Published to the Web: Wednesday 8 January 2003 @ 3.29pm CET
MONITORING THE WEB On Trade & Agriculture
Welcome to ICDA's WTOMC4 Directory
Here, you can find the latest critiques, and analyses of developments in Agriculture and Trade.

WTO Impact List #351 | Tue-4 Feb 2003 | [RIO+10]:
* ETHIOPIA: Davos, Porto Alegre, and the WSSD
* PAKISTAN: Environmental woes
* FAIR TRADE: Bringing down Nestlé
List of contents:

Dear WTO Impact Lister,

Our first two articles of today’s WTOIL delve into the effects of international trade policy on the environment and sustainable development.  Article #1 *can not be passed over*.  Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, the General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia, provides a LDC perspective on the dynamics and contradictions of Porto Alegre, Davos, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  His eloquence and knowledge of linkages and disparities at the international level are truly inspiring.
Our second article addresses the concerns of governments that must apply the unfair rules of international play to their domestic policy.  Pakistan shouldn’t have to worry about (among other things) massive agricultural subsidies doled out by the US and the EU when formulating an environmental framework for the country.  But it does, and article #2 tells us why.
We end today’s Impact List with a small victory for conscientious eaters everywhere.  Article #3 analyses the evolution of the “ethical consumers movement,” suggesting that big companies like Nestlé can no longer take advantage of the ignorance of consumers when selling its products at the (exorbitant) expense of their producers (in this case, Ethiopia).  Go fair traders, go!


[Posted: Tuesday 4/02/2003 @ 5.31pm CET]
WTO Impact List #348 | Tue-28 Jan 2003 | [RIO+10]:
* DENMARK : Discrediting falsehoods 
* AFRICA : Climate change and agriculture
* AUSTRALIA : Knowledge is power
List of contents:

Dear WTO Impact Lister,

Today’s Impact List addresses the importance of and need for *accurate* information on environmental and food security. 
Our first set of articles recounts the recent landmark ruling of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), which stated that the anti-environmentalist revered scientist, Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, had in large part been incorrect in many of his scientific findings on the environment, natural resources, forests, energy, waste management and air pollution.  A victory for environmentalists everywhere!
But the battle is never over … our second article discusses the effects of climate change on agriculture in Africa.  The findings of this internationally renowned scientist are bleak for the future of sub-Saharan Africans.  Issues such as climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture must be addressed urgently or lives and land will be forever lost.
Finally, there is hopeful news on the GM front.  In Australia, a Greenpeace shopper’s guide on genetically modified foods has provoked many companies (many of which did not know their own products were genetically modified) to clean up their act.   Proof again that knowledge can be so very powerful.


    The Gallon Environment Letter,
Many thanks to former ICDA Intern Julio Montes de Oca for passing it on from the Ramsar Convention
    Date: 20 January 2003
    By: Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"Bjørn Lomborg argued with environmental positions not put forward by most environmentalists. He established a short list of a "litany" of environmental issues and did battle with them, while ignoring other key environmental issues."
Dr. Bjørn Lomborg. A flash in the pan. A one-man scientific wrecking crew.  A self-proclaimed environmentalist, who is not. He was the darling of  governments and industries in Canada, the United States and around that world,  who wish to do little or nothing about climate change or environmental  protection. But now he has apparently been discredited by his own scientific community in Denmark.   A statistician who thought he knew environment, Lomborg wrote a simple but  scientifically questionable book entitled, ""The Skeptical Environmentalist:  Measuring the Real State of the World", Cambridge University Press, 2001. It  became an immediate international hit amongst the anti-environment crowd.  Lomborg went on to write articles and give lectures around the world about  environment and resource mismanagement not being the serious problem other  scientists said they were. He was embraced by conservative governments like his own. The new Conservative Government of Denmark made him, in March 2002,  Director of Denmark's Institute for Environmental Valuation. This is in spite of  the fact that he had very little formal environmental background. Lomborg is an  associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at  Denmark's University of Aarhus.  The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty
(DCSD), ruled January 7,  2003, that Bjorn Lomborg's scientific positions on the environment were, in many  cases, incorrect. DCSD is not an environment committee. It has no environmental  bias. The Committee is made up of scientists from all sectors, including  economics and statistics. It deals with complaints of pure scientific dishonesty. The Danish Committee
on Scientific Dishonesty brings together some  of the most senior members of Denmark's scientific establishment. They spent  much of 2002 considering the evidence against Bjørn Lomborg, after several  formal complaints were lodged by other scientists. The Committee found Lomborg's  work less than honest. The DCSD concluded that Lomborg had, "clearly acted  at variance with good scientific practice".  The Committee's ruling  continued: "There has been such perversion of the scientific message in the form of systematically biased representation that the objective criteria for upholding scientific dishonesty have been met." Even more damning is the backhanded way the Committee tried to soften its ruling on Lomborg. The Committee suggested that Lomborg may not have known the issues well enough and therefore spoke and wrote from a position of ignorance. Although the Committee did not feel able to conclude that Lomborg had misled his readers deliberately,  this was only because the scientists considering the case, felt that Lomborg  might simply have misunderstood the issues he was
working on. Some are now  saying that Bjorn Lomborg is "damaged goods", stating that he may well be asked  to step down from the Director of Denmarks Institute of Environmental  Evaluation.  Hans Henrik Brydensholt, a Danish High Court judge who is chairman of the  DCSD, wrote in the panel's ruling, "On the basis of the material adduced by the complainants, and particularly the assessment in "Scientific American," DCSD deems it to have been adequately substantiated that the defendant,
who has  himself insisted on presenting his publication in scientific form and not  allowing the book to assume the appearance of a provocative debate-generating  paper, based on customary scientific standards and in light of his systematic  one-sidedness in the choice of data and line of argument, has clearly acted at variance with good scientific practice." Source,  See the complete official ruling by the Danish Committee on Scientific  Dishonesty at the website For more information you can email  Tel: + 45 3544 6200. See Bjorn Lomborg's picture and personal website espousing his views at . Also see Bjørn  Lomborg's arguments atørnLomborgAnswer.pdf
LOMBORG IGNORED KEY ISSUES AND SET  UP STRAW MEN AND KNOCKED THEM DOWN   It was ingenious. Bjørn Lomborg argued with environmental positions not put forward by most environmentalists. He established a short list of a "litany" of environmental issues and did battle with them, while ignoring other key environmental issues. He tossed out climate change as an issue because it was too big a problem and too expensive to fix, citing vague economic costs and  benefits. He used gross economic numbers to mask serious species loss problems,  for example, in proclaiming that world fisheries were not declining because the  gross world annual catch was up. Professor Lomborg focussed his most  excoriating criticisms on the publications of the Worldwatch Institute, and in  particular on the views of its former President, Lester Brown. He identified Mr  Brown, and Professor Paul Erhlich, a Stanford University ecologist, as the high priesthood of environmental doom. The following are some of the key issues where  Bjorn Lomborg was just wrong: See   The Danish Ecological Council felt a more thorough response to   Lomborg's book was needed. They therefore gathered a group of twelve Danish  scientists - from science as well as economics and social science - publishing  a  critique (in Danish) in 1999. As of end June 2002, there is an English  version of
their work available. See the Danish scientists critique of Lomborg  at the website  . Also see the Environment News Service (ENS) story about his problem at  .

