Daily Archives: August 7, 2018

Mendocino Complex wildfire becomes largest in state history

How farming could employ Africa’s young workforce — and help build peace | Kola Masha

Monsanto and Bayer merge, drop the Monsanto name – Business Insider

Erin Brodwin
Jun. 7, 2018, 11:43 AM

Jim Young/Reuters

  • The German drugmaker and chemical company Bayer has finalized a $66 billion blockbuster deal to gobble up the agricultural behemoth Monsanto.
  • On Monday, Bayer said it would drop Monsanto’s 117-year-old title.
  • The name drop appears to be part of a strategic move geared at distancing the colossal new company from negative publicity surrounding Monsanto and genetically modified organisms.

The German drugmaker and chemical company Bayer has finalized a $66 billion blockbuster deal to gobble up the agricultural giant Monsanto.

In a statement on Monday , Bayer said it planned to drop Monsanto’s 117-year-old title and would henceforth be known only as Bayer.

“Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name,” the company said. “The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio.”

The name drop appears to be part of a strategic move geared at distancing the new behemoth from negative publicity surrounding Monsanto and genetically modified organisms.

Justice Department approves Bayer-Monsanto merger in landmark settlement – The Washington Post


The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at a production plant in Wuppertal, Germany. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters) by Brian Fung and Caitlin Dewey May 29

Federal antitrust regulators have granted agribusiness giants Bayer and Monsanto permission to merge after the two companies agreed to spin off $9 billion worth of assets, the largest such sale of corporate assets ever required by the Justice Department.

Under the proposed settlement filed Tuesday, Bayer will sell its seed and herbicide businesses to a third party, the German chemical company BASF. It also will sell its emerging digital farming business as well as a variety of intellectual property and R&D projects.

The targeted spinoffs are aimed at preventing Bayer and Monsanto from using their combined control over seeds and seed treatments to raise the price of agricultural products to farmers and consumers, Justice Department officials said. Just six companies, including Bayer and Monsanto, have historically dominated the global trade in seeds and agrochemicals.

The $66 billion deal already has received approval from regulators in the European Union, Russia and Brazil, making the U.S. approval one of the last major hurdles. Bayer said it expects to complete the merger by midsummer.

“Receipt of the DOJ’s approval brings us close to our goal of creating a leading company in agriculture,” Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said in a statement.

U.S. antitrust officials investigated the Bayer-Monsanto deal for more than a year, ultimately concluding that it could result in increased costs for the country’s agricultural sector.

Both companies produce genetically modified cotton, canola and soybean seeds, as well as the pesticides that pair with them. Under the original deal, Bayer would have acquired a monopoly over herbicide-resistant cotton and canola in the United States and a near monopoly in some other crops, including cucumbers and carrots, the Justice Department found.

“America’s farm system is of critical importance to our economy, our food system and our way of life,” Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department’s top antitrust enforcer, told reporters Tuesday. “America’s farmers rely on head-to-head competition between Bayer and Monsanto.”

In addition to eliminating a direct competitor in some lines of business, the deal as proposed would have led to Bayer gaining anticompetitive leverage in other markets, according to the Justice Department.

By merging with Monsanto, regulators found, Bayer would become a major supplier of corn seed. After the merger, Bayer, which also sells a key seed treatment to corn farmers, would have an incentive to raise the price of the treatment knowing that farmers would have fewer choices of seed suppliers, the government alleged.

Regulators also ruled that Bayer and Monsanto would lose motivation to develop new crops, treatments and pesticides as a result of the merger. To address those concerns, the Justice Department will require Bayer to transfer several research facilities and projects to BASF, including a research center in North Carolina and a bank of soybean tissue samples used to develop new products.

“The proposed remedies will ensure that BASF can step into Bayer’s shoes, thereby preserving the competition that the merger would otherwise destroy,” the government said.

Concerns about competition have grown thanks to a wave of megamergers in the agricultural industry. Regulators last year signed off on mergers between DuPont and Dow Chemical, as well as ChemChina and Syngenta, concentrating global agrochemical research and sales in the hands of five companies.

The Monsanto-Bayer merger will further shrink that number to four, raising questions about the future of agricultural competition and innovation. Some critics of the deal said they were not satisfied by the terms disclosed Tuesday.

“Today’s news makes it clear that our antimonopoly laws are completely worthless and the U.S. Department of Justice merger review process is pointless,” said the Organization for Competitive Markets, a farm group that opposes megamergers, in a statement.

Angela Huffman, a spokeswoman for the group, added that while it could not yet predict the full impact on farmers, OCM expects the deal to raise seed and pesticide costs. That probably will have little impact on consumers, given that farm expenses account for only a small portion of food prices.

Bayer has defended the deal as the surest way to increase agricultural productivity as the world’s population grows, citing Monsanto’s advantage in plant genetics and Bayer’s portfolio of pesticides and other chemicals.

“Farmers will benefit from a range of new, superior solutions aimed at helping to advance the next generation of farming and to address some of society’s most pressing challenges,” the company says on a website advocating for the settlement.

The landmark settlement, if approved by a judge, would be a major victory for Delrahim, who was confirmed as President Trump’s assistant attorney general for antitrust issues last summer. Delrahim has argued that selling off assets is a more effective way to resolve anticompetitive mergers than forcing companies to abide by requirements that must be reviewed by regulators on an ongoing basis.

