February 10, 2011

Australian Fisheries to Flourish?

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Extinctions

Conduct a search of the internet on “Global Warming and Fisheries” and treat yourself to nearly 1.5 million sites almost all proclaiming that the world’s fisheries are on the brink of disaster of biblical proportions due to global warming. Warmer sea temperatures completely alter the food chain, changes in sea currents add to the disaster, oceanic acidification compounds the mess, changes in climate alter the flow of nutrients to the sea, starving humans overharvest fisheries, and on and on it goes for another million sites. You must look long and hard for any evidence that climate change could benefit fisheries, or at least not devastate them.

An extraordinary article has appeared in Global Change Biology dealing with climate change, primary production of marine food webs, and implications for fisheries and threatened marine animals. The work was produced by 17 scientists from throughout many agencies in Australia and Canada; the work was supported financially by the Australian Research Council, the University of Queensland, CSIRO, and the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.


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:


November 12, 2008

Beating a Dead Frog

Filed under: Extinctions

Just in case there are still some folks out there who continue to insist that there is a firm cause-and-effect relationship between anthropogenic global warming and the decline of amphibian species around the world despite our pointing out on numerous occasions just how tenuous such a linkage is (pay attention here Al), we present the following abstract of a paper by Jason Rohr and colleagues titled “Evaluating the links between climate, disease spread, and amphibian decline,” published November 11, 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): (more…)

July 1, 2008

Of Antarctica and Penguins

Tell us the truth – do the two pictures below really hit home with you? Do they make you want to walk to work, put up solar panels this weekend, and eat lower on the food chain the rest of your life? The images, and literally dozens like them available on the internet, drive home the obvious point that Antarctica is melting, global warming is the cause, and we in the United States are responsible for the demise of the penguins thanks to our appetite for fossil fuels. This type of presentation is very typical of the global warming alarmists – feel free to visit nearly 500,000 web sites dealing with global warming and Antarctica. If you have visited our site before, you would know that the professional scientific literature is full of articles questioning the simplistic statements regarding global warming, Antarctica, and the poor penguins.

And in today’s news, there is another tear-jerker about penguins. A new soon-to-be-published study by University of Washington’s P. Dee Boersma reports that the world’s penguin species are generally in decline (remember, bad things happen to good species and good things happen to bad ones) and the press eats it up. AP science writer Seth Borenstein describes their plight like this:

The decline overall isn’t caused by one factor, but several.

For the ice-loving Adelie penguins, global warming in the western Antarctica peninsula is a problem, making it harder for them to find food, said Phil Trathan, head of conservation biology at the British Antarctic Survey, a top penguin scientist who had no role in the new report.

For penguins that live on the Galapagos island, El Nino weather patterns are a problem because the warmer water makes penguins travel farther for food, at times abandoning their chicks, Boersma said. At the end of the 1998 record El Nino, female penguins were only 80 percent of their normal body weight. Scientists have tied climate change to stronger El Ninos.

Oil spills regularly taint the water where penguins live off Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil and have contributed to the Punta Tumbo declines, Boersma said.

Hmmm, the “several” factors the Borenstein comes up with are “global warming,” “climate change,” and our thirst for oil. If he is trying to be subtle, he doesn’t succeed.


March 25, 2008

Global warming NOT killing frogs (just like we told you)

Filed under: Extinctions

Declining frog populations have once again made their way into the news, but this time, it is because new research concludes that global climate change IS NOT the reason behind their disappearance.

While this seems to be big news for some, we have been telling you this ever since the stories that attempted to link amphibian declines to global warming first appeared.


October 1, 2007

Back When All News Wasn’t Bad

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Extinctions, Plants

In 1996, Camille Parmesan published a paper in Nature magazine that supposedly was the first documentation that animal species (in this case Edith’s Checkerspot Butterflies) were shifting there range because of presumably anthropogenic climate changes. Parmesan told the New York Times, “I cannot say that climate warming has caused the shift; what I can say is that it is exactly what is predicted by global warming scenarios…”

Parmesan went on to look at additional species and her work, and other studies like hers that document shifting species ranges as the climate warms, are treated as “blockbusters” when the appear, most often in the world’s most prestigious scientific journals such as Science and Nature. These are accompanied by press releases and widespread media coverage that undoubtedly reverberates with the (mock?) horror of environmentalists worldwide. In fact, some studies have even taken the shifting-range-is-bad concept a step further, projecting that a quarter to a third of all the world’s species will be extinct in 50 years. The lead author of one such study published in Nature magazine, British University of Leeds’ Chris Thomas, told the Washington Post, “We’re not talking about the occasional extinction—we’re talking about 1.25 million species. It’s a massive number.”