WORLD'S FORESTS NOT UNDER THREAT:  WRONG   In his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist", Bjørn Lomborg wrote that,  "basically, the world's forests are not under threat." A charitable reader could  attribute this flawed conclusion to errors of omission and ignorance; perhaps  the author simply doesn't know the sources well enough to interpret them  properly. Less charitably, Emily Matthews suggests that, "one might reasonably conclude that Lomborg intentionally selects his data and citations to distort or  even reverse the truth." Lomborg confusingly contrasts net loss of forest cover  (that is, his figure of loss of natural forest offset by regrowth and new  plantations) with loss of original forest (WWF's figure). Another claim by  Lomborg - that global forest cover has remained remarkably stable over the past  50 years -- is based on two acts of statistical conjuring. First, he expresses  changes in forest cover as a percentage of the total land area of the world, a  technique that reduces changes of millions of hectares to fractions of one percent. Second, he cobbles together a variety of different data sources  compiled using different definitions of forest and different methodologies.  These different data sets cannot be strung together to form a consistent time series.  Again Lomborg is acting as a pure statistician and fails to recognize the  complexities of the ecosystem. There is a massive decline in old growth forests  both in the tropic and temperate zones. These forests support some of the  greatest biodiversity in plants and animals. They also contain some of the most  valuable trees for human use and consumption, like teak and mahogany from the tropics and cedar and white and red pine from the temperate forests. If you fly over the massive clearcuts in Canada you will see large commercial stands of  cedar, white and red pine virtually gone, or severely diminished. You will find  them replaced by swaying stands of low quality non-commercial new-growth trees like alder and birch. Many saw mills have had to close. Many species of animals have had to leave the destroyed habitat. But that is hard to interpret from aerial photos showing new forest cover of junk trees. Lomborg could
investigate the plight of the villagers in Africa and Asia that have had to resort to  burning animal dung, because they have cut down all of the cuttable trees around  them for miles. He should have talked to the Chipko Movement in India and the  villagers in China, that have suffered severe landslides due to the loss of  forests and forest-protected watersheds
around their villages. He should have  talked to Dr. Wangari Maathai and the National Council of Women of Kenya who for  the last 20 years have been planting millions of trees in an effort to reverse the terrible loss of forests due to over-cutting.
Emily Matthews states that, "Lomborg's interpretation of global forest cover and Indonesian forest fires are just two examples of the incomplete and superficial  analyses that underpin too much of his book." Emily Matthews is a senior  associate at the World Resources Institute. She is the lead author of the Pilot  Analysis of Global Ecosystems: Forest Ecosystems (WRI, 2000) and Understanding  the Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (WRI, 2001). See her comments at  .
Lomborg, while acknowledging that the Indonesia forest fires of 1997-1998, were serious, claimed that they were not out of the ordinary. Wrong. If he had  read "The Gallon Environment Letter" and the Jakarta Post in 1997 and 1998, he  would have learned that the fires were extraordinary and caused major economic,  forest, and ecological losses. He would have learned that airports and the  commerce and tourism they support in Indonesia and Malaysia were shut down for weeks by the massive smoke clouds. He would have learned that the fires were amongst the largest human-made fires to ever blight Indonesia and southeast  Asia, for that matter.   But again, as a statistician with no formal ecological background, Lomborg,  couldn't have known. And as a statistician with an apparent bias, Lomborg selectively chose to accept the low forest burn numbers offered by the Government of Indonesia: 520,000 hectares. The low number given by the government was questionable and not backed by solid research. Indonesia, already  embarrassed by the fires, accepted the estimates of forests burned from the  local Indonesian land owners and palm plantation managers who did not want to  reveal the full extent to which the fires had burned. Without further research  and using the questionable Indonesian numbers, Lomborg attacked the World  Wildlife Fund satellite estimates of 2 million hectares burned. He noted that  the WWF estimate included both forest and non-forestland, but did not point out  that the official Indonesian estimate he quoted was for forest land only. He  then claimed, citing a 1999 United Nations Environment Programme report, that subsequent "satellite-aided counting" indicated that upwards of 1.3 million  hectares of forest and timberlands may have burned. The German-supported Integrated Forest Fires Management Project, which, using satellite data and ground checks, produced convincing evidence that the Indonesian fires had actually burned some 5.2 million hectares in 1998 alone -- 10 times the Indonesian government's estimate.   Regarding estimates of how much forest actually burned, Lomborg cites a UNEP report, which in turn refers to an analysis, "A Study of the 1997 Fires in  Southeast Asia Using SPOT Quicklook Mosaics," that was based on 766 satellite images. These images
covered the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra only, for  just August to December 1997. The study did not examine burn areas for 1998, nor did it take into account fires on other islands. The UNEP report states that this estimate represents "only a lower limit estimate of the area burned," although Lomborg's readers are not so informed.   An analysis by the Singapore Centre of Remote Imaging, Sensing, and  Processing using the same satellite images yielded a total burn area estimate  for 1997 and 1998 of nearly 8 million hectares. In 1999, a technical team funded  by the Asian Development Bank and working through the Indonesian National  Development Planning Agency aggregated and analyzed all available data sources  and
estimated that the area burned during 1997-1998 totalled more than 9.7 million hectares, of which some 4.6 million hectares were forest.  Source,  .
ENVIRONMENTALISTS CLAIM THERE IS AN  "ENERGY CRISIS": WRONG   One of the environmental litanies set up as a straw man by Lomborg is that  he states that environmentalists feel that there is an "Energy Crisis". Wrong.  Major
environmental groups do not believe that there is a crisis of a shortage of energy. He spends pages in his book showing that there is no energy crisis.  The environmental groups couldn't agree more. Rather the environmental groups are concerned about improper energy use and consumption inequities. They are concerned about the severe environmental impacts of coal-power, nuclear energy,  and the burning of fuelwood (creating desertification) in developing countries.  They are concerned
about the serious impacts of oil spills around the world  resulting from shady corporations and bad engineering practices. They are concerned about the United States declining conventional oil reserves and its increasing dependence (53%) on imported oil. To support his Litany assertion that the environmental movement believes there is an energy crisis, Bjorn  Lomborg
cites a CNN report and an article in the "E- Magazine" - no one else, not Friends of the Earth, not Greenpeace, and not WWF. He does not cite an environmental organisation or even a leading environmental personality as believing in an energy resource crisis.  See the website
ENVIRONMENTALISTS CLAIM NATURAL  RESOURCES ARE RUNNING OUT: WRONG   Lomborg laid out another Litany, setting up a straw man by alleging that the environmentalists say that the world is running out of natural resources. Wrong. Major environmental organizations do not believe the world is running out  of natural resources. They believe there is resource wastage, regional  shortages, and serious resource access imbalances. It is true that 30 years ago,  in 1972, the Club of Rome, in its seminal book, "Limits to Growth", and Dr. Paul  Erhlich in his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb" expressed concern about the  coming age of resource scarcity. But by 1978, it was clear to the environmental  groups that we were not going to run out of natural resources as such. Instead, they focussed on the mismanagement of natural resources and the selective  reduction of available resources, such as the collapse of the cod fisheries off  the Grand Banks of eastern Canada from over-fishing; the loss of topsoil and resulting desertification of foodlands: and, the declining ability of  conventional oil in countries like the United States to meet their growing fuel requirements, forcing the U.S. to rely on terrorist-infested oil, 53 per cent from OPEC and other imported sources.

