Kenya: International NGOs Say No to Genetically Engineered Trees
International non-governmental organisations want genetically engineered trees banned from Clean Development Mechanism projects.
They have demanded that a decision, which was made at the Ninth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Italy, to endorse the use of genetically engineered trees in plantations created to offset carbon emissions be rescinded. They argued that the trees are unsuitable.
With the support of some scientists, the NGOs said there is insufficient scientific data on the effects of genetically engineered trees.
"The trees pose a threat to forests and indigenous and local peoples globally. It is therefore crucial to halt the decision at least until such data and assessments are available," they said.
They were reacting to conclusions reached at COP-9 in 2003 and Eighth Conference of the Parties to UN Convention on Biological Diversity, (UNCBD). The latter opposes the use of genetically engineered trees. In an open letter to the UNFCCC the NGOs said the belief that forests drastically slow their carbon sequestration as they mature has been proven to be false. They said research shows that intact mature forest ecosystems net carbon absorption is not directly related to the growth of established forest trees.