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Why Genetic Engineering Has No Place in a World in Transition

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions campaign page or our Resource Center on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

I was disappointed to read Mark Lynas's piece in New Statesman, "Why We Greens Keep Getting It Wrong".  The piece builds on Lynas's previous much publicised conversion to nuclear power, arguing that if we are to apply the scientific rigour that underpins climate science to all other areas of life, in the same way that nuclear power is supported by the science, so is GM. While I strongly disagree with him on both, I want here to challenge Lynas's conversion to GM, and the belief that if we are serious about climate change, we have no option other than to embrace GM.

Lynas clearly has been swayed by Stewart Brand, whose new book 'Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto' argues that it is time greens got real and embraced both nuclear power and GM. He appears to be arguing that we need now, given the immensity of climate change, to accept things we might otherwise have questioned; however, for me, in the case of GM, this would represent a jettisoning of ethics, values and principles. I believe absolutely that GM has no place whatsoever in a world responding responsibly to climate change and peak oil, and in saying so, I am not rejecting a "science-led assessment of the likely risks and benefits", rather am basing it very much on the science. So, lets take a look at the claims Lynas makes for GM.

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