For an alternative bio to that provided for Patrick Moore in item 1 below, see: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=89&page=M
Note that as well as having Greg Conko and Henry Miller's book on GM to look forward to later this year, Patrick Moore has also been busy scribbling - 'He has written a book The Battle for BioProgress, which details his view of Greenpeace as a "morally and intellectually bankrupt" organization.'
Another speaker at biotech Canada's big bash will be 'Robert J. Sawyer, author of science-fiction novels' - so Moore will be in good company.
Item 2 is a Greenpeace response to Moore's claims about GM.
For more on the 'pre-eminent get-together of Canada's life sciences industry' in Montreal http://www.biotech.ca/EN/nrMarch292004.htm
1.Moore, Monsanto, and BIO take stage as environmental experts
2.Why opposition to GM crops is based on sound science
1.Moore, Monsanto, and BIO - "talented actors in the environmental arena"
Canada NewsWire April 15, 2004:
FINANCIAL NEWS DISTRIBUTION:
Attention Business/Financial Editors
BIOMEDEX 2004 - The Environment to Play a Leading Role:
MONTREAL, April 15: During BIOMEDEX 2004, the speakers invited to talk on environmental issues, Dr. Patrick Moore, Mr. Carl M. Casale and Mr. Jason Rupp, will be sharing their thoughts and experiences before engaging in an exchange with the participants next April 29, at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel.
BIOMEDEX 2004 is proud to welcome three talented actors in the environmental arena to its proceedings this year:
- 8:30 - Dr. Patrick Moore is one of the leading international environmentalists, and this, for more than 30 years.
A founding member of Greenpeace, a former President of Greenpeace Canada and a former director of Greenpeace International, he was a member of the round table on the environment and the economy under the auspices of the Government of British Columbia from 1990 to 1994.
In 1991, he founded Greenspirit, a consulting firm devoted to environmental policies and communications in the areas of natural resources, biodiversity, energy and climatic change.
He has written a book The Battle for BioProgress, which details his view of Greenpeace as a "morally and intellectually bankrupt" organization.
During BIOMEDEX 2004, he will be examining the various struggles looming ahead for the biotechnology industry.
11:00 - Carl M. Casale, Executive Vice-President of North American Business Monsanto (Saint-Louis), has a B.A. in agricultural economics and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.
Working at Monsanto since 1984, he was a member of the new business concept development team. After evaluating more than 500 potential concepts, he set up two new agricultural companies. With a wide-ranging expertise in the agricultural domain and well versed in its particularities, Carl M. Casale will be speaking about agri-food biotechnology next April 29.
11:00 - Jason Rupp is the Manager of the Industrial and Environmental Section of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO Washington). BIO is an industry association that has more than 1,000 members in 50 states and 37 countries. Mr. Jason Rupp was the legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson in energy, environment, transportation and business affairs.
Mr. Rupp will be speaking about the environmental benefits of biotechnology research during his presentation at BIOMEDEX.
Environmental Diversity and Concerns
In view of the impressive number of speakers who have accepted the invitation to address BIOMEDEX participants, the 2004 edition is looking very rich in all kinds of areas of discussion.
"The presence of these three renowned speakers in environmental matters demonstrates our members interest in environmental issues. By encouraging exchanges of information on this subject, BIOMEDEX 2004 will be an exceptional platform for raising the awareness of the participants regarding this key aspect of our industry", explained Mr. Perry Niro, Executive Director of BIOQuebec.
Organized by BIOQuebec, in association with the Association de l'industrie des technologies de la santDe (AITS) and BIOTECanada, BIOMEDEX 2004 represents an ideal opportunity to take the pulse of this growing industry, which continues to play a crucial role in the development of today's economy. Each year, this event attracts numerous leading players from the biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical industries, including business executives, researchers, financing specialists and research and development managers. BIOQuebec is the leading bio-industry and life science network in Canada. Its mission is to promote the industry's development.
VIEW ADDITIONAL COMPANY-SPECIFIC INFORMATION: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/orgDisplay.cgi?okey=65054
CONTACT: Perry Niro, Executive Director, BIOQuebec, (514) 733-8411, Cell: (514) 984-8944, pniro(at)bioquebec.com; Nadia Paquet, Communication et StratDegie, (514) 844-1678, Cell: (514) 576-8932, npaquet(at)comstrategie.com
2.Why opposition to GE crops is based on sound science
The Age, February 23, 2004
Confrontational tactics are sometimes needed in the fight for a greener future, writes Steve Sawyer.
