ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

4 September 2002

JO’BURG SUMMIT AND WHY DO THE KEY GM FOOD ADVOCATES OPPOSE THE KYOTO TREATY?

With the Johannesburg summit dooming the earth to slow cooking, item 1 from Robert Vint seems worth re-running.
 
1. WHY DO THE KEY GM FOOD ADVOCATES OPPOSE THE KYOTO TREATY?
2. The summit that couldn't save itself - Naomi Klein

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1. WHY DO THE KEY GM FOOD ADVOCATES OPPOSE THE KYOTO TREATY?

By Robert Vint <rjvint@globalnet.co.uk>
Wednesday, April 18, 2001 7:19 PM

Subscribers to Dr C.S.Prakash's pro-biotech 'AgBioView' email list will be familiar with the names of some of the key global promoters of GM food and crops, most of whom are based in the USA, such as those named below. [STOTT EXCEPTED]

website at www.agbioworld.org

Interestingly they all have websites that not only defend GM food but also attack the Kyoto Treaty on global warming:

1. Philip Stott, ProBiotech www.ecotrop.org (Organiser of the UK 'Seeds of Opportunity Conference' in May)
2. Steven J. Milloy, Citizens for the Integrity of Science
www.junkscience.com and www.nomorescares.com
3. Alex Avery, Center for Global Food Issues www.cgfi.com & his father, Dennis Avery, The Hudson Institute www.hudson.org
4. Frances B Smith, Consumer Alert www.consumeralert.org (A "consumer" group opposing consumer safety and rights)
5. Gregory Conko, Competitive Enterprise Institute www.cei.org/ceimain.asp
6. John Carlisle, National Center for Public Policy Research www.nationalcenter.org

How, one might ask, are GM and CO2 connected - other than that they both have implications for the regulation of big business? Is it possible that these people are called in whenever such businesses run into trouble? The issues addressed on these websites do suggest this:

1,2,3,4,5,6 oppose the Kyoto treaty and CO2 emission regulations
1,2,3,4,5,6 oppose regulation of DDT
1,2,3,4,5,6 oppose organic farming & labels [Alex & Dennis Avery are the leading opponents of organic farming]
1,2,5,6 oppose concern about rainforest destruction.
2,5,6 oppose tobacco taxes & regulation. [Milloy is a former tobacco industry lobbyist and CEI is tobacco industry funded]
2,6 oppose gun control laws

Stephen Milloy (2) is a former tobacco industry lobbyist as well as a former executive director of TASSC, a front organisation created by tobacco giant Philip Morris.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (5) and Consumer Alert (4) are also recipients of Big Tobacco funding. [PRWatch investigates 'No More Scares' http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/168.htm ]

The Hudson Institute (3) which opposes organic farming and pesticide regulation, is biotech industry funded. (Donors include: AgrEvo, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Novartis, Zeneca).

These groups are closely linked to one another (see their link pages and two fake 'consumer' alliances that they have jointly created: National Consumer Coalition (www.foodstuff.org) and International Consumers for a Civil Society (www.icfcs.org ) They share a common philosophy that generally includes:
a. Support for unregulated global free trade and the World Trade Organisation.
b. Opposition to environmental, gun, health and safety, and food labelling regulations and to the Precautionary Principle.
c. Denial of environmental problems such as global warming, rainforest destruction, DDT and agrochemicals.
d. Support for the oil and nuclear industries and for the unregulated use of fossil fuels.
e. Support of biotechnology and transnational corporations.
f. Belief that environmental and safety concerns as mere marketing stunts by organic and green businesses.

ARTICLES BY GM-PROMOTERS OPPOSING ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION:

1. Philip Stott, ProBiotech: *Hot Air + Flawed Science = Dangerous Emissions www.junkscience.com/apr01/wsj_stott.htm *Tropical Rain Forests: Exposing the Myths www.ecotrop.org (click on 'rainforest' left link) "Over the years, a series of 'little green lies' has been insidiously applied to tropical rain forests with the aim of persuading Governments, and all of us, that we do not simply 'like' or 'want' to keep these forests, but that we 'need' them scientifically for sound ecology " *Critical 'Global Warming' Reports www.ecotrop.org (click on 'Climate 3' left link)

2. Steven J. Milloy, Citizens for the Integrity of Science: *Gun Control Science Misfires www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,7217,00.html *Organic Industry Groups Spread Fear for Profit www.nomorescares.com/news/organic.htm *100 things you should know about DDT www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm *Biotech foods www.junkscience.com/consumer/consumer_biotech.htm

3. Alex Avery, Center for Global Food Issues & Dennis Avery, The Hudson Institute: *American Outlook Contradicts Environmentalists on the Effects of "Global Warming" www.hudson.org/press5.htm *Global Warming-Boon for Mankind?
www.hudson.org/American_Outlook/articles_bin/Global%20Warming.htm *The Hidden Dangers in Organic Food www.hudson.org/averydoc9d.htm *New Organic Food Standards Could Use Warning Labels
www.cgfi.com/new_detail.cfm?Art_ID=193 *Another Dubious Link Between Pesticides And Cancer www.hudson.org/averydoc9d.htm *Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic www.hudson.org/upcoming.htm