WASTE MANAGEMENT IS NOT A PROBLEM:  WRONG   Bjorn Lomborg paid scant attention to municipal, industrial, nuclear, and  hazardous wastes. He wrote only four pages in his 300-page plus book about wastes. Tom Burke states that, "Lomborg fails to mention of toxic or hazardous  wastes, nothing is said about industrial wastes or the problems of large volume wastes from the mining industry. Radioactive wastes do not get a mention, nor do  agricultural wastes." Burke added that, "the rest of the world seems to have no  waste management problems at all, for all the attention they get." The  environmental critique of waste management policies has been primarily about the  wastage of resources that go into producing such large volumes of municipal  wastes, and the nature of many of our industrial wastes and their impact on the  environment and, in the case of radioactive wastes, human health for millennia to come."
POLLUTION THERE:  WRONG   Bjorn Lomborg asserts that air pollution is not as big a problem as the  environmentalists make it out to be, because OECD countries have already reduced  their air pollution and it is no longer a serious problem. He adds that  developing countries don't have to directly address the issues as the  environmentalists hype them to do, because
economic growth and prosperity there  will automatically result in air pollution clean up. Wrong.    First, air pollution remains a serious problem in high population density  pockets of OECD countries. Secondly, because the rich newly industrialized  countries like Mexico, India, China, Indonesia and Egypt, are ignoring the  solutions and letting corruption eat into any economic gains that might be diverted to air pollution control. Tom Burke states that, "air pollution in the  rest of the world, where two thirds of humanity live, need not be considered, in Professor Lomborg's view, because this will cease automatically as they get richer. This confuses cause and correlation, not a mistake you would expect from  a statistician. Although national wealth and the state of a nation's environment  are observably associated to some extent, the relationships are complex and not at all well understood." To set Lomborg's simple assumption in context, it is worth considering the following comment about the Asia-Pacific region by the somewhat conservative Asia Development Bank which stated that, "Environmental
degradation in the region is pervasive, accelerating, and unabated. At risk are  people's health and livelihoods, the survival of species and ecosystem services  that are the basis for long-term economic development. Economic development and  poverty reduction are increasingly constrained by environmental concerns,  including degradation of forestry and fisheries, scarcity of freshwater, and  poor human health as a result of air and water pollution." Tom Burke CBE is a  member of the Executive
Committee of Green Alliance. Currently an environmental  adviser to Rio Tinto and BP and a member of the Council of English Nature, he was previously special adviser to successive Secretaries of State for the Environment. He is a former director of Green Alliance, and of Friends of the  Earth. Burke's critique of Bjorn Lomborg's position can be found at  Jamie Page with the U.K. Cancer Prevention Society wrote that, "Bjorn  Lomborg argues that the state of the environment is getting better. What about  the cost of cancer? Cancer was a rare disease in pre-industrial societies and  age-corrected incidence figures have been rising steadily for many decades.  Currently one person in three will get cancer and this figure will rise. The  idea that cancer is due to poor
lifestyle, bad genes or viruses is being  increasingly discredited. The massive increase in cancer in industrialised  nations is partially due to the release of 100,000 synthetic chemicals into the  environment, their concentration in the food chain, and their bioaccumulation in  humans. Each of us carries between 300 and 500 man-made chemicals in our body.  It is impossible to quantify the costs of this, but one can assume they run into billions of pounds."
that impacts from acid gas emissions, had little  impact on the environment. Wrong. Thomas Lovejoy states that Lomborg's "research  is so shallow that almost no citation from the peer-reviewed literature appears. Lomborg asserts that big-city pollution has nothing to do with acid rain, when  it is fact that nitrogen compounds (NOx) from traffic are a major source. His  reference to a study showing that acid rain had no effect on the seedlings of  three tree species neglects to mention that the study did not include conifer  species such as red spruce, which are very sensitive." Lovejoy added that,  "there is no acknowledgment of the delayed effects from acid rain leaching soil  nutrients, particularly key cations. He confounds tree damage from air pollution  30 to 60 years ago with subsequent acid rain damage and makes an Alice-in-  Wonderland statement that the only reason we worry about foliage loss is  "because we have started monitoring this loss." It is simply untrue that "there  is no case of forest decline in which acidic deposition is known to be a  predominant cause." Two clear-cut examples are red spruce in the Adirondacks and  sugar maple in Pennsylvania." Thomas Lovejoy is chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank and senior adviser to the president of the United Nations Foundation. See his full comments in the Scientific American at
THE WORLD'S FISHERIES REMAIN HEALTHY  AND GROWING: WRONG   Lomborg tells the environmentalists to stop their belly-aching about the  world's fisheries decline. It just isn't happening, he says. Wrong. Lomborg  claims that "marine productivity has almost doubled since 1970." In the strictest sense as a statistician, Lomborg is numerically correct. But from a regional and a fish varietal perspective, he is wrong. Between unsustainable  growth in fishing technology and large-net fishing, and commercial fish farms,  we humans have been able to scour  the oceans for more and more fish.  However, because of his lack of ecological and fish resource knowledge, he failed to report on the series of collapses of fisheries for high end fish like  flounder, cod, and crab. The Beluga Sturgeon (caviar) is all but fished out. One of the richest and most productive fish regions in the world, the Grand Banks  off of eastern Canada has been fished out, except for junk fish that nobody  wanted before. Twelve thousand jobs were lost and eastern Canada suffered a severe economic setback when the cod fishery had to be closed in the 1990's.  Many of the rich crab fisheries around Alaska have been closed in a desperate  effort to revive the crab stocks. The European Union is considering limiting or  closing the cod fisheries around its coasts to
avoid the same fate that hit  Canada. The wild and diversified salmon fisheries on North America's West Coast, from Alaska to BC to Washington State, is suffering tremendous over-fishing  pressures. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), "what Lomborg  actually means appears later in the book as a figure depicting an increase in total fish catch,
plus production from fish farms. Capture of wild fish from the sea has increased by 20 percent, not 100 percent since 1970. And what humans are taking from the oceans and what the oceans are producing are of course fundamentally different matters." WRI goes on to state that, "Lomborg's equating  of the two exemplifies how his book is fundamentally misleading.
By focussing on  total production, Lomborg's graph conceals that stocks of cod, haddock, hake,  flounder, swordfish, sardines, halibut, Atlantic Ocean perch, and many others  have crashed." See the WRI website on Lomborg at  . Read about the Canadian cod fisheries collapse at  . Read WRI's world fisheries under pressure Read the Gallon Letter about fisheries conflict in the US State of Georgia
at  .
POPULATION GROW NO LONGER A PROBLEM:  WRONG   Lomborg's view that "the number of people is not the problem" is simply  wrong. His selective use of statistics gives the reader the impression that the  population problem is
largely behind us. The global population growth rate has  indeed declined slowly, but absolute growth in human beings on earth is enormous  and remains close to the very high levels observed in recent decades, because the population base keeps expanding. World population today stands at six billion, three billion more than in 1960. According to U.N. projections,
another  three billion will likely be added by 2050, and population size will eventually  reach about 10 billion. This is according to demographer, Dr. John Bongaarts,  Vice President of the U.S.  Population Council's Policy Research Division,  and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the  Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, as well.
Bongaarts adds that, "Lomborg  dismisses concerns about this issue based on a simplistic and misleading  calculation of density as the ratio of people to all land. Clearly, a more  useful and accurate indicator of density would be based on the land that remains  after excluding areas unsuited for human habitation or agriculture, such as  deserts and inaccessible mountains. For example, according to his simple  calculation, the population density of Egypt equals a manageable 68 persons per  square kilometer, but if the unirrigated Egyptian deserts are excluded, density is an extraordinary 2,000 people per square livable kilometer," not the 68 posited by Lomborg that he thinks have all the inhospitable deserts to live in.  Lomborg correctly notes that poverty is the main cause of hunger and malnutrition, but he neglects the contribution of population growth to poverty.  For a full discussion visit the Scientific American website at

