Apocalyptic Fear-mongering: Sometimes Rush Limbaugh is Right!

Guest essay by Jim Steele,director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed I would or could utter the words of my title. As a left-leaning young ecologist, I hated the way Limbaugh painted all environmentalists as “whackos”! I was a strong believer in the Endangered Species Act as a law that would ensure people stopped to consider win-win solutions for humans and all other species. I believed conservation science could guide us toward wise environmental stewardship, and when married to innovative entrepreneurial endeavors, we could build a better world for all. As director of a university environmental field station, I met people of all political persuasions eager to enjoy and protect the environment, and I believed both the left and right would rally around sound environmental science. So why did Rush label us as whackos? I saw Limbaugh’s polarizing polemics as an attack on the environment. But now I must agree with Rush’s recent view that “Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”. In his critique of a newly published paper, “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction” (hereafter Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015), Rush correctly points out that it is just another example of apocalyptic fear mongering that drives some people into hopeless despair, while forcing others to ignore scientists’ steady drone that the end of the world is before us.


As an ecologist I read several papers a week, looking for pearls of wisdom that would make us better stewards of the environment. But Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 offered absolutely nothing new and absolutely nothing useful. They simply created a framework that would dramatize their numbers stating, “Our analysis emphasizes that our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years.” Started to destroy…??? What are we now doing to suddenly promote mass extinctions?

Indeed more species have likely gone extinct in the past 500 years due to habitat loss, overhunting and invasive species than are known to have gone extinct over the past 400 thousand years, despite the extreme climate shifts between the ice age glacials and warm interglacials. But the bulk of those extinctions were the result of past human actions that are now being rectified. At this essay’s conclusion, I added a table for the first 100 of the 140 extinct bird species from the same IUCN database that Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 used for their paper. Unlike Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015, I included extinction dates and the reason the IUCN has justified their extinction status. Notice that most extinct species inhabited islands where organisms are extremely sensitive to all invasive species. That damage has already been done. So in contrast to claims we are “entering” an era of accelerated mass extinctions, it would be more honest to say humans are now reversing what began 500 years ago.

Most island die-offs began shortly after Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World that encouraged worldwide exploration. Of the 100 extinct birds listed below, three species were extinct in the 1500s, 17 in the 1600s, 18 in the 1700s, 32 in the 1800s, and 30 in the 1900s. Overhunting claimed many island species like the Dodo early on, as hungry sailors and settlers struggled to survive. However a large proportion of recent extinctions happened unintentionally due to introduced rats that stowed away on visiting ships, (or more recently the introduced brown tree snake). Without natural predators, rat populations exploded. So islanders intentionally introduced cats, ferrets and mongoose to kill the rats. But island wildlife had evolved without any threat from land predators, so most species were behaviorally ill adapted to survive the onslaught of these new arrivals. Many island birds evolved flightlessness and explorers reported island species as remarkably tame. Most of the other extinct vertebrate species on the IUCN list suffered a similar fate in the wake of introduced species. Many of the most recent extinctions in the 1900s were simply distressed species succumbing to centuries of depredation from introduced species and lost habitat. Oddly enough, when the Christian Science Monitor hyped Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 with How To Prevent The Sixth Mass Extinction, their only solution was a cure that is much worse than the disease. They resurrected Camille Parmesan’s pitch for widespread introduction of species into new habitats where climate change is predicted to create a more favorable environment. Not only has that remedy always caused disastrous ecological disruptions, but climate models have been notoriously awful about simulating regional climate changes.


The causes of past extinctions have been noted for decades and centuries. Instead of hammering the public with gloom and doom, Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 would have served us better by reporting how extensive recent efforts are saving species. Globally people have been diligently working to prevent further island extinctions. For example, the Aleutian Goose was once believed to be extinct until a few individuals were found on a remote island. The goose had disappeared from all its other breeding islands because fur farmers had introduced arctic and red foxes. Recognizing the problem, humans quickly removed the foxes and the species rebounded immediately (as did many other breeding sea birds). The Aleutian Goose is now so abundant it is considered a pest on its wintering grounds. Similarly worldwide efforts to eradicate introduced “pest” species are reporting various levels of success. For a more hopeful outlook, and to appreciate how human efforts are promoting biodiversity, I suggest visiting the websites of organizations like Island Conservation or reading about successful eradications.

Unconscionably, although most past extinctions, as well as presently endangered species, are found on islands, and despite widespread local efforts that are preventing further island extinctions, Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015’s so-called “science” and self-prmoting press releases are only generating horribly despairing and deceptive headlines proclaiming, “Sixth mass extinction is here: Humanity’s existence threatened.”.

