Recent Media

Keine Angst vor 5G

Panikmache über angebliche Gefahren der 5G-Technologie kommt aus verschiedenen Ecken. Das sollte dem Fortschritt nicht im Wege stehen.

Jede Technologie bringt ein gewisses Maß an Skepsis mit sich. Ob es nun um die Entdeckung der Elektrizität, die Erfindung des Zuges oder die Ankunft der Mikrowelle als Ergänzung unserer Küchenausstattung geht: Kritische Stimmen werfen wichtige Sicherheitsfragen auf. Das 5G-Netz (steht für „Fünfte-Generation-Netzwerk”) bildet dabei keine Ausnahme. Irgendwann muss man jedoch die wissenschaftlichen Ergebnisse akzeptieren.

Wenn Sie nach „5G” und „Gesundheit” suchen, finden Sie mehrere Artikel, die Ihnen keine genauen Antworten auf die gesundheitlichen Auswirkungen des Netzwerks geben, aber verschiedene fatalistische Szenarien ausmalen. Hier sind einige Beispiele:

Dubiose Webseiten wie „QI-Technologies”, die ihren Namen nach eigener Angaben aus der „chinesischen Medizin” beziehen, veröffentlichen noch dubiosere Artikel zum Thema 5G. Hier heißt es: „Wenn Ihr Kind hier und jetzt von einer ‚Suppe‘ hochfrequenter elektromagnetischer Strahlung bombardiert wird, könnten sich die Langzeitschäden dieser Strahlenbelastung erst in etwa 20 bis 30 Jahren äußern – wenn es bereits zu spät ist, gegenzusteuern.”

„Die bestehenden Grenzwerte machen Gesundheitsschäden unmöglich.“

Was sollte man also über 5G-Strahlung wissen? Die Art der Strahlung, die bei der drahtlosen Kommunikation verwendet wird, liegt im Funkwellenbereich. Diese Wellen tragen viel weniger Energie als ionisierende Strahlung, als Röntgenstrahlen und kosmische Strahlung, die chemische Bindungen in der DNA aufbrechen und zu Krebs führen können.

In den Vereinigten Staaten regelt die Federal Communications Commission (FCC) die elektromagnetischen Wellenfrequenzen, die als Nichtionisierende Strahlung bekannt sind. Darunter fallen Radio- und Mikrowellen, die im regulierten Bereich für den Menschen ungefährlich sind.

Der einzige bekannte biologische Effekt, der durch Funkfrequenzen entsteht, ist Erwärmung: Ihre Körpertemperatur kann steigen. Die bestehenden Grenzwerte der FCC sind jedoch so bemessen, dass das Risiko einer Überhitzung vermieden werden kann, und dass im Bereich unter dieser – nach den geltenden Vorschriften nicht möglichen – Erwärmung keine biologischen Folgen drohen. Einfach ausgedrückt: Die bestehenden Grenzwerte machen Gesundheitsschäden unmöglich.

Gegner der 5G-Technologie argumentieren, dass die hohen Frequenzen der Technologie neue Telefone und Mobilfunktürme zu einer außerordentlichen Gefahr werden lassen. Die Wahrheit ist genau das Gegenteil, wie Wissenschaftler erklären. Je höher die Radiofrequenz, desto weniger dringt sie in die menschliche Haut ein und reduziert die Belastung der inneren Organe des Körpers, einschließlich des Gehirns.

„5G zu verhindern wäre für den Fortschritt verheerend.“

5G zu verhindern wäre für den Fortschritt verheerend. Das Netzwerk bietet größeres Datenvolumen, geringe Latenzzeit, schnellere Datenübertragung, mehr Energieeffizienz (leert Handybatterien nicht so schnell), und bessere Verbindungen auch dort, wo normalerweise kein Netz verfügbar ist.

Was nützen also die Mythen gegen 5G? Auf der einen Seite haben wir die allgemeine und regelmäßige Skepsis von fortschrittsfeindlichen Umweltschützern und unternehmensfeindlichen Verschwörungstheoretikern. Die Einwände solcher Menschen können grundsätzlich nicht durch wissenschaftliche Beweise widerlegt werden.

Auf der anderen Seite sehen wir Skepsis in der Bevölkerung, die von verschiedenen Medien, darunter Russia Today, organisiert wird. Für die Vereinigten Staaten berichtet die New York Times, dass RT America soziale Netzwerke mit Anti-5G-Meldungen überflutet. Die Idee sei angeblich, den Fortschritt in den USA aufzuhalten – zugunsten Russlands. Ein einfacher Zusammenhang besteht darin, dass Fehlinformationen oft konkurrierenden  Unternehmen zum Vorteil gereichen.

„Falschmeldungen über 5G helfen Autobauern, die auf WLAN setzen, und Staaten, die die USA und Europa technologisch überholen wollen.“

Das haben wir in der Diskussion über die Automobilanbindung deutlich gesehen. Dabei geht es um die Kommunikation von Fahrzeugen untereinander und mit der Infrastruktur. 5G gegen WLAN: Die Hersteller führten den Lobbykampf in Brüssel, um die Europäische Union zu überzeugen, die eine oder die andere der beiden Technologien zu unterstützen, anstatt einfach neutral zu bleiben. BMW und die Deutsche Telekom hatten intensiv für 5G geworben, es setzten sich am Ende allerdings Unternehmen wie Volkswagen und Renault durch. Im Juli veröffentlichte die deutsche Bundesregierung dann ihre Stellungnahme. Sie bereitet sich darauf vor, den Einsatz der Wi-Fi-Technologie für den Anschluss vernetzter Autos zu unterstützen, da die 5G-Technologie noch nicht ausgereift genug sei, um Ergebnisse zu liefern. In einem von der Bundesregierung produziertem Dokument, das Politico vorliegt, heißt es: „Die Industrie muss sich auf Technologien konzentrieren, die kurzreichende, Wi-Fi-basierte Signale nutzen“. Einige Automobilhersteller schlugen sich daraufhin auf die Seite der Bundesregierung, während andere der Ansicht waren, dass Berlin stattdessen die 5G-Technologie unterstützen sollte.

