Green groups ‘ignored the evidence’


Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The former chief scientific adviser to the European Commission has hit out at environmental groups, accusing them of using “fabricated” claims to get the post scrapped.

Professor Anne Glover said she was “deeply disappointed” at the behaviour of groups like Greenpeace which successfully lobbied new commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to abolish the job created by his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso.

During her three years in the post, Prof Glover – a former scientific adviser to the Scottish government – clashed with environmental groups over her support for genetically-modified (GM) crops.

In an open letter to Mr Juncker, sent following his election last year, a series of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) complained that her role was “unaccountable, intransparent and controversial” and accused her of promoting “one-sided, partial opinions” on GM.

Mr Juncker subsequently announced that she would not be replaced when her term in the post came to an end at the end of last year.

Prof Glover has now bitterly accused the NGOs – which included GM Watch, the Pesticide Action Network and the Cancer Prevention and Education Society – of deliberately misrepresenting her role.

“I was not some incredibly powerful person that could dictate what happened. That’s just a fiction,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“I am deeply disappointed with them. Those NGOs were NGOs that I used to trust and I think many citizens do trust – they are like the unelected voice of citizens. I think that they have ignored the evidence and they have fabricated a scenario.

“Because I have met with many of them, they know that it’s simply not true what they talk about. But they have an ideology and a philosophy they wish to pursue. That’s fair enough but I think you shouldn’t try to back it up by bad-calling the evidence. That’s not honest.”

Responding to Prof Glover’s comments, Greenpeace UK science adviser Dr Douglas Parr said: “Greenpeace considers all the evidence in relation to GMOs and, unlike advocates for these products, we consider them in their political, agricultural as well as scientific context.

“Our issues with the Chief Scientific Adviser post was that it confused and conflicted with good science process, and was supported by powerful business groups as they could see it was vulnerable to their lobbying.

“Greenpeace wants more and better scientific advice and evidence to be used by the Commission, which is why we have advocated strong, broadly-based, well-resourced, independent science advice with clarity about political judg ment and clear processes.

“Ensuring that EU decision-makers base their policy on the best available evidence in chemicals, pesticides and climate change is in the interests of all EU citizens and the environment.”

Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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