Nobel Laureates vs. Greenpeace

Dozens of Nobel Prize winners pen an open letter, calling on the environmental organization to stop spreading false claims regarding genetically modified organisms.

By Bob Grant | June 30, 2016

WIKIMEDIA, SALAMANDER724More than 100 Nobel Prize-winning researchers are calling out environmental group Greenpeace for its opposition to the development of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.

“The United Nations Food & Agriculture Program has noted that global production of food, feed, and fiber will need approximately to double by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing global population,” the laureates wrote in an open letter. “Organizations opposed to modern plant breeding, with Greenpeace at their lead, have repeatedly denied these facts and opposed biotechnological innovations in agriculture. They have misrepresented their risks, benefits, and impacts, and supported the criminal destruction of approved field trials and research projects.”

In particular, the authors of the letter call attention to Greenpeace’s campaign against so-called Golden Rice, a genetically engineered (GE) crop meant to address vitamin A deficiency. “We call upon governments of the world to reject Greenpeace’s campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general; and to do everything in their power to oppose Greenpeace’s actions and accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of modern biology, especially seeds improved through biotechnology,” the letter reads. “Opposition based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped.”

“Corporations are overhyping Golden Rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops,” Wilhelmina Pelegrina, a campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, told the Huffington Post. “Rather than invest in this overpriced public relations exercise, we need to address malnutrition through a more diverse diet, equitable access to food, and eco-agriculture.”

Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs and cowinner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his work on introns, spearheaded the letter-writing campaign. “We’re scientists. We understand the logic of science. It’s easy to see what Greenpeace is doing is damaging and is anti-science,” Roberts told The Washington Post. “Greenpeace initially, and then some of their allies, deliberately went out of their way to scare people. It was a way for them to raise money for their cause.”

Roberts told the Washington Post that he hopes Greenpeace would eventually “admit that this is an issue that they got wrong and focus on the stuff that they do well.”

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 237

July 4, 2016

Anti-science is being rightly called out for what it truly is, a hunt for money.  Economics is the driver of all things in our capitalistic world, and that needs to be understood when any product or message is put forth.  That calls upon the listener or receiver to dig a lot deeper into the reasons behind all things marketed.  Scientists are extremely adept at distilling the proper information from all sides in this multi-layered world.  The lay public?  Not so much.  And that's why we as scientists must continue to call the anti-scientists out whenever, wherever.  

July 5, 2016

There's several other arguments against Golden Rice that are based on science, one just needs to read articles from multiple sources rather than just Green Peaces, and have a more informed basis on which for make their opinions about the rice.

Articles like this well researched debate paper is worth a look for people on both sides of the issue.




Avatar of: Kathy Barker

Kathy Barker

Posts: 44

July 7, 2016

Science is also a hunt for money. Scientists may understand the logic of science, but many still believe that scientific logic does nothing but good. What Greenpeace is doing is NOT anti-science (even if scientists say so)- it just isn't the science that scientists and corporations want to hear.

July 7, 2016

I e-mailed the following questions to Greenpeace International, UK.

1. The Nobel Prize winners said in part: “Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption.

If your organisation has any paper in a peer-reviewed journal showing that GM crops and foodstuffs are unsafe, I would like to get a soft copy. How do you react to the highlighted bold statement?

2. How do you explain the stand taken by 110 Nobel Laureates against the anti-GMO activities of Greenpeace? Admittedly, not all of them have the right academic qualifications. But many of them are physicians or physicians specialised in select areas.

3. Mark Lynas and Stephen Tindale were two ardent supporters of Greenpeace. How did they turn against it?

I requested written replies to avoid controversy.They could not provide any.Mr Paul Johnston of Greenpeace International UK was willing to talk to me on phone.He said he was unable to give written replies till Monday( after over 3 days!).Mr Jason Schwartz, a Media officer of Greenpeace gave me some inputs including the names and qualifications of the Nobel Laureates and suggested how I should use the inputs diligently. He also could not provide written replies to my questions.

He wrote: " Unfortunately, this is not a Greenpeace USA campaign, and we do not have PhD-level expertise in this hemisphere to respond to your inquiries at this time."Can you give me a sense for your deadline on this? How much time do we have to mobilise our overseas experts? We are eager to respond but want to do so in a level appropriate to your organisation’s needs" I was grateful to the officials of the Greenpeace for their efforts. I waited long enough. I did not get any reply. 
I sent a few questions to Sir Richard Roberts, the Nobel Laureate who led the letter-campaign against the Greenpeace.He replied promptly.I wrote an article on the topic. Here is the link: http://thewire.in/48074/nobel-...


Avatar of: japanmwl


Posts: 1

October 13, 2016

As Tagliabue pointed out:" GMOs are pseudo categories." (Embo reports, 2016, 17(1), 10-13)

We need to change the paradigm: Adjusted Organism, a new term that includes gmo`s and GMOs, enables unbiased discussion about genetically modified organism.


"Public Misunderstanding of Genetically Modified Organisms: How Science and Society are Interconnected"

Let us discuss with a scientific mindset and not based upon ideological believes.

Read scientific reviews (https://nas-sites.org/ge-crops/).

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