Why didn’t Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 point out productive efforts that are preventing further extinctions? Why not offer real conservation guidance and optimism? It appears they prefer denigrating modern society and promoting apocalyptic fear mongering rather than promoting good conservation and good science. They wrote, “Modern extinction rates have increased sharply over the past 200 years (corresponding to the rise of industrial society) and are considerably higher than background rates”. But suggesting modern industrial society “corresponds” with those extinction is a horrible illusion. A stronger case can be made that industrial society will be wildlife’s savior.

Although the geometric growth of human populations for the past 500 years has undeniably led to increased habitat destruction and overhunting. But population growth may soon plateau and then reverse its growth trend. The “evils” of population growth have been the mainstay of influential apocalyptic predictions from Malthus in the 1700s to Ehrlich in recent decades. In Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb, he warned of the mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation. But as Limbaugh noted, Ehrlich’s predictions have failed miserably. So perhaps his “new extinction research” is just an attempt to regain some support for his widely criticized “end of the earth” beliefs. But if Ehrlich is suggesting booming human populations will soon cause the Sixth Mass Extinction, then he has failed to report a more optimistic consensus that our modern industrial society is now reducing population pressures.

Ecologists divide animal reproductive strategies in to 2 broad categories. R-selected species provide little parental care and produce abundant young, anticipating high mortality. In contrast K-selected species produce few young but invest a lot of parental care. Modern industrial societies have encouraged humans to evolve from a R-selected to a K-selected species. Where humans once depended on cheap child labor to operate marginal subsistence farms, there was an economic advantage to having many children. In contrast industrial societies demand greater parental investment and more education, so reproduction is delayed and families are smaller. Furthermore mechanization of agriculture has reduced the demand for abundant cheap labor on marginal farms.

Ecologists calculate that human populations require a fertility rate of 2.1 births per female to offset deaths. A fertility rate below 2.1 causes the population to decline, while a higher fertility rate causes population to grow. In the 1950s, the decade of Baby Boomers, the USA had a fertility rate that averaged 3.7. By 1980 the rate dropped to 1.8. Now due largely to immigration, a slightly higher fertility rate stands at 2.0. Worldwide fertility rates similarly dropped from 2.67 in 1950 to 2.02 in 2000. These lower rates suggest the global human population will soon plateau and then decline. Thus decreasing population pressures will not cause an accelerating extinction rate. These decreasing fertility rates should be a cause for optimism. The graph below color-codes the fertility rates of every nation. Only the non-industrial societies are experiencing the high fertility rates (reds and yellows) that could strain the earth’s carrying capacity and diminish local biodiversity. So why does Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 denigrate modern society?


Habitat loss has indeed been a major cause of local extinctions as burgeoning human populations converted more landscape for agricultural purposes. But better intensive agricultural practices, like mechanization, genetic engineering and other modern techniques, have allowed the world to feed more people on fewer acres. For example according to the USDA since 1950, “the average yield of corn rose from 39 bushels to 153 bushels per acre, and each farmer in 2000 produced on average 12 times as much farm output per hour worked as a farmer did in 1950. Again such improvements should be a cause for pride and optimism, as modern society has increasingly sacrificed less natural habitat for agriculture.

As more marginal farms are abandoned and land is returned to the wild, we would expect to see the return of more natural habitat and indeed this was the case for Vermont. In 1900, Vermont was 80% deforested. As marginal farms were abandoned, Vermont became 80% reforested supporting natural biodiversity. Similar patterns have been observed throughout New England. As marginal farmland became reforested moose migrated southward to warmer regions where they had been extirpated by the 1800s in contrast to global warming theory. Similar reversions to natural habitat were observed throughout the Great Plains. Furthermore land managers and private hunting groups like Ducks Unlimited have been improving species prime breeding habitat in the Prairie Potholes, so that in 2014 North American duck populations had increased to record highs, 43% above the 1950-80 average. But that landscape success story is now being threatened. As politicians become increasingly mesmerized by another apocalyptic story regards climate change, governments are subsidizing biofuels that are increasingly destroying habitat and stress groundwater supplies.

