In sum, the field of biosafety is, above all else, area in which much activity is ongoing, even though it is extremely controversial. Proponents identify possible benefits of GMOs that are enormous, including possibilities such as hunger alleviation, and universally available medical care, within our lifetimes. Counter-arguments identify a level of possible risks well beyond anything that has ever been deemed “acceptable” in the past.67
It is essential that decision-makers and others seeking to progress beyond the current stalemate demonstrate a strong commitment to the position that, in the absence of sufficient scientific certainty surrounding the commercial application of modern biotechnology, preventive and precautionary measures based on risk assessment and management are called for at all international and national levels.
67Even Bjørn Lomborg (a non-scientist statistician, who achieved fame by publishing his belief that the concerns of modern environmentalists are generally spurious) has suggested the need for more information and a regulatory framework for GMOs, noting that “choosing sensibility in the GM debate requires us to see the risks but also to compare them thoughtfully with all other risks.... It is only with this information that we can weigh the risks and benefits in order to make an informed decision.” Lomborg (2001) at page 346. Lomborg’s paper is based on “selected readings” with no explanation of the methodology by which his readings were selected nor his own qualifications for assessing them, and cannot rationally be cited as dispositive on any scientific or policy issue. It is interesting that an outspoken opponent of environmentalists and environmental concerns still recognises biosafety as an area in need of environmental attention.
< previous section < index > next section >