Signs, proofs, and green mischief 4

An angry commenter on our post below, The evil that Greenpeace does, raises two points in criticism of our and Paul Driessen’s accusations.

First, he declares that Greenpeace gets no government money. We are trying to find out if this is true. In the article we quote, Paul Driessen states that Greenpeace and other eco-activist organizations receive grants through Obama’s Climate Czar, Carol Browner. We have asked him for his source, and we will post what we learn if we get an answer.

Next the commenter defends Greenpeace’s attempts to embargo genetically modified grains by pointing to a recent study showing that certain modified seeds produced by Monsanto cause organ failure. There is such a study, and there is controversy over its conclusions.

Whatever the truth of these contentions turns out to be cannot modify our opinion that Greenpeace  is responsible for much suffering and death in the Third World, for instance by its all too successful opposition to the use of DDT which could protect millions from the killing disease of malaria.

From an article in Discover, January 13, 2010:

Few things bring out the hyperbole like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and that was true again with a study making the rounds yesterday and today.

In the International Journal of Biological Studies, a team examined three genetically modified corn varieties created by Monsanto. The study’s authors say they see evidence of possible toxicity to the kidney and liver, “possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn.” However, the findings became over-hyped headlines like the Huffington Post’s “Monsanto GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure, Study Reveals.”

That’s a pretty big leap from the not entirely convincing finding of a potentially questionable study. What actually happened is that the research team, led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, re-analyzed data from tests that Monsanto scientists themselves conducted on rats eating these three varieties of corn—data that, to be fair, the team had to scratch and claw and sue to get their hands on. In their statistical analysis, Séralini’s team says that Monsanto interpreted its own data incorrectly, and that its new analysis shows potential for toxicity.

But the scientists themselves give significant caveats that make such bold headlines a bit of a reach: “Clearly, the statistically significant effects observed here for all three GM maize varieties investigated are signs of toxicity rather than proofs of toxicity”—that is, the evidence isn’t rock solid, and not enough to warrant a bunch of alarmist headlines. The researchers argue that more research is necessary to settle the question either way: “In conclusion, our data presented here strongly recommend that additional long-term (up to 2 years) animal feeding studies be performed in at least three species, preferably also multi-generational, to provide true scientifically valid data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods.”

In addition, there are a couple issues that make the study itself seem a little fishy:

1. Funding. “Greenpeace contributed to the start of the investigations by funding first statistical analyses in 2006, the results were then processed further and evaluated independently by the authors,” the scientists write. Certainly one can’t oppose a huge corporation like Monsanto without funding, but drawing those funds from a political lightning rod like Greenpeace can paint conclusions in a bad light …

2. The journal: The International Journal of Biological Sciences is somewhat obscure, with an “unofficial”–that is, self-assigned–impact factor of 3.24. “In other words, it has not been assessed for impact or quality,” Ronald says. Again, that doesn’t mean Séralini’s team is wrong, but it suggests that jumping to conclusions would be unwise.

The actual data analysis of the paper has started an in-depth back-and-forth on the the statistical analysis. We’ll continue following this story to see how the analysis shakes out.

Posted under Commentary, Environmentalism, Health, Progressivism, Science by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 17, 2010

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This post has 4 comments.


The evil that Greenpeace does 20

Speaking of self-righteous busybodies – which we were below, see On our masters and commanders – one of the most egregious is Greenpeace. Wielding  amazing power to influence political decisions internationally, these bigoted prigs cause millions of the world’s poorest to die by preventing them from having the means to save themselves. Their unproven and in any case imbecilic excuse is that the marvelous saving products of science and technology are harmful to Nature.

It could be argued – and we do – that they are committing mass-murder by moral arrogance.

Who makes it possible for them to work their evil?

For one, the Obama administration.

Paul Driessen writes at Townhall:

Climate-Czar Carol Browner and other federal agency heads continue to fork over large sums of taxpayer money to Greenpeace and similar eco-activists, to subsidize their anti-corporate, global warming, “sustainable” energy and regulatory thumbscrew campaigns… [Greenpeace’s] truly odious ethical violations, however, involve activities that directly damage the livelihoods and lives of innocent people, particularly in impoverished countries.

Greenpeace justifies its anti-energy ideologies by claiming they are preserving rivers, avoiding dangerous radiation and preventing “runaway” global warming… Even in the midst of a global cooling period and widening Climategate scandal, Greenpeace is still clinging to its tired fabrications and storylines…

In Britain, France and elsewhere, Greenpeace vandals have destroyed bio-engineered crops, wiping out millions of dollars in research to develop food plants that require fewer pesticides, are more nutritious, reduce dangerous mold toxins, withstand floods and droughts, and increase crop yields. The people who would benefit most from this research are the poorest, most malnourished on Earth. They could improve their lives, simply by planting different, better corn, cotton or soybean seeds..

In fact, Bt corn [where it has been used despite Greenpeace’s opposition] has enabled farmers [eg in South Africa] … to cut pesticide use and expenses by 75%, triple their profits, save 35-49 days per season working in fields, and save enough to buy a refrigerator or even a new house. And yet rich-country Greenpeace activists oppose the technology.

Greenpeace campaigns against insecticides and insect-repelling DDT are even more lethal. These chemicals could prevent malaria, which kills a million people annually and leaves millions more brain-damaged…

But Greenpeace claims “some researchers think” DDT “could be inhibiting lactation because of its estrogen-like effects and may be contributing to lactation failure throughout the world.” No peer-reviewed medical studies back up these claims, and lactation problems are definitely associated with the malaria and malnutrition that would be reduced by technologies the Warriors oppose.

Worldwide, 1.5 billion people still don’t have electricity for lights, refrigerators, stoves, schools, shops, hospitals and factories that would bring health, opportunity and prosperity. Yet Greenpeace continues to battle hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power, telling people they should be content with solar panels or wind turbines that provide intermittent, insufficient energy – and guarantee sustained poverty.

It was Paul Driessen’s Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) that last December, during the farcical UN climate conference in Copenhagen, ‘unfurled a “Propaganda Warrior” banner from the rails of the Rainbow Warrior ship, and a “Ship of Lies” banner from Greenpeace’s other vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, as they lay anchored in Copenhagen harbor’.