A 2013 paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reported, “High corn and soybean prices, prompted largely by demand for biofuel feedstocks, are driving one of the most important land cover/land use change (LCLUC) events in recent US history; the accelerated conversion of grassland to cropland in the US Corn Belt.” Due to government biofuel subsidies, the rate of grassland conversion has accelerated land conversion rates that have not been seen since the Dust Bowl when wheat subsidies similarly encouraged the plowing under of grasslands the size of the state of Ohio. These researchers noted the landscape conversion is “comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia, countries in which tropical forests were the principal sources of new agricultural land.”

Similarly, tropical deforestation and lost biodiversity has been accelerated by government subsidies for other biofuels. Although palm oil had been chiefly used in foods and cosmetics, the EU began subsidizing palm oil for biofuels in a misguided fight against climate change. European Union subsidies for palm oil raised prices and increased its demand as reported in 2013 in The EU Biofuel Policy And Palm Oil: Cutting Subsidies Or Cutting Rainforest? (see table below). This resulted in widespread deforestation throughout Indonesia that now threatens tropical species like the Orangutans and has been wreaking widespread ecological havoc. Similar subsidies for sugar cane are accelerating deforestation in Brazil.

EU Palm Oil usage(Metric tones) 2006 2012 – After Subsidies % increase
Used for fuel and electrical generation 822 2459 299.0%
Used for foods and cosmetics 3692 3925 06.3%

Apocalyptic fear mongering about climate change has similarly convinced politicians that burning trees (again eliminating more habitat) is better than burning coal under the guise of “sustainable fuel production”. Early settlers had decimated Great Britain’s forest thousands of years ago to create grazing land for their sheep. But recent conservation efforts were now making this one of the few nations with increasing forests. Unfortunately government subsidies are not only promoting cutting local forests, but those subsidies were creating a demand to import more trees from America and thus destroying distant habitat. Likewise, Haiti has denuded its landscape as it relies on wood burning. While due to its reliance on a fossil fuel economy, the Dominican Republic has preserved more forest. The difference is readily observed below in NASA’s satellite photo of the Haiti (left) and Dominican (right) border.


Whales, walrus and other marine mammals were nearly hunted to extinction during the Little Ice Age for their blubber. But the advent of the oil industry and modern industrial society provided an alternative energy source that reduced that hunting pressure, and likely prevented the extinction of most marine mammals. Although the disruption of industrial economies by two world wars caused a temporary spike in whaling, the recovery of industrial economies once again has alleviated hunting pressures. Gray Whales are now believed to have returned to their historic numbers (see graph below), Humpback Whales are increasing by about 13% a year, and most other species are steadily recovering but at a lower pace.

In contrast to apocalyptic headlines of climate change disruption, observations of large numbers of walruses hauling out on Alaskan beaches are evidence of conservation success as Pacific walruses have rebounded to equal historic numbers as discussed in Hijacking Successful Walrus Conservation. Indeed modern societies have reduced the extinction threats to most marine mammals that were decimated by overhunting for food and fuel. Again modern industrial society should engender optimism about our environment’s future, not elicit catastrophic predictions of mass extinctions.


Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 suggest we can avoid a sixth mass extinction by alleviating pressures on stressed populations, caused notably by “habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change”. Yet modern society has been increasingly addressing those first 2 problems and there is no evidence that climate change has caused any extinctions. Contrary to climate change fears, since the Little Ice Age, whether or not warming was caused by rising CO2 or natural climate change, that warming has contributed to longer growing seasons which has only benefited the entire food web for all species including humans. Phytoplankton that form the base of the Arctic food web has increased 3 fold. It is beyond all reason that proponents of a CO2 driven apocalypse would suggest that the 1-degree colder temperatures of the Little Ice Age should be revered as the benchmark against which we evaluate our “optimal” climate. During the Little Ice Age upwelling was reduced lowering ocean productivity, glaciers threatened European villages, tree line dropped, and no new trees grew in several montane regions, and there was widespread starvation that the pope blamed on witches.

In his critique of Ceballos and Ehrlich’s 6th mass extinction madness, Limbaugh’s warns that apocalyptic fear mongering is engendering a lack of faith, and lack of hope in our children, and in our society. In a similar vein, science writer Matt Ridley recently wrote in “Climate Wars’ Damage to Science.” that climate fear mongering is even more damaging, denigrating the very scientific process itself. Most striking to me is the lost trustworthiness of the peer review process regards climate science. It seems as if all one has to do is suggest apocalyptic climate change to get published no matter how much contradictory evidence is known.

