to its power and influence? The Soviet Union may have rivaled it, but they're gone....]

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