Elimination of genetically modified crops would cause hike in greenhouse gas emissions By Knowridge - November 10, 2016
A global ban on genetically modified crops would raise food prices and add the equivalent of a billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, a study by researchers from Purdue University shows.
Using a model to assess the economic and environmental value of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops, agricultural economists found that replacing GMO corn, soybeans and cotton with conventionally bred varieties worldwide would cause a 0.27 to 2.2 percent increase in food costs, depending on the region, with poorer countries hit hardest.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Protection, a ban on GMOs would also trigger negative environmental consequences:
The conversion of pastures and forests to cropland – to compensate for conventional crops’ lower productivity – would release substantial amounts of stored carbon to the atmosphere.
Conversely, if countries that already plant GMOs expanded their use of genetically modified crops to match the rate of GMO planting in the United States, global greenhouse gas emissions would fall by the equivalent of 0.2 billion tons of CO2 and would allow 0.8 million hectares of cropland (about 2 million acres) to return to forests and pastures.
“Some of the same groups that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also want to ban GMOs. But you can’t have it both ways,” said Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics.
“Planting GMO crops is an effective way for agriculture to lower its carbon footprint.”
GMOs have been a source of contention in the United States and abroad, as some believe genetically modified crops pose potential risks to human health and the environment.