Gluckman on GE

The Herald reports:

Marking the end of his nine-year stint as chief science adviser, Sir Peter said the science had shown genetic modification was safe.

“The science is as settled as it will be,” Sir Peter told TVNZ’s Q + A today.

“That is, it’s safe, that there are no significant ecological or health concerns associated with the use of advanced genetic technologies.”

If we should listen to the science (and we should) on climate change and meth testing in houses, we should also listen to it on GE. But I can guarantee the Government won’t. Despite 25 years of GE and no adverse impact, they will say we need to take the precautionary principle and do nothing.

Sir Peter listed some of the areas where genetic modification could be used.

“We’re facing issues of biosecurity. We’re facing issues of predators and the desire to be predator-free. 

“We’re facing the fact that our farming system needs to change because of the environmental impact of the greenhouse gas emissions, the water quality issues, et cetera. 

“We are, fundamentally, a biologically-based economy. Now, the science is pretty secure, and science can never be absolute… 

“But the uncertainty here is minimal to nil, very, very low. I think it’s a conversation we need to have.”

Environment Minister David Parker said there were no plans to change the existing regime, which took a precautionary approach.

So predictable. You can justify doing nothing with the precautionary approach. The impact of motor cars is unknown so lets stick with horse and carriage.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, a Green MP, has forbidden the use of genetic modification or gene-editing as part of the goal to wipe out predators by 2050.

Why? I thought they cared about conservation?

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