Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

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Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:57 pm UTC

So, a majority of EU states are in support of a partial ban on pesticides connected to bees dying off. This is a pretty big issue for obvvious reasons.

I'm going to hold off on forming any opinions for the moment. I will say that ecological arguments are the ones that are most shaking my faith in small government/classical liberalism. The tradgedy of the commons is a bitch.

Particularly interested in the opinions of people who understand more biochem than me.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:07 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:I'm going to hold off on forming any opinions for the moment. I will say that ecological arguments are the ones that are most shaking my faith in small government/classical liberalism. The tradgedy of the commons is a bitch.
It sounds like you've already formulated an opinion, and I'm curious if you can expand on what you mean here.

I know only a little bit on the topic, but my sense is that bee's are pretty fucking important to agriculture, and efforts aimed at saving them are usually pretty reasonable. If this ends up not saving them, I'd rather see people try and fail than dismiss any efforts as unworthy.

EDIT: Actually, a brief perusal on neonicotinoid pesticides... It seems the link to their use and bee die off is fairly well supported, and as such, seems like banning them is a really intelligent step. What's the controversy here?
Last edited by Izawwlgood on Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:10 pm UTC

If the US doesn't support this ban, we can at least start having some hard convincing data on this whole bee mess. It might actually be better for the world if the US and the EU disagree on this one, so that we can collect hard data on Colony collapse disorder. Or perhaps... what would be more useful in the US... is if the individual states came out with regulations on this matter...

I hope this experiment succeeds, honey is tasty... and bees are proven to improve crop yields.

EDIT: Actually, a brief perusal on neonicotinoid pesticides... It seems the link to their use and bee die off is fairly well supported, and as such, seems like banning them is a really intelligent step. What's the controversy here?


If anyone knows more about the politics of the issue... I'm interested in knowing this as well.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:43 pm UTC

The top four crops (excluding illegal ones, citrus and root) in the US are corn, soybeans, hay (mostly alfalfa) and wheat. Of those, only alfalfa requires insect pollination. The pesticides in question are used on corn and soy. Those crops are also grown in Iowa, a state with disproportionate political power. Ohio also has decent corn and soy yields, and Ohio voters are the most important in the presidential general election. Not to mention the traditional power of the US agricultural lobby anyway. Looking at the yields, I'm guessing those lobbyists are going to bat for corn and soy farmers who want to continue using the pesticide rather than other farmers that need bees. Agriculture holds sway in nearly every US state. Look to California to lead the way for the US here. They have a lot of bee-pollinated crops, and they're usually the first to ban things anyway.

Though the EPA is being sued to ban them, so hopefully that works.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:46 pm UTC

It's not that the pesticide targets bees, It targets pests in general and is targeted at the ones that destroy crops; bees just happen to be susceptible to the pesticide. If we have better pesticides that won't force a helpful species into regional extinction then the ban seems mostly harmless.

The politics of it is going to be the people accusing it of not being sciencey or ignoring the welfare of people while being as unsciencey and ignoring the welfare of people as the people they describe in their accusations. There's still political debates over DDT even though it's use is still allowed in most of Africa where dengue fever is a bigger concern than some acute toxicity.

For the most part the industrialized world doesn't need blanket use "kill everything" pesticides but there are some holdouts.

A much milder example: my state still uses bug trucks as vector control to prevent the spread of mosquito borne diseases. It makes sense considering that enough of our coastline is marshy swamp and excellent mosquito breeding grounds that if anyone brings malaria back from overseas it has a decent chance of being a minor outbreak.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:09 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:The top four crops (excluding illegal ones, citrus and root) in the US are corn, soybeans, hay (mostly alfalfa) and wheat. Of those, only alfalfa requires insect pollination.
Why did you exclude citrus? Doesn't it require pollination?
omgryebread wrote:Looking at the yields, I'm guessing those lobbyists are going to bat for corn and soy farmers who want to continue using the pesticide rather than other farmers that need bees.
My guess is this is the controversy. Whelp, what other pesticides are available that don't murderize bees?
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:53 pm UTC

We can't tell farmers how to farm! This is America! That's as fundamental as baseball and apple* pie!

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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I'm going to hold off on forming any opinions for the moment. I will say that ecological arguments are the ones that are most shaking my faith in small government/classical liberalism. The tradgedy of the commons is a bitch.
It sounds like you've already formulated an opinion, and I'm curious if you can expand on what you mean here.