A blatant example of such damage to science, was the American Meteorological Society’s publication of Parmesan’s half-truths about climate-caused population extinctions, If she had honestly reported the whole story that only butterflies that had recently and opportunistically colonized a logged area had been extirpated, while just ten feet away in natural communities the same species was thriving, her apocalyptic climate interpretation would have been shunned (details here). Instead her story of half-truths was repeated by our top climate scientists in scientific journals as an example of deadly climate change, and the BAMS editors refused to retract her bogus paper. But this is not an isolated incidence. There is a long list of other apocryphal climate catastrophe publications in peer reviewed science.

Camille Parmesan was also one of the earliest authors to suggest climate change was extirpating populations in Climate and Species Range. However after careful perusal of her claims, I documented several fallacies (here) and then learned that many of her purported extirpated populations have now returned (according to her own research). Yet she has never published those more uplifting observations of natural resiliency. Later in an IPCC publication, she misdiagnosed a species’ range expansion in England due to successful conservation efforts in order to blame climate change (details here). Yet despite all of Parmesan’s bad science, she was honored at the White House and became one of a select few biologists invited to join the IPCC. While promoters of apocalyptic climate change have elevated Parmesan to hero status, the only person that publicly challenged her bad science was Rush Limbaugh.

Similarly J.A. Pounds joined the IPCC after publishing in Nature that climate change was causing extreme heat and dryness, which was killing Costa Rica’s amphibians. But other scientists provided overwhelming evidence that the inadvertent introduction of a chytrid fungus by researchers and the pet trade had caused the recent amphibian extinctions. Intensive laboratory studies then revealed that the deadly fungus could not tolerate extreme warmth or dryness, which contradicted all of Pounds’ earlier interpretations. So Pounds simply reversed his position to maintain his apocalyptic climate story, and he now argued global warming was causing cooler maximum temperatures and a wetter environment and therefore climate change was still the killer by enabling the deadly fungus. The editors at Nature never demanded that Pounds explain his contrary interpretations. As long as apocalyptic climate change was suggested, it got published (details here). While other scientists rallied to save threatened amphibians, Pounds attacked them for not blaming apocalyptic climate change.

Nature published other apocalyptic papers suggesting the imminent extinction of Emperor Penguins. Researchers blamed global warming despite the fact that there had been no warming trend at the site where the population of Emperors had declined. The most likely culprit causing lower Penguin numbers was researcher disturbance during brutal winter conditions (details here), but recent papers continue to suggest global warming was the cause to infer mass extinctions will happen by the turn of the century.

Despite the Inuit insistence that it is the time of the most polar bears, or the fact that researchers have documented increasing populations, polar bears have been elevated to icons of apocalyptic climate change. In another blatant example of editors “looking the other way” and defiling the scientific process, researchers first published that cycles of heavy sea ice in the Beaufort Sea had caused significant drops in ringed seals and polar bears. Then to support the apocalyptic meme, the same researchers published that those same populations declines were due to global warming and less ice (details here).

Pika are rabbit like creatures living in the mountainous western USA. Erik Beever published that pika were experiencing accelerated upslope dispersal and extinction due to climate change. But Beever admittedly eliminated all observations of pika moving to lower elevations. Although his statistical tinkering guaranteed “upslope movement” no matter how the climate changed, the editors considered this “good science.” In contrast more extensive surveys by other researchers have shown that 19% of all pika detections have been at lower elevations than first reported in the early 1900s. Nonetheless several papers and websites only report Dr. Beever’s interpretation of climate change, apocalyptically driving pika upwards and into extinction. (more details here)

When Limbaugh argues that apocalyptic fear mongering is the liberal rage, I thought Rush was overreacting via his political ideology. But after reading the conclusions of Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015, I realized Ehrlich’s paper was not about biology or good conservation, but just a vehicle to promote their politics. Ehrlich concluded, “Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and to alleviate pressures on their populations…. All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity (6). [emphasis added] However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”

That gave me a better understanding of Limbaugh’s perspective. Although I have yet to see Rush take a pro-environmental stance, his arguments are not anti-environment. He is railing against the political corruption of environmental science, something I have sadly observed (see above). He is fighting against those who misuse the Endangered Species Act to promote their politics. He is ranting against apocalyptic fear mongering that robs science of its objectivity and integrity, and robs people of hope in order to promote an agenda.