Für WLAN sind Infrastruktur-Investitionen beim Straßenbau allerdings ebenfalls notwendig, während 5G-Technologie vom Roll-out des gesamten Netzes profitieren kann und keine weiteren Kosten produzieren würde. Ob nun 5G oder WLAN bei Autos (oder anderen verbundenen Produkten) in der Effizienz besondere Unterschiede aufweisen, sollten die Verbraucher beurteilen, nicht der Staat.

Der Kampf zwischen Lobbyisten wird in Brüssel, Berlin, Paris usw. geführt und nutzt traditionelle Kommunikationsmedien: Unternehmen und Staaten scheinen sich in den Kampf  Neu gegen Alt einzumischen, anstelle Verbraucher als faire Richter entscheiden zu lassen. Falschmeldungen über 5G helfen Autobauern, die auf WLAN setzen, und Staaten, die die USA und Europa technologisch überholen wollen. Deshalb ist es notwendig, eine überprüfbare Faktenbasis zu schaffen, um auf gleichem Wissensstand zu diskutieren. Bei 5G wird diese Debatte entscheidend für die technologische Zukunft Europas sein.


Article originally posted here.

#Environment needs saving through innovation, not starvation

As the winter times come closer, people resume their arguments about the thermostat at home. While there is great convenience that comes with heating, it also comes at an environmental cost. Environmental protection and development are, undoubtedly, both a necessary and noble cause, and while we may sometimes disagree with the fearmongering or reactionism that comes with eco-politics, it’s a wonderful thing to see consumer preferences gravitate towards greener alternatives, writes Bill Wirtz.

It is through changes in consumer attitudes that force innovations to become safer, more sustainable, and just generally ‘green-er’. The same however also applies to price: as companies attempt to reduce prices, their incentives force them towards the use of less energy. This is what we’ve seen happen to cars, which have seen fuel efficiency double since the 70s, or air travel, which has seen 45% less fuel burn since the 1960s.

The beauty of consumer-driven innovation is that it comes naturally through the marketplace. In the area of food, we’ve seen immense strives towards safer, more affordable, and less energy-consuming crops. With current agro-tech innovations, like through gene-editing, this becomes a promising prospect. However, the political world seems unimpressed with innovation, and more interested in reacting to fear-mongering. Nowhere are the dangerous effects of this felt more than in the developing world. Advanced countries with good intentions ignore the needs and abilities of poorer nations in the name of pretended environmental protection.

Take, for instance, a recent conference, jointly held in Kenya by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Preservation Center. The ‘First International Conference on Agroecology Transforming Agriculture and Food Systems in Africa’ aims to implement the policies of ‘Agroecology’ throughout the continent.

The “agroecology” touted by the conference refers to a more ‘organic’ style of farming, one that is free (or, at least, less dependent upon) synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. In many parts of Africa, where this conference had its attention, this could have devastating. It should come as no surprise that agroecological methods of farming are, typically far less efficient than the modern, mechanised alternative (a conclusion reached in a study performed by agroecological advocates).

On a continent that has long been plagued with poor economic growth and, far more seriously, severe famines and food shortages, taking the risk of switching to less-productive methods in the name of the environment would be blind to the necessities of a developing economy. Viewed simply, one could easily label this worldview and prescription as arrogant. If people in developed countries (or anywhere else for that matter) wish to establish an organic, agroecological farm to promote a more environmentally-friendly system, then more power to them. But we simply cannot expect this to apply to developing countries such as those in Africa. Bringing sustainable practices and technologies to the developing world should be achieved through increased scientific innovation, stimulating economic growth and development.

Following Brexit, the UK will be in an ideal position to do this without the restraints of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and biotech regulations, which has made trade with farmers in developing countries, as well innovative crops domestically, impossible to achieve. While the hearts of those arguing for “agroecology” are certainly in the right place, we need to understand that their suggestions threaten the chances of developing economies to grow and develop.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

$1.1 billion worth of cannabis sold in Canada’s first year of legalization

One year after the legalization of recreational cannabis, Cannabis Benchmarks, a company that tracks cannabis prices, estimates that Canadian licensed producers have sold approximately 1.1 billion dollars worth of pot in the past 12 months, the equivalent to 105,000 kilograms—enough to fill almost two rail freight cars.

According to Statistics Canada, licensed retail outlets sold more than $100 million worth of pot in July, the fifth straight month that sales hit an all-time high.

However, some industry analysts believe those numbers would be much higher if not for the many stumbling blocks the industry has encountered in the first year of legalization. They cite several problems, ranging from non-compliant packaging to the failure of some producers to increase cultivation capacity in time to meet demand. But according to many analysts, the number one problem has been the regulators.

An article published by the Motley Fool, a financial services company, said federal regulators were not prepared to handle legalization of recreational cannabis. Health Canada had more than 800 cultivation, processing, and sales applications when the year started, but took several months or more to review them, the article stated. That “kept cultivators, processors, and retailers waiting in the wings to meet [consumer] demand.”

“There are many risks involved in overseeing cannabis and Health Canada tries to manage risk,” Alanna Sokic, a senior consultant for Global Public Affairs, told Leafly.  “The industry runs at breakneck speed and government does not.”

“Canadian licensed producers have sold approximately $1.1 billion worth of cannabis in the past 12 months, the equivalent to 105,000 kilograms—enough to fill almost two rail freight cars.”

Cannabis Benchmarks

Sales figures should be higher

Analysts have criticized some provinces for being slow to approve retail licenses. In Ontario and Quebec, for example, there are so few brick-and-mortar stores that many consumers are faced with the prospect of buying cannabis online—an unappealing option for the many consumers who want to see and smell their product before buying it legally—or getting it on the illicit market.

Many of them have chosen the latter route. The amount of legal cannabis Canadians have purchased in the past year (105,000 kilos) represents just 11.4% of the total amount they are thought to consume annually.

Canada’s most populous province has completely botched the rollout of the cannabis retail market according to analysts. After Doug Ford became premier of Ontario in June 2018, he announced that his government would award cannabis retail licenses through a lottery system. Two lotteries have been held so far.

