Quote of the week #22 – Experts say that fears surrounding climate change are overblown

The Times posted a surprising story this weekend that has skeptics cheering and alarmists hopping mad. It’s deja vu all over again. (See QOTW#21) Roger Pielke Sr. will be happy, because land use change is prominently mentioned.

qotw_cropped

Here’s the line:

“The evidence of climate change-driven extinctions have really been overplayed,”

Here’s the article, highlights mine:

From the Times, November 6, 2009

Experts say that fears surrounding climate change are overblown

Hannah Devlin

Alarming predictions that climate change will lead to the extinction of hundreds of species may be exaggerated, according to Oxford scientists.

They say that many biodiversity forecasts have not taken into account the complexities of the landscape and frequently underestimate the ability of plants and animals to adapt to changes in their environment.

“The evidence of climate change-driven extinctions have really been overplayed,” said Professor Kathy Willis, a long-term ecologist at the University of Oxford and lead author of the article.

Professor Willis warned that alarmist reports were leading to ill-founded biodiversity policies in government and some major conservation groups. She said that climate change has become a “buzz word” that is taking priority while, in practice, changes in human use of land have a greater impact on the survival of species. “I’m certainly not a climate change denier, far from it, but we have to have sound policies for managing our ecosystems,” she said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature backed the article, saying that climate change is “far from the number-one threat” to the survival of most species. “There are so many other immediate threats that, by the time climate change really kicks in, many species will not exist any more,” said Jean Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN species program, which is responsible for compiling the international Redlist of endangered species.

He listed hunting, overfishing, and destruction of habitat by humans as more critical for the majority of species.

However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds disagreed, saying that climate change was the single biggest threat to biodiversity on the planet. “There’s an absolutely undeniable affect that’s happening now,” said John Clare, an RSPB spokesman. “There have been huge declines in British sea birds.”

The article, published today in the journal Science, reviews recent research on climate change and biodiversity, arguing that many simulations are not sufficiently detailed to give accurate predictions.

In particular, the landscape is often described at very low resolution, not taking into account finer variations in vegetation and altitude that are vital predictors for biodiversity.

Read the complete article at the Times here:

Experts say that fears surrounding climate change are overblown

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69 thoughts on “Quote of the week #22 – Experts say that fears surrounding climate change are overblown

  1. Only one comment. The opinion of the Royal Society on climate change can be safely dismissed. They are so overwhelmed with emotion and concern over carbon dioxide that they fail to see anything else.

  2. The prof and the IUCN are just sore because they aren’t getting the budgets that the AGW-mongers are getting.

    Seems the lack of consensus on this issue is worse than was thought ;)

  3. Climate change, with its attendant ecological niche changes, is a driver of evolution. Where would we be with a static climate? Unevolved, and uninvolved in this controversy, well, consciously at least.
    ===============================

  4. Of course, there is an idiotic article translated from New Scientist in our newspapers, stating that “all species are endangered”, “30% of all frogs and snakes will disappear soon” and “our children will never see those animals or plants we can see today”. There is also another article quoting Brown, calling for global tax on all international monetary transfers. Go figure.

  5. The fire spitting dragons will make up for this. I suspect smoke and steam are coming out of the alarmists. They thought they ad tamed the media.

  6. True, other things people do are more important than climate change for species extinction, however:

    “by the time climate change really kicks in, many species will not exist any more”

    This is nonsense. We don’t have any clue about the state of biodiversity on the planet. For all we know the number of species could be increasing. Indeed, the number of species we know about is always increasing. Such is the state of our ignorance.

    But there is a sensible solution to most species problems-seasonal hunting and making them food. If people like the taste of something, they are likely to protect it from disappearing.

    A great example of this is the Alligators of Florida. They were endangered. Now we eat ’em. I’ve never had gator, but I here it’s tasty, if a bit gamey. Like muscular chicken.

  7. “The International Union for the Conservation of Nature backed the article, saying that climate change is “far from the number-one threat” to the survival of most species. “There are so many other immediate threats that, by the time climate change really kicks in, many species will not exist any more,” said Jean Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN species program, which is responsible for compiling the international Redlist of endangered species.”

    Translation: “Give us the money instead.”

    How did Nature ever cope without us all those billions of years?

    A bit more global cooling might reduce the current plague of Salamanders.

  8. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has become a fanatical man-made climate change supporter. It has lost a lot of members because it supports most applications for wind farms in the UK, even though it knows wind turbines kill thousands of birds. It believes that wind farms will save the planet from dangerous climate change. It has lost all credibility as an organisation that is supposed to protect birds.