Yet apocalyptic fear mongering is powerfully persuasive. It has empowered a diverse menagerie of cult leaders through out the ages as those who preach about the apocalypse are eerily seen as humanity’s saviors. Mesmerized followers relinquish there critical thinking powers and anoint their leader as the bearer of all truth. Anyone who thinks for themselves, rejects an inevitable apocalypse, or exposes the bad science of fear mongering, are called deniers by a legion of ignorant but rabid internet stalkers (as exemplified here). I am reminded of the Heaven’s Gate cult that believed the world was coming to an end, and would soon be “recycled”. Several highly intelligent high tech workers embraced their leader’s apocalyptic vision, believing the path to salvation was to castrate themselves and drink the “kool-ade”, so they could be transported by an alien spaceship hiding behind the approaching Hale-Bopp comet and swept away to a “higher level.”

Once you believe the world is coming to an end, once you lose faith in humanity and nature’s resilience, once you lose hope, then like the Heaven’s Gate victims, you become easy prey for the charlatans that inhabit all walks of life, left or right, scientist or layperson. Indeed “Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”.


Jim Steele is director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

100 Extinct Bird Species from Ceballos 2015
Genus Species IUCN justification Extinct Date
1 Aegolius gradyi This raptor was recently-described from fossil records, and likely accounts for observations of owls on Bermuda in the early 17th century. It is long Extinct. 1600s
2 Alectroenas nitidissimus This species was found on Mauritius, but it has been hunted to extinction. The last reports date from 1832 and it is thought to have been Extinct a few years later. 1832
3 Alectroenas payandeei This newly-recognised Extinct pigeon is known from a single subfossil record. It may have survived into the 17th century but most likely disappeared by the 1690s owing to predation by invasive rats. 1600s
4 Alopecoenas ferrugineus This species is known from Tanna, Vanuatu, but the only record dates from 1774 and it is now Extinct. Hunting is likely to have been the main cause 1774
5 Alopecoenas salamonis This species was known from Makira, Solomon Islands, but is now Extinct as a result of predation by introduced species. The last record is a specimen dating from 1927, and searches in 1995 and more recently failed to find it. 1927
6 Alopochen kervazoi This species was endemic to the island of Réunion, but is now Extinct. The last record came from 1671-1672, and it had been lost to hunting by 1710. 1710
7 Alopochen mauritiana This species was endemic to Mauritius, but is now Extinct. It was last recorded in 1693, when it was said to be rare, and could not be found in 1698. Hunting is thought to have caused its extinction 1693
8 Amazona martinicana This species formerly occurred on Martinique, but it has been driven to extinction by hunting. The last record dates from 1779 and it is thought to have gone Extinct by the end of the 18th century. 1779
9 Amazona violacea This species was known from Guadeloupe, but it has been driven Extinct by hunting. The last records date from 1779. 1779
10 Anas marecula This species was found on Amsterdam Island, French Southern Territories, but it is now Extinct having not been seen since 1793. Hunting was the main cause of its extinction. 1793
11 Anas theodori This species was found on Mauritius, but is now Extinct having not been recorded since 1696. Hunting is likely to have caused its extinction. 1696
12 Anthornis melanocephala This species was found in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but it is now Extinct, probably mainly as a result of habitat loss. It was last recorded in 1906, and a search for it in 1938 was unsuccessful. 1906
13 Aphanapteryx bonasia This species was known from Mauritius, but went Extinct around 1693 due to cat predation and hunting. 1693
14 Aplonis corvina This species was known from the island of Kosrae, Micronesia, but it is now Extinct due to overpredation by introduced rats. The last specimens were taken in 1828, and it was absent when the island was next visited in 1880. 1828
15 Aplonis fusca This species was formerly found on the Australian islands of Norfolk and Lord Howe, but it is now Extinct owing to black rat predation. The last record was of the nominate subspecies on Norfolk Island in 1923; it was certainly gone by the time the island was visited in 1968. 1923
16 Aplonis mavornata This taxon was known from Mauke, Cook Islands, but it is now Extinct due to overpredation by introduced brown rats. The type specimen was taken in 1825, and the species was not found on the next ornithological visit to Mauke in 1975. 1975?
17 Ara tricolor This species was known from Cuba, but hunting drove the population Extinct. The last reports of the species date from 1885. 1885
18 Atlantisia podarces This species was known from St Helena, but is now Extinct. It was presumably driven to extinction by hunting soon after the island was discovered in 1502. 1502
19 Bermuteo avivorus This raptor was recently-described from fossil records, and is thought to relate to raptors observed on Bermuda in 1603. It is long Extinct. 1603
20 Bowdleria rufescens This species was formerly found on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but is thought to have gone Extinct around 1892 when the last specimen was collected. Habitat destruction and invasive species were probably the major causes. 1892
21 Bulweria bifax This species was endemic to the island of St Helena, but is thought to have been hunted to extinction shortly after the island’s discovery in 1502. 1502
22 Cabalus modestus This species was known from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but became Extinct between 1893 and 1895. It is thought that invasive species are responsible, both through direct predation and habitat modification. 1895