Patrick Moore, in his article "The blindness of the greens" (on this page last Monday), describes opponents of genetically engineered crops as "anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-human". But if Moore applied the logic he claims is missing from the arguments of opponents of GE crops, he would realise that such crops are no more "science" than refrigerators, nuclear weapons or washing machines.
GE crops are commercial products that result from the application of one specific technology from within a much broader field of scientific inquiry. GE crops are commercial products, not science - and there are sound scientific reasons for opposing them.
For the record, Greenpeace does not have a campaign against "biotechnology in general", as Moore asserts. Greenpeace is opposed very specifically to the deliberate release of GE organisms into the environment where their impact cannot be fully predicted.
We are not opposed to biotechnology research and are certainly not opposed to scientific advances such as molecular-assisted selection/breeding, which use knowledge of plant genomes for plant breeding, without resorting to GE techniques.
Moore states: "In 2001, the European Commission released the results of 81 scientific studies on genetically modified organisms conducted by more than 400 research teams at a cost of $US65 million."
What the EC actually did in 2001 was to identify 81 EC-funded research projects on GE organisms that were in progress. Most of these studies have not yet been published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
A more accurate assessment of the status of peer-reviewed studies on the human health risks of GE foods can be found in Pryme & Lembcke (2003).
They concluded that there had been only 10 peer-reviewed "in vivo" studies examining the possible health consequences of GE foods and feed. Only five of these were independently funded. The authors found that more scientific effort and investigation was necessary before GE foods could be considered unlikely to cause long-term human health problems.
Similarly, the number of peer-reviewed studies into the environmental impacts of GE crops is less than would be expected if the usual standards of scientific rigour had been applied to the issue.
It is this lack of scientific examination of the risks of GE foods and crops that displays a lack of respect for science.
Under normal circumstances, if a new study shows a set of results that bring into question assumptions that a product is benign, a respect for science would indicate that the study should be replicated and the methodology subject to further peer review. Why does this not seem to occur when it comes to GE foods and crops?
Science is not immune from bias, be it ideological or the result of financial influence. When those who raise questions about GE foods are lambasted for being ideological, "anti-science", or "anti-human", one has to ask why; and also why the proponents of GE foods manage to avoid being tarred with the same brush despite repeatedly overstating the benefits and systematically understating the risks.
The example of golden rice is a case in point. golden rice has been genetically engineered to contain pro-vitamin A. Its proponents say this GE rice would solve the problems of vitamin A deficiency (which includes blindness) in developing countries.
According to Moore, the lead researcher claims his variety of golden rice is now ready for planting. "Ready" seems to exclude the requirement for any understanding of the health or environmental impacts.
The reality is that golden rice is a research project. It has not undergone safety tests and its claims to solving health problems are extremely optimistic, bordering on fantastic.
Using data published in the journal Science by Dr Ingo Potrykus, Greenpeace estimated that an extraordinary amount of rice - about 9 kilograms when cooked - would need to be eaten to obtain the recommended daily intake of vitamin A for an adult woman. But even this is beside the point.
Blindness is not caused by a lack of vitamin A in rice, just as starvation is generally not caused by a lack of food production. Malnutrition and starvation are the result of a lack of access to a balanced diet - a problem of poverty, which in turn is caused by problems of economics and politics.
The proponents of GE crops and foods are only too quick to promote the alleged benefits of whatever panacea happens to be the flavour of the month, often with little real understanding of the problem they are purporting to solve.
That GE crops pose real risks to the health of humans and the environment has recently been recognised in the Belgian decision recommending a refusal to grow herbicide-tolerant GE canola because of the difficulty in controlling cross pollination. This is a concern that isn't being adequately reflected in the regulation of GE canola in Australia.
Patrick Moore's attempt to characterise his proselytising on behalf of industry as "consensus politics" stretches credulity. The reality is that the issues of environment and development are complex. Minimising human impacts on our biosphere, while promoting a basic level of equity and social justice on a global basis, is a challenge beyond anything human society has ever faced.
Over the past 30 years, we at Greenpeace have learned that there is no one way of approaching environmental issues. Co-operation, rigorous science, political work, economics and, yes, confrontation, all play a role in the process of achieving change towards a green and peaceful future.
Steve Sawyer, a former executive director of Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace International, runs Greenpeace International's political and business unit.