CLIMATE CHANGE NOT A PROBLEM WORTH  FULLY SOLVING:  WRONG   Lomborg asserts that climate change is an issue to large and too expensive  to fix. He says "let's spend our money elsewhere.  Wrong. Charles Secrett,  Executive Director of Friends of the Earth England, wrote in U.K.'s The Guardian newspaper that, "Lomborg chooses a bad economic model, which overestimates the  cost of action and underestimates the costs of inaction, makes unjustified  assumptions about the IPCC's forecasts on GHG impacts, and then misrepresents  evidence which does not fit his case. How ironic that he should be contemptuous  of the intellectual rigour of environmentalists. His slippery way with facts and  arguments has already been well exposed by his academic colleagues in Denmark  (see the Aarhus University website, but contrarians tend to lack  a sense of shame." Lomborg asserts that the higher estimates of the IPCC are  "plainly unlikely", which will come as news to most climatologists. In fact, the  IPCC, which represents the consensus view of climate scientists from around the world, recently concluded that climate change will probably happen at a faster
rate than was previously believed. Source,,4273,4241934,00.html  .
Lomborg asserts that if implemented the Kyoto Protocol GHG emission cuts will have almost no quick positive effect on the man-made global warming gases  now circling the earth (mainly put there by the United States, Europe, Canada,  Japan, and the other OECD nations). Environmental groups knew that already,  which is why they have criticised Kyoto as being too
little, too late. So far,  Lomborg and the environmentalists are on side. But his analysis is to do little  and spend the money elsewhere. Whereas, the environmentalists are saying, "if  there is a growing problem and it is going to harm the economies of nations -  fix it." Since the Kyoto Protocol is all the governments would agree to, it is  seen by environmental
organizations as a start, and is accepted by them as such.  They feel that even greater GHG emission cuts will be agreed to in Kyoto II,  especially as the negative impacts continue to pile up.  "Since greater cuts, involving more countries, are likely to be agreed to take effect during the second compliance period after 2012, Lomborg's exercise of calculating Kyoto's effect on the climate by 2100 is at best irrelevant and at worst intentionally misleading," said Mark Lynas. Source, Mark Lynas, bottom of
the  website <> . Lomborg asserts that cost-benefit calculations show that although the benefits of avoiding climate change could be substantial ($5 trillion is the single figure Lomborg cites), this is not worth the cost to the economy of  trying to constrain fossil-fuel emissions (a $3-trillion to $33-trillion range  he pulls from the economics literature). However, Lomborg fails to use simple  science, asymmetrically, to provide a range potential economic damages caused by  climate change. Even more puzzling is his failure to discuss ecological impacts  in general, focusing instead on the human health impacts and the agriculture  sector, sectors he thinks won't be much harmed by climate change of the minuscule amount he predicts. See the full argument at the website,4273,4241934,00.html.
Also see
Lomborg criticizes environmental groups for hyping issues and blowing them out of proportion - kind of like "chicken little's the sky is falling". He  asserts that environmental problems have been fixed through growth and economic  activity. Wrong. The environmental movement, begun in 1968, and the citizens  that support the movement, forced their governments and industries to clean up  and to put in place systems to improve the environment. The very hype Lomborg  criticizes is the hype
that pressured decision-makers into action. Thomas  Lovejoy put it this way: "Far worse, Lomborg seems quite ignorant of how  environmental science proceeds: researchers identify a potential problem,  scientific examination tests the various hypotheses, understanding of the  problem often becomes more complex, researchers suggest remedial policies--and
then the situation improves. By choosing to highlight the initial step and skip  to the outcome, he implies incorrectly that all environmentalists do is  exaggerate. The point is that things improve because of the efforts of environmentalists to flag a particular problem, investigate it and suggest policies to remedy it. Sadly, the author seems not to reciprocate the respect  biologists have for statisticians." See
Copyright (c) 2003
Canadian Institute for Business and the
Environment, Montreal &  Toronto

