After more than two years of fierce political debate over whether glyphosate causes cancer, EU countries on Monday voted to renew the license of the world’s most common herbicide thanks to a dramatic U-turn from Berlin. Germany ultimately gave the green light after months of abstaining on the issue. Most recently, Berlin’s envoys said that their hands were tied because Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives had been exploring a coalition deal with the fiercely anti-pesticide Greens. Those talks fell apart a week ago, freeing Merkel to approve glyphosate. —Politico, 28 November 2017
The beauty of the political brouhaha is that it produces exceptionally positive side effects. It is simply a victory for reason and modern agriculture and a bitter defeat for the Green Panic-Complex. Should a grand coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) were to come about, the whole affair would be happily off the table. But in five years, when another EU vote over Glyphosate is expected, the political conditions in Germany and much of Europe will probably have changed so much that ideological fantasies of turning back the clock will no longer have much chance. The window of opportunity is closing which explains the dismay of the green lobby which, for the first time, senses that its agenda may be dashed for good. –Dirk Maxeiner, Achse des Guten, 28 November 2017
Today we celebrate a hollow victory. The European Union renewed its authorisation of glyphosate for five years. The science was clearer than clear – the herbicide is one of the safest substances on the market. All but one research or regulatory agency gave glyphosate an unequivocal approval (and that one, IARC, was seriously conflicted and corrupted). For 40 years farmers have relied on glyphosate (off-patent, inexpensive and effective), giving them the means now to develop sustainable farming with no-till and complex cover cropping. Glyphosate is indeed the herbicide of the century and the very thought of banning it seems absurd. So why couldn’t the European Commission renew glyphosate for 15 years as originally planned? As the science was clear, then the regulatory risk assessment process should have been simple. But it was never about the science, facts or data. It was never about the benefits to farmers, the environment and consumers. It was about something much larger. –David Zaruk, Risk Monger, 28 November 2017
Ireland’s failure to tackle climate change was laid bare yesterday in a report that showed greenhouse gas emissions had risen by 7 per cent since 2015 despite policies aimed at reducing them. The country is likely to face multimillion-euro fines for failing to meet EU 2020 targets or will have to spend similar amounts buying credits from member states who overachieve on their targets. A report compiled by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2014 estimated this could be between €140 million and €600 million. —The Times, 28 November 2017
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