Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! The research used to justify a European ban on neonicontinoid pesticides has not only been called into question but the scientists behind the research have been accused of plotting the effort to do so. According to The Australian quoting a story run by The London Times, a 2010 memorandum was leaked implicating four scientists in a discussion on how to convince EU regulators to outlaw neonic pesticides.
The note records a meeting that was held in Switzerland on June 14, 2010 that states in part:
If we are successful in getting these two papers published, there will be enormous impact, and a campaign led by [World Wildlife Fund] etc. It will be much harder for politicians to ignore a research paper and a policy forum paper in [a major scientific journal].
The scientists collaborated to have four research papers submitted to scientific journals. The author of the first paper demonstrates the impact pesticides have on birds and insects while a second paper would draw from the first and call for a ban. The researchers involved in the plot were connected to an environmentalist group known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN is one of the largest and most influential environmentalist organizations whose network involves not just environmentalist groups but also scientists as well. Back in June a report done by scientists who advise the IUCN published a report stating that neonicotinoids were causing major damage to a number of wildlife species and concluded that bees were among them. The task force’s report was then used as evidence when the IUCN lobbied EU food regulators for a ban on the pesticides.
As a result of the pesticide ban farmers reported high levels of damage to oil seed crop resulting from flea beetles. The ban comes up for review next year and hopefully the EU will scrap it. Environmentalists sought commit fraud in order to have neonicotinoid pesticides banned and enlisted activist scientists to drum up evidence to make their case. This isn’t the first time this has happened and I doubt it will be the last. Green groups seeking to ban pesticides is tantamount to an attack on our food supply. Without them, it makes it harder for farmers to defend crops from insect attacks. Fortunately, the scheme green groups use to make the case for their policies has been exposed and the credibility of the IUCN is badly damaged if not ruined. Hopefully, safeguards will be put in place in the scientific journals and legislative bodies to prevent this from ever happening again.