This system has been fraught with problems, including inexperienced winners and concerns that some of them have sold their licenses on the illicit market.

“If you needed a brain surgeon, would you pick one through a lottery? Cannabis retail is best left to those who are knowledgeable and reliable,” BCMI Cannabis Report author Chris Damas told Leafly.

There are also indications the lottery system has been gamed by big players. A physical address was required for each entry. In the second lottery, in August, the average number of entries per each winning address was 24. One address was entered into the lottery 173 times. Each entry cost $75.

The amount of legal cannabis Canadians have purchased in the past year (105,000 kilos) represents just 11.4% of the total amount they are thought to consume annually.

Some of the applicants are so unhappy with the system they have taken their case to court. Eleven of them won the right to apply for a retail license through the second lottery but were later disqualified for not providing required documents by the regulator’s deadline. They responded by asking the court for a judicial review. The province’s plan to hold another lottery was suspended until Sept. 27, when the court dismissed the applicants’ request.

There are now just 24 retail outlets in a province that has a population of more than 14 million. “Ontario could support a thousand stores—and that’s a conservative estimate,” Damas told Leafly. “The provincial government blew it. If Ontario was punching at the weight it should be, Canadian sales numbers would be much higher.”

The Ford government attributes the slow rollout of retail to supply issues at the federal level. They say stores might go out of business if they open while there is limited cannabis supply. But as David Clement of the Consumer Choice Center stated in The Globe and Mail, the province doesn’t have the same approach when it comes to granting alcohol licenses for restaurants, bars, or clubs even though there is a high failure rate (60%) for these businesses.

Also, all the provinces are dealing with the same supply issues, yet some have done a much better job of establishing a cannabis retail market. For example, there are more than 300 retail outlets in Alberta, even though the province’s population is just 4.3 million—less than a third the size of Ontario’s population. Alberta outlets sold $124 million dollars’ worth of cannabis in the first eight months of legalization while Ontario outlets sold $121 million.

They key to Alberta’s success is its comparatively free-market regime, say analysts. The province’s regulatory body is the sole distributor of recreational cannabis just as it is in Ontario. However, in Alberta, anyone can apply for a license to open up a retail location. The opening of retail outlets is driven by market demand.

‘Gong show’ will get sorted out

“Sales numbers are what can be expected when some provinces (in the Prairies) embrace a free-market model and others don’t,” Damas said. “It has been a fiasco in certain provinces,” he said, referring to Ontario as well as Quebec, which has 22 stores and a population of eight million.

But Damas and other analysts are optimistic about the future of cannabis retail in Canada. Economist Trevor Tombe at the University of Calgary said in a tweet that “the gong show” in Ontario will get sorted out. Indeed, the province just announced it was launching consultations aimed at getting the private sector more involved in cannabis storage and delivery.

“Sales numbers are what can be expected when some provinces (in the Prairies) embrace a free-market model and others don’t.”

Chris Damas, BCMI Cannabis Report author

“If you look across Canada you will see a patchwork of regulation. Some provinces are performing much better than others because they have prioritized access,” Sokic told Leafly. “In the past year, some lessons have been learned. Provinces who haven’t prioritized market access are considering it so that they can accomplish their objectives. I think the future looks bright.”

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Une nouvelle initiative européenne pro-science mérite le support public

Une nouvelle initiative citoyenne de l’UE organisée par des étudiants exige un processus d’autorisation scientifique rationalisée dans le domaine de l’agriculture. Ils méritent d’être entendus et soutenus.

Le 25 juillet, la Commission européenne a enregistré l’initiative citoyenne “Grow Scientific Progress : Crops Matter !” (“grandir l’innovation scientifique: les cultures sont importantes”). Deux étudiantes sont nommées comme représentantes, à savoir Martina Helmlinger et Lavinia Scudiero. Helmlinger est sur le point de terminer sa maîtrise en “sécurité de la chaîne alimentaire” à l’Institut des sciences et technologies alimentaires de l’Université des ressources naturelles et des sciences de la vie de Vienne, et possède une licence en biotechnologie. Scudiero est diplômée en médecine vétérinaire, elle s’intéresse à la sécurité alimentaire, et elle poursuit actuellement une maîtrise en sécurité alimentaire, le droit alimentaire et affaires réglementaires à l’Université de Wageningen.

Dans l’argumentaire de l’initiative, les deux étudiants soutiennent que la directive 2001/18/CE de l’UE est dépassée, et suggèrent un mécanisme automatique pour la réviser. L’objectif est de rationaliser la procédure d’autorisation de mise sur le marché, désormais longue et coûteuse, et de permettre davantage de progrès scientifiques dans l’UE. Les évaluations individuelles, par opposition aux définitions générales, aident à permettre l’arrivée de nouvelles technologies sur le marché.

Comme l’explique Marcel Kuntz, directeur de recherche au CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) à Grenoble : “L’agro-biotechnologie n’est pas un mode de production agricole, c’est un moyen d’accroître la biodiversité. Ce qui est important, c’est ce qu’on fait d’un produit, pas comment on l’a obtenu.” Kuntz se plaint aussi des attaques contre les scientifiques et que la sûreté des innovations scientifiques est définie à travers un débat politique.

Le débat sur l’innovation en agriculture a été pris en otage par des communicateurs professionnels qui ont tout fait pour calomnier l’innovation technologique. C’est un phénomène médiatique problématique — pour chaque innovation on nous parle longuement des risques potentiels (souvent imaginaires), en oubliant les opportunités énormes.

Cela affecte même les outils de communication des institutions de l’UE, visible dans le débat des OGM. Sur le site web “Legislative Train Schedule” (“calendrier du train législatif”) du Parlement européen, les rapporteurs des directives sont censés expliquer de manière neutre la ligne d’action législative. C’est un outil qui transmet l’information aux citoyens de façon non partisane.

Frédérique Ries, membre belge du Parlement européen, n’a pas pris ce travail très au sérieux. Dans un article sur le site résumant la directive (UE) 2015/412, elle écrit :

“Le Parlement européen a également insisté pour que les États membres, dans lesquels des cultures GM sont cultivées, évitent la contamination transfrontalière en établissant des zones tampons le long de leurs frontières avec les États membres voisins dans lesquels les OGM ne sont pas cultivés.”

