The anti-GMO movement is infested with climate change deniers

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I have written before about how some climate change deniers appear to have adopted a pro-GMO stance, but not because of science. Organizations like the Heartland Institute just want to dismantle all regulation and Patrick Moore seems to just have a huge grudge in general against Greenpeace (which is kind of easy to understand at least).

The anti-GMO movement gains a lot of extra attention on social media because it has managed to infuse itself with both environmental and health topics. So you have science communicators and enthusiasts like myself that tend to just write and share information on the one topic, creating an unfortunate echo chamber. Meanwhile misinformation about GMOs get lumped in with multiple real world issues, confusing the public.

So it came as quite a shock when I noticed the funding on one anti-GMO “research” paper that came out recently.

The World Federation of Scientists are climate change deniers. In 2012 sixteen of their “scientists” wrote to the Wall Street Journal that there wasn’t any reason to be concerned about climate change. Their president, Antonio Zichichi, is part of the Heartland Institute. The very same Heartland Institute that paid for billboards comparing acceptance of the science behind climate change to being a mass murderer.

I have often joked about the fossil fuel industry having a vested interest in allowing GMOs to be demonized. Glyphosate tolerant crops reduce tractor usage, and agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. Then of course you have all of the GE corn being grown for ethanol (which I admit has its own set of pros and cons) a direct competitor to the fossil fuel industry.

I’ll never forget how my jaw dropped seeing an ad on TV attacking ethanol paid by fossil fuel companies…… quoting Friends of the Earth. Talk about strange bedfellows.

It doesn’t just end there though. In 2014 a very strange paper was self published, to my knowledge never peer reviewed, by NYU professor and investment expert Nicholas Nassim Taleb with several others including Joe Norman. And when I say the “paper” is strange, I mean it. At one point it insinuates that biotech crops could lead to armageddon.

Norman is yet another climate change denier working closely with the anti-GMO movement.

Funding for their “research” was never disclosed.

The common thread here appears to be the alt-right. Alex Jones himself prominently features climate change deniers and lunatic conspiracy theories about GMOs. Breitbart key personality Steve Bannon wants everyone to read Nicholas Taleb’s books. Taleb himself appears to be quite a good friend to date rape denier and pizzagate promoter Mike Cernovich.

Another Alex Jones type personality, Mike Adams of Natural News, also promotes climate change denial mixed in with his rants about GMOs and vaccines.

The Heartland Institute being part of the alt-right goes without saying.

This is part of why making “GMOs” a partisan issue is difficult. Democrat politicians are more likely to favor anti-GMO policies like mandatory labeling, but scientists favoring the technology tend to lean liberal. Republican politicians will generally take a pro-science stance on GMOs to help their conservative farmer base (except in Alaska where they fear salmon competition), but their alt-right sector is just as likely to believe Monsanto conspiracy theories as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are.

At the end of the day this is why we all need to stop listening to these agenda driven individuals. We need to focus on what the scientists are saying. Climate change and evolution are real, vaccines are effective and do not cause autism, GMOs are no riskier than crops bred through other methods.

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