Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How credible is Greenpeace?

(Edited and revised, March 31, 2010.)
Greenpeace recently went to war with beer maker Anheuser-Busch. It seems that Budweiser is “tainted” by a small amount of genetically modified rice. Anheuser-Busch says that the brewing process destroys the protein created by the genetic strain anyway. That does not make a difference to Greenpeace, which opposes genetically alteration of crops with the same vehemence it opposes, nuclear reactors.

Well if Greenpeace boycott’s beer, maybe you can drink milk. Hold on. Greenpeace boycott of milk in cartons because of the presence of dioxin in cartons and the dioxin pollution caused by the manufacturing process. Even mother's milk cannot be trusted to be free of polution according to Greenpeace.

Doug Muhleman, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of brewing,
"We stand in support of US farmers, who are partners with us in the quality of our products,"
he said in a statement, and added,
"Greenpeace recently asked us to join their advocacy campaign on genetically modified crops. We refused their calls to boycott US farmers, and they are now retaliating."
Now wait a minute, Greenpeace is boycotting US farmers? A Greenpeace report claims that Monsanto, which sells over 90% of the World's genetically altered crop seeds claims that Monsanto,
"could be another financial disaster waiting to happen".
Of course Greenpeace is hoping that Monsanto’s seed business is a failure, and that US farm exports collapse.

Monsanto says about the Greenpeace report:
"The report is highly biased and cherrypicks information about plant biotechnology and Monsanto in order to further a political agenda.”
"It's telling that the cover page of the (Greenpeace) Innovest report warns readers about the information in their report - 'we do not guarantee its accuracy or completeness' and 'all opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice'."
Ed Newbigin, from the School of Botany of the University of Melbourne, Australia, commented in the Melbourne Courier-Mail:
“Greenpeace's Jeremy Tager refers to the myths of the genetic engineering industry, but then produces his own myth by saying that animals that eat GE [Genetically Engineered] food "frequently show serious effects". Wrong. Numerous studies attest to the fact that animals that eat GE food as part of a normal diet do as well as animals that eat conventional food. Greenpeace does the community a great disservice by spreading such myths.”
The absurdity of Greenpeace's campaign against genetically modified crops, is best illustrated by this veggie suicide press release from Greenpeace.

Greenpeace is not boycotting Apple yet, but it threatens a suite against the consumer electronics giant, because Greenpeace claims the iPhone is bad for the environment, because, among other reasons, brominated flame retardants "most likely" found in the iPhone are reactive, binding with other chemicals to form a plastic that keeps them out of the environment. Mind you we are talking about a very small amount of chemicals in a very small consumer product, yet Greenpeace insists that the very possibility that an iPhone might contain a tiny amount of it of far more serious concern, than the suffering of say, earth quack victims in Haiti.

The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF) claimed that much of the Greenpeace IPhone report was either exaggerated or misstated.

The BSEF asserts that none of the chemicals used in the iPhone are banned under any environmental laws, and that the brominates in the phone are actually essential in protecting against fire.
"The Greenpeace report does not say which brominated flame retardants are present in the iPhone because it does not know," the group said in a statement. "Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so."
If Greenpeace thinks that Apple is bad, it thinks that Nintendo is far worse. According to Greenpeace:
"Nintendo [scored] zero in the five categories related to the use of harmful chemicals, including offering no list of banned or restricted substances and no policy regarding the use of vinyl plastic or brominated flame retardants. It also scored zero in the four categories related to recycling."
John Timmer of Ars Technica notes
“Greenpeace reserves the right to arbitrarily change a company's score if they decide the company did something disagreeable."
This sounds a lot like blackmail to me.

Timmer points to a report statement,
"Penalty points are deducted from overall scores if Greenpeace finds a company lying, practicing double standards or other corporate misconduct."
Of course Greenpeace gets to decide who is lying, who is practicing a double standard, and what constitutes corporate misconduct.

Greenpeace itself decides if the penalty should be assessed Timmer remarks,
“The research in general appears lazy,”
and “
lack of research undercuts the report's credibility.”
Of course, scientific rigor is not Greenpeace's objective, publicity, money and power is.

“Clearly, Greenpeace did not perform an exhaustive evaluation of chemical use through the manufacturing pipeline,”
Timmer adds.

No need, the media believes that if Greenpeace says it, it is copy worthy, without any further fact checking..