La vérité est que des organisations comme Greenpeace mentent sur les OGM depuis des décennies. Ils expliquent que les OGM représentent des “risques inacceptables”, sans mettre en évidence des preuves scientifiques soulignant ce risque. Ils écrivent par exemple:

“Les cultures génétiquement modifiées n’ont pas leur place dans l’agriculture durable. Ils comportent des risques inacceptables créés par le processus de génie génétique.”

Les mêmes ONG qui se sont assurées que l’UE n’utiliserait pas de cultures génétiquement modifiées ont également célébré une affaire devant la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne, dans laquelle il est dit que le génie génétique devrait être traité de la même manière que les OGM. Greenpeace décrit le génie génétique comme “OGM par la porte de derrière”.

Le chef de l’Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments (EFSA), Dr. Bernhard Url, explique qu’il ne faut pas “tirer sur la science” si on n’aime pas les résultats en question. Il ajoute que “si la science ne devient qu’une opinion de plus, qui peut être négligée en faveur de la superstition, cela comporte un risque énorme pour la société”.

Il a raison. Le génie génétique offre déjà de nombreux avantages à l’amélioration génétique, par exemple en créant des aliments sans allergènes. Imaginez l’immense changement pour les personnes atteintes d’allergies potentiellement mortelles, si nous parvenons à créer des arachides sans allergènes ou du blé sans gluten. Cependant, ces applications dépassent le domaine de l’agriculture. Le génie génétique peut aider à combattre le virus Zika, à prévenir la transmission du paludisme, à guérir la leucémie et montre des recherches prometteuses dans les domaines de la maladie d’Alzheimer, de la maladie de Huntington, du cancer du col utérin et du cancer du poumon.

Le génie génétique risque d’être victime de la même peur non scientifique que les OGM. D’autres continents innovent alors que l’Europe s’enfonce dans un fossé technologique. 

L’initiative Grow Scientific Progress peut aider à aller à l’encontre de cette évolution. L’Union européenne doit s’ouvrir à l’innovation scientifique afin de saisir les opportunités passionnantes de demain.


Publié à l’origine ici:

ATR Leads Coalition Opposed to Pelosi’s 95% Drug Tax

ATR today released a coalition letter signed by 70 groups and activists in opposition to the Pelosi drug pricing proposal to create a 95 percent tax on pharmaceutical manufacturers.

As noted in the letter, this bill calls for a retroactive tax on sales that is imposed in addition to existing against income taxes:

Under Speaker Pelosi’s plan, pharmaceutical manufacturers would face a retroactive tax of up to 95 percent on the total sales of a drug (not net profits). This means that a manufacturer selling a medicine for $100 will owe $95 in tax for every product sold with no allowance for the costs incurred.

The tax is used to enforce price controls on medicines that will crush innovation and distort the existing supply chain as the signers note:

“The alternative to paying this tax is for the companies to submit to strict government price controls on the medicines they produce. While the Pelosi bill claims this is “negotiation,” the plan is more akin to theft.”

This proposal will create significant harm to American innovation to the detriment of jobs, wages, and patients, as the letter notes:

”[The Pelosi] proposal would crush the pharmaceutical industry, deter innovation, and dramatically reduce the ability of patients to access life-saving medicines.

The full letter is found below:


Dear Members of Congress:

We write in opposition to the prescription drug pricing bill offered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would impose an excise tax of up to a 95 percent on hundreds of prescription medicines. 

In addition to this new tax, the bill imposes new government price controls that would decimate innovation and distort supply, leading to the same lack of access to the newest and best drugs for patients in other countries that impose these price controls.

Under Speaker Pelosi’s plan, pharmaceutical manufacturers would face a retroactive tax of up to 95 percent on the total sales of a drug (not net profits). This means that a manufacturer selling a medicine for $100 will owe $95 in tax for every product sold with no allowance for the costs incurred. No deductions would be allowed, and it would be imposed on manufacturers in addition to federal and state income taxes they must pay.

The alternative to paying this tax is for the companies to submit to strict government price controls on the medicines they produce. While the Pelosi bill claims this is “negotiation,” the plan is more akin to theft.

If this tax hike plan were signed into law, it would cripple the ability of manufacturers to operate and develop new medicines.

It is clear that the Pelosi plan does not represent a good faith attempt to lower drug prices. Rather, it is a proposal that would crush the pharmaceutical industry, deter innovation, and dramatically reduce the ability of patients to access life-saving medicines.

We urge you to oppose the Pelosi plan that would impose price controls and a 95 percent medicine tax on the companies that develop and produce these medicines.

Sincerely, 

Fred Cyrus Roeder​​​​​​​
Managing Director, Consumer Choice Center

and other 70 organizations, business CEOs and activists.


Originally published here.

Democratic Presidential Debate: How did consumer choice fare?

With the 2020 presidential race running on full steam, 12 Democratic candidates for president participated in yet another televised debate last night in Ohio.

Considering consumers will be directly impacted by many of the policies mentioned, here’s a breakdown by categories mentioned by the candidates and our own spin on how it relates to consumer choice.

HEALTHCARE

Mayor Pete Buttigieg makes some good points on keeping competition for healthcare insurance, blasting Sen. Elizabeth Warren for not being straight on whether taxes will go up with her Medicare For All plan.

Buttigieg: “No plan has been laid to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare For All plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”

He prefers “Medicare For All Who Want It,” continuing to allow private healthcare insurance and a public option for those who want it. As we’ve written before, more choice in healthcare is what should be championed.

And Buttigieg had another great line:

“I don’t think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice…I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage to everybody is to obliterate private plans, kicking 150 million Americans off their insurance in four short years.”

Warren, on the other hand, calls her plan the “gold standard,” again stating that while taxes on the wealthy will go up, costs for middle-class families will go down. Here, she’s taking an objective view of the total costs to families, mixing taxes and healthcare expenses. Of course, that’s very convoluted, and doesn’t leave much clarity to consumers.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is more honest: “I do think it’s appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up…but the tax increase they pay will be substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: “We owe it to the American people to tell them where we’re going to send the invoice…we need to have a public option.” She calls Medicare For All a “pipe dream,” calling for an expansion of Obamacare.

