May 11, 2010

A Rare Bird (or Whale) Indeed

A few years ago we identified what we termed the good for bad and bad for good paradigm of global warming impacts—that is, if some plant or animal species were generally regarded as being “good”—penguins, polar bears, butterflies, etc.—then global warming was supposed to do bad things to it. Conversely, if some type of plant or animal was generally viewed in a negative light—jellyfish, poison ivy, ragweed, etc.—then the publicized global warming impacts were, of course, positive.

Reporting anything to the contrary may have the unintended consequence of leading some people to think that global warming may not be so bad after all and may in fact have beneficial consequences. Which, of course, would violate rule No. 1 of the global warming alarmists’ playbook—human alteration to the global climate is B-A-D. Period.

Case and point, the Environmental Protection Agency in justifying its finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) endanger the public health and welfare went to great pains to play up the negatives all the while downplaying the positive aspects of climate change. After all, you can’t very well justify regulating GHGs if they lead to benefits, now can you?

So, consequently, we rarely hear that something good comes about from climate change.

So, shiver me timbers, were we surprised to read this story from the wires:

Scientists stunned as grey whale sighted off Israel

JERUSALEM (AFP) – The appearance of a grey whale off the coast of Israel has stunned scientists, in what was thought to be the first time the giant mammal has been seen outside the Pacific in several hundred years…

“It’s an unbelievable event which has been described as one of the most important whale sightings ever,” said Dr Aviad Scheinin, chairman of the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center which identified the creature…

“What has amazed the entire marine mammal research community is there haven’t been any grey whales in the Atlantic since the 18th century,” he said. Scheinin said the creature, a mature whale measuring some 12 metres (39 feet) and weighing around 20 tonnes…”

Now, for the amazing part:

[The whale] probably reached the Atlantic through the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route that connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is normally covered with ice…. “The question now is: are we going to see the re-colonisation of the Atlantic?” [Scheinin] said. “This is very important ecologically because of the change of habitat. It emphasises the climate change that we are going through.”

That’s it! Interest and perhaps even a glint of cautious optimism. No calls for GHG emissions reductions or finger-pointing at extravagant American lifestyles.

Now before anyone gets all bent out of shape that this is some alien species which may, as a result of a changing climate, be invading an ecosystem that is not naturally theirs, the article points out that a population of grey whales once lived in the Atlantic until they disappeared during the 17th and 18th centuries (probably from whaling activities). So, as Dr. Scheinin points out, this could be the first stages of a re-colonization of this species.

So what we have is something as scarce as a grey whale in the Mediterranean—a story suggesting that global warming is doing something good for something good; a rare bird indeed.

Of course, since this very premise is upsetting to the existing paradigm, we are sure a very watchful eye will be kept on the wayward whale, and at any sign of distress, global warming will be back to being the bad guy and the world will be righted again.

So while they root against the whale, we’ll be rooting for it.

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