David Frum

01.05.13

Real Environmentalists Support GMOs

People walk on a plateform past an advert against genetically modified (GMO) food on February 15, 2011 at a subway station in Paris. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images) ()

People seem to have missed the most important passage from Mark Lynas' amazing apology for his years of activism against genetically modified organisms.

Thus desperately-needed agricultural innovation is being strangled by a suffocating avalanche of regulations which are not based on any rational scientific assessment of risk. The risk today is not that anyone will be harmed by GM food, but that millions will be harmed by not having enough food, because a vocal minority of people in rich countries want their meals to be what they consider natural.

There is no stronger anti-science community than those opposed to GMOs, and nothing more delightfully amusing than witnessing such execrable individuals criticizing climate change doubters as "deniers." That most of these activists hail from wealthy, post-famine nations makes such behavior far worse.

Here's the simplest case for GMOs: they maxize harvestable calories while minimizing the need for inputs such as water, herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer. If you believe we should seek to treat the Earth as well as possible while ensuring every human being access to a healthy and ample diet, you must support GMOs. Those who don't are as dangerous as the climate change deniers they so often vigorously oppose. And, like those who deny the cause and effects of climate change, those doing the global advocacy are often the most insulated from the fallout of their decisions.