Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 13, 2012

Digging The Trib. Again.

Quietly, hoping no one would notice, Scaife's braintrust gives away some free publicity. From today's Tribune-Review:
It has been more than four years since the mysterious honeybee-killing Colony Collapse Disorder emerged. And more than a few observers predicted it would devastate American agriculture.

But the disorder's effects on pollination and food remain mild. And that's thanks to resilient, ingenious beekeepers and orchard owners.

Colony Collapse Disorder has, since 2007, killed an average of 33 percent of honeybees between fall and spring. Yet as agricultural economists Randal R. Rucker and Walter N. Thurman note, there's "only slim evidence of a small economic impact."

Writing for the Property & Environment Research Center, they remind that birds and bats pollinate, too. Honey and pollinated foods remain abundant and their prices haven't soared. And beekeepers and farmers have found ways to cope.

To wit, beekeepers are splitting healthy hives to form new ones.

The economics-based perspective of Messrs. Rucker and Thurman is a welcome antidote to eyeball-grabbing gloom-and-doom headlines about Colony Collapse Disorder -- and a far more accurate way to gauge the malady's true ramifications.
Even when it's not even about politics, they can't help themselves.  Guess what we find when we dig into this  op-ed?  That's right more and more Scaife money.

From it's name, you'd think that The Property & Environment Research Center is some sort of science based environmental organization.  Guess again, my friends.  Here's how it describes itself:
PERC—the Property and Environment Research Center—is the nation’s oldest and largest institute dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets. Founded 30 years ago in Bozeman, Montana, it began as a think tank where scholars documented how government regulation and bureaucracy have led to environmental degradation. At the same time, they sought to explain how markets could be harnessed to improve environmental quality. From this work originated the idea of free market environmentalism.
And their work on CCD?  Again, from the PERC website:
Colony Collapse Disorder is one of the many episodes PERC has examined over the years, showing how people resolve real problems. Too often it is presumed when reading about environmental issues in the doom-and-gloom media that politicians are needed to save the day. In the case of colony collapse, luckily it never got to political intervention. As is often the case, the uncoordinated market quietly resolved what had been posited as a major crisis.
Good for them - a free market solution (the beekeepers just worked harder and more efficiently) to an environmental problem.  Let's all hope they got it right.  But that's beside the point, of course.

Left out of the op-ed is Scaife's financial support for PERC, which is considerable.  We're talking about $2.25 million in the first couple of decades of PERC's existence (from the early '80s to 2000) - more than any other foundation.

For an environmental think tank, that's considerable seed money, doncha think?  None of it, of course, was mentioned in the braintrust's love letter to the PERC.

Ah, the quiet subtle ways of the right wing noise machine.


EdHeath said...

Actually, property rights are an interesting component of environmental economics, although ultimately not a very important one. If your factory adjacent to my farms has some kind of toxic run off that seeps over onto my land, I could sue you based on my property rights. However, too often pollution involves the air or water (rivers and/or oceans), which technically no one owns. That's why we need special laws based on public health to control (limit) pollution.

That said, I don't think researchers ever figured out what was killing bees and bats. I mean, year, wind turbines had a bad effect on bats, but I don't think a specific link was made. Still, as you say, it sounds like a good technique (splitting healthy hives) was found to help keep the bee populations from declining (as fast, or perhaps at all).

And we got to find out about courtesy of Scaife's pet environmental research group.

rich10e said...

Colony collapse. Isn't that what happened to all the OWS colonies??