23 Caloenas maculata The one specimen of this poorly-known species may have come from Tahiti, French Polynesia, but it has not been reported there since 1928, when the only possible sightings of the species were made. It is presumed Extinct, and is likely to have been hunted. 1928
24 Camptorhynchus labradorius This species was formerly distributed along the northeast coast of North America, but it is now Extinct as a result of hunting. There are no records since the collection of the last specimen, in 1875. 1875
25 Caracara lutosa This species was endemic to Guadalupe Island, Mexico, but has been driven Extinct due to persecution by settlers. It was last recorded in 1903. 1903
26 Chaetoptila angustipluma This species was known from the Hawaiian Islands, USA, but it has not been recorded since a specimen was collected in 1859. It was driven Extinct by the logging of its forest habitat. 1859
27 Chaunoproctus ferreorostris This species was known from Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, but it is now Extinct and has not been certainly reported since 1828. Forest destruction and predation by introduced species are thought to have been responsible. 1828
28 Chenonetta finschi This Extinct species is now thought to have survived beyond the year 1500 and has thus been assessed for the first time. 1500
29 Chloridops kona This species was known from the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1894 and is now Extinct. Logging of its forest habitat is likely to have been the primary cause. 1894
30 Chlorostilbon bracei This species is known from the island of New Providence, Bahamas, but has been driven to extinction by human disturbance. A specimen was taken in 1877 and it was probably Extinct soon afterwards: subsequent collectors found no trace of it. 1877
31 Chlorostilbon elegans This taxon is known from one specimen, probably from Jamaica, taken in 1860. It is now Extinct, likely due to deforestation or predation by introduced species. 1860
32 Ciridops anna This species is known from Hawaii’s Big Island, USA, but it is now Extinct due to logging of its forest habitat. The last confirmed records date from 1892. 1892
33 Coenocorypha barrierensis This species was extirpated from its historic range by introduced mammalian predators; it was last recorded in 1870 and is classified as Extinct. 1870
34 Coenocorypha iredalei This species has been extirpated from its historic range in New Zealand by introduced mammalian predators; it was last recorded in 1964 and is classified as Extinct. 1964
35 Colaptes oceanicus This woodpecker was recently-described from subfossil remains. It is likely to have persisted into the 17th century, but is long Extinct. 1600s
36 Columba jouyi This species was formerly found in Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, but it has not been recorded since 1936 and is now Extinct. The reasons for this are unknown. 1936
37 Columba thiriouxi This Extinct species has been newly-described from subfossil remains. It is little-known but probably became extinct around 1730 as a result of overhunting, predation by rats, and deforestation. 1730
38 Columba versicolor This species was found in Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, but it has not been recorded since 1889 and is now Extinct. Habitat clearance is likely to have been the major factor driving its extinction. 1889
39 Conuropsis carolinensis This species formerly occurred in southeastern USA, but it is now Extinct, primarily as a result of persecution. The last wild records are of the subspecies ludoviciana in 1910. 1910
40 Coturnix novaezelandiae This species formerly occurred on New Zealand’s South Island, but is now Extinct, probably due to diseases spread by introduced game birds. A bird that died in 1875 is thought to represent the last individual of the species. 1875
41 Coua delalandei This species was endemic to Madagascar, but is now Extinct. It has not been reported since 1834 and likely succumbed to the complete destruction of its native forest. 1834
42 Cyanoramphus ulietanus This species was known from the island of Raiatea, French Polynesia, but it is now Extinct, probably as a result of habitat clearance or the action of invasive species. Two specimens were collected in 1773 and its extinction likely followed 1793
43 Cyanoramphus zealandicus This species was known from Tahiti, French Polynesia, but it has not been recorded since 1844 and is now Extinct. Possible causes include deforestation, hunting and predation by introduced species. 1844
44 Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi This species was known from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting. It is thought to have persisted until at least 1895, when it was described in a letter. 1895
45 Drepanis funerea This species is known from the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1907 and is now Extinct. Predation and habitat destruction by invasive species were the major factors causing its extinction. 1907
46 Drepanis pacifica This species is known from the Hawaiian Islands, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1898 and is now Extinct. Habitat destruction was probably the major cause of its extinction. 1898
47 Dromaius baudinianus This species was formerly found on Kangaroo Island, Australia, but is now considered Extinct. It has not been recorded since its collection in 1802, and is thought to have succumbed to hunting pressure some years before the arrival of permanent settlers in 1836. 1836
48 Dromaius minor This species was formerly found on King Island, Australia, but is now considered Extinct. It was last recorded in 1802, and had been exterminated through hunting by 1805. 1805
49 Dryolimnas augusti This recently-described, probably flightless rail was likely driven Extinct in the late 17th century as a result of hunting pressure and predation by introduced rats and cats.