  9. “Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN species program, which is responsible for compiling the international Redlist of endangered species.
    …listed hunting, overfishing, and destruction of habitat by humans as more critical for the majority of species.

    However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds disagreed, saying that climate change was the single biggest threat to biodiversity on the planet. “There’s an absolutely undeniable affect that’s happening now,” said John Clare, an RSPB spokesman. “There have been huge declines in British sea birds.””

    What a twit. He doesn’t seem to have a clue that there’s a huge difference between saying something “is happening” and saying what the causes are.
    Typical of Warmists, though, who can never seem to get the idea that the fact that climate change is occurring is completely different from the claim that man is responsible for it.

  10. Let’s see now. In the 19th Century, it really was cold in the winter in England and the United States, as it usually is. Buffalo robes provided lots of insulation to keep the warmth from leaking out. It didn’t take all that long to almost make the American buffalo extinct, with the demand for buffalo robes. Economics 101.

  11. “by the time climate change really kicks in, many species will not exist any more”

    By this I take it that poor folks are deforesting land to survive. We would do the same thing in their place. This is an economics problem that the banking cartel has caused. Fix the %$@#&* banking system and we will all lead saner, more prosperous and sustainable lives.

  12. Phillip Bratby (09:41:47) :
    Is it only english-speaking birds that seemingly cannot avoid being hit by wind turbines? Here in Denmark and in Germany it is not a problem and has never been. And it’s not as if we lack the big white things: Vestas, a big sponsor of COP15, has put up a enormous specimen just in front of the Bella Center, where the conference is mostly taking place. It even turns when there’s no wind, which I find slightly odd…

  13. I am not cheering about this article.

    By mentioning land use the author is broadening the reasons for Government action on loss of species which again puts human kind on trial.
    She does not deny Global Warming and assumes it will “kick in” sometimes in the future.

    There is no reason whatsoever to think that human kind is responsible for the loss of species, other than over fishing and illegal deforestation, illegal trade in exotic animals and the use of toxins in agriculture and the war on drugs in Colombia
    (still using agent orange to destroy dug plantations)

    Where possible, effective measures have been undertaken to support rare species.
    In Europe and the USA, the number of species is on the rise.

    Area’s where the bear, wolf, the mountain Lion, the lynx and the beaver have disappeared during the past century, breeding and introduction programs and natural breeding and migration have resulted in the return of these animals in our national parks.

    Western Europe now counts more bird species than 100 years ago.

    Especially in cities and the free land around airports show a true boost of wild life.
    City parks and gardens provide breeding places for birds, and all kind of mammals,
    plants and insects.

    Yes, we have to take care of unique bio spheres in the tropics but in the free world human kind and nature go well together.

    We have cleaned up our environment after the industrial boost came after WOII.
    Our rivers and lakes are clean and ful of life. We have created National Parks that are connected with each other allowing for wildlife to migrate.
    We cleaned up our atmosphere and burn fossil fuels without poisoning the air we breath. We manage our forests and control our garbage without any negative effects to our environment.

    Like all the wrong claims about our climate, loss of species is just another.
    And after all the billion of dollars we have paid to organizations like Green peace and WWF we should not have any worries about this subject.

    The most threatening developments are the mass application of wind farms killing our birds of prey and the incredible growth of palm oil plantations in the tropics for the production of bio fuels.
    These are all green schemes promoted by the “Green” Governments and the Copenhagen treaty, as is the use of wood for fuel.
    Kyoto and Copenhagen will be devastating in terms of deforestation, loss of habitat and species. Therefore quit all this nonsense and us the solar produced carbon fuels.
    We have more of it than ever and it leaves us with 300 years to develop effective and affordable alternatives.

  14. “Studies ‘overstate species risks'”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8344969.stm

    “A coarse European-scale model (with 16km by 16km grid cells) predicted a loss of all suitable habitats during the 21st Century,” the researchers wrote.

    “Whereas a model run using local-scale data (25m by 25m grid cells) predicted (the) persistence of suitable habitats for up to 100% of plant species.”

    More Computer models.

  15. Soren:

    Strange. Perhaps English speaking birds are stupid. All (most) wind turbines can run as motors rather than generators and can be operated to make it look as if they are working, even when there is negligible wind; It’s all part of the spin (pun intended).

  16. Re the RSPB, if there is a drop in the number of seabirds around the british isles, it wil have far, far more to do with the industrial sand eel fishery. These wee critters are at the bottom of the North Sea food chain and are hoovered up to feed pigs in Europe. This fishery also has a lot to do with the poor cod and haddock stocks here.

