John Stossel Special

7:53 pm Press Releases - ABC News

For Release: June 27, 2001

John Stossel Challenges the Doomsayers Warnings on Genetic Engineering, Human Cloning and Global Warming, in a One-Hour Special, Tampering with Nature with John Stossel, Airing Friday, June 29

In a one-hour special, ABC News Correspondent John Stossel investigates the outcry over genetic engineering and human cloning and challenges the dire warnings surrounding environmental threats like global warming. Why have recent advances in science been met with fear, protests, even acts of terrorism? Why is the industrial society that helped make our comfortable lives possible treated with suspicion and contempt? Stossel challenges the activists who say we’re destroying the earth’s ecosystem with everything from genetic engineering to greenhouse gases. Tampering with Nature airs FRIDAY, June 29, 10-11 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network.

Former Greenpeace director Patrick Moore, who has quit Greenpeace, says the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists. “They’re using environmental rhetoric to cloak agendas like class warfare and anti-corporatism that, in fact, have almost nothing to do with ecology,” Moore tells Stossel.

Lately, the greenhouse effect and global warming have been all over the news. But Stossel interviews climatologists who say there is no consensus that global warming is harming the planet. They point to the often-overlooked fact that huge piles of funding are at stake. Says Pat Michaels of the University of Virginia: “Let’s imagine there’s a senate hearing, and the senator who disburses the funds goes to the administrator of NASA and says, ‘I’ve heard global warming is the most serious problem confronting mankind. Can your agency use another $2 billion a year to study this thing?’ What’s he gonna say? No?” Moreover, Stossel points out that even if greenhouse gases were restricted, at a potential cost of trillions of dollars to U.S. taxpayers, it is estimated that this would prevent a rise in temperature of only a fraction of a degree.

Stossel then turns to cloning and interviews Dr. Panos Zavos, who hopes to clone human beings soon with new technology. “It’s a marvelous thing,” says Zavos, a reproductive specialist who wants to help infertile couples have babies. “We have more than 1,000 couples that want to be cloned,” he says. Anti-cloning activist Rev. Patrick Mahoney disagrees, asking what will become of deformed children created by this new technique. “Who takes care of that child?”

Stossel reports that genetic engineering is already saving lives through cutting-edge medical treatments, despite activists’ fears. Biotech is also helping to make food more plentiful, as with bovine growth hormone that increases milk production. But as Stossel finds out, even though the World Health Organization, the FDA and the AMA all say milk from cows given bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe, activists condemn it, one New York protester even likening it to “crack for cows.”

Many of us romanticize the simple life of groups like the Pilgrims, but life without modern technology is tough-often fatal. Half the Pilgrims died. That’s something to keep in mind when people insist that we should never “tamper with nature.” Stossel concludes that we alter our environment not to destroy but “to make our lives better in a hundred ways.”

Victor Neufeld is the senior executive producer of Tampering with Nature, Martin Phillips the executive producer, and Deborah Colloton, Mark Golden and Brian Ellis the producers.

ABC News Media Relations:
Adam Pockriss (212) 456-7243
Todd Polkes (212) 456-4586


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