Tuesday’s settlement required close cooperation from the top executives of Bayer and Monsanto, said Justice Department officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door negotiations.

The chief executives of both companies traveled to Washington over the Easter holiday to be briefed about the government’s concerns with the deal, the government said.

…(read more)

Why ‘Monsanto’ is no more – The Washington Post

People hold signs during a demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto in 2013. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
by Caitlin Dewey June 4 Email the author

This is the end of Monsanto as the world has long known it.

New owner Bayer announced Monday that it will nix the brand name as soon as August, when its $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto is expected to be complete.

The merger, approved by the Justice Department last week, will create the largest seed and agrochemical company on Earth, uniting Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically modified crop portfolio.

[Justice Department approves Bayer-Monsanto merger
in landmark settlement]

In the process of amassing that portfolio, Monsanto has become one of the most-hated large companies in the world. Its name is regularly splashed across protest banners and invoked in arguments against the alleged harms of pesticides and GMOs.

The decision to drop Monsanto’s name is part of a wider campaign to win back consumer trust, said Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, during a Monday call with journalists. In a separate statement Monday, Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said the company would redouble its efforts to engage with critics.

“The more important point now, once we change the company name, is that we talk about what the new company will stand for,” Condon said. “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to consumers why this new company is important for farming, for agriculture and for food, and how that impacts consumers and the environment.”

…(read more).

‘Monsanto wants total control, covers up grave GMO dangers’ – Researcher


Published on Sep 2, 2013

Supermarkets are flooded with GMO products, but how safe is it to eat them? Tasty and beautiful, they are produced with intervention unprecedented in history. Gene manipulation: how appropriate is it? Does it contribute to solving the food crisis on the planet? Or will humanity have to pay a costly price for meddling with what is not theirs. We talk to Jeffrey M. Smith, GMO researcher from the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Who are Monsanto and are they really evil? – Truthloader


Published on Dec 3, 2013

Monsanto were voted the most evil corporation in the world in 2011 by readers of Natural News – but why do they have such a bad reputation? We take a look at the history of the company, including Agent Orange and Polychlorine Biphenyls – or PCBs – right up to modern farming practices and genetically modified seeds, pesticides and crops.

Human Body Limit to Heat Stress from Abrupt Climate Change

Paul Beckwith
Published on Aug 3, 2018

The average persons core body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C). Human skin is a few degrees colder, being about 35 C (95 F). Heat travels from hot regions to cold regions, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thus when the wet-bulb temperature, which is the temperature at 100% humidity, reaches 35 C (95 C) the human body can no longer shed heat (sweat no longer evaporates), thus core body temperature rises, and the healthiest person, sitting in the shade, dies in about 6 hours. The rest of us (young, old, medicated, out-of shape, obese, etc…) are SOL at even lower wet-bulb temperatures. Adaptation would require living inside with AC, living in caves, or wearing cooled suits; who wants to do that?

More at:  http://paulbeckwith.net

Uninhabitable Regions with Extreme Heat and Humidity

Paul Beckwith
Published on Aug 2, 2018

At 35 degrees Celsius (95 F) and 100% humidity (at 100% humidity this temperature is called the wet-bulb temperature) the human body is unable to cool itself by sweating, since the sweat will not evaporate from the skin. As a result, the body core temperature rises, heat exhaustion and then heatstroke sets in. A physically healthy person sitting in the shade, in a well ventilated area, is dead in 6 hours. Higher temperatures, and correspondingly lower humidity do the same thing. The very young, old, people on medication, etc. succumb to less extreme temperatures and humidity. This video expands upon my last video, which explains how many regions around the planet are reaching these uninhabitable conditions.

More at:  http://paulbeckwith.net


Globally rising soil heterotrophic respiration over recent decades | Nature

Global soils store at least twice as much carbon as Earth’s atmosphere1,2. The global soil-to-atmosphere (or total soil respiration, RS) carbon dioxide (CO2) flux is increasing3,4, but the degree to which climate change will stimulate carbon losses from soils as a result of heterotrophic respiration (RH) remains highly uncertain5,6,7,8. Here we use an updated global soil respiration database9 to show that the observed soil surface RH:RS ratio increased significantly, from 0.54 to 0.63, between 1990 and 2014 (P = 0.009).

Three additional lines of evidence provide support for this finding. By analysing two separate global gross primary production datasets10,11, we find that the ratios of both RH and RS to gross primary production have increased over time. Similarly, significant increases in RH are observed against the longest available solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence global dataset, as well as gross primary production computed by an ensemble of global land models. We also show that the ratio of night-time net ecosystem exchange to gross primary production is rising across the FLUXNET201512 dataset.

All trends are robust to sampling variability in ecosystem type, disturbance, methodology, CO2 fertilization effects and mean climate. Taken together, our findings provide observational evidence that global RH is rising, probably in response to environmental changes, consistent with meta-analyses13,14,15,16 and long-term experiments17. This suggests that climate-driven losses of soil carbon are currently occurring across many ecosystems, with a detectable and sustained trend emerging at the global scale.

…(read more).

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