    Don’t get me started on the EU!!!

    OT, the Science Museum Poll is now standing at 2268 in and 6547 out. They have improved the security of it. It will be interesting to see how they report that one (like they won’t bother).

  17. All i’ve been hearing about over the last 10 years here in the uk is “exploding bird diversity” from one quarter or another, or else “exploding populations of this that or the other mammal in the UK”

    This is anecdoatal of course, and the word “exploding” is hardly scientific, unless it refers to the process of the rapid increase of energy in a sudden moment

  18. The only danger of extinction from climate change right now are:

    1. Scientists who interpret data in a cautious prudent manner, rather than becoming tabloid journalists in the Discussion section of submitted papers.
    2. Referees who put a massive red pen through the Discussion section of climate change papers with the accompanying comment ‘not indicated by the data presented’
    3. Politicians who link scientific evidence to political policy.

  19. I think we want to preserve biodiversity whenever possible. Land use is the obvious culprit in reducing it. We compete with animals for habitat, and must try to make reasonable accommodations, especially for top predators who typically need large areas of unbroken habitat for survival.

    The notion that animals are unable to adapt to climate fluctuations is obvious nonsense. They have in the past, at times when the rate and scale were greater than what we see today.

  20. This is a very important article. I’ve always thought that the extinction threat for most (not all) species due to climate change was much overblown. And it is certainly clear to me that continued slow habitat destruction is driving many species toward extinction today, regardless of any changes in climate. There are hundreds of animals that have gone extinct in the last few decades. Thousands now survive in the wild with very small numbers (birds, primates, amphibians). The IUCN has done exceptional scientific work, to my mind, documenting such declines. It is well worth a visit to their website, if these species extinction and decline are of interest.

    The group Conservation International has done exceptional work turning back the clock, helping some such species begin to recover, and helping preserving habitat for others. The Ocean Conservancy is doing the same to protect ocean habitat in US waters.

    All this matters to me very much. Climate change, as most readers of this blog will likely agree, has been way over-hyped. The Michael Manns and Gavin Schmidts and Joe Romms of this world have been shamefully demagoguing the issue, trashing both science and scientists. Joe Romm has been acting like Joe McCarthy toward people he regards as getting in the way. What gives him the right to trash people so thoroughly, and despicably, just because they don’t happen to agree with his particular agenda?

    So it is heartening to see that the pendulum might swing back to where it should be, protecting what we have today, and not following the pied pipers of hysteria, Al Gore and company.

  21. Didnt I see somewhere that the planet is in an overall state of increasing greenness indicating generally more vegetation and notably more forest? I have seen comment that this is due at least in part to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Could this also due in part to the drift of population into cities and out of the countryside?

    Someone who has been tracking this issue might like to comment.

  22. Plant and animal biodiversity began decreasing at ever faster rates long before humans evolved into their present state. In fact, the reason we have evolved into our present state and have been looking to colonise space and expand our frontiers is because we don’t want to end up like every other specie.

  23. Indeed, when I read the article this morning I thought it took an extremely sceptical stance, at least in relation to what has been the dominant line of recent years. For us hardcore sceptics, it was still rather flaccid though. I’ve noticed over the last two years or more, that public comments to articles like this (except those in the Guardian) are overwhelmingly sceptical. The mainstream media can only publish against this kind of tide for so long before they crack and start towing a more sceptical line, as they have been doing over recent months.

    Arguments for adaptation are always missed as well, especially when it comes to the Human impact on eco-systems. It seems to me that it’s trivially true that species are under threat, but I don’t think CO2 or a warmer climate is the threat. Land use changes and competition with man for resources are obviously the major factor here.

  24. As climate and the environment changes, species come and go. It has always happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future, whatever mankind tries to do to ‘freeze’ it.

    The world is a harsh place to live – people need to get used to it.

  25. further to (09:35:30)

    “A bit more global cooling might reduce the current plague of Salamanders.”

    Only a plague of the mythical type:

    Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) wrote the following on the salamander: “This has no digestive organs, and gets no food but from the fire, in which it constantly renews its scaly skin. The salamander, which renews its scaly skin in the fire,—for virtue.” Later, Paracelsus (1493-1541) suggested that the salamander was the elemental of fire, which has had substantial influence on the role of salamanders in the occult.

    Doh.

