STUDY: Evaluating the Economic and Environmental Impacts of a Global GMO Ban

By Michael Stebbins • September 20, 2016

The following is an excerpt of a scholarly paper published to the site AgEcon analyzing the economic and environmental impacts of a global ban of the use of agricultural biotechnology products.

The objective of this research is to assess the global economic and greenhouse gas emission impacts of GMO crops. This is done by modeling two counterfactual scenarios and evaluating them apart and in combination. The first scenario models the impact of a global GMO ban. The second scenario models the impact of increased GMO penetration. The focus is on the price and welfare impacts, and land use change greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with GMO technologies.

Much of the prior work on the economic impacts of GMO technology has relied on a combination of partial equilibrium analysis and econometric techniques. However, Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling is a way of analyzing economy-wide impacts that takes into account the linkages in the global economy. Though it has been used in the context of GMO crops, the focus has been on the effects of various trade policies and regulatory regimes.

Here the goal is to contribute to the literature on the benefits of GMO technology by estimating the impacts on price, supply and welfare. Food price impacts range from an increase of 0.27% to 2.2%, depending on the region. Total welfare losses associated with loss of GMO technology total up to $9.75 billion. The loss of GMO traits as an intensification technology has not only economic impacts, but also environmental ones.

The full environmental analysis of GMO is not undertaken here. Rather we model the land use change owing to the loss of GMO traits and calculate the associated increase in GHG emissions. We predict a substantial increase in GHG emissions if GMO technology is banned.

To read the entire paper, please click here

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