Today the European Commission voted to ban pesticides that are widely believed to be harmful to bees, The BBC reports. Last month the commission presented a proposal to ban neonicotinoid pesticides such as lothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam following alarming declines of bee populations across the globe. But the move failed to garner a meaningful majority among European states, with 13 countries in favor, nine against and five abstentions. The proposal was addressed today by an appeals committee, which voted to ban bee-harming pesticides for a period of two years on flowering crops such as corn, rapeseed, and sunflowers.
Environmentalists and lobbyists on both sides of the debate fought hard to sway the vote. Farmers and chemical producers argue that there is insufficient data to support the conclusion that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees and claim that a ban on the sale and use of seeds containing these pesticides could harm food production. Environmentalists warn that bees are responsible for one third of the world’s crops and must be protected, while the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) published a report that warns of the pesticides’ “high acute risk” to wild bee populations.
Via The BBC