  26. If you really are worried about biodiversity and look at the big picture, I would suggest that overall one of the worst things you could do would be to restrict the flow of carbon into the atmosphere. Since carbon is the food of life, you would in essence be increasing competition among species and in effect promoting starvation. On the plus side of course, decreasing the availability of carbon would result in extinction of “less capable” species.

  27. The Royal Society for the Protection of whichever Birds are currently “in” (ie, those which are most likely to make little old ladies dip into their purses or change their wills) has been for wind farms and against in recent years (according, one presumes, to what their research tells them about the little old ladies).
    Red kites (which predate on song birds) are in; magpies are in (mainly because farmers and shooting estates hate them). I’m not sure which sea birds are currently under threat but I believe the puffin is enjoying a resurgence for some reason.
    The belief that global warming per se is likely in general to have an adverse effect on sea bird population is a myth. More likely is that the bird’s range will extend wherever possible and this will depend on availability of food supply (as it does with every species).
    I am still at a loss to understand why the RSPB or any of its sister, brother, cousin or aunt organisations should be so collectively thick as not to understand this. Of all the groups that have to deal with the environment I would have thought they more than most would be arguing against this claptrap.

  28. @John says ..”There are hundreds of animals that have gone extinct in the last few decades. ”

    Oh really. Name 5.
    Ive done a quick check for such animals and the numbers are very low.
    Of course there are new species being discovered all the time, not necessarily animals

  29. She said that climate change has become a “buzz word” that is taking priority while, in practice, changes in human use of land have a greater impact on the survival of species.

    Thank you, Dr. Willis.

  30. I’d like to hear mention of Bjorn Lomborg here. I seem to remember he showed that the kind of figures I used to believe about disappearing species were way off the scale incorrect – groups had deliberately misrepresented the figures – and he got pilloried by way of thanks. Yet he started off as an active member of Greenp****.

  31. P Wilson (11:59:49) :

    All i’ve been hearing about over the last 10 years here in the uk is “exploding bird diversity” from one quarter or another, or else “exploding populations of this that or the other mammal in the UK”

    Probably some kid feeding alkaseltzer to the sea gulls.

    On a more series note, I’m convinced that agriculture generally has a mostly positive affect on animal populations. It has some small relationship to the expanded food supply.

  32. I searched and found this – year old – story:

    Sea birds in danger of dying out in UK, warns RSPB — here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3354091/Sea-birds-in-danger-of-dying-out-in-UK-warns-RSPB.html

    While interesting, it is unconvincing as to global warming (sea surface temps) as the cause. Consider this statement:
    “However other seabird species seem to be weathering the storm. Great skuas, gannets and cormorants have experienced modest increases in their numbers, while herring gulls have remained stable.”

    But, the lead of “Sea birds in danger of dying out…” is likely as far as some readers would get into the story.

    Fear seems to be an easy thing to grab on to, even though it isn’t exactly contagious in a literal sense.

  33. Phillip Bratby (09:41:47) :

    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has ….

    With all of these ‘Royal Society’ deals I tend to associate a different word with the letter P. “Prevention” seems so much more appropriate as used on RSPCC and RSPCA (for non UK readers they would respectively be Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

    So RS for the Prevention of Birds.

    Hmm. Maybe not all bad ….

    For consistentcy though one might wish to stick with the 4 letter acronym

    So RSPCC could become the RSPC and adjust to Royal Society for the Prevention of Children with RSPCA become the RS for the Prevention of Animals.

    I’m sure the public would adapt quickly enough and the Optimum Population Trust would surely be delighted with the changes.

    On the other hand the paper, as reported, seems to draw the correct overall conclusion but for entirely the wrong reasons.

  34. Rob R (13:13:49) :

    Regarding “Could this also due in part to the drift of population into cities and out of the countryside?”. This may be of interest, so much positive news but not for some…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/science/earth/30forest.html?_r=1&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&pagewanted=all

    New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests
    Tito Herrera for The New York Times
    Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing’s — and much larger swaths of farmland — are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings.

    These new “secondary” forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest — an iconic environmental cause — may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.

    “There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago,” said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants.

    The new forests, the scientists argue, could blunt the effects of rain forest destruction by absorbing carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, one crucial role that rain forests play. They could also, to a lesser extent, provide habitat for endangered species.

    The idea has stirred outrage among environmentalists who believe that vigorous efforts to protect native rain forest should remain a top priority. But the notion has gained currency in mainstream organizations like the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations, which in 2005 concluded that new forests were “increasing dramatically” and “undervalued” for their environmental benefits. The United Nations is undertaking the first global catalog of the new forests, which vary greatly in their stage of growth.

