Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) Crop use 1996–2016: impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions
This paper updates previous assessments of the environmental impacts associated with using crop biotechnology in global agriculture. It focuses on the environmental impacts associated with changes in pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions arising from the use of GM crops since their first widespread commercial use over 20 years ago. The adoption of GM insect resistant and herbicide tolerant technology has reduced pesticide spraying by 671.4 million kg (8.2%) and, as a result, decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on these crops (as measured by the indicator, the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ)) by 18.4%. The technology has also facilitated important cuts in fuel use and tillage changes, resulting in a significant reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the GM cropping area. In 2016, this was equivalent to removing 16.7 million cars from the roads.