Here, I relate what the journalist said in his article “L’UICN, Syngenta et le déclin des bourdons”. All quotes, originally in French, were translated by me.
IUCN issued a statement on April 2 announcing that in Europe, “30 of the 68 species of the genus Bombus found on the continent are in decline and 12 are threatened with extinction.” The organization adds:
“Climate change, intensification of agriculture and changes in agricultural land use are the main threats these species face”
The absence of the term pesticide made apidologists “squeal”. Dave Goulson declares he has “never seen clear evidence linking bumblebee and bee declines to climate change.”
“Words barely covered, some see it as the influence of ongoing talks between the biodiversity conservation organization and Syngenta, a major producer of agricultural insecticides. “
The solutions proposed in the press release are the same as those recommended by manufacturers: “setting up borders and buffer strips around agricultural land rich in flowers” and “preserving meadows”. At no time does IUCN mention the restriction on the use of certain phytosanitary products “.
For Jean-Christophe Vié, IUCN executive, these suspicions amount to “slander”. The organization is reportedly not receiving funding from Syngenta and, while discussions have been underway since 2012, there would be no deal reached. Still, Mr Vié “himself admits to being” surprised “that the five experts appointed by the IUCN did not tick the” pesticides box “.
Of 30 species in decline, climate change is mentioned as the cause for 23 of them. However, and this would be where “the shoe pinch” according to several researchers, this link would be based only on a single experimental study, carried out by one of the researchers of the panel, observing a correlation between the abundance of the populations of bumblebees and warming in a region of the Pyrenees. She “does not seem to have convinced the scientific community too much”, never having been cited.
On the contrary, many studies would show the negative effect of insecticides on bumblebees, such as the study by Penelope Whitehorn published in Science. (Whitehorn et al.2012)