IN THE U.S.: TRUMP LED POLICIES GIVE CHEM INDUSTRY FREER REIGN
As the New York Times reported in detail in Sunday's Oct. 22 edition, it wasn't enough that Scott Pruitt was appointed to head up the EPA and forestall any positive action on climate change. The in-depth article, authored by Eric Lipton, entitled (in the print edition) Chemical Industry Insider Now Shapes Policy at EPA, details the Trump-influenced rise to power of Nancy Beck, a former executive at the American Chemistry Council, to the position of Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
|Chlorpyrifos used on California wine grape vineyards, 2015 (latest data)|
California Department of Pesticide Regulation data
Chlorpyrifos was used on 25,861 acres of wine grape vineyards in California in 2015. That's 5 percent of the vineyards. The insecticide affects the nervous system and child development.
There is no talk of any restrictions or cutbacks on glyphosate (contained in the commonly used herbicide Roundup), at the federal level, which is now officially classified by both the international cancer experts group IARC (part of WHO) and the state of California as a carcinogen, but one with less immediate observable effects.
EU: POLICIES RESPONSIVE TO DOCUMENTED HEALTH RISKS
At the same time, as the Guardian posts, in a very well informed article by Arthur Neslen entitled EU on Brink of Historic Decision on Pervasive Glyphosate Weedkiller, France has already committed to banning glyphosate entirely, and other EU nations appear poised to phase the chemical out altogether as well.
The BIG NEWS of the day is that the European Parliament, in a non binding resolution, voted 355 to 204 to phase out the herbicide glyphosate altogether by 2022. More than 100 - 111, to be precise - abstained, reflecting the controversial nature of the ban. European farmers are up in arms over the licensing of the herbicide.
See European Parliament press release here for details.
A vote by the European Commission (which would be binding) on whether or not to relicense the herbicide is still pending. France, which had said it would phase the chemical out within three years, was said to have agreed to compromise on a four year phaseout.
This move comes only a few years after the EU voted to ban the bee killing neonics, still commonly used in about 60 percent of California's wine grape vineyards. Neonics have now been found in 75% of honey sampled around the globe.
BAD PRESS FOR CALIFORNIA WINES IN WAKE OF NEONIC USE
Bee activists in Europe have already begun tweeting about California wines' use of neonics as a reason not to buy Golden State wines.
Dave Goulson, one of the leading bee scientists in the world, tweeted this out to his 8,800 followers last month.
Here's the distribution of neonics usage on California's wine grape vineyards (showing summed pounds). As you can see, its use is fairly ubiquitous.
|Neonic usage on wine grape vineyards in California, 2015. Source: California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation data|
Ben and Jerry's faced market pressure this fall after activists announced that glyphosate was found in its popular frozen desserts. It quickly announced it was launching glyphosate-free ice creams.
Wine grape growers in the U.S. should think clearly about what it will mean to consumers to be able to purchase European wines a few years from now when the continental wines are known to be grown without glyphosate.
There's a five year (give or take a year) window of opportunity for U.S. vintners to phase out glyphosate or face the consequences of a European wine industry that is sure to point out the difference between drinking American glyphosated grape wines versus European wines that are free of the carcinogenic herbicide. Organic certification takes three years of compliance in order to be awarded.
The optics are not good here for U.S. producers.