All rights reserved.
[Posted: Tuesday 4/02/2003 @ 5.02pm CET]

WTO Impact List #341 | Tue-21 Jan 2003 | [RIO+10]:
* SCOTLAND: GM moratorium
* NEW ZEALAND, UK and US: the GM crops debate
* SOUTHERN AFRICA: food or famine?
List of contents:

Dear WTO Impact Lister,

The advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified (GM) foods have been debated with much fervor over the past week.  Because of this, we are dedicating this weeks RIO+10 WTOIL to the issue …
First, the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee has released a critical and revealing study calling for a moratorium on all GM crop trials in Scotland. The second article suggests, however, that the lives of insects and farmland birds blossom in GM crop fields.  In today’s third article, it looks as though the US has exaggerated or even invented the existence of safety standards for GM crops.  Then there is, of course, the question of GM crops saving the dying banana in article four.  Meanwhile, the potentially environmental dangers of genetically altered fish are addressed in article five.  Confusing, no?
As reports on the negative, positive and unknown effects of GM crops continue to be debated in the developed world, one must be conscious of a pressing problem that cannot be emphasized enough in our pages: famine and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.  According to our last article, food distribution dropped dramatically in Southern Africa in the latter half of 2002, due to the rejection of GM crops by some countries.  Now most of these countries have decided to accept the altered foods, but at what cost?  It is high time that we seek the unbiased, non-political and objective truth about GM crops.  The need for clear, unambiguous data on the products is more urgent than ever – the lives of millions may depend on it.

If you have any constructive suggestions or comments about the ICDA
WTO Impact List, or articles and news to contribute, do not hesitate to
contact us!

Best regards,
Emmanuel.K.Bensah & Jennifer M Cyr

    Date: 19 January 2003
    By: Aberdeen Press & Journal (UK)
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"With the continuing evidence of detrimental effects to the environment, a lack of safety and health testing - and the inability to conclude that GM crops and foods are safe in terms of human health - it is now time for all democratically-elected bodies to fully represent the views of the people of Scotland, to protect their health and environment and to establish a moratorium on the growing of GM crops in the open environment."

Gm protesters and Highland Council yesterday welcomed the findings of the Scottish Parliament's health committee, which urged the Executive to be more cautious in approving GM crop tests.
Both protesters and council have called for a moratorium on all crop trials in Scotland.
The parliamentary health and community care committee found that risk assessment procedures in relation to public health were flawed.
The committee also reported concerns about the possibility of GM crops entering the food chain inadvertently and recommended that all GM crops be tested as if they were entering the food chain.
GM protester Anthony Jackson, one of the leaders of the Munlochy Vigil which manned the Highland GM site for a year, called for more action.
Mr Jackson said: "With the continuing evidence of detrimental effects to the environment, a lack of safety and health testing - and the inability to conclude that GM crops and foods are safe in terms of human health - it is now time for all democratically-elected bodies to fully represent the views of the people of Scotland, to protect their health and environment and to establish a moratorium on the growing of GM crops in the open environment." The issue was raised at the council's land and environment select committee, when chairman Michael Foxley urged the Executive to heed the views of the public, the council and now the parliamentary committee.
He said the report from the parliamentary committee was the most thorough and damning indictment yet produced of the failings of the trials and confirmed the long-held view that these GM releases had been ill-conceived and badly monitored.
Dr Foxley added: "It has taken a long time for the message to get through that these trials were premature.
"It was plainly wrong to press ahead into the unknown without letting local people know what was involved. There are wider scientific issues that point conclusively towards a halt to any further trials in Scotland." The land and environment select committee has agreed to start a regional debate on whether commercial GM crop planting should be permitted.
Councillor David Alston, of Black Isle North, who has taken a close interest in the issue, agreed that the Executive had now no option but to halt any future trials.
He said: "The views of the parliamentary committee are damning and leave the Executive with no room for manoeuvre. They must uphold the long-held views of the council by calling a halt to these trials."