    “Biologists were ignoring these huge population trends and acting as if only original forest has conservation value, and that’s just wrong,” said Joe Wright, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here, who set off a firestorm two years ago by suggesting that the new forests could substantially compensate for rain forest destruction.

    “Is this a real rain forest?” Dr. Wright asked, walking the land of a former American cacao plantation that was abandoned about 50 years ago, and pointing to fig trees and vast webs of community spiders and howler monkeys.

    Dr. Wright and other scientists say they should be. About 38 million acres of original rain forest are being cut down every year, but in 2005, according to the most recent “State of the World’s Forests Report” by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there were an estimated 2.1 billion acres of potential replacement forest growing in the tropics — an area almost as large as the United States. The new forest included secondary forest on former farmland and so-called degraded forest, land that has been partly logged or destroyed by natural disasters like fires and then left to nature. In Panama by the 1990s, the last decade for which data is available, the rain forest is being destroyed at a rate of 1.3 percent each year. The area of secondary forest is increasing by more than 4 percent yearly, Dr. Wright estimates.

    This is also related. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE57N00220090824?sp=true

    Tree cover far bigger than expected on farms: study

    By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

    OSLO (Reuters) – Almost half of the world’s farmland has at least 10 percent tree cover, according to a study on Monday indicating that farmers are far less destructive to carbon-storing forests than previously believed.

    “The area revealed in this study is twice the size of the Amazon, and shows that farmers are protecting and planting trees spontaneously,” Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, said in a statement.

    The Centre’s report, based on satellite images and the first to estimate tree cover on the world’s farms, showed tree canopies exceeded 10 percent on farmland of 10 million square kms (3.9 million sq miles) — 46 percent of all agricultural land and an area the size of Canada or China.

  35. Rob R (13:13:49) : increasing greenness

    Yes, for several reasons as you suggest.

    An example: Western Pennsylvania was settled, forests cleared (with many logs going on the streams and rivers down to Pittsburgh for the westward migration down the Ohio River), and small family farms grew in number. Families were large but, as with my parent’s generation, the children left for the jobs in the towns and cities. Some cleared land was planted in pine and spruce for Christmas trees. Most of these and much of the old farm land reverted back to natural growth. Often one of the children carved a small parcel out for a house. In the 1950s & 60s my family hunted small game and whitetail deer on the once-family land and surrounding land that had similarly gone native – and most was then owned by folks not living on the land.

  36. It’s not just land use – it’s land use pattern.

    Landscape ecologists speak of “edge”, “connectivity”, and even fractal dimension. All sorts of spatial-pattern metrics have been devised.

    Of course the ideal pattern for one species may not be ideal for another. Think of the perspective of a slug trying to reach new habitat versus that of a bird, etc.

    Some species need edge because they meet different needs in different “patches” (easier to do when the patches are adjacent).

    Then there’s seed & pollen dispersal – one has to consider the vectors (carried by wind? birds? insects? – it varies by species).

    Patch-dynamics at sea remain relatively mysterious.

  37. If you really read what they are saying, it sounds like they think that climate change is real, it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be bad, but we will have killed off most species by that time with hunting, overfishing and land use changes before the warming has a chance to kill them.

    Let’s not lose sight of all the other things we want to control in addition to carbon.

  38. This begs for sarcasm.

    The world is suppose to end in thirty days.

    Now, we are not going to be extinct.

    I was hoping to stop paying taxes and buy a yacht with my savings and sail into the sunset.

    What is next?

    Cold Winters for 30 years.

    Sunspots appear to be extinct.

    Paul Pierett

  39. Re ztev (14:42:08), who asks me to name at least 5 species which have gone extinct in the last several decades.

    Here are a few.

    Hawaiian honeyeaters (bird species):

    Kaauai O’o (1987)
    Molokai O’o (1980s)
    Oahu O’o (mid 19th C)
    Greater Akialoa (1969)
    Kakawahie (1963)
    Poouli (2004)

    Hawaiian thrushes (bird species):

    Kama’o (1990s)
    Olomao (1980s)

    Other birds:

    Imperial woodpecker (Mexico, late 20th C)
    Carolina Parakeet (USA, 1930s)
    Atitlan Grebe (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 1989)
    Columbian Grebe (1977)
    Japanese lapwing (1950s)
    Bar Winged Rail (Gua, 1980s)
    Bush Wren (New Zealand, 1972)

    Carnivores:

    Javan Tiger (1950s)
    Bali Tiger (1950s)
    Caspian Tiger (Tajikistan, 1950s)
    Mexican Grizzly Bear (1960s)
    Caribbean Monk Seal (Jamaica, 1952)
    Japanese Sea Lion (1950s)