his recently-described, probably flightless rail was likely driven Extinct in the late 17th century as a result of hunting pressure and predation by introduced rats and cats

50 Dysmorodrepanis munroi This species is known from the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1918 and is now Extinct. Habitat clearance and introduced predators were responsible for its decline. 1918
51 Eclectus infectus This recently-described parrot may have survived as recently as the late 18th century, but became Extinct most likely as a result of over-hunting and predation by invasive mammals. 1700s
52 Ectopistes migratorius his species was formerly distributed across North America, but is now Extinct as a result of habitat clearance and hunting. The last reliable wild record dates from 1900, and a search beginning in 1910 failed to find it. 1890s
53 Erythromachus leguati This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting. It was last recorded in 1726, and its absence was noted in 1761 1761
54 Falco duboisi his species was endemic to the island of Réunion, but is now Extinct and has not been recorded since 1671-1672. Persecution is likely to have driven its decline. 1672
55 Fregilupus varius This species was known from the island of Réunion, but it became Extinct in the 1850s. Introduced disease and various forms of human disturbance are likely to have contributed to its decline. 1850s
56 Fulica newtonii This species was found in the Mascarene Islands, but it has not been recorded since 1693 and is now Extinct. Hunting was the major cause of its decline. 1693
57 Gallinula nesiotis This species is likely to have become Extinct in the late 19th century as a result of predation by rats, though this may have been in combination with feral cat and pig predation, habitat destruction and hunting by islanders. 1800s
58 Gerygone insularis This species was endemic to Lord Howe Island, Australia, but was driven Extinct by the depredations of introduced rats. It was last recorded in 1928, with none found on a survey in 1936. 1936
59 Haematopus meadewaldoi This species was found in the eastern Canary Islands, but is now Extinct due to overharvesting of its invertebrate prey. It was last collected in 1913, and locally reported to be absent by the 1940s 1940s
60 Hemignathus ellisianus This species was found in the Hawaiian Islands, USA, but it is now Extinct as a result of forest clearance and introduced disease. The last report was of the subspecies stejnegeri on Kaua’i in 1969 1969
61 Hemignathus obscurus This species was known from Hawaii’s Big Island, USA, but it has not been reported since 1940 and is now Extinct. Deforestation and introduced diseases are likely to have been responsible 1940
62 Hemignathus sagittirostris This species is known from Hawaii’s Big Island, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1901 and is now Extinct. Most of its habitat was cleared for agriculture, which is likely to have caused the extinction. 1901
63 Heteralocha acutirostris This species is known from New Zealand’s North Island, but it was last recorded in 1907 and is now Extinct. Habitat loss, hunting and disease have all been implicated in its decline. 1907
64 Hypotaenidia dieffenbachii This species was found on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, but was driven to extinction by the depredations of introduced species. The type material was collected in 1840, and it was Extinct by 1872. 1872
65 Hypotaenidia pacifica This species was known from the Society Islands, French Polynesia, but has been driven Extinct by cat and rat predation. It was last recorded on Mehetia in the 1930s 1930s
66 Hypotaenidia poeciloptera This species was found in Fiji, but it has not been recorded since 1973 and is now Extinct. Predation by introduced cats and mongooses is thought to have been responsible for its decline. 1973
67 Hypotaenidia wakensis This species was known from Wake Island in the United States Minor Outlying Islands, but went Extinct in the mid-1940s, being last recorded in 1945 and never seen by an observer who took up residence in 1946. It is thought to have been hunted to extinction by Japanese soldiers that were stranded on the island. 1945
68 Ixobrychus novaezelandiae This species was known from New Zealand’s South Island, but became Extinct for unknown reasons some time in the 1890s. 1890s
69 Lophopsittacus bensoni This species was known from Mauritius, but hunting has driven it Extinct. It was last reported in 1764. 1764
70 Lophopsittacus mauritianus This species is known from Mauritius, but has been driven Extinct by hunting pressure. The last records date from 1673-1675, and it was absent in 1693. 1693
71 Mascarenotus grucheti This species formerly occurred on the island of Réunion. It was probably driven Extinct after the island was colonised in the early 17th century, as a result of habitat loss, hunting or predation by invasive species. 1600s
72 Mascarenotus murivorus This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but is now Extinct due to logging of its habitat. It was last recorded in 1726. 1726