Former Vice President Joe Biden: “The [Medicare For All] plan is going cost at least $30 trillion over 10 years.” He similarly wants to just expand Obamacare.

Overall, it seems there is still a lot of support for competition in healthcare, and that is to be celebrated. Medicare For All, which would remove all aspects of competition and free choice, only got moderate support by all except Sanders and Warren.

CANNABIS LEGALIZATION

The idea of a smart cannabis policy was quite absent from the debate. That’s quite a mishap, considering the ongoing issue of federal cannabis prohibition while select states continue with their own version of legalization.

The only two mentions came in the context of the opioid crisis, by Sen. Cory Booker and Andrew Yang. They only mentioned that cannabis could be used as an alternative for those addicted to opioids.

What about the very real fight to have smart cannabis policy implemented at the federal level? We hope this is covered more in future debates.

AUTOMATION

The idea of a federal job guarantee was fresh on the lips of Bernie Sanders, but that was shot down by most people on the stage.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang hit it out of the park with this one:

“Most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. And saying that is the vision of the economy of the 21st Century is, to me, is not a vision that most Americans would not embrace.”

He promotes his Freedom Dividend, offering $1,000 a month to every American as a replacement for welfare, as a way to boost consumer spending, and help workers who lose their jobs due to automation.

There is much that could be written about whether or not this universal basic income would be good for consumers, but it is at least a different policy debated by mainstream presidential candidates on a national state.

TECH REGULATION

There was much room for beating up tech companies that offer great services for ordinary consumers. That includes services like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. We’ve written about the trust-busters and their desire to usurp consumer choice before.

Warren led the salvo, using a quip about separating the umpire and the baseball team as some kind of strange metaphor about Amazon selling its own products on its website. Enter her zinger: “We need to enforce our anti-trust laws, break up these giant companies that are dominating big tech, big pharma, all of them.” Pretty clear there.

Yang: “Using a 20th-century anti-trust framework will not work. We need new solutions and a new toolkit…the best way to fight back against tech companies is to say that our data is our property. Our data is worth more than oil.” He made the case for his Value Added Tax on digital services as well, which we’ll examine below.

Sen. Kamala Harris pleaded her fellow candidates to support her call to get Twitter to ban President Donald Trump from Twitter but got no love.

The person who made the most consumer-friendly response about tech regulation was, surprisingly, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

“Treat them as the publishers as we are. But I don’t think it’s the role of the president to specify which companies will be broken. That’s something Donald Trump has done…we need tough rules of the road, protect your personal information, privacy, and data, and be fearless in the face of these tech giants.”

He was one of the only people in the debate to mention consumer privacy and pushed back against trust-busting, and should hence get a pat on the back.

TRADE

No Democrat mentioned the trade wars, the harmful impacts of tariffs, and the promise of free trade. Rather, trade got mostly slammed.

Elizabeth Warren: “The principal reason [for losing jobs] is trade. Giant multinational companies have been calling the shots on trade…they are loyal only to their bottom line. I have a plan to fix that: accountable capitalism.”

Warren’s version of accountable capitalism:

  • 40% of corporate boards should be elected by the employees
  • We should give unions more power when they negotiate

Again, no mention of the USMCA free trade agreement, no talk of free trade with the European Union or any other countries.

Sen. Cory Booker agrees that unions should be empowering to offer Americans a “living wage.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says universal basic income is a “good idea to help provide that security so that people can have the freedom to make the kinds of choices that they want to see.” It’s not a total endorsement for freedom of choice for consumers, but at least invokes a good notion of free choice. Not sure her take on global free trade.

TAXES

Though the candidates mentioned many new taxes they’d endorse, the one that concerns consumers the most would be the idea of a VAT – Value Added Tax.

Andrew Yang mentioned that instead of Warren’s wealth tax, he’d pass a VAT of 10%, like in European countries to help fund his Freedom Dividend. That would be akin to a national sales tax, but allowing the opportunity for businesses to claim this amount back if it’s a legitimate business expense, and the same for tourists visiting on vacation.

On its face, an American VAT would raise costs for ordinary consumers and be regressive. As the Tax Policy Foundation notes, this tax would have a disproportionate impact on lower-income households, as they tend to spend more of their income on consumption. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich made the same point while watching the debate:

Many states and municipalities have their own sales taxes or none at all, and that does impact consumers who spend more. But a move to a national VAT would mean higher prices for ordinary goods and services for all consumers.

PROTECTING CONSUMERS

Really the only direct mention came when Warren tooted her own horn on her consumer protection agency.

“Following the Financial Crash of 2008, I had an idea for a consumer agency (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) that would keep giant banks from cheating people. And all of the Washington insiders and strategic geniuses said “don’t even try” because you won’t get it passed…it has now forced big banks to return more than $12 billion directly to the people they cheated.”

The Trump Administration has taken the CFPB to court over whether or not it is constitutional, and Republicans have consistently attacked the organization since its founding during the Obama Administration.

“Make no mistake, it does little to protect consumers and was created during the Obama administration to enforce burdensome regulations which have stunted economic growth and negatively impacted small businesses and consumers,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, who has introduced legislation to abolish the agency.

“America has three branches of government – not four,” said Senator Sasse, who has also co-sponsored the bill. “Protecting consumers is good, but consolidating power in the hands of Washington elites is harmful. This powerful and unaccountable bureau is an affront to the principle that the folks who write laws must be accountable to the people.”

CONCLUSION

There wasn’t much mention of the impact the debated policies would have on consumers, and unfortunately no mention of free trade and lifestyle freedom.

Regardless, on healthcare and tech regulation, there were good debates and some good principles that should be championed, but still, more could have been mentioned on ways to promote innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice.

Greenpeace verbreitet seit Jahrzehnten über GVO Unwahrheiten

Eine neue EU-Bürgerinitiative fordert einen modernisierten Zulassungsprozess wissenschaftlicher Innovationen in der Landwirtschaft. Diese europaweite studentische Initiative verdient es gehört und unterstützt zu werden.