    Marsupials:

    Red Bellied Gracile Opossum (Argentina, 1962)
    Crescent Nailtail Wallaby (Australia, 1956)
    Lesser Billby (Australia, 1950s)
    Pig Footed Bandicoot (Australia, 1950s)

    Bats:

    Sturdees Pipistrelle (Japan, 2000)
    Lord Howe Long Eared Bat (Australia, 1996)
    Guam Flying Fox (1968)

    I haven’t listed birds like the Eskimo Curlew and Bachmann’s Warbler (both from the US, neither seen for 40 years or more, and suspected extinct), or the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (also of the US), the last confirmed sighting of which was in the 1940s, notwithstanding the hoopla about a possible sighting several years ago but never confirmed.

    Nor have I listed the many amphibian species which have gone extinct for a variety of reasons in the last two decades. Nor have I listed several tens of other species thought likely to be extinct because they haven’t been seen for decades, but not yet declared extinct.

    Species extinctions are real. Perhaps the worst example is the Passenger Pigeon, native to the US, which once numbered as many as 2.2 billion (with a B) birds in one particularly large flock. But after 70 or more years of continual hunting it for food (it tasted good, unlike rock doves (city pigeons) today, the birds numbers got too low for sustaining the species in the wild. The last Passenger Pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo in 1914.

  40. “I am still at a loss to understand why the RSPB or any of its sister, brother, cousin or aunt organisations should be so collectively thick as not to understand this.”

    They didn’t make these decisions in a vacuum. A few highly motivated activists, who seemingly had all the answers and who floridly demonized and belittled all doubt swept the disorganized and less intrepid opposition aside. This is how endorsements have been obtained from other Dudley-Do-Right organizations. In the future, there will (or should) be dozens of snidely titled sociological papers written deconstructing this recruitment process in terms of organizational politics and what the psychic/social investment and payoff was for the parties involved.

  41. Phillip Bratby (11:36:40) :
    It’s all part of the spin (pun intended). Spinning is not something only turbines do… Anyway: The bird strike problem has been researched several times: http://www.teknologiportalen.dk/Teknologi/EnergiogMiljoe/Fugle_og_vindmoeller.htm (english summary on page 5 of the pdf) and here: http://www2.dmu.dk/1_om_dmu/2_afdelinger/3_vibi/projekter2.asp?ID=9293 By claiming that birds do not adapt to the changes in their environment, wind skeptics argues from the same false pretenses as do the AGW crowd. All species adapt, otherwise this planet would be devoid of life.

  42. Here in the southeast there is a real quandary. Many severe weather experts are demanding that all trees within 100ft of inhabited structures be removed as they might blow down and destroy or damage property with concurent injury or loss of life to the inhabitants. Then there are those that recomend that to save on energy that large hardwoods should be left to shade the homes and structures to reduce the denamd for electrical power in the warm months while the sheding of leaves in the cooler months reduces the use of power for heating. Whom do you listen to. Personally I like shade. Farm land here in my part of Alabama is changing much of the land that has been “row cropped” for generations (50%) in some areas has now gone to either pasture or back to native forest. The ability of the American farmer to produce more crops on less land and lower fuel usage has been phenominal over the past 50 years. Now with the cap and trade situation watch for the return of farm land to natural habitat. And watch the cost of feeding your family. As for the loss of sea birds, they are flighty critters tending to follow the little fisshies when they move to better climes. if it warms they move norty if it cools they move south. Perhaps more study is needed to see if they just up and went somewhere else for a better food supply, just as humans will adapt to either warming or cooling. My family is already adapting for some of this by producing much of the veggies we cnsume and using wood for a heating fuel. Last yer 100 gallons of propane $250.00 down significantly this year thus far but subject to change on short notice. Fire wood if you cut split and stack your self including cost of saw averaged out for life of saw. About $5.oo/cord. We cut, split and stack our own wood to reduce the cost of winter heating and makes great BBQ during the warm season. As for habitat, cut down an old growth forest and wait 5 years and make a recount of the species it will greatly multiply both in species and numbers of individual animals in each. New forest support much more wild life than old forest. All you have to do is just walk around and look to see the difference. Try it some day and see. All it takes is a couple of hours of hiking on a couple of days.

