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Crop Biotech Update

Global Ban on GM Crops to Raise Food Prices, Add A Billion Tons of CO2 to Atmosphere

November 16, 2016

A study conducted by researchers from Purdue University reveals that a global ban on genetically modified (GM) crops would raise food prices and add the equivalent of nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The researchers used a model to assess the economic and environmental value of GM crops, and found that replacing GM 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. The study also reports that a ban on GM crops would also trigger the conversion of pastures and forests to cropland to compensate for lower productivity of conventional crops, which would release substantial amounts of stored carbon to the atmosphere.

If countries planting GM crops matched the rate of GM crop plantings in the United States, global greenhouse gas emissions would fall by an equivalent 0.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and would allow 0.8 million hectares of cropland (about 2 million acres) to return to forests and pastures.

Purdue University professor of agricultural economics Dr. Wallace E. Tyner said, "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. Planting GMO crops is an effective way for agriculture to lower its carbon footprint."

For more details, read the news release at Purdue University website.