Thursday, 5 January 2017

#TopTen | No. 4: Greenpeace & the Greens have a problem with the truth


Last year at EnZed’s fourth-most read political blog this was the fourth most popular post asking … if the Greens & Greenpeace have truth on their side, why do they need to lie so much?

If you have the facts on your side, there’s no need to lie. So when you discover activists who regularly make things up out of whole cloth, you have to ask why.

Take Greenpeace and their campaign against Golden Rice, a technology promising to liberate millions from disease. From publishing staged photos and video to faking studies, distributing false and misleading statements and destroying crops, this is the crowd who say we should follow “settled science” when it suits them; and when it doesn’t – as in this campaign – they resort instead to vandalism and lies. In the words of the American Council on Science and Health their campaign against Golden Rise is “made up of Internet hackers and eco-terrorists using fear-mongering to get uneducated people to do their dirty work for them.” Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts simply calls their campaign of lies a “crime against humanity.” 

Let’s explain what they’re up to.

If you are not familiar with it, Golden Rice is the name of a product created when scientists added three genes for producing beta carotene, a Vitamin A precursor, to the 30,000 already in rice. Obviously this is a good thing in countries where Vitamin A deficiency is common.
    Regardless, organisations like Greenpeace and Union of Concerned Scientists have labelled it “Frankenfood.” In the time these groups have helped block its approval, nearly 20 million children have died and another 20 million have suffered preventable blindness…

That’s blood on the hands of Greenpeace and the organisations they mobilise for support” says Hank Campbell at the American Council for Science & Health – and also on the hands of the Green Party, from whence NZ’s current Greenpeace director famously comes.

Greenpeace [continues Campbell] has variously alleged that the levels of beta-carotene in Golden Rice are too low to be effective or so high that they would be toxic. But feeding trials have shown the rice to be highly effective in preventing vitamin A deficiency, and toxicity is virtually impossible. (There’s an internal feedback loop in humans that stops beta-carotene from being converted to vitamin A if levels become too high.)

All trials show the rice to be both effective and safe. So with no science to support its antagonism to genetic-engineered food,

the organisation has been forced to adopt a new strategy: try to scare off the developing nations that are considering adoption of the lifesaving products. Greenpeace has gone so far as to concoct tales of genetically-engineered crops causing homosexuality, impotence and baldness, and of increasing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

There is nothing behind Greenpeace’s fantastic allegations but bluster. Never has been. Yet in press release after petition after protest they have continued  to spout these lies that have helped block approval of this life-saving food. They trade not in science but in fearmongering and innuendo.

Every trick in the Greenpeace playbook has been pulled out to publicise the lies and help bury the science, all of it lapped up by a compliant media, leading 100 frustrated Nobel Laureates this week to “sign an open letter asking Greenpeace and others who have been blocking progress and access to beneficial plant biotechnology products, like Golden Rice, to abandon their campaigns against genetic engineering in agriculture.”

In a letter unveiled at a press conference on June 30, more than 100 Nobel Laureates from diverse disciplines voiced their support for genetic engineering in agriculture and called on NGOs, the United Nations and governments around the world to join them. The Laureates–in fields including Medicine, Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace–all signed an open letter asking Greenpeace and others who have been blocking progress and access to beneficial plant biotechnology products, like Golden Rice, to abandon their campaigns against genetic engineering in agriculture…
    The website accompanying the release documents the global scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs (recently reaffirmed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, and virtually every other authoritative scientific body on the planet). It also documents the abundant and widespread environmental and economic benefits confirmed by the experience of more than 18 million farmers around the world, the vast majority of them small farmers in developing countries.

Greenpeace International's response? They refuse to budge.

And the local rabble, led by former Green Party leader Russel ‘Rustle’ Norman? “The Herald says that “Greenpeace New Zealand could not be reached for comment.”

Someone at the Green Party leadership however could be reached, if not any sign of human intelligence – Greens’ co-leader James Shaw proudly affirming that rather than resile from it the hypocrisy would instead be continued.

Shaw [telling Newstalk ZB] that’s not going to change anything here.

Science being irrelevant to Shaw and his colleagues (not one of whom can even boast an undergraduate science degree).

But on this basis you do have to wonder what would make them change their minds about anything? If not science, then what? As commentator Henry Miller concludes:

It is unclear why Greenpeace—which has also raised money and its profile by bragging about sabotaging efforts to test insect-resistant crops that need less chemical pesticide—persists in some of its mendacious, anti-social campaigns. What is clear is that none is likely to be more harmful to the world’s children than its assault on Golden Rice.
    The real threat to life and limb is not genetic engineering.
It’s the organised-crime organisation called Greenpeace.

And the Green Party.

Tomorrow, I post last year’s third-most popular post here at EnZed’s fourth-most read political blog asking … for all his tremendous popularity, is John Key a unique example of a Prime Minister without a legacy?


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