With the recent election in my country, Australia, of the most scientifically illiterate and regressive conservative government in history, I fear for the future of horticultural cropping. My professional experience tells me farming groups will now feel empowered to pressure the APVMA through the government to allow greater use of neonicotinoids…to their own detriment. It isn’t rocket surgery. No bees = no crops.
Originally posted on Quartz:
As scientists race to pinpoint the cause of the global collapse of honey bee populations that pollinate a third of the world’s crops, environmental groups have indentified one culprit: US authorities who continue to approve pesticides implicated in the apian apocalypse.
Case in point: The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional approval in May of sulfoxaflor, a type of agricultural pesticide known as a neonicotinoid. The European Union has banned neonicotinoids for two years in response to scientific studies linking their use to the sudden death of entire beehives, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Over the past six years, CCD has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives worth $2 billion. Bee colonies in the US are so decimated that it takes 60% of the nation’s bee population to pollinate a single crop, California almonds. And that’s not just a local problem; California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds.
Now environmental and food safety groups are seeking to overturn the EPA’s green-lighting of neonicotinoids in a series of lawsuits that for the first time invoke the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect the bees. “EPA inadequately considered, or ignored entirely, sulfoxaflor’s harm to pollinators and the significant costs that harm will impose on the agricultural economy, food security, and natural ecosystems,” attorneys for the nonprofit Center for Food Safety and other groups argued in a legal brief (PDF) filed in December in litigation aiming to revoke the approval of sulfoxaflor.