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Global Justice Ecology Project
September 29, 2004:
The development and consequences of genetically engineered trees are moving faster than anticipated.
- China. Two years ago, China’s State Forestry Administration approved genetically modified (GM) poplar trees for commercial planting. Well over one million insect resistant GM poplars have now been planted in China.
- Milan, Italy. With pressure from the US, the UN sponsored Ninth Conference of the Parties held in Milan, Italy in December 2003 agreed to allow GM trees in plantations developed for carbon sequestration as part of the Clean Development Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that the US has rejected the Protocol. This agreement, reached over the objections of the European Union, opens the door for World Bank funding for development of GM trees in carbon offset plantations in the Global South through the Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund.
- Hilo, Hawaii. Independent laboratory testing results released in September 2004 reveal widespread contamination from the world’s first commercially planted genetically engineered tree, the papaya, on Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai, and in the stock of non-GM seeds being sold commercially by the University of Hawaii.
- Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) is working nationally and internationally to stop the commercial development of genetically engineered trees. In October 2004, GJEP Co-director, Anne Petermann, was in Durban, South Africa for important meetings on carbon trading and timber plantation carbon sinks. Other groups involved in these meetings are The Corner House (UK), World Rainforest Movement (Uruguay), Carbon Trade Watch Transnational Institute (Netherlands), CDM Watch (Australia), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (Sweden), Indigenous Environmental Network (Americas), Sinks Watch (UK), the Timberwatch Coalition (South Africa) and more. Read more on these meetings at GJEP’s Eventswebsite: http://globaljusticeecology.org/index.php?page=home#events.
- On Earth Day in April 2004 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., South African activist Dennis Brutus, Friends of the Earth International Chair Ricardo Navarro from El Salvador, and Anne Petermann from GJEP demanded that the United Nations and World Bank stop any plans for forestry plantations developed to offset carbon emissions from the Industrial North.
- In May, 2004, GJEP’s Anne Petermann went to Geneva, Switzerland with organizations including The Union of Ecoforestry (Finland), Friends of the Earth International and World Rainforest Movement (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 and over 1,500 individuals were presented to the UN backing these demands.
- It’s still not too late to sign the petition to the UN (http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/index.php?page=getrees&articleID=159#articletop).
- The Stop GE Trees Campaign (http://www.stopgetrees.org/) includes GJEP, the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Dogwood Alliance, Polaris Institute, WildLaw, Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, ForestEthics, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Forest Stewards Guild and Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering.
To help and get involved in the national and international campaigns against GM trees, please contact GJEP (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/index.php?page=member).
For further information contact Orin Langelle, co-director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, P.O. Box 412, Hinesburg, VT 05461, +1-802-482-2689 ph/fax, +1-802-578-6980 mobile,
[27 dec 04]