    Date: 16 January 2003
    By: Steve Connor, The New Zealand Herald
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"I've spent 19 years crawling around sugar beet fields and I have never in all that time seen a skylark's nest. I saw my first one in one of the GM plots."
Insects and farmland birds can flourish in genetically modified crop fields that under conventional farming would be wildlife deserts.
Scientists monitoring plots of GM sugar beet have recorded a significant increase in spiders, beetles and other insects that provide food for the nestlings of skylarks, lapwings and partridges. They claim in a study published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B that GM crops engineered to be resistant to broad-spectrum herbicides could be better for wildlife than conventional crops doused with less powerful weedkillers.
The study was run by the Broom's Barn research station in Suffolk, Britain's national centre for sugar beet research, and was part-funded by Monsanto, a principal supplier of GM technology.
Dr Alan Dewar, an entomologist at Broom's Barn, said the study was vetted by independent scientists, and Monsanto had no role in determining the way the data was collected or how the findings were published.
The beet plots were small - about 144sq m - but the findings were broadly applicable to other crops grown on a bigger scale, he said.
"I've spent 19 years crawling around sugar beet fields and I have never in all that time seen a skylark's nest. I saw my first one in one of the GM plots."
Conventional sugar beet seedlings have to be sprayed with herbicides within a few days of germination to prevent suffocation by weeds. This means fields are sprayed several times and are nearly weed-free. Birds are left with few insects and spiders to feed on.
But weeds could be allowed to grow between the rows of GM sugar beet seedlings provided a spraying with a broad-spectrum weedkiller was applied directly to prevent early suffocation of the seedlings.
Later in the summer, after the nestlings had fledged, the weeds between the rows could be sprayed, leaving a decaying mulch where insects could live.

    Date: 10 January 2003
    By: Consumers International
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"Dr. Hansen also states that, contrary to the impression given by US ambassadors in Europe and elsewhere, the US government does not have rigorous standards for safety assessments on GM crops, does not thoroughly review company data, and has never formally approved any of the GM corn varieties grown in the US."
Documentation showing that the US government allows the biotechnology industry to police itself on safety testing of GM crops will be presented today at a meeting hosted by the German Marshall Fund in Brussels on GM crops, by Consumers International representative, Dr. Michael Hansen.
Dr. Hansen will provide letters written by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Monsanto accepting at face value Monsanto's own conclusions regarding the safety of their GM corn variety (see attached media briefing for excerpts of the letters)
Dr. Hansen also states that, contrary to the impression given by US ambassadors in Europe and elsewhere, the US government does not have rigorous standards for safety assessments on GM crops, does not thoroughly review company data, and has never formally approved any of the GM corn varieties grown in the US.
These allegations come at a critical time as the US government is making every effort to persuade both European and African governments that GM crops are thoroughly reviewed and that anyone raising questions about safety is ignorant and acting immorally.
"Consumers worldwide and especially in the US are outraged that the US government is threatening the EU with WTO challenges for refusing to accept GM corn until comprehensive labelling and traceability systems are in place, when they themselves do not formally review and approve the safety of the GM corn varieties grown in the US" said Dr. Hansen.
Dr. Hansen further criticised the FDA for failing to follow through on regulatory improvements proposed in 2001. "Back in 1992, the FDA claimed that GM technology is similar to traditional breeding and would therefore be regulated in the same way (see attached media briefing for excerpts from FDA's policy document). Then, in 2001, the FDA admitted that there is a difference between traditional breeding and GM technology and proposed that there should be mandatory notification of GM food marketing and a mandatory FDA data review. However, they have still not issued any such regulation"
Consumers Union (CU) in the US and Consumers International (CI) worldwide are calling on the US government to stop pressurising the EU and Africa to accept its GM corn and instead get its own house in order by conducting mandatory safety reviews of data provided by the biotechnology industry and prohibiting the marketing of GM crops unless they have been approved by the FDA. CU and CI point out that Africa's food needs could be met with non-GMO foods. They note that 70 % of the corn grown in the US is not genetically modified.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Maya Vaughan, Consumers International on tel. +44 (0) 20 7226 6663 ext. 219 or mobile: +44 (0)7931 798 086 or email:

    Date: 20 January 2003
    By: The New Zealand Herald
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"Crop and Food, Lincoln, scientist Maqbool Ahmad, a banana expert, said GM could be used to develop a banana with resistance to black sigatoka disease, which experts predict could wipe out conventional bananas within 10 years."
Canterbury scientists believe they can save bananas from extinction using the same genetic engineering techniques they used to create pest-resistant potatoes.
Crop and Food, Lincoln, scientist Maqbool Ahmad, a banana expert, said GM could be used to develop a banana with resistance to black sigatoka disease, which experts predict could wipe out conventional bananas within 10 years.
Crop and Food has already developed pest resistant potatoes and will apply to plant them all over New Zealand once a moratorium on release of genetically modified organisms expires in October.
Dr Ahmad said developing a disease resistant banana would involve the same techniques used at Crop and Food, Lincoln, to create the GM potatoes and other GM plants.
"It is the same technology. You insert a gene that would make the bananas resistant to the disease."
Dr Ahmad, who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, said black sigatoka was devastating banana plantations between Karachi and Hyderabad, near the Indian border.
"Normal banana trees are 2m tall. The diseased trees shrink to less than 1m, become shrivelled and black, and eventually die," he said.
Unless bananas were developed with resistance to the disease, many communities in the Third World faced economic and social ruin. New Zealand provides $230 million of foreign aid to countries all over Asia and the Pacific and sponsors aid projects in Africa and Latin America.
Bananas are grown in most of the countries receiving New Zealand aid and in some, such as Samoa or Tonga, they are one of the most important cash crops.
New Zealand had the capacity to do the genetic engineering, Dr Ahmad said.
Developing disease-resistant bananas through conventional breeding was not an option since all edible bananas were sterile clones, Dr Ahmad said.
It was important to start work on the GM banana soon and for as many countries as possible to be involved.
Dr Ahmad said the lack of seeds and pollen meant there was zero risk of contamination of other crops by GM bananas.

