Wednesday February 20, 2019
Home World GM crops: Ger...

GM crops: Germany follows Scotland’s lead, opts out of EU approvals

0
//

gm

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Following Scotland’s footsteps, Germany has decided to ban use of all kinds of genetically modified (GM) crops.

With the passage of the new rules, individual member states would now be allowed to block farmers from using GM organisms, even if the variety has been accepted on an EU-wide basis.

In a letter seen by the Reuters news agency, Christian Schmidt, Germany’s agriculture minister, said that the country will persist with its previously announced ban on all GM crops.

The EU countries have until 3 October 2015 to inform if they wish to opt out of the bloc-wide approvals.

Scotland’s SNP hailed Germany’s company in the move. “Like Scotland, the German Government recognises the importance of protecting its food and drink sector and keeping its environment clean and green,” said SNP’s Rob Gibson.

In government, the SNP has ensured that Scotland is at the forefront of environmental protection – legislating for world-leading climate change targets, significantly increasing renewable generation and placing a moratorium on fracking. The German decision shows that Scotland is now also leading Europe on GM crops,” the SNP leader further added.

The move by Germany comes despite overwhelming scientific evidence that improving crops by molecular biotechnology techniques is safe, and the practice is widespread across the Americas and Asia.

Scotland became the first country to opt out of bloc-wide GM licence, a move it said was needed to preserve the country’s “clean and green brand”.

The move by Germany and Scotland to ban GM crops brings out the rift caused by divided opinions on their efficacy in Europe.

Next Story

Government Of Germany Lays Out Plan To Phase Coal Out By 2038

Despite its reputation as a green country, Germany relies heavily on coal for its power needs

0
Coal
Water vapor rises from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG beside a wind turbine in Jaenschwalde, Germany, Jan. 24, 2019. VOA

A government-appointed commission laid out a plan Saturday for Germany to phase out coal use by 2038.

The commission — made up of politicians, climate experts, union representatives and industry figures from coal regions — developed the plan under mounting pressure on Europe’s top economy to step up efforts to combat climate change.

 

Coal, Germany
coal-fired Scherer Plant, one of the top carbon emitters in the U.S., is seen in Juliette, Georgia, June, 3, 2017. (VOA)

 

“This is a historic day,” the commission’s head, Ronald Pofalla, said after 20 hours of negotiations.

The recommendations, which involve at least $45.6 billion in aid to coal-mining states affected by the move, must be reviewed by the German government and 16 regional states.

Climate
A wind turbine overlooks the coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. VOA

While some government officials lauded the report, energy provider RWE, which runs several coal-fired plants, said the 2038 cutoff date would be “way too early.”

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Despite its reputation as a green country, Germany relies heavily on coal for its power needs, partly because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022 in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Coal accounted for more than 30 percent of Germany’s energy mix in 2018 — significantly higher than the figures in most other European countries. (VOA)