London, August 14 : Scientists have condemned Charles, the Prince of Wales, for blaming genetically modified (GM) crops for global warming, and have called him "shockingly ill-informed" and "negative".
According to a report in the Times, the Prince of Wales had launched an attack on genetically modified crops after claiming that the technology would cause "the biggest environmental disaster of all time" and lead to "no food in the future".
Though the government, plant scientists and industry are promoting GM crops as part of the solution to global food shortages, the Prince said that biotechnology had already proved itself a dangerous failure.
"Why else do you think we are facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?" he said.
"The role of gigantic corporations in food production was leading humanity towards absolute disaster, driving small farmers off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unimaginable awfulness," he added.
The Prince's comments, in which he blamed GM food and modern agriculture for environmental and social problems such as climate change and food shortages, were described by leading scientists as "shockingly ill-informed".
Plant researchers said that he had completely misunderstood the benefits and risks of GM crops, which the Prince labeled a "gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity that has gone seriously wrong".
They also ridiculed his contention that agricultural biotechnology was contributing to major challenges such as global warming. The Prince had cited his experiences on visits to Western Australia and the Indian part of Punjab, which he said were suffering increasing problems from salinity and water shortage respectively.
But his views were overwhelmingly rejected by scientists, who said that GM crops were already grown safely by 12 million farmers, 11 million of them in the developing world.
According to Alison Smith, Professor of Plant Biochemistry at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, she was shocked and saddened by the Prince's "ill-informed, one-sided and generally negative" remarks.
"He seems to be ranting about GM crops, urbanisation, globalisation and even hybrid plants. He is inflating fears instead of contributing to reasoned debate," she said.
The Prince's claim of a link to climate change was particularly strange, because the problem predated the planting of the first GM crops by decades, experts said.
"GM crops are not to blame for climate change, the industrialisation of agriculture, the spread of dysfunctional conurbations, the salinisation of Australia or indeed any of the other crimes of which the Prince appears to accuse them," said Professor Smith.