“The use of less fuel in farming genetically modified (GM) crops results in less carbon-dioxide emission. In addition, herbicide-tolerant GM crops can often be grown with little or no plowing in stubble fields that are sprayed with herbicides. The result is to allow more carbon to remain in the soil, since plowing releases carbon as microbial exhalation. Taken together, Messrs. Brookes and Barfoot estimate [in their 2012 comprehensive study on GM crops], this means that the GM crops grown in 2010 had an effect on carbon-dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 8.6 million cars off the road.”
“There is a rich irony here. The rapidly growing use of shale gas in the U.S. has also driven down carbon-dioxide emissions by replacing coal in the generation of electricity. U.S. carbon emissions are falling so fast they are now back to levels last seen in the 1990s (see chart above). So the two technologies most reliably and stridently opposed by the environmental movement-genetic modification and fracking-have been the two technologies that most reliably cut carbon emissions.”
HT: Warren Smith
Update: The chart below shows annual CO2 emissions from 1973 to 2012 in the U.S. on a per capita basis to adjust for increases in population. Over just the last seven years, CO2 emissions per capita have fallen by almost 19% from 20.25 tons per capita in 2005 to 16.44 tons per capita in 2012 (based on data through the first half of the year).