Monday, December 4, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Green Lobby Defeated As Germany U-Turns

Bavarian Minister Kills Germany’s Grand Coalition On Glyphosate

In this newsletter:

1) Green Lobby Defeated As German U-Turn Swings EU Vote In Favour Of Glyphosate
Deutsche Welle, 27 November 2017
2) Germany’s Glyphosate U-Turn Angers Green Lobby
Politico, 28 November 2017 

3) Bavarian Minister Kills Germany’s Grand Coalition On Glyphosate
Dirk Maxeiner, Achse des Guten, 28 November 2017
4) Glyphosate: What the Zealots Really Wanted
Risk Monger, 28 November 2017
5) Europe’s Green Madness: Ireland Faces €600m Fine for missing Climate Targets
The Times, 28 November 2017

Full details:

1) Green Lobby Defeated As German U-Turn Swings EU Vote In Favour Of Glyphosate
Deutsche Welle, 27 November 2017

EU member states have voted to extend the license for controversial weedkiller glyphosate. Germany’s approval was crucial in the vote, but it could derail coalition talks between Merkel’s conservative bloc and the SPD.

People wearing Juncker mask behind a banner saying democracy vs. glyphosate (Reuters/Y. Herman)

An appeal committee of the EU’s executive arm has granted an extension of the license for the weed killer after a motion earlier this month failed to produce the necessary votes.

Of the 28 member states, 18 voted in favor of the extension, nine voted against and one abstained. At least 16 votes were required to renew glyphosate’s license. The weedkiller is best known for its use in Monsanto-brand weedkiller Roundup.

Germany’s decision to approve the extension prompted a furious reaction from Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, and could upset coalition talks between Merkel’s conservative bloc and Hendricks’ Social Democrats (SPD).

The European Commission, which tabled the extension, said in a statement: “The proposal voted today enjoys the broadest possible support by the Member States while ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment in line with EU legislation. The Commission will not adopt the decision before the current authorization expires on 15 December…”

Germany’s SPD environment minister ‘furious’

According to EU circles, Germany was among the countries that voted in favor of the extension, after having abstained in the previous round of voting. Berlin reportedly changed its mind after receiving assurances from the Commission on animal welfare and private use of the weedkiller.

However, Hendricks responded furiously to Germany’s decision, accusing Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt, from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), of going behind her back. The SPD environment minister said that she and Schmidt had discussed on Monday morning “that I continue to be against an extension to the use of glyphosate, even other specific conditions.” Both ministers had agreed that Germany’s representative in Brussels, a delegate from Schmidt’s Federal Ministry for Agriculture, would once again abstain from voting, said Hendricks.

Full story

2) Germany’s Glyphosate U-Turn Angers Green Lobby
Politico, 28 November 2017 

An EU vote approving the use of a controversial weedkiller for another five years triggered an immediate backlash from Paris and Rome, and is poisoning German politics on the eve of grand coalition talks.

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.

Activists outside the European Commission in Brussels protesting against glyphosate | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

Bad blood in Berlin

The domestic political fall-out in Germany was equally startling.

Just as politicians from Merkel’s conservatives are seen to be inching toward talks on renewing a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, the two factions came to blows over the glyphosate vote.

Moments after the food committee made its decision, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks from the Social Democrats angrily asserted that she had been double-crossed on Berlin’s position by conservative Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.

In an unusually damning statement, she said Schmidt had confirmed in a text message to her that Germany would abstain. Simultaneously, a different order to vote in favor of renewing the herbicide was sent to officials in Brussels attending the vote.

“No one who is interested in trust building between partners can behave like this,” Hendricks said, adding that Germany should have abstained due to ongoing disagreements between the environment and agriculture ministries.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the SPD group in the Bundestag, called Schmidt’s move “a massive breach of trust” and said: “I really wonder whether Merkel has her people under control.”

Martin Häusling, a Green lawmaker from Germany in the European Parliament, laid the blame for the decision on the fact that his party was no longer likely to play a part in the next coalition government. […]

Full story

3) Bavarian Minister Kills Germany’s Grand Coalition On Glyphosate
Dirk Maxeiner, Achse des Guten, 28 November 2017

The EU’s vote for Glyphosate is a victory for reason and modern agriculture and a bitter defeat for the Green Panic Complex.


German Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt (CSU) and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU)

Politics is largely the art of playing with boundaries. A pretty nice example of this was provided by German Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt (CSU). In Brussels yesterday he voted to extend the approval of the plant protection product glyphosate by five years.

Eighteen of the 28 EU countries voted in favor of a proposal by the EU Commission, nine states voted against, one abstained. According to EU circles, Germany was among the countries that voted in favor of the extension, after having abstained in the previous round of voting. The EU Commission now wants to implement the decision quickly. This is a highly symbolic decision.

