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In perspective

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Indeed, scientists must determine what's behind the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) affecting honeybees. But the “bee-pocalypse” buzz has grown so loud and is so at odds with reality that it's reminiscent of the most overblown global-warming alarmism.

Writing in the Ottawa Citizen, Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” says the actual number of disorder cases “undermine much of the catastrophic rhetoric.”

Colony numbers actually were higher in 2010 than in any year since 1999, Mr. Lomborg says. And he reminds that there were reports of mass honeybee die-offs as far back as 1853.

Researchers are closing in on the disorder's cause. And it's not pesticides, as some have charged. “Recent science articles ... point clearly to mites and viruses,” Lomborg says, noting that France “has seen no marked reduction in CCD” despite its 1990s ban of pesticides blamed for it.

And as for Colony Collapse Disorder's economic effect, consumers can expect to pay all of 2.8 cents more per pound for “the worst affected commodity, almonds,” he says. (Remember, there are many other pollinators.)

Yes, the disorder is a problem. And it must be tackled. But it's not, “by any stretch of the imagination,” as bad as it is made out to be, Lomborg says.

His is a much-needed perspective that's been sorely lacking in the debate.

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