Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ON bees and IWTs

Two things from the web - one sort of about bees, and one sort of about the financial benefits of Ontario's industrial wind turbine policies.

The National Post has an article by Mark Brock, Chairman of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, on the implication for his group of the MPP from Toronto Centre having studied up on the threat to bees from neonics by watching one entire TED talk.

Ontario’s neonics nightmare:
Following months of building anger, confusion and uncertainty in rural Ontario, farmers are now getting ready to place their initial seed orders for the 2016 planting season, without knowing what they will be able to plant. This is because of the Wynne government’s decision to side with special interest groups, who have a deeper issue with modern agriculture, by heavily restricting access to a critical crop management tool for corn and soybean farmers. 
Environment Minister Glen Murray has defended a truly unworkable regulation and provided a series of unhelpful and inflammatory comments to the debate, before punting the issue back to Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, who responds to questions about corn and soybean seeds by discussing the importance of supply management for dairy and poultry products.
What is most disheartening about the government’s position on the neonics-treated seeds issue is a regulation passed in the summer that requires grain farmers to have done something three months earlier to be able to farm properly next year – a genuine impossibility. This decision means that that the grain farmers that plant and grow more than five million acres of corn and soybeans in Ontario are, according to the Conference Board of Canada, expected to lose more than $600 million next year.
The entire article includes blaming the regulations on lobbying from the Ontario Beekeepers Association.

The TED talk the member from Toronto Centre saw is very good - but having mentioned it I'll note this one strikes me as better. Both are now a little dated Recent studies continue to point to neonicotinoids as a negative influence to the health of many bee species (perhaps least to the honey bee that caused the greatest concern in Ontario) - along with many other factors.

It is possible neonics are both damaging to bee health and a single scapegoat to avoid dealing with other causes including lawns and other monocultures.

A second web post which caught my eye was a news release from the Canadian Wind Energy Association:
The Ontario-focused study released today is titled Wind Dividends – An Economic Impact Analysis from Ontario's Wind Procurements. It was prepared for CanWEA by Compass Renewable Energy Consulting Inc. using an economic model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It found that in the twenty five years from 2006-2030, total economic output from wind project investment in Ontario will top $14 billion, including $110 million that will flow directly into local economies in the form of land lease payments, municipal property taxes, and community vibrancy funds.

$110 million is less than 1% of $14 billion.
8/10ths of one percent is the expected cost of getting communities to host industrial wind turbines.

As for the rest of the $14 billion, according to another member of the member from Toronto Centre club, "There is [now] a big cluster of renewable related jobs in the downtown core of Toronto.”

I guess there is a big chunk of grain jobs there too - now that the lawyers are involved.

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