Am 25. Juli registrierte die Europäische Kommission die Bürgerinitiative “Grow Scientific Progress: Crops Matter!” Zwei Studentinnen wurden als Vertreter genannt: Martina Helmlinger und Lavinia Scudiero. Helmlinger steht kurz vor dem Abschluss ihres Masters in Lebensmittelsicherheit am Institut für Lebensmittelwissenschaften und -technologie der Universität für Bodenkultur in Wien und verfügt über einen Bachelor-Abschluss in Biotechnologie. Scudiero hat einen Abschluss in Veterinärmedizin und absolviert derzeit einen Master in Lebensmittelsicherheit, Lebensmittelrecht und Regulierung an der Universität Wageningen.

Die beiden Studentinnen argumentieren in der Beschreibung der Initiative, dass die EU-Richtlinie 2001/18/EG, die sich mit GBO (genetisch veränderten Organismen) befasst, veraltet ist, und schlagen einen automatischen Mechanismus zur Überprüfung dieser Regeln vor. Ziel ist es, die langwierigen und kostspieligen Zulassungsverfahren für landwirtschaftliche Innovationen zu entschlacken und mehr wissenschaftlichen Fortschritt in der EU zu ermöglichen.

Individuelle Bewertungen, bei denen einzelnen Technologien auf ihre Eigenschaften bewertet werden – im Gegensatz zu weit gefassten Definitionen – tragen dazu bei, dass neue Technologien auf den Markt kommen.

Marcel Kuntz, Forschungsdirektor am CNRS, Zell- und Pflanzenphysiologielabor in Grenoble erklärt, dass die grüne Gentechnik ist kein landwirtschaftlicher Produktionsmodus, sondern ein Mittel zur Steigerung der Biodiversität sei. Er fügt hinzu, dass es wichtig sei, was mit einem Produkt gemacht wird, nicht, wie das Produkt gewonnen wurde. Kuntz beklagt sich auch über Angriffe auf Wissenschaftler und “politische Kämpfe”, die definieren, was als sicher gilt und was nicht.

Die Debatte über Innovationen in der Landwirtschaft wurde der Wissenschaft von PR-Profis  aus der Hand gerissen. Diese Kommunikationsprofis aus Politik und Umweltverbänden tun alles, um technologische Innovationen ohne Beweise zu verleumden. Dies betrifft sogar die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der EU-Institutionen und war jedes Mal sichtbar, wenn die Frage der GVO angesprochen wurde. Insbesondere im Hinblick auf die Schaffung neuer Gesetze kann dies beobachtet werden.

Auf der Website des Europäischen Parlaments “Legislative Train Schedule” sollen Richtlinien und deren gesetzlicher Ablauf neutral erläutert werden. Es ist ein steuerfinanziertes Instrument, dass den Bürgern Informationen auf unparteiische Weise vermitteln soll.

Das ist aber nicht immer der Fall. In Zusammenfassung der Richtlinie (EU) 2015/412, Änderung der Richtlinie 2001/18/EG,  die Mitgliedstaaten ermächtigt GVOs unabhängig von neuen Erkenntnissen verbieten zu dürfen, heißt es:

“Das Europäische Parlament hat auch darauf bestanden, dass die Mitgliedstaaten, in denen GVO-Kulturen angebaut werden, eine grenzüberschreitende Kontamination vermeiden sollten, indem sie Pufferzonen entlang ihrer Grenzen zu benachbarten Mitgliedstaaten einrichten, in denen GVO nicht angebaut werden”.

Die Sprache ist gelinde gesagt tendenziös.

Die Wahrheit ist, dass Organisationen wie Greenpeace seit Jahrzehnten über GVO Unwahrheiten verbreiten. Sie sagen, dass GVO “inakzeptable Risiken” darstellen, ohne auf wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse hinzuweisen, die dieses Risiko untermauern.

“GVO-Kulturen haben in der nachhaltigen Landwirtschaft keinen Platz. Sie bergen unannehmbare Risiken, die durch den gentechnischen Prozess und die Eigenschaften, für die sie entwickelt wurden, entstehen”, heißt es von Greenpeace.

Dieselben Organisationen, die dafür gesorgt haben, dass in der EU GVOs fast komplett nicht-existent sind, versuchen die gleiche Takte beim Genome-Editing. Mit Erfolg. Erst kürzlich erklärte der Europäische Gerichtshof Genome-Editing und GVO also gleichwertig (aus einer Regulierungsperspektive). Greenpeace nannte Genome-Editing “GVO durch die Hintertür”.

Der Leiter der Europäischen Behörde für Lebensmittelsicherheit (EFSA), Dr. Bernhard Url, meint, dass nur weil einem die Ergebnisse nicht gefallen, man die Wissenschaft selbst kritisieren sollte. Er fügt hinzu: “Wenn die Wissenschaft nur noch eine weitere Meinung wird, die zugunsten des Aberglaubens übersehen werden kann, birgt dies ein enormes Risiko für die Gesellschaft”.

Er hat Recht. Genome-Editing bietet der Pflanzenzüchtung mehrere Vorteile, z.B. durch die Herstellung allergenfreier Lebensmittel. Stellen Sie sich die immense Veränderung für Menschen vor, die von potenziell lebensbedrohlichen Allergien betroffen sind, wenn es uns gelingt, allergenfreie Erdnüsse oder glutenfreien Weizen herzustellen. Diese Anwendungen gehen jedoch über den Bereich der Landwirtschaft hinaus. Genome-Editing kann helfen, das Zika-Virus zu bekämpfen, die Übertragung von Malaria zu verhindern, Leukämie zu heilen und zeigt vielversprechende Forschungsergebnisse in den Bereichen Alzheimer, Huntington, Gebärmutterhals- und Lungenkrebs.

Die Genschere läuft allerdings Gefahr, Opfer der gleichen unwissenschaftlichen Angstmache zu werden wie GVOs in der Vergangenheit. Mal wieder innovieren andere Kontinente, während Europa sich in ein technologisches Mittelalter begibt, und sogar die Entmechanisierung der Landwirtschaft vorantreibt.

