Bees Doing Just Fine, Finds EU, but Continues to Ban the Pesticide Which Didn't Harm Them
The story went roughly like this:
1. Greenpeace and similar organisations decide to target chemicals industry.
2. They need a heartwarming poster species so they rope in bees. Bees become the new polar bear, about to die out any moment with catastrophic consequences for the world: no honey ever again; also, we all die because who will pollinate our crops? Bees are dying, Greenpeace and co decide, because of chemicals called "neonicotinoids".
3. Slate, Guardian, Salon, Change.Org - the lefty hive mind - all dutifully start bloviating about bees. Celebs like Stephen Fry and Vivienne Westwood take up the cause; people dress up in bee costumes, demand bee action etc.
4. Neonicotinoids are banned by the EU, even though they're an effective and safe pesticide of great use to agriculture, which took many years and millions of pounds to develop.
5. Turns out the whole business is a complete con. Nothing to do with bee safety; everything to do with horse-trading and corruption and special pleading in the EU, and, of course, Greenpeace's ongoing war on capitalism.
Anyway, now we have the post script to the story.
After banning neonicotinoids, the EU thought it might as well look into what is happening to bee populations.
Here's what they found.
"Honeybee decline is less dramatic than first thought," the survey admits.
What it also shows is that bee colonies are mainly being wiped out in winter not summer - which is the opposite of what would happen if neonicotinoid pesticides were responsible for their deaths. The real killer, it turns out, was the harsh winter of 2012/2013 - as shown by the fact that the majority of the affected hives were in the colder countries of Northern Europe, rather than the southern ones.
I see in the Reuters coverage of the story they've decided to quote someone from Greenpeace, as if their opinion matters.
Environmental campaigning group Greenpeace welcomed the study as far as it went, while saying that it left out analysis of the impact of pesticides and changes to biodiversity.
"This is the first year in which some sort of monitoring has started. Finally it's a first step in the right direction," Greenpeace's EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said.
So, to recap.
The EU has banned neonicotinoids because they harm bees even though there's no evidence that they do bees any harm. It continues to ban neonicotinoids even though it has now produced a report confirming that bees aren't in trouble, except because of global cooling. Greenpeace, an organisation which refuses to accept that the earth is entering a cooling period because it believes ardently in man-made global warming, is cited as an expert witness by a leading press agency.
Is the world going mad, or what?