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Vancouver conference promoting genetically engineered trees for fuel

10 September 2008 (Vancouver) – Major biotech corporations are meeting at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in Vancouver today, to chart the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops and trees, as well as synthetic biology and nanotechnology, for fuel.

In response to this industry convention, Greenpeace, along with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the Society for a GE Free BC, are hosting a public forum where citizens can hear directly from conference attendees and learn how biotech corporations are cashing in on the climate, energy and food crisis to push dangerous new technologies.

“The use of crops and trees for biofuel will quickly exacerbate global warming,” said Josh Brandon, Greenpeace agriculture campaigner. “Already, more forests around the world are being destroyed to make way for monoculture plantations of trees and crops for fuel.”

Brandon will be speaking at tonight’s public forum along with Lucy Sharratt, CBAN coordinator, who is attending the conference. The event, “Nightmare Biofuels?” begins tonight, Sept. 10th, at 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St. in Vancouver.

“The biotech industry has pounced on the tremendous hype over biofuels to push out all their nightmarish technologies, even pushing the use of genetically engineered trees for transport fuel,” said Sharatt. “This industry conference lays bare the corporate agenda behind biofuels. The conference exposes new collaboration between the most powerful oil, biotech, seed chemical and forestry corporations.”

Corn ethanol and similar “first generation” biofuels are now widely seen as a failure because they do not reduce greenhouse gases but are, according to the World Bank, the major cause of the food crisis. So industry is promising so-called “second generation” biofuels that critics’ say, promise to be an even greater danger to the environment

“We want no part of this nightmarish future where trees are genetically engineered to fill our gas tanks,” said Tony Beck of the Society for a GE Free BC. “The B.C. government should immediately legislate a ban on planting genetically engineered trees on crown land.”

For more information, please contact:
Josh Brandon, Greenpeace agriculture campaigner, 604-721-7493
Lucy Sharratt, coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613-263-4708
Tony Beck, Society for a GE Free BC, 604-671-2106