Ag biotech can help mitigate climate change, but will Europe benefit?

EuropaBio Agricultural Biotechnology

Brussels, 27 January 2009 

Agricultural biotechnology has a key role to play in helping Europe reach its ambitious carbon reduction targets and assisting farmers to better adapt to a shifting climate, according to a briefing (1) released today by the European Association for BioIndustries during a round table on climate change at the European Parliament. 
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Member of the European Parliament, and one of the speakers at the roundtable, said, “Agriculture biotech definitely has a role to play in Europe’s fight against climate change. With over ten years experience of commercial biotech planting, it is very important to have an open and balanced debate in Europe on the contribution that modern agriculture technologies could make to help European farmers face today’s challenges.” 
“Farmers must respond to increased demand for food. We need access to modern technologies that help us to remain competitive. At the same time we have to protect our fragile environment” said Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA-COGECA and a speaker at the roundtable. 
Europe wants and needs to meet the ever increasing demand for food while mitigating the effects of agriculture on climate change. Ag biotech can contribute to meeting these goals by reducing the production of greenhouse gases, helping crops adapt to varied and often adverse environments and by helping to increase yields while using fewer hectares of land and other inputs.
“If we want to feed people and create a viable bio-based economy without destroying our resources, we must use science and technology to support agriculture” said Willy De Greef, Secretary General of EuropaBio. “European farmers must be given the right to choose to grow GM crops. The benefits from ag biotech will only be seen in Europe as GM crops are more widely adopted and farmers are given the right to choose to grow them” he concluded.
Notes to Editors:
(1) Green Biotechnology & Climate Change:
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About EuropaBio
EuropaBio is the European Association for BioIndustries, solely and uniquely bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 79 corporate members operating worldwide, 5 associate members, 5 BioRegions and 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises involved in research. Its mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology-based industry in Europe.

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