Time and time again we at World Climate Report counter that the earth’s climate is normally quite variable, and if the earth’s plants and animals were not able to shift their behaviors and viable ranges there would be quite a few less of them on the world today (a category that probably includes the species homo sapiens as well). So plants and animals responding to climate change is hardly unexpected or catastrophic—what would be potentially catastrophic would be the exact opposite situation, that is, if plants and animals were not shifting as the climate varied.


February 5, 2007

Arctic Lessons from the Last Interglacial (Polar bears survived)

Filed under: Arctic, Extinctions, Polar

In recent years, much has been made of the warming in the northern high latitude region of Earth over the last two decades of the 20th century. Data on glacial and sea ice recession and frightening computer simulations of rising sea levels underscore the doom and gloom of the warmth in the Arctic. On top of this, global climate models are predicting that this region will continue to be a “hotspot” of greatest warming during the 21st century. And, in an effort to drive the impact of all of this home (because who would otherwise really care if the coldest places on earth warmed up a bit), a small, but vocal band of climate alarmists have attempted to convince us that as a result of Arctic warming, everyone’s favorite bear (with the exception of perhaps Teddy and/or Yogi), ursus maritimus—the polar bear—will be pushed to extinction.

The contention of climate alarmists that the late-20th century warming is unprecedented over the past two millennia has been contested with contrary scientific evidence over and over, especially in the high latitudes. As the geologic timeline that is available to the global warming crusade gets spottier, one thing is clear – they can only shorten their sights. Going back to Earth’s last interglaciation is not an option for building their argument that much of the recent warmth is unnatural—because back during the last interglacial warm period, temperatures in the Arctic were higher, and polar bears survived (obviously).


January 11, 2006

Jumping To Conclusions: Frogs, Global Warming and Nature (Revised)

Filed under: Extinctions

(This is a revised version of our original posting. It is been changed to correct for a misinterpretation of our original reading of the Pounds et al. Nature article. Please see the * and the footnote at the end of the article for more details. Our original conclusions remain unchanged.)

Me and my apparently few friends have been ragging on the review process at Nature for some time, which was once the world’s most prestigious science periodical for all subjects. While it still may be the best for certain biochemical and genetic topics, it surely has lost it on global warming.

My antennae went up on this one in 2003 when my colleague, Robert Davis, and I submitted a paper to Nature showing that, as our cities have warmed, heat-related mortality declined significantly as people adapted to the change. They declined to even send it out for review; but after it was accepted in International Journal of Biometeorology it was awarded “paper of the year” by the Climate Section of the Association of American Geographers. Something is clearly amiss.

Nowhere is that more clear than in a paper, “Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming,” by J. Alan Pounds, that appeared in their January 12 issue. We’ll put it simply: with regard to global warming papers, the review process at Nature is dead. Gone. Kaput.

May 24, 2004

Disappearing Act

Filed under: Extinctions

The truth about species evolution and extinction is that humans are neither the question, nor the solution.

To what degree does human-influenced climate change impact species evolution and extinction? A great many government officials, scientists, and the media would have us believe that our role is significant. But climate change has been occurring naturally over eons, and species have emerged, evolved, and disappeared on their own since the dawn of time.

March 31, 2004

Extinguishing Extinction Hysteria

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals, Extinctions, Plants

Human-induced climate change is not leading to mass species extinctions, nor should it in the future.

On March 29, 2004, a pair of Congressional briefings exposed the bad science currently being published on climate change and mass extinction. Patrick Michaels, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and senior fellow in environmental studies at Cato Institute,

Michaels examined the plethora of recent claims concerning anthropogenic climate change and its possible link to past, present, and future species shifts and extinctions. Michaels’ overarching conclusions? 1.) Climate affects species distribution. 2.) Plants and animals adapt, evolve, or perish under changes in climate. 3.) That process may be slowed or accelerated by human activities. 4.) Little evidence exists to suggest anthropogenic climate change is leading to mass extinctions, nor should in the future.

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