As governments and citizens face up to the reality of climate change and the urgent need for action to reduce heat-trapping Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, one of the more controversial solutions presented has been that of “Carbon Sinks”. Plantation forests are being presented as a means for growing trees to absorb more carbon dioxide from the air and help to reduce global temperatures. African countries such as Uganda are a focus for their location.
But activists who have looked more closely at the practice and reality of these industrial tree plantations note that they are often very damaging to local communities and the surrounding environment. Even their actual impact on carbon reduction can be called into question. Many believe that strong action is urgently needed to reduce the carbon dioxide being produced by industry, instead of looking for “solutions” that absolve them of responsibility.
Now the Genetic Engineering industry is hoping to turn this crisis into an opportunity for profit, by promoting GE trees as the next solution to climate change. By making claims for fast growth and increased carbon absorption by GE trees, the industry is evidently trying to push for acceptance through a different route. Furthermore, activists and policy makers working on climate change issues may be less aware of the threats presented by GE trees and GE technology in general, and may also be unaware that the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in April 2006 urged countries to take a very cautious approach to GE trees.
GE tree plantations will only serve to exacerbate the problems and bad practices of the worst industrial tree plantations, whilst presenting an appalling risk of contamination and cross-pollination to global forest ecosystems.
For more information on the issue go to : (Thanks to Chris Lang for these sources)
-The Global Justice Ecology Project web-site has up-to-date articles: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/
-The Cornerhouse briefing on GE trees: http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/item.shtml?x=51977
-The World Rainforest Movement / Friends of the Earth International book on GE trees: http://chrislang.blogspot.com/2004_12_20_chrislang_archive.html
-WRM has lots of information/short articles on GE trees: http://www.wrm.org.uy/subjects/biotechnology.html
-Chris Lang’s articles on GE trees: http://chrislang.blogspot.com/1999_03_27_chrislang_archive.html