Background: The ecological-industrial complex in Germany wanted to use the prohibition of Glyphosate — a difficult to replace product in modern agriculture — as a lever to bring about another  “Wende” (turnaround): the “Agrarwende” (‘agricultural turnaround’) would put an end to modern agriculture in Germany so that the German people would have to rely exclusively on organic food produced on German soil, sustainable and for at least the next 1,000 years. That was already firmly priced into the Jamaica coalition — an idea as crazy as the Energiewende.

Yet Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt wore the dagger in his garment and stabbed the Fake-News in the back. Accordingly, the green losers are frothing like a shaken bottle of the carbonated eco-drink Bionade.

SPD Minister of the Environment Barbara Hendricks accused her CSU colleague Christian Schmidt of breach of trust. She said she “still disagrees with renewing the approval of Glyphosate”. Regardless, the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture in Brussels voted in favor of Glyphosate’s extension.  Whoever was interested in “confidence building between possible coalition partners”, could not behave like this, said Hendricks.

“Glyphosate becomes trust-destroyer”

The SPD’s health spokesman Karl Lauterbach called the vote a “scandal”, while the leader of the Social Democrat’s  parliamentary party also criticised the decision. “I regard this vote as a massive betrayal,” an infuriated Andrea Nahles said, adding that the decision had “not been discussed “. “We really find it a heavy burden. I wonder if Mrs. Merkel has her people under control.”

She added: The crisis of confidence between the SPD and the CSU-led ministry could further undermine the already difficult attempts to form a German government. “Glyphosate is destroying the trust,” wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

I guess that was exactly the intention. Apparently neither Mrs. Merkel nor CSU leader Mr. Seehofer have their troops sufficiently under control. It is hard to read the games being played behind closed doors, but it is clear that a remote-controlled torpedo was ignited although it is not known exactly where it will strike.

In any case, the statement by Minister of Agriculture Schmidt is characterised by humorous innocence: He justified the German voting behavior in Brussels with the argument that the European Commission had “anyway opted for the renewal of the approval of Glyphosate”. Well, in that case Schmidt could have abstained and everything would be fine. But that’s exactly what he did not want. He obviously wanted to make a point. Against what and for what is not entirely clear.

The beauty of this political brouhaha, however, 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.

Translation GWPF

Full post (in German)

4) Glyphosate: What the Zealots Really Wanted
Risk Monger, 28 November 2017
David Zaruk

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.

The European Commission was dragged through regulatory hell for 30 months on this dossier for many reasons and it had better clean up its process. While glyphosate may have been a regulatory watershed, it has become a benchmark for the zealots to push harder on the coming policy dossiers. The Commission survived this Age of Stupid exercise, just barely, but the activists have a larger strategy in place and this process has pushed them closer to their goal.

What did the zealots really want?

Destroy the EU Regulatory Risk Assessment Process

The EU regulatory risk assessment process is meant to be evidence-based. It relies on a gathering of all available research data and scientific advice to allow for a clear decision based on science (usually via committees). Where data is insufficient, the industries involved with the substance or technology need to provide or produce further data.

If a new drone technology is developed, for example, in order for the manufacturers to put the product on the market, they would need to provide the relevant European Commission research agency with the required data to properly advise the European Commission on how to manage the risks. If there is insufficient data or the evidence is questionable, the risk assessment agency may reject the authorisation and advise for precaution.

In the case of the risk assessment process for chemicals and pesticides, producers need to regularly provide data and produce evidence to keep existing substances on the market and mountains of research (in many cases, over 10,000 pages of data requirements) to register new substances. The burden of proof is on companies to prove that the product is safe. Industry follows GLP – good laboratory practice – a series of quality practices to ensure that all research is reproducible, consistent and uniform. The role of the regulator is to ensure the data provided is correct, consistent and without data gaps. The research cost burden is put on industry – in most cases they have the best scientists and the most advanced technology – as they stand to benefit from the introduction of their innovations.

With glyphosate, the activists claim that the forty years of data provided by industry and the 3300 studies could not be trusted, quite simply because there was one company involved, Monsanto, which has become the source of their irrational rage. In the Age of Stupid, that seemed to be enough to want to scrap the entire European risk assessment system.

Full post

5) Europe’s Green Madness: Ireland Faces €600m Fine For Missing EU Climate Targets
The Times, 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.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that comprehensive action must be taken after its latest report showed that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 3.5 per cent last year on top of a similar rise in 2015. The increases, caused by the growing economy, have undone all the progress made since 2009. The EPA found increases across three main sectors: agriculture, which contributed 2.7 per cent more emissions, transport, which emitted 3.7 per cent more, and the energy industry, which was responsible for a 6.1 per cent rise….

A report compiled by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2014 estimated that missing the EU greenhouse gas emissions targets could cost Ireland €90 million. There will also be a cost if Ireland does not meet its 2020 renewable energy target. The 2014 report estimated this could be between €140 million and €600 million. Since then government efforts have been undone by the failure to separate greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth.

Transport emissions increased by 13 per cent in the past four years as the economy and employment grew and showed no sign of falling in the short term. The 3.7 per cent increase in energy emissions was also due to economic growth and less favourable weather conditions for renewable energy.

Full story (subscription required)  

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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