    Bill Derryberry

  43. Some one spoke of the demise of the American Buffalo. The hides were not the primary cause of the hunts that destroyed the herds. The hides were a secondary and bonus when sold. The primary was a bounty paid by the Federal Government through the U. S. Army to destroy the main source of food and housing for the American plains Native Americans. That was the reason for the demise of that animal. It is hard to wage war when you are starving and cold. Some times extinction is on purpose which seems justified at the time but later is cause for alarm. Hmmmmmm Cap and Tax wonder what it is going to do to our food supply. Makes one think.

    Bill Derryberry

  44. “John (21:40:40) : ”

    Here’s one for you, the New Zealand Moa. And it had nothing to do with global climate change, C02, SUV’s and energy consumption.

  45. “Phillip Bratby (09:41:47) :
    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds … has lost a lot of members because it supports most applications for wind farms in the UK, even though it knows wind turbines kill thousands of birds…”

    …It lost my support when I realised a charity set up to promote the interests of birds was responsible for the erection of hundreds of bird shredders.

  46. Soren
    What exactly are birds (whether they can speak english or not) adapting too? You assured us that in Germany and Denmark, they do not get hit by turbines, and it has never been a problem?….What do they need to adapt to then? Where you being less than honest? The Cretan Vulture in the video, did’nt look like it had any time to adapt. I see studies (from California, for example) that suggest birds do get hit by turbines. And I see Wind factory developers own reports, suggesting numbers of birds (Golden Eagles, for example) they expect will be killed by their own developments. Are you casting doubt on these reports?

  47. However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds disagreed, saying that climate change was the single biggest threat to biodiversity on the planet. “There’s an absolutely undeniable affect that’s happening now,” said John Clare, an RSPB spokesman. “There have been huge declines in British sea birds.”

    John Clare is a journalist and is Media Officer for RSPB – just in case you thought he was a “climate scientist”.

  48. I think the upcoming UK elections are going to drive a change in the focus of UK government sponsored science research. It looks very much like a Conservative government will be elected, and most Conservatives’ views are very much like Monckton’s. If I was a UK climate researcher, I would be thinking of ‘settling’ the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis as ‘unproven” and start thinking of testing hypotheses that would address the measures needed to adapt to climate change. Researchers are well aware of the political agendas that directly or indirectly support their research, and will adapt accordingly.

    Look to see more of this after the Conservatives are elected – after all reasearch scientists need to adapt to changing environments just like the species they study

  49. How about a 80% Reduction of Boxer?
    That ought to be about the term she has left in office.
    Leave now, and never come back.
    But, we have the perfect job in mind for Boxer.
    Vanna White needs a vacation, and Pat hasn’t been able to find a stand-in.

  50. This idea that evolution is affected by changing climate is intersting. When evolution was formulated, the assumption was that evolution didn’t end, as ends are not amenable to rational argument. So species are not fixed in a permanent state. There is no ideal cat and ideal donkey in the divine mind which has its permanent copy on earth. How many new species there are and how many species are extinct, and species yet undiscovered gives some cause of conjecture. I will say though if Darwin was around today and developed the theory of evolution in the late 20th century, then today, we would be told something along the lines of.

    “Oh no! We’re fragile and not permanent souls. We never thought it was this frail to be alive. we could tip over at any point, and look what evolution says. Its worse than we thought!”

    The 19th century was however, a more rational and curious period, scientifically.

  51. Re Soren (22:01:11), who said “All species adapt, otherwise this planet would be devoid of life.”

    Many species do adapt very well — for example, generalists such as crows, gulls, city pigeons, starlings — species which can eat many things (including bread, or fries thrown into a garbage can), and which can live and breed in different environments. Another example: possums and raccoons can live well in cities — we had raccoons mating in a tree outside our bedroom window in Washington, DC a decade ago.

    But many species for one reason or another cannot adapt well. Often they have very particular nesting or dietary requirements, or are of too much interest to humans as food or as pets.

    For example, Kirtland’s warbler (nests in upstate Michigan) was down to a few hundred in number two decades ago, and no one knew why the numbers had plummeted. It turned out that to protect its nest from predators, it needed to nest in jack pine trees of a certain size and age (about 10 years, I think). Fire suppression had worked so well that there were hardly any pines left suitable for the bird, so nesting failed year after year. They couldn’t adapt. Once the science had been done, prescribed burning occurred on a regular basis, and now there are many places in upstate Michigan with the right age and size of pine for the bird to nest. And we now are back to about 2500 Kirtland’s warblers.