In effect, Greenpeace is blackmailing businesses with the threat of bad reports, or even worse boycotts, if the businesses do not play ball with Greenpeace. Greenpeace simply assumes that it can publish unsubstantiated report findings accusing the company of some enormous environmental crime.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

On 17th December 2007 Monsanto was found guilty of contempt of the South African Advertising Authority (ASA) for publishing false claims about the safety of GM foods.

In January,2007, Monsanto was fined 15,000 euros (US$19,000 ) in a French court for misleading the public about the environmental impact of herbicide Roundup.

A former chairman of Monsanto Agriculture France was found guilty of false advertising for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use. Monsanto's French distributor Scotts France was also fined 15,000 euros.

In 2005 Monsanto was caught smuggling South African produced GM Bollgard cotton seed into Indonesia disguised as rice. Monsanto was fined for bribing Indonesian officials.

In 2006 Monsanto suppressed evidence of serious damage to the liver and kidneys of rats in their MON 863 GM maize trials until ordered to release this evidence by a German Court.

In June, 2007, a second peer-reviewed case involving another variation of Monsanto's GM maize, namely, NK 603, has been shown by studies to be potentially toxic to humans. NK 603 has been approved for food, feed, processing, and propagation in Europe and the Philippines The new research, carried out by the French scientific research institute CRIGEN, involves biotech firm Monsanto's NK 603 GMO corn (marketed commercially under the name Round-up Ready).

Rats that were fed GM maize showed significant differences in measurements, as well as significant weight differences compared to those fed with normal maize. Almost 70 statistically significant differences were observed and reported - 12 for hematology parameters, 18 for clinical chemistry parameters, nine for urine chemistry parameters, six for the organ weights (brain, heart, liver), 14 for body weights and body weight changes, and eight for food consumption. toxicity, The most alarming was the diminished brain size. Scientists warned that diminished brain size sent out a urgent danger warning for growing children fed `GM food.

DV8 2XL said...

Clearly when it comes to climate change, Greenpeace righteously wraps it self in the cloak of scientific "consensus." They excoriate scientists and others who doubt that man-made climate change will necessarily be disastrous, accusing some of being essentially paid liars for the fossil fuel industry. But for Greenpeace not all scientific consensuses are equal.

Many legitimate studies on GM crops have given it the green light as have endless studies on nuclear energy. In the latter everyone has gone out of their way to explain away every criticism in excruciating detail, yet Greenpeace dismisses all of them claiming they are intrinsically flawed.

Since this doesn't seem to be getting much traction in the general public anymore, they are now starting to claim that nuclear power is "morally unacceptable." Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Gerd Leipold, international executive director for Greenpeace, questioned the motives of nuclear programmes and drew parallels between countries seeking nuclear power and those seeking nuclear weapons.

"Is it that they [countries looking to harness atomic energy] want to provide power to the poorest people?" asked Leipold, "Or is it that they have [nuclear] weapons aspirations?" He warned that even if countries were deemed politically stable now, there was no guarantee that they would be in the future, which could lead to nuclear technology falling into the wrong hands.

The breathtaking hypocrisy of this group and its ilk proves that they are nothing but fearmongers shilling for the next donation and nothing more.

Charles Barton said...

Anonymous, I am not overly impressed with the South African Judicial and regulatory system. European regulators often unfairly target American businesses. Even if Monsanto was guilty as charged, I am not sure what an charge involving a small fine for allegedly false advertising has to do with the safety of genetically modified crops.

None of the allegations you make about Monsanto are linked to any supporting evidence, therefor it is impossible to judge the truth of what your alligations. Since you do not choose to identify yourself, it is impossible to judge your own credibility.

Joe said...

You may not be impressed with them but how about the U.K., Germany, and many other countries ?
Also there track history does not speak well for them.

they were one of the first companies to supply Agent Orange search google for agent orange and Monsanto

or german court and monsanto report


http://www.answers.com/topic/monsanto

On a sidenote:
I cannot blame someone for wanting to be anonymous. In this day and age when people are getting sued or threatened over having pictures and identies on Myspace, Facebook and so forth it is understandable why someone would not just want to put there information out there.

I work in the security realm the less you put on the internet the better off you are as you never know where your name is going to get cached forever in google and it could have long standing implications in this day and age.

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