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Boosting GM

 

Letter published in the Times, 12 March 2012

Entrenched attitudes make Europe out of step with its competitors, who take advantage of more efficient farming methods

Sir, Congratulations on your thoughtful leading article on GM crops in Europe (Mar 9). This issue encapsulates so much about current attitudes to scientific and technological progress. Rather than think how our farmers can become more productive and make their contribution to food security in a world of 9 billion people, our (largely scientifically illiterate) political elites are swayed by the green lobby’s emotional arguments.

Such entrenched attitudes make Europe increasingly out of step with its competitors. We try to stop the clock on the continuing trend towards more efficient farming while farmers in Asia and the Americas avidly take the best technology on offer. We set unachievable targets for renewable energy while China forges ahead with building new power stations to run factories in sectors we can no longer compete in.

Not only do our elected leaders need to do more to drag Europe into the 21st century, but we need to make sure they don’t try to return us to the golden age before the Industrial Revolution.

Martin Livermore
Scientific Alliance Cambridge