    Many macaws and parrots are now in critically low numbers in the wild because they are captured for the pet bird trade. One (Lear’s Macaw) is now beginning to come back from a low of about two hundred in the wild because conservation groups have worked with local residents to protect it. We are now captive breeding some macaw and parrot species for sale in the pet bird trade so that there will be less value for wild-caught birds, hopefully reducing pressure for smuggling them. Again, the birds couldn’t adapt to the economic imperative to capture and sell them.

    Some species (Passenger Pigeon, Eskimo Curlew) were good eating and were easily enough hunted, and are now gone. Many species have, through intervention by humans, have had their numbers rebound — bison, for example, and grizzly bears in three states in the lower 48.

    So while some species can adapt, many cannot. That is why some of us who care about extinction of species feel the need to take proactive steps to ensure their survival. I’ve given some examples of early success for a few species above, but there are (thank goodness) many more such examples, as well as examples of recent extinctions. I am proud to support groups who in my view do this work well — Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, and Ocean Conservancy.

  52. I’m with Ron De Haan on this one.
    I live in England and the sparrow ( a bird ) population has noticebly decreased in the UK. Some blame it on global warming!
    When I go to Spain or Potugal on holdiday , there are huge sparrow populations.
    Its lovely to see the cheeky little chaps. Spain and Portugal are probably 10c overall warmer than the OK— not the 0.6C or less allegedly caused by AGW So why are there sparrows there and not so many in the UK?

  53. John (07:43:22) :

    “For example, Kirtland’s warbler (nests in upstate Michigan) was down to a few hundred in number two decades ago, and no one knew why the numbers had plummeted. It turned out that to protect its nest from predators, it needed to nest in jack pine trees of a certain size and age (about 10 years, I think). Fire suppression had worked so well(?) that there were hardly any pines left suitable for the bird, so nesting failed year after year. They couldn’t adapt. Once the science had been done, prescribed burning occurred on a regular basis, and now there are many places in upstate Michigan with the right age and size of pine for the bird to nest. And we now are back to about 2500 Kirtland’s warblers.”

    Another example of greenie understanding of nature?

    What I want to know from the RSPB is whether they have asked the birds if they want to be protected. Most wild critters seem much happier to be left alone by humans.

  54. AdrianS (11:26:12) :

    I’m with Ron De Haan on this one.
    I live in England and the sparrow ( a bird ) population has noticebly decreased in the UK. Some blame it on global warming!
    When I go to Spain or Potugal on holdiday , there are huge sparrow populations.
    Its lovely to see the cheeky little chaps. Spain and Portugal are probably 10c overall warmer than the OK— not the 0.6C or less allegedly caused by AGW So why are there sparrows there and not so many in the UK?

    Don’t forget Italy.
    The super swarms over the city of Rome are famous but it’s inhabitants hate it because some times it “rains” bird shit.

    There is a tv series titled “New Wilderness” celebrating how well nature and wild life has adapted to the human civilization and how they exploit the opportunities provided by the land use by humans, the parks and natural parks and resorts.

    All those alarmists!

  55. It is stated that some bird species face extinction because they can’t find nesting space anymore due to the heat insulation programs of the housing in Western Europe.
    The moment this came out people put in millions and millions of nesting cases everywhere.

  56. Some things that happen really make me laugh loud. In the UK, for hundreds of years, people worked the forests for what was needed, which was firewood and long and straight poles. They would cut off a tree at a height of about 4 feet well within the forest. Then shoots would grow, and since the sunlight those shoots did get came from pretty much straight up, the shoots grew pretty much straight up. Branches which would have come from those shoots were “nipped in the bud”, resulting in knot free long poles. In about 15 or 20 years. Faster growing sprouts would be harvested as firewood when they got to the right diameter.

    This practice opened up clearings in which animals and plants other than trees could do well.

    This practice has stopped, as the products are no longer needed. The forests are closing in again on these previously clear spaces, and the various species other than trees no longer can grow, as their habitat is being destroyed by natural forces. So the scientists are wringing their hands with woe . . . because no longer are humans interferring with nature and many species are dying out.

  57. As for sparrows in the UK.

    Sparrow Hawks & various kites are now protected and have multiplied, so smaller birds have declined.

    Animal rights activists released mink into the wild & they decimated wildlife.

    These well meaning idiots have no idea!

    DaveE.

  58. Juraj V. (09:15:55) :
    Of course, there is an idiotic article translated from New Scientist in our newspapers, stating that “all species are endangered”, “30% of all frogs and snakes will disappear soon” and “our children will never see those animals or plants we can see today”.

    Here’s hoping they are correct about the snakes.

  59. Is not the extinction of various sub-species,that is,genetic mutations,merely an evolutionary regression to the mean?

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