Die Initiative Grow Scientific Progress verdient Unterstützung. Die Europäische Union muss sich der Innovation öffnen, um mit den spannenden Möglichkeiten von morgen Schritt zu halten.

Artikel hier veröffentlicht.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

What should consumers know about cannabis edibles?

In the second season of the Netflix series Rotten, there is an entire episode exploring the world of cannabis edibles. It is highly recommended.

The documentary itself does a great job uncovering the latest innovations, the legal hurdles, and many questions left for consumers who want to try cannabis edibles where they’re legal.

Going beyond the documentary, what should consumers know about cannabis edibles?

Check out Rotten Season Two: “High on Edibles

First, we should make clear that markets are evolving as quick as the laws are being written.

Cannabis products containing THC, the actual psychoactive compound, remain a Schedule 1 drug per the Controlled Substances Act. This means the federal government believes cannabis (all strains) has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use, and there is a lack of safety even under medical supervision.

However, since 2018’s Farm Bill, industrial hemp has been legal, opening the door for cannabis strains that contain the non-psychoactive CBD to be sold around the country. I testified on this important subject at an FDA hearing this spring.

Therefore, though we’re mostly discussing THC edibles, there is also a booming market for CBD edibles in stores throughout the United States, the legality of which seems to be supported by the legalization of industrial hemp. It is a gray zone that has not been clarified by any federal law.

Therefore, for THC edibles, they’re only technically legal for general consumers in the eleven U.S. states (including D.C.) that have legalized recreational cannabis.

Though the states differ in regulation, the most mature markets are in California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, which have fully functioning legal markets that include edible cannabis products, topicals, and cannabis extracts.

CANADA

Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October 2018, but the first phase only included cannabis flowers, to be smoked or cooked into edibles by consumers.

My colleague David Clement has written about the problematic laws in Canada, which differ by province and will only allow edible products this year.

Though cannabis edibles and extracts will be technically legal by Oct. 17, 2019 (nearly a year after legalization), Health Canada rules require companies to inform the federal government of their plans starting on that date, at least 60 days before they can sell. So it’ll be December before we see any edibles, topicals, and extracts on Canadian shelves.

EUROPE

The only jurisdiction that has any legal market in (THC) cannabis is in the Netherlands, but it is far from a commercial market. Because the cultivation and shipment of cannabis are technically illegal, the Dutch system is actually also a gray area, one in which the government tolerates cannabis sales but gives very little legal legitimacy.

That said, many European countries have shops that sell edible CBD products, usually containing less than 0.3% THC in most countries. And several countries such as Germany and Spain do offer medical cannabis, including edibles, but only in highly regulated circumstances.

UNITED STATES

Returning to the legal THC edible markets for cannabis in the United States, and to the most mature markets mentioned above, legal products in these states have grown in popularity in the years since legislation.

The latest figures from 2017 in Colorado, for example, show that edibles and concentrates now make up 36% of cannabis sales, up from just 30.5% two years prior.

These edibles range in potency and form, but often are found in gummies, cakes, cookies, lollipops, capsules, chocolates, drinks, and much more. Cannabis “shake” – pre-ground flower – is often sold to be infused with food at home.

According to the market firm CBD Analytics, gummies are now the most popular edible item found in cannabis dispensaries. In the first four months of 2019, sales of gummies alone in California, Oregon, and Colorado amounted to more than $115 million.

The states differ in how many milligrams of THC they allow, but following Colorado’s rules, each package contains 10mg or 100mg, 10mg being the standard “dose”. It is recommended that newcomers not ingest more than 5mg during their first try. Too high of a dose will result in a strong effect on the user.

TESTING

Testing of edibles is a requirement in these jurisdictions, mostly for potency, dangerous substances, and pesticides, and the results of these tests must be made available to both regulators and consumers. Thus far, most testing is conducted by private labs, which must be licensed by the states.

TAXATION

Of course, THC cannabis products are highly taxed in the jurisdictions where they are legal. The average excise tax is 15%, but then one must also add significant sales taxes as well. The Tax Foundation keeps great documentation on the competing tax rates on cannabis in states where it is legal.

It is recommended that these jurisdictions keep taxation moderate, lest they push consumers back into the illegal market because of too high prices.

ADVERTISING AND BRANDING

Laws on advertising and banding also are quite different between legal jurisdictions for these products. As we have noted in our Policy Primer on Smart Cannabis Policy, Washington State has some of the better laws when it comes to how much information companies can share or how much branding they’re allowed to put on the packages for edibles.

More branding and the ability to advertise make it possible for consumers to establish loyalty and root out bad apples. They also give consumers better information on the potency of edibles, the form, tastes, and what the products are best used for. That’s crucial for consumer choice.

WHAT SHOULD CONSUMERS KNOW?

  • Only a handful of U.S. states have legal THC cannabis edible markets
  • CBD edibles, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, are now widely available around the country
  • Cannabis edibles range in potency and form
  • Testing of cannabis edibles is highly regulated and must be conducted to check for potency, dangerous substances, and pesticides
  • Taxes are generally very high, but should be moderate to encourage the legal market
  • Advertising and branding rules sometimes limit what companies are allowed to tell consumers

How Estonia’s cybersecurity strategy can help the EU cope with China

Fred Roeder, a German health economist and the managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, proposes Estonia to lead the European Union to a coherent cybersecurity strategy in order to protect consumers and businesses not only from cyberattacks from Russia but also from potentially much larger attacks and espionage from China.

Within the past twelve years, Estonia has emerged as a leading nation in the field of cyber defence and security. The cyberattacks of 2007 made Tallinn much earlier aware of the massive threat of online attacks compared with its larger NATO allies.

Especially under EU commissioner, Andrus Ansip (nominated by Estonia, Ansip was the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society from 2014 until July 2019 – editor), Estonia has been a driving force behind the European Commission’s new cybersecurity agenda. Estonia now needs to lead the European Union to a coherent cybersecurity strategy in order to protect consumers and businesses not only from cyberattacks from Russia but also from potentially much larger attacks and espionage from China.