    Date: 15 January 2003
    By: Andrew Pollack, The New York Times

[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"Some studies suggest that if the engineered fish escape from pens they could out-compete wild fish for mates or food, endangering wild populations. Another question is whether the genetic engineering affects the rate at which a fish accumulates toxins like mercury from the environment."

A new study maintains that the government is poorly structured to assess possible environmental hazards posed by genetically modified fish.
The study, being issued today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, a nonprofit group, comes as the Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to approve a salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as regular salmon.
The study notes that oversight of the fledgling field is left largely to the F.D.A., which regulates such fish under the rules covering drugs for animals. But the study says that those rules may not allow the agency to consider fully the environmental risks of such fish and that even if it can, it lacks the expertise.
''Regulators will increasingly have to stretch their authority to make old laws and regulations address the evolving next wave of products,'' Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Pew Initiative, said in a statement. ''We seem to be treading in uncharted legal waters.''
While some genetically engineered fish are being grown experimentally, none have been approved for use as food. But the F.D.A. is considering an application from Aqua Bounty Farms, a company in Waltham, Mass., for the fast-growing salmon.
The Pew Initiative, based in Washington and backed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, says it is not against genetic engineering but wants to promote public discussion about biotechnology and its regulation.
Indeed, the report said there could be benefits from genetically engineered fish. Faster-growing fish could make fish farming more productive. Efforts are also under way to get fish to produce human drugs like a blood clotting factor, to make fish disease-resistant and to make shellfish that will not provoke allergic reactions.
But there could also be hazards, the report notes. Some studies suggest that if the engineered fish escape from pens they could out-compete wild fish for mates or food, endangering wild populations. Another question is whether the genetic engineering affects the rate at which a fish accumulates toxins like mercury from the environment.
The report, based on a review of legal and scientific literature and interviews with experts, says the F.D.A.'s effort to regulate genetically modified fish as drugs might not withstand a legal challenge. Yet another problem with the arrangement, it said, is that drug applications are kept confidential, denying the public a chance to comment. Such secrecy, the report said, could undermine public confidence in the regulatory system.
Many of these concerns have been voiced in the past by opponents of genetically modified food and by the National Research Council in a report issued last year. Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the F.D.A., said the agency believed its regulations were adequate.
''We've required environmental assessments on animal drugs as long as I can remember and they are substantial,'' Dr. Sundlof said. He added that the F.D.A. could also seek input from other agencies, like the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Joseph B. McGonigle, vice president of Aqua Bounty Farms, said the argument by Pew that the F.D.A.'s authority might not withstand a legal challenge was a ''debating exercise'' because no company would mount such a challenge. ''In the real world,'' Mr. McGonigle said, ''I don't see a commercial company benefiting in any way from challenging the F.D.A. and taking on the publicity damage with their customers.'' He also said that the company had commissioned Harvard scientists to do an environmental assessment of the company's plans and that it would eventually make that report public. 
    Date: 20 January 2003
    By: UN IRIN
[Q    U    O    T    E     OF    THE     A    R    T    I    C   L   E]
"An unexpected and significant setback was the rejection of genetically modified (GM) food by some countries. Most have now agreed to accept milled GM food, while Zambia will announce its revised position later this month in parliament. However, as the saga unfolded, agencies were left desperately trying to find alternative food to give to beneficiaries."
The year 2002 in Southern Africa was marked by a scramble for food - by the over 14 million people who faced starvation, and by humanitarian agencies begging international donors for the urgent funds needed to buy food to prevent a catastrophe.
As nutritionists watched malnutrition rates spiral, and clinic workers tended to emaciated mothers and their children, the presidents of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho declared a disaster and appealed to the international community for help. Developments in Swaziland and Mozambique were also worrying.
Unlike the drought of 1992 that saw swathes of Southern Africa reduced to bare trees and parched clay, the current erratic weather patterns were accompanied by the challenges of economic crises, tenuous national grain reserves and a growing realisation of the devastating effect HIV/AIDS was having on families and communities.
Initial estimates said that about 12 million people would need help until the harvest this April and May, but subsequent assessments revised this to over 14 million. By the end of the year, as figures started trickling in from the latest vulnerability assessments, it was clear that even more people would need help. In Zimbabwe the figure has leapt from about six million people - half the population - to at least 7.2 million.
Humanitarian workers distributing lifesaving rations of maize, corn soya blend, pulses and cooking oil reported that families throughout the region had exhausted their coping mechanisms. They had sold everything of value to buy food. Competition with other equally desperate families meant they often received far less than the item's true worth.
Women walked for miles to sell water to truck drivers, they scoured the land for firewood to barter for food, took their children out of school to help and in their most desperate hour, some turned to prostitution. Men tried to find casual labour, they traveled to cities in the hopes of finding a job or risked their lives by searching for traces of gold in closed and dangerous mines.
In Malawi, many smallholder farmers, who already sat in front of empty fields because they did not have money to buy fertiliser to coax a meagre crop from their soil, lost their chance of casual labour on other farms when they were weakened by one of the worst cholera epidemics in years. In Lesotho, villagers dependent on food aid were cut off from supplies when thick snow fell in the highest mountain regions.
In July the World Food Programme (WFP) launched a massive appeal for the US $507 million they would need to tide families over until the next harvest and hoped to meet 67 percent of the region's emergency needs.
"It has been a very challenging year," said Deborah Saidy, WFP Deputy Emergency Coordinator for Southern Africa.
Saidy explained that the organisation had opened a new office in Swaziland, had scaled up operations in other countries in response to the extra needs, and had identified implementing partners.
"It has been a difficult year for sure. We have seen people resort to disastrous coping measures and there is no doubt that because this current food crisis comes on top of HIV/AIDS, it is extremely difficult for the populations affected," Saidy said.
"For many people this is the second or third consecutive year of erratic weather conditions or economic hardship. Southern Africa is no stranger to natural disaster like localised flooding, hail or drought, but this time a very broad area was affected by drought and many countries did not have strategic reserves.
"If we compare this disaster with [the regional drought of] 1992, HIV/AIDS has taken hold much more firmly and we see a far higher number of dependents and more child-headed households," Saidy said.
Tracking charts show that general food distribution in the six countries from July varied, reflecting difficulties NGOs faced. In Malawi distribution was generally high, but in Zimbabwe this plummeted to just 17 percent of beneficiaries in August. The figure for Zambia was 28 percent in October while in Mozambique, 56 percent of beneficiaries were reached in December.
Saidy explained that the varying figures were due to a number of constrains faced by humanitarian workers. An unexpected and significant setback was the rejection of genetically modified (GM) food by some countries. Most have now agreed to accept milled GM food, while Zambia will announce its revised position later this month in parliament. However, as the saga unfolded, agencies were left desperately trying to find alternative food to give to beneficiaries.
Conversely, deliveries to countries like Swaziland went very smoothly without any constraints, she said.
However, in spite of the difficulties, the latest situation report from Zambia does chalk up many achievements. Seeds and inputs were distributed, food for work rations were provided for preparation work for conservation farming techniques, insecticide treated nets were distributed, therapeutic feeding programmes were strengthened and sexual exploitation training was conducted for staff directly connected to food distribution.
"The donor response to the South African operation was very generous but now we're at the peak of the crisis and we expect a shortfall of 300,000 mt urgently. Zimbabwe is of the most concern because half the population requires food aid," Saidy said.
In December Zimbabwe's inflation rate reached 198 percent, reflecting the severity of circumstances the average Zimbabwean faces.
Andrew Timpson, Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the humanitarian programme in Zimbabwe was "in a state of catch up" during 2002 as assessments gave a stronger idea of new areas of vulnerabilities, tonnages [of food aid] and dealt with problems registering NGO partners allowed to deliver food aid.
Timpson said that although the food appeal was 67 percent funded which was considered good, education, water, sanitation and health programmes were not well recoursed.
Under the land reform programme, which reached its peak in 2002, there was concern over underutilisation of newly settled land and the possibility of lower crop yields. In addition there was uncertainty about farmers' tenure and it appeared that the government owned the land, making it difficult for farmers to access credit at the banks, Timpson said.
However, while the resettled farmers battle to eke out a living, the plight of farmworkers was becoming increasingly worrying. A maximum of 10 percent received farms, while many others were evicted and made homeless. Those who received retrenchment packages from the former farm owners have tried to make the funds last, while others are particularly vulnerable and relying on NGOs like the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe for food.
Timpson said another group of vulnerable people in Zimbabwe was people living in urban areas.
For Angola the year was a mixture of triumph and frustration. While the ceasefire opened the country to many new business opportunities, it also allowed humanitarian workers to access new areas and the full impact of the war on the lives of millions of people was finally realised. Millions of people needed food aid, medical facilities and schools. And while organisations like WFP and Medecines Sans Frontieres pushed to reach more and more people, they were hampered by landmines, poor roads and rutted runways.
But as countries take stock of what needs to be done for the year ahead, there is one aspect that they have no control over - the weather. Erratic weather continues to threaten all recovery efforts and as Malawi and Mozambique emerge from a flood and a cyclone, many parts of the region are now bracing themselves for yet another year of drought, and the parched conditions that meteorologists warn another El Nino will bring.
[Posted: Tuesday 21 January'03 @ 3.11pm CET]

