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Bayer-Monsanto’s secret weapon: Ex-Green lobbyist to tell the world its cancer-linked weedkiller will save the climate

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The beleaguered corporation, plagued with lawsuits from cancer-stricken customers ever since it acquired Monsanto last year, hired former German Green Party MP Matthias Berninger as senior vice president for public and government affairs in January. The erstwhile environmentalist has wasted no time in his effort to save Bayer by positioning it as the answer to our climate change prayers. Pivoting the discussion away from Roundup’s potentially deadly effects on humans, Berninger has been making the media rounds to promote the herbicide’s environmental benefits.

What environmental benefits, you say?

“The data prove” that glyphosate - the chief chemical in Roundup - is good for the climate, Berninger told German outlet Handelsblatt last week, explaining that while “the production of glyphosate is quite CO2-intensive,” its “use saves three times more CO2” compared to farming land with a tractor and plow, a process which he explains would spew out CO2 through its internal combustion engine and release the gas from the soil. In fact, Berninger really has it in for plows.

“It would be an illusion to believe that American or Brazilian agriculture would return to plowing,” he said, setting up and knocking down his rhetorical straw-man with ruthless efficiency. Nor would organic farming sustain a meat-hungry world - to hear him tell it, humanity must either dramatically expand farmland at the expense of biodiversity, or put its faith in crop science, a.k.a. Bayer.

The benefits of glyphosate are far too great for both farmers and the environment.

Farmers stricken with cancer after prolonged RoundUp use might view the matter differently. While fewer living humans does mean a smaller carbon footprint for the species, and fewer living farmers in particular means less emissions produced by farming, it would take a real sociopath to stretch the idea of a “benefit” to include less market competition for farmers whose neighbors have died of Roundup-induced non-Hodgkins lymphoma. But whether this is what Berninger has in mind when he describes glyphosate’s nebulous “benefits” to farmers and the........

© RT.com