"It is imperative the U.N. insure genetically engineered trees are not used in carbon offset plantations and that they are banned from commercial development. Genetically engineered trees will only exacerbate the serious decline of our remaining native forests and forest dwelling peoples."
Demand to the United Nations Forum on Forests: Ban Genetically Engineered Trees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 May 2004
Geneva, Switzerland--Global Justice Ecology Project and the Stop GE Trees Campaign, both based in the U.S., are working with organizations including The Corner House of the UK, The Union of Ecoforestry from Finland, and World Rainforest Movement of Uruguay, to pressure the United Nations to oppose the use of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset forestry plantations developed under the Kyoto Protocol, and to ban their commercial development.
On 11 May petitions signed by renowned scientists such as Dr. David Suzuki, more than 160 organizations including The Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth International as well as over 1,500 individuals will be presented to the U.N. in Geneva backing these demands.
Anne Petermann, co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Chair of the Stop GE Trees Campaign along with Hannu Hyvönen, Campaign Coordinator the Union of Ecoforestry of Finland will present on genetically engineered trees at a side event at the U.N. Forum on Forests in Geneva on 11 May. They will speak on the dangers of genetically engineered trees and present the petitions as well as statements from various organizations and scientists about the threats posed by genetically engineered trees.
"Carbon offset plantations that include genetically engineered trees will kill insects and wildlife, deplete soils and groundwater, and contaminate native forests with engineered pollen leading to forest health crises that worsen global warming, rather than alleviate it," stated Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Stop GE Trees Campaign. "It is imperative the U.N. insure genetically engineered trees are not used in carbon offset plantations and that they are banned from commercial development. Genetically engineered trees will only exacerbate the serious decline of our remaining native forests and forest dwelling peoples," she continued.
With pressure from the U.S., the U.N. sponsored Ninth Conference of the Parties held in Milan, Italy last December, agreed to allow the use of genetically engineered trees in plantations developed for carbon sequestration as part of the Clean Development Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that the U.S. has rejected the Protocol. This agreement, reached over the objections of the European Union, opens the door for World Bank funding for development of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset plantations in the Global South through the Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund.
The U.N. Side Event on genetically engineered trees is scheduled to take place Tuesday 11 May from 1:15-2:25 PM (CEST) in Geneva. Place: Room XXII, Palais des Nations, Avenue de la Paix.
The Stop GE Trees Campaign includes the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Dogwood Alliance, Polaris Institute, Forest Stewards Guild, Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering, ForestEthics, Klamath-Siskyou Wildlands Center, WildLaw, and Global Justice Ecology Project.
For backgrounder on GE trees and carbon sequestration, "GE Trees and Global Warming: The Myth of Carbon Offset Forestry": http://globaljusticeecology.org/index.php?set_table=content&articleID=158&pa ge=getrees
Contact: * Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project/ Stop GE Trees Campaign +41-22-078-755-24-78 (Swiss mobile) * Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project +1-802-482-2689 (U.S. office); +1-802-578-6980 (U.S. mobile) _______________________________