WTO Impact List #332 | Wed-8 Jan 2003 | [WTO-QATAR]:
* WTO's AoA Has NOT Worked;
* INDIA Unhappy About New Jersey's IT Policies;
* TAIWAN Seeks Trade Concessions
List of contents:
Dear WTO Impact Lister,
It is with a degree of trepidation for the next few months that we start off the first WTOIL of the year.

Trepidation over what exactly the plans of the EU and the US over issues, such as agriculture, and trade liberalisation will be. Will agriculture actually work, or will it continue to be the bane of the West's foreign international development policy?

Ask the EU, argues Soko, a PH.D student at Warwick University, UK writing in article n#6. He continues that the applicant countries into the EU system will adversely affect, and seriously undermine the agricultural policies of the developing countries -- so, what's new? But, wait, article N#5 is equally trenchant in its arguments, admonishing that the West must see to it that the WTO's AoA, or Agreement on Agriculture, is not merely another moniker of the WTO gamut of acronyms. Simply put, something more substantive must eventuate from this so-called agreement that was established/set up shortly after GATT became WTO in 1995. He lists the shortcomings, to boot.

Finally, among two other articles exploring the implications of poverty and the multilateral trade regime necessitating further liberalisation, two other articles are country-specific.

The first, on India (article n#1) is unequivocal -- India is VERY unhappy about the way New Jersey is passing legislation banning outsourcing of IT technology. It is calling, as the article states, the New Jersey bill protectionist, and obviating from free enterprise. As for the second country, Taiwan, (article n#3) needs to consult seven other countries in order to fully qualify for WTO membership.

Sober reading!
posted: 9/1/2003 @ 4.19pm CET

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