China’s backdoors

The adoption of Internet of Things solutions and the highly anticipated rollout of very fast 5G networks will make consumers’ privacy even more vulnerable. The recent events in Hong Kong and the Chinese Communist Party’s reluctance to keep its commitments towards the rule of law are reasons why we must heed caution.

Some governments and manufacturers tend to be mostly concerned about competitiveness through low prices, which is important for consumers. However, we also care about privacy and data security. Therefore, a smart policy response is needed that would incentivise market players to give enough weight to consumer data security in Europe, all the while achieving that goal without undue market distortions and limiting of consumer choice.

n more than just one instance, the Chinese leadership has put legal or extra-legal pressure on private firms to include so-called backdoors in their software or devices, which may be exploited either by government agents alone or with a manufacturer’s help. As a response to threats like this, countries like Australia and the US went so far as to ban the Chinese network equipment manufacturer, Huawei, from its 5G networks.

Pressure on non-European suppliers to adopt the security-by-design approach

While some governments see bans as the best way to protect national security and consumer privacy, we know there is no single silver bullet solution for safeguarding privacy and data security. A mix of solutions is needed, and this mix will likely change over time.

Healthy competition between legal jurisdictions and between private enterprises is the best mechanism for the discovery of the right tools. But those working on cybersecurity solutions should also consider consumer interests. Keeping new regulation technology-neutral, and thus not deciding by law which technological solution is best, allows an agile framework for consumer privacy.

A Huawei phone (the image is illustrative/Pexels).

The EU’s current legal rules, like the General Data Protection Regulation, for example, do not provide sufficient clarity regarding liability of network operators for privacy violations made possible by hardware vulnerabilities. Thus, a clear standard of supply chain security must be defined.

Emphasising liability rules for using or reselling software or devices with vulnerabilities would give those rules more teeth and thus incentivise telecommunications operators and others to think about their customers’ privacy during their procurement decisions. This should, in turn, put pressure on non-European suppliers to adopt the security-by-design approach and to take pains to show that they have done so.

Smart regulation needed to prevent autocratic governments from spying on us

In solving the problem of unclear and ineffective legal rules on data security, we must take into account that technical standards should be as technology neutral as possible. Manufacturers from countries that are under scrutiny – such as China – might want to provide purely open-source technology in order to rebuild trust in their products.

Instead, the rules should be focused on outcomes and be as general as possible while still providing sufficient guidance. These standards should be possible to identify and adopt not just by the biggest market players who can easily devote significant resources to regulatory compliance. A certification scheme must be thorough in order to minimise the risk of any backdoors or other critical vulnerabilities.

5G 3.5 GHz cell site of Vodafone in Karlsruhe, Germany (the image is illustrative/courtesy of Tomas Freres/Wikimedia Commons).

The debate around 5G reminds us how vulnerable consumers are in a technologically and politically complex world and that cyber threats originate usually in autocratic countries.

Therefore, smart regulation is needed in order to protect consumers from data breaches and to prevent autocratic governments from spying on us. By continuing the legacy of commissioner Ansip’s leadership and strengthening the liability of network operators for technological vulnerabilities, both consumer choice and privacy can be ensured. Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin or regulators picking the technological champions should be seen as measures of the last resort.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

The scientific method is under attack

Assume a scientist were to tell you that a certain mathematical equation is demonstrably correct. You could twist and turn the equation in any possible way, yet you would always come to the same conclusion. Now assume this scientist had spoken at a conference once, and his or her hotel room had been paid by an industry which had a vested interest in the equation being true. A conflict of interest, some would say, yet you could only assume that it resulted in a distortion of his or her scientific work if you could show that the equation was false. No money in the world can change facts.

EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, is currently dealing with accusations of this nature. A European NGO called “Corporate Europe Observatory” (CEO) denounces the working group assessing the safety of gene drives – which is genetic engineering technology – as “compromised”. CEO claims that two-thirds of the working group have “financial links” to industry and organisations with vested interest in the matter of gene-editing.

However, EFSA responded to every single one of the concerns in a professional and detailed matter. The agency did not see a single instance in which the described “links” were of concern. For instance, CEO denounced the fact that Michael Bonsall, Professor of Mathematical Biology at Oxford University, has direct financial links with the British biotech company Oxitec. It turned out that the “direct financial links” were not financial investments with Oxitec, but research activities co-financed by the University of Oxford and Oxitec itself. In essence: these were public-private funded research projects between a private company and EU research grants.

But the work for CEO is done, so much so that EFSA’s devastating answer to their claims even now appears on their website. The scientists were smeared in the media, and no matter how many rebuttals the EU’s food safety agency would issue, much of the damage is already done. The headlines reading “food safety scientists accused of being bought” is all that these activists – who are sworn enemies of industrial agriculture – need.

The fact that gene-editing technologies could have a huge impact in reducing the death toll from diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Zika virus, is irrelevant to their quest.

A similar thing happened to French journalist Emmanuelle Ducros. The L’Opinion journalist is known for her columns on agriculture, calling out the unscientific work of environmental activists, and defending the scientific method against anti-GMO, anti-free trade, or anti-pesticide activists. Ducros was dragged through the mud by the French newspaper Libération and social media outrage ensued, all for moderating panels at industry conferences hat have a vested interested in the area of pesticides. Expenses were covered by these same interest groups. It remains a question of its own whether having your train journey and hotel room covered in a work context actually has that much of a powerful influence on your journalistic integrity. Never mind that the essence of what is backed up by evidence and what isn’t should be what determines that which can be reported as a fact.

For environmentalist NGOs, the Jaws (1975) quote “We are going to need a bigger boat” could easily be transcribed into “We are going to need a bigger smear”. The scientific method is under attack by those who do not believe in analysing and comparing evidence, but who claim that a spider web of industry groups have captured all the pro-science voices by bankrolling opinions. As a result, politicians legislate and regulate scientific innovations, and restrict consumer choice.

“What is your evidence?” is replaced by “Who funds you?,” and is killing the scientific debate. The consequences of that will be long-lasting.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Scroll to top