I know only a little bit on the topic, but my sense is that bee's are pretty fucking important to agriculture, and efforts aimed at saving them are usually pretty reasonable. If this ends up not saving them, I'd rather see people try and fail than dismiss any efforts as unworthy.

EDIT: Actually, a brief perusal on neonicotinoid pesticides... It seems the link to their use and bee die off is fairly well supported, and as such, seems like banning them is a really intelligent step. What's the controversy here?


I'm really torn actually.

I'm referring to that it's seeming to me more and more that climate change and environmental degredation is too big a deal to fix with classical economic measures - see the carbon trading price collapse - inherently collectivistic in a way that precludes them being dealt with by individual decisions, and sufficiently imminent as to require the big, dumb hammer of state regulation.

I'd prefer pigovian taxes on all emissions - but that, paradoxically, seems more difficult than getting agreement on an outright ban
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Zamfir » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:00 pm UTC


EDIT: Actually, a brief perusal on neonicotinoid pesticides... It seems the link to their use and bee die off is fairly well supported, and as such, seems like banning them is a really intelligent step. What's the controversy here?

Googling around, the timeline seems to be roughly like this:

Late nineties: neonicotines start to become popular
Mid zeros: dying bees become a more than coincidental pattern. Some people claim that neonicotinoids are to blame
Late zeros: the collected research becomes convincing enough. First countries implement bans
Now: remaining countries in Europe are willing to join the ban.

That sounds like a reasonable speed to me. It seems that these neonicotinoids are superior insecticides compared to the alternatives, so it makes sense not to jump to conclusions too soon. Unless Bayer really was aware of the bee problem early on and hid it, in which case the controversy is simple corporate corruption.

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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Sizik » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
omgryebread wrote:The top four crops (excluding illegal ones, citrus and root) in the US are corn, soybeans, hay (mostly alfalfa) and wheat. Of those, only alfalfa requires insect pollination.
Why did you exclude citrus? Doesn't it require pollination?


Wikipedia wrote:Many citrus varieties are seedless and are produced parthenocarpically without pollination.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby gnutrino » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:EDIT: Actually, a brief perusal on neonicotinoid pesticides... It seems the link to their use and bee die off is fairly well supported, and as such, seems like banning them is a really intelligent step. What's the controversy here?

As far as I'm aware outside of the companies that make these pesticides doing the whole "we need more research before you can ban them" routine I've heard some people expressing concern that the pesticides that replace neonicotinoids could turn out to be even worse. I'm having trouble finding decent sources for this other than "I heard it somewhere" but there's a quote at the bottom of this article that may be relevant:

Dr Adam Vanbergen wrote:If you ban the neonicotinoids, farmers are going to be compelled to use products that are much more harmful to the environment and to a wider range of animals

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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:10 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:So, a majority of EU states are in support of a partial ban on pesticides connected to bees dying off. This is a pretty big issue for obvvious reasons.

I'm going to hold off on forming any opinions for the moment. I will say that ecological arguments are the ones that are most shaking my faith in small government/classical liberalism. The tradgedy of the commons is a bitch.

Particularly interested in the opinions of people who understand more biochem than me.


Without discussing the biological merits of this, tragedy of the commons is a pretty normal issue to crop up with pollution/environmental issues. Usually, you either need to ban it outright, or find a way to refocus the costs on those who incur them. The latter, where possible, is better from a freedom perspective, with examples such as credits being used to stop acid rain...but sometimes the problem of how to track and properly enforce something gets very challenging.

I wonder if there's a good way to do so in this instance or not.

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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby addams » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:17 am UTC

Spoiler:
I may have had a flash of insight.

Polictics is Why we collectivly do one thing. Or; Not.

Science is the How we collectivly do one thing. Or; Not.

If that is True, then Religion and Govenment are....(Something.)
Something. Ethos is Religion. Ethics is Religion of Government.

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What is The Ethical Thing To Do?
First; Do not harm.

Next: Pestacides?
Chemical or Conventional?
(a fly swater is conventional. a sticky tape is conventional with chem. support.)

Pests are such pests.
Someone typed Bio Chem.
What do the chemists say?

oh, oh! Do a European Style Man Hunt!
Find those six or ten people in the entire of Europe that both know BioChem and live near, work on, and Love a farm. It could happen. There might be such a person. Those people will Know more than I do.

Those people can not know less bio chem than I have read in This Thread.
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Re: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban (Save the bees!)

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:46 am UTC

Time to store up a lot of honey. Honey futures are the big thing now.
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