It’s been a frigid winter in much of the United States, but Greg Laden notes that the country covers only 1.5% of the Earth’s surface, and overall the planet just experienced the fourth-warmest January on record. Meanwhile global warming denialists are resorting to every rhetorical trick in the book, such as comparing their increasingly outnumbered position to that of Galileo. While it’s tempting to recount the history of science as that of a few brilliant mavericks overthrowing established consensus, Greg writes “Science hardly ever gets Galileoed, and even Galileo did not Galileo science; he Galileoed religion.” Meanwhile, on Stoat, William M. Connolley offers some explanations for denialist behavior. For many, denialism is a political position amenable to any scientific veneer. But the consequences of denying global warming are more than political: they could make life harder for generations to come. And denialists, far from being vindicated, can only look forward to being reviled, ridiculed, and forgotten.
Last week the European Union voted to ban neonicotinoid pesticides in an effort to fight colony collapse disorder among honeybees. Although research has clearly fingered these pesticides in bee behavioral problems, the ban is still rather speculative, as multiple environmental factors may be at play in CCD. Greg Laden writes “navigation over long distances, communicating with other bees about newly found hard to get and far away sources of food, mechanisms of controlling reproduction within the colony, thermoregulation of the hive, building and maintaining architecture,” and other bee necessities offer many points of vulnerability. Several EU member countries, including the UK, voted against the ban, resulting in a short-term imperative that Greg calls “more of a giant experiment than an actual ban.” Still, it’s a step toward understanding and alleviating the plight of one of humanity’s dearest friends.