More David King GM promotionals
2.Playing fast and loose
NOTE: Sir David King began his controversial promotionals for GM, nuclear energy and killing badgers as a means of controlling bovine TB (in the face of clear scientific evidence it would be counter productive) shortly before stepping down as the British Government's Chief Scientist at the end of last year.
In the case of GM, Sir David put in an appearance on BBC Radio 4's flagship current affairs programme 'Today' in which he told the listening millions pretty much what he says in the article below - that given the world's burgeoning population and the impact of climate change, "We're going to need to get even cleverer. More crop per drop. And we need the technology that can deliver that, and in my view we have the technology, it's GM." And he had the killer application to prove it.
Unfortunately, the high yielding GM product for Africa, which King described in detail to listeners as an example of how GM was transforming agriculture around Lake Victoria, turned out on subsequent examination to be non-GM! Developed by conventional plant breeding and involving companion planting, King's killer application had absolutely nothing to do with genetic engineering.
And that wasn't Sir David's only dodgy claim - see item 2.
1.Gene modified crops the key to food crisis, says scientist
By Fiona Harvey and George Parker in London
Financial Times, July 7 2008
Genetically modified crops hold the key to solving the food price crisis, the UK government's former chief scientific adviser has said.
The intervention by Sir David King, one of Britain's most influential scientists and the government's senior science official until the end of last year, has come amid growing signs that GM, long viewed with suspicion by consumers and some governments, is being rehabilitated as affordability takes precedence over any ethical or safety scruples.
Speaking after Nestlé's call for the European Union to review its opposition to GM and as the Group of Eight prepares to discuss the food crisis at its Japan summit, Sir David said: "There is only one technology likely to deliver [the yield increases needed] and that is GM."
Sir David said the need to produce more food was pressing. "If you take the pressure of burgeoning population . . . we need a third green revolution," he said, referring to two waves of innovation in agriculture that helped to increase crop yields dramatically in Asia in the past 50 years.
A combination of factors including changing diets, global warming and pressure on fresh water supplies, meant that even if the food price crisis eased, the long-term prospects for food output without new biotechnology were poor, Sir David said. Ordinary plant-breeding programmes could not produce new varieties fast enough.
"We need more crop per drop [of water] because of the fresh water problem. Unless you move into plant technologies to develop these crops, food provision is not going to increase," he said. "The future lies there. And this is urgent."
European economies were falling behind in the lucrative market for plant biotechnology because of the bloc's opposition to GM.
"It's very difficult to imagine European scientists being able to compete in this area against the US, Argentinian, Brazilian and other scientists who can use these technologies."
Only GM crops could be bred with enough tolerance to drought and salt to survive climate change and increasing pressure on the world's fresh water supply, he said. "We're certainly going to need new green things that grow with less water."
He said any system for using GM crops should be "properly regulated" by governments.
Sir David was one of the officials responsible for crafting climate change policy as chief scientific adviser from 2000. His warning in early 2004 that climate change was "the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism" marked a turning point in the UK's environmental policy. Later that year, the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, made climate change the priority for the European Union presidency and G8 summit.
2.Fast and loose
The Guardian (Eco-soundings), January 9 2008
Late last year, the government's nuclear-pushing, badger-biffing, demob-happy chief scientist, Sir David King, stated that a GMO breakthrough in Africa had increased crop yields by 40%-50%. But the project he described had nothing to do with GM crops. He also said Britain was losing "billions of pounds" a year by not adopting GMO in farming. Brian John, of GM Free Cymru, wondered what this "fact" was based on. No more than speculation, it seems. Joanne Lawson, of the Government Office for Science, says King's statement "was intended to reflect the potentially much larger European and global markets that he considers would have existed had public concerns about the new technology been understood and addressed". John, flabbergasted, wrote back: "I have never heard such vacuous nonsense. The figures have just been plucked from the air."