HE started as a radical ideologue. An eco-terrorist hell-bent of destroying genetically modified crop trials across the UK, and even trying to steal Dolly the cloned sheep. Monsanto was the enemy and any action that thwarted the development of biotechnology was justified.
However, journalist come author Mark Lynas told the Rural Press Club in Brisbane he was forced to dramatically rethink his hardline opposition to the science of GMOs when he turned his attention to climate change.
“I discovered I got the science wrong,” said Mr Lynas, who was promoting his new book ‘Seeds of Science, Why We Got It So Wrong On GMOs’.
“That mattered to me because by that stage I had become someone who was writing books about the science of global warming and I wanted to be seen as someone who got the science right.
“The only reason I changed my mind is because I moved from being an environmental activist to a science writer.
“I moved from primary identity from the environment community to the scientific community.”
Mr Lynas said with 96 per cent of scientists backing the science of climate change and also overwhelming consensus about the safety GMO crops, he was on the horns of a dilemma.
“That let to a conflict.”
He said he recognised his thinking on GMOs could not be substantiated in 2008. However, it was not until 2013 that he publicly supported the technology.
However, Mr Lynas clearly has a hard row to hoe if he is to convince his former radical counterparts that GMOs will benefit humankind.
Moratoriums remain in place across major parts of the world including the EU, and developing areas including India and Africa where perhaps the greatest benefits could be seen.
Radical green organisations including Greenpeace continue their strident opposition to GMOs. That includes the introduction of potentially life saving golden rice.
Mr Lynas said his next project was to rework his book Six Degrees to reflect in developments in climate change science.