Who wants corn that can resist drought and pests? Not France. The country’s lower house of parliament passed a ban this week on all kinds of genetically modified corn, bowing to public concerns over the safety of such scientifically engineered crops. Reuters reports:
France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union.The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member states failed to gather enough votes to block it.
The opposition to these super crops is being spearheaded by the green movement, which will claim this development in France as a victory in the fight against frankenfoods. But make no mistake: the environmentalist’s objection is an emotional one, at odds with the current state of science, which has time and again shown GMOs to be safe. We might revel in the irony of the green movement—which has hammered home its alarmist climate change agenda with cries to heed “settled science”—being so quick to dispense with principled adherence to evidence when it doesn’t suit its biases.As we look ahead to a more crowded world, it’s vital that we focus on developing technologies that allow us to do more with less. That’s true for energy, and it’s especially true for food. Genetic modifications allow us to create varieties of corn that can produce higher yields in more adverse climate conditions. We’re frequently reminded by the greens about the dangers of overpopulation, and the extreme weather risks entailed by climate change. GMOs will help humanity respond to these challenges, but the environmental movement wants nothing to do with them. It seems greens are much more comfortable pointing out problems than they are with finding solutions. That needs to change.