As leaders gather for the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) to adopt what is sometimes called a “Paris Agreement for nature”, the European Commission moves ahead with deregulation plans for a new generation of genetically modified plants (new GMOs). Friends of the Earth Europe’s new briefing shows that new GMOs are actually an environmentally-risky distraction from the real solution to nature recovery and food security.
In the spring of 2023, the European Commission will propose dropping safety barriers for plants created using new GMO techniques, including CRISPR-CAS9. Pushed by Bayer and other biotech corporation, the Commission is repeating unrealistic marketing claims and seems ready to accept the environmental risks, which are that new GMOs are less precise than claimed; impossible to reverse; threaten the organic sector; and will inevitably intensify industrial agriculture that is a major cause of collapsing biodiversity.
Mute Schimpf, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“Officials must not throw away 20 years of essential safety regulations. Are they really ready to ignore citizens’ demands just to please chemical giants with a track history of false promises and very real environmental damage? Their power and resources are better off going towards promoting already proven solutions like agroecology.”
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling:
- On EU environment ministers to listen to the 420,000 European citizens demanding that new GMO plants be kept regulated under existing GMO laws. New GMOs must go through strict safety checks before being marketed to make sure they don’t contribute to the dramatic loss of species and whole ecosystems.
- On the EU Commission to repeat the Impact Assessment that was carried out in a biased way, as it focused only on new GMOs’ claimed benefits and left out their negative impacts on the environment.
- On the EU to support real solutions such as agroecology for a shift to truly sustainable farming systems