4. Frances B Smith, Consumer Alert: *Consumer group relieved at announcement on CO2 www.consumeralert.org/press/pr010314.htm *The Biosafety Protocol: The Real Losers Are Developing Countries [PDF]
www.nlcpi.org/books/pdf/briefly_march00.pdf

5. Gregory Conko, Competitive Enterprise Institute: *Organic Food Standards May Violate First Amendment www.cei.org/PRReader.asp?ID=1318 *"Precautionary Principle" Stalls Advances in Food Technology
www.cei.org/UpdateReader.asp?ID=1014 *CEI Applauds End of US Support for Kyoto Protocol www.cei.org/PRReader.asp?ID=1419 *The Costs of Kyoto www.cei.org/books/costsofkyoto.html *Public Interest Group Hails Supreme Court Snuff-Out of FDA Tobacco Regs www.cei.org/PRReader.asp?ID=941

6. John Carlisle, National Center for Public Policy Research: *U.S.D.A. Organic Food Labels Are Misleading - 5/00
www.nationalcenter.org/PROrganicFood500.html *Biotechnology: Putting an End to World Hunger - June 2000 www.nationalcenter.org/NPA289.html *Bush Must Kill Kyoto Global Warming Treaty & Stop Congressional Efforts to Regulate CO2 www.nationalcenter.org/NPA328.html *The Federal Tobacco Lawsuit is Bad Economics, Bad Law & Bad Governing www.nationalcenter.org/PRFederalTobaccoSuit999.html

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2. The summit that couldn't save itself

Corporations have ensured that real regulation is off the agenda
Naomi Klein
Wednesday September 4, 2002, The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldsummit2002/story/0,12264,785719,00.html

When Rio hosted the first earth summit in 1992, there was so much goodwill surrounding the event that it was nicknamed, without irony, the Summit to Save the World. This week in Johannesburg, nobody has claimed that the follow-up World Summit on Sustainable Development could save the world. The question has been whether the summit could even save itself.

The sticking point has been what UN bureaucrats call "implementation" and the rest of us call "doing something". Much of the blame for the "implementation gap" has been placed at the doorstep of the US. It was George W Bush who abandoned the only significant environmental regulations that came out of the Rio conference: the Kyoto protocol on climate change. It was Bush who decided not to come to Johannesburg, signalling that the issues being discussed here - from basic sanitation to clean energy - are low priorities for his administration. And the US delegation has blocked all proposals that involve either directly regulating multinational corporations or dedicating significant new funds to sustainable development.

But the Bush-bashing is too easy: the summit hasn't failed because of anything that happened in Johannesburg. It has failed because the entire process was booby-trapped from the start.

When Canadian entrepreneur and diplomat Maurice Strong was appointed to chair the Rio summit, his vision was of a gathering that brought all the "stakeholders" to the table - not just governments, but also environmentalists, indigenous groups and lobby groups, as well as multinational corporations.

Strong's vision allowed for more participation from civil society than any previous UN conference, at the same time as it raised unprecedented amounts of corporate funds for the summit. But the sponsorship had a price. Corporations came to Rio with clear conditions: they would embrace ecologically sustainable practices, but only voluntarily, through non-binding codes and "best practice" partnerships with NGOs and governments. In other words, when the business sector came to the table in Rio, direct regulation of business was pushed off.

In Johannesburg, these "partnerships" have passed into self-parody, with the conference centre chock-a-block with displays for BMW "clean cars" and billboards for De Beers diamonds announcing "Water is Forever". The summit's chief sponsor was Eskom, South Africa's soon-to-be-privatised national energy company. A recent study stated that under Eskom's restructuring, 40,000 households are losing access to electricity each month.

This cuts to the heart of the real debate about the summit. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a corporate lobby group founded in Rio, insists the route to sustainability is the same trickle-down formula being imposed by the WTO and IMF: poor countries must make themselves hospitable to foreign investment, usually by privatising basic services, from water to electricity to healthcare.

But post-Enron, it's hard to believe that companies can be trusted to keep their own books, let alone save the world. And unlike a decade ago, the economic model of laissez-faire development is being rejected by popular movements around the world.

This time, many of the "stakeholders" weren't at the official table, but out in the streets, or organising counter-summit conferences to plot very different routes to development: debt cancellation, an end to the privatisation of water and electricity, reparations for apartheid abuses, affordable housing, land reform.

These movements are no longer willing simply to talk about their demands; they are acting on them. In the past two years, South Africa has experienced a surge in direct action, with groups organising to resist evictions, claim unproductive land and reconnect cut-off water and electricity in the townships.

The fact that a world summit on poverty has been unfolding in their backyard has also created serious obstacles. Sandton, the ultra-rich suburb where the conference is being held, has been transformed into a military zone. There have been arrests and police attacks on protest marches. On Monday, at a pro-Palestinian demonstration staged outside a speech by Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister, soldiers fired rubber bullets and water cannon, severely injuring several protesters.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development isn't going to save the world; it merely offers an exaggerated mirror of it. In the gourmet restaurants of Sandton, delegates have dined out on their concern for the poor. Outside the gates, poor people have been hidden away, assaulted and imprisoned for what has become the iconic act of resistance in an unsustainable world: refusing to disappear.
 

An earlier version of this article appeared in The Nation.
Naomi Klein's latest book, Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalisation Debate (HarperCollins) is published next month  http://www.nologo.org.

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