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    Friends Of The Earth Wants To Learn Science
    By Hank Campbell | May 20th 2014 06:00 AM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Friends of the Earth, most famous for being against nuclear energy and every other bit of modern science and technology, now thinks most scientists are unethical - unless they are hand-picked by Friends Of The Earth.

    The first-ever Congressional subcommittee hearing on pollinator health, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a few weeks ago, failed to include "independent" scientists who would properly rant about neonicotinoid pesticides.

    In modern culture, where all chemicals are bad and all corporations are bad and so chemical corporations are Bad^2, having scientists from Bayer, a pesticide manufacturer, write about about science was pointless. They are for sale, evil, unethical. But so are EPA scientists and academic scientists unless they agree with activists. The only scientists Friends Of The Earth wants to hear from are hand-picked 'independent' scientists who will say exactly what they want to say. In order words, Friends Of The Earth only wants to hear from exactly the kind of scientists they complain about.

    And because Rachel Carson made anecdotes into evidence quite famously, Friends Of The Earth wants beekeepers to speculate about the issue. 

    How many 'independent' scientists can afford to spend millions of dollars on doing a study with proper controls, with proper dosing and real methodological parameters? None. Friends Of The Earth is a large environmental corporation and even they won't incur that cost - instead, they hire a small lab that conducts a suspect 'spray and count' study and writes up the result that, yes, dunking an insect in a bucket of chemicals is a bad idea. Which everyone on planet Earth already knows.

    Friends Of The Earth invoked Big Tobacco PR tactics, as they always do - because apparently 1950 is the last time anyone at their company read any science.  The other companies they compared Bayer to, Monsanto and Syngenta, are often invoked by anti-science activists without any evidence. And all of those EPA studies? Invalid.

    "The problem is that the hearing focused narrowly on certain factors that threaten bees, while missing the big picture on bee health. For example, there was much discussion about the threat to bees from varroa mites, but little mention of the scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides make bees more vulnerable to varroa mites, other pests and pathogens," said Lisa Archer, director of the Friends of the Earth food and technology program, whose deep knowledge of chemistry was gained while getting a degree in International Relations. "We must take action now to reduce the known risk factors for bees. This is why we support banning neonicotinoid pesticides."

    Fine, where is the data to prove honeybees will be saved by such a ban? Friends Of The Earth still has not produced a real study in its entire existence.

    Their only evidence is that the European Union banned the three most widely used neonicitonoid pesticides for two years. But the European Union bans everything. They ban GMOs, they think cell phones cause cancer and put scientists in jail if they can't forecast an earthquake.

    American environmentalists love to invoke European politicians because they are the one group that hates science more than American environmentalists - but European scientists want Europe to be a lot more like America.

    Comments

    Norm Benson
    Given the EU ban, has there been any comparison between US and EU CCD rates? Certainly, if banning neonics is such a great idea, the EU's rate should be lower than the US (and Canada, they still allow neonics, yes?) rate.
    Norm Questioning green dogma since 1972.
    The ban just took effect this past December (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/about/intheworks/ccd-european-ban.html). Since losses occur over winter and pesticide exposure in the previous crop season is being blamed, I don't expect any meaningful reports until next year. It will definitely be interesting to see what they find. From what I have read, symptoms similar to CCD can be manifested with sublethal doses of neonicotinoids, but prevalence of neonicotinoid use hasn't been associated with CCD. Thus, it is a good idea to study them, but I don't expect them to be the cause. They may be a contributing factor. Overall, the EU made a major knee-jerk reaction and could have studied the problem on a smaller scale without.

    ...without such so much economic damage.

    A better place to get some useful data in the near future is going to be the Netherlands, this march 19 they permanently banned all Neonicotinoids for all uses.