Using economic modelling to assess the global economic and greenhouse gas emissions impacts of banning genetically modified (GMO) crops, a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Protection finds banning GMO foods would result in higher food prices around the world than would otherwise be experienced if GMO crop use was continued or expanded. The research, from scientists at Purdue University found food prices would be between 0.27 percent and 2.2 percent higher, depending on the region, absent the use of GMO crops. According to the study, higher food prices from a GMO ban would result in a total welfare loss conservatively calculated $9.75 billion.
The research also shows the continued and expanded use of genetically modified crops should result in lower greenhouse gasses emissions from agriculture, meaning a ban would result in higher emissions. The researchers projected banning GMO crops would result in farmers planting more acreage to make up for conventional crops’ lower yields.
“The adverse impact on greenhouse gases without GMOs is something that is not widely known,” said Wally Tyner, a Purdue agricultural economics professor and co-author of the report, in a press release discussing the study’s results.
The study finds if countries that currently plant GMO crops increase the amount of GMOs they plant to levels comparable to that of the U.S., greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 0.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide globally and up to 2 million acres of land would, or at least could be allowed to, revert to forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Harry Mahaffey, et al., “Evaluating the Economic and Environmental Impacts of a Global GMO Ban,” Journal of Environmental Protection, October 27, 2016; https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/evaluating-the-economic-and-environmental–impacts-of-a-global-gmo-ban