73 Mascarenotus sauzieri This species was formerly found on Mauritius, but the logging of its forest habitat has driven it to extinction. It was last recorded in 1837, and certainly Extinct by 1859. 1837
74 Mascarinus mascarin This species was known from the island of Réunion, but it has gone Extinct as a result of hunting pressure. The last record of wild birds dates from 1775, and none were observed on a visit in 1804. 1804
75 Mergus australis This species was formerly found on the Auckland Islands, New Zealand, but it is now Extinct, primarily due to hunting. It was last recorded in 1902, and had been lost by the time a reserve was set up on the islands in 1910. 1902
76 Microgoura meeki This species is known from Choiseul, Solomon Islands, but it has not been recorded since 1904 and is now Extinct. It is likely to have been heavily predated by introduced dogs and cats. 1904
77 Moho apicalis This species is known from the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, USA, but is now Extinct as a result of habitat loss and introduced disease. The last record dates from 1837, and it was not found by the collectors that visited the island in the 1890s 1837
78 Moho bishopi This species was formerly found in the Hawaiian Islands, USA, but it has not been recorded since 1981 and is now considered Extinct. Habitat loss was probably the primary cause of its decline. 1981
79 Moho braccatus This species is known from the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, USA, but it is now Extinct having been last recorded in 1987. Habitat destruction and invasive species were the major causes. 1987
80 Moho nobilis This species is known from the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, USA, but it is now Extinct having been last recorded in 1987. Habitat destruction and invasive species were the major causes. 1987
81 Mundia elpenor This species was known from Ascension Island, St Helena, but is now Extinct. The only record of the species comes from 1656 and it is thought to have succumbed to predation by introduced rats and cats. 1656
82 Myadestes myadestinus This species formerly occurred on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, USA, but the multitude of threats in the region have driven it Extinct. The last definite record dates from 1985 and targeted searches in 1995 and 1997 yielded no confirmed reports. 1995
83 Myadestes woahensis This species is known from the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, USA, but it was driven Extinct by the logging of its forest habitat. The only record is that of the type specimen, collected in 1825. 1825
84 Myiagra freycineti This species formerly occurred on Guam, but became Extinct in 1983. Predation by the introduced brown tree-snake was the cause of its extinction. 1983
85 Nannococcyx psix This species was formerly found on St Helena. It is now Extinct, presumably as a result of island deforestation in the 18th century. 1700s
86 Necropsar rodericanus This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but is now Extinct, probably due to a combination of hunting, habitat loss and the action of invasive species. The last records date from 1726, and the species was not found on a visit in 1761. 1761
87 Necropsittacus rodricanus This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but is now Extinct. It was last reported in 1761 and presumably hunted to extinction soon after. 1761
88 Nesillas aldabrana This species was formerly found on Aldabra, Seychelles, but it is now Extinct due to predation and habitat alteration by invasive species. It was last recorded in 1983, and searches in 1986 confirmed its extinction. 1983
89 Nesoenas cicur This Extinct species has been newly-described from subfossil remains. It is little-known but probably became extinct around 1730 as a result of overhunting, predation by rats, and deforestation. 1730
90 Nesoenas duboisi This species was found on the island of Réunion, but it was last recorded in 1674 and is thought to have been Extinct since the early 18th century. Predation by introduced cats and rats is likely to have been the primary cause of its extinction. 1674
91 Nesoenas rodericanus This Extinct species has been newly-described from subfossil remains. It is little-known but probably became extinct during the 18th century as a result of overhunting and predation by rats. 1700s
92 Nestor productus This species was known from Norfolk Island, but went Extinct in the mid-late 1800s. Habitat clearance and hunting are thought to have been the major drivers. 1850s
93 Nyctanassa carcinocatactes This species is known only from subfossil remains. It likely became Extinct during the early 17th century as a result of invasive predators and hunting for food by human settlers. 1600s
94 Nycticorax duboisi This species was endemic to the island of Réunion. It was last recorded in 1674, and was probably driven Extinct by hunters before 1700. 1674
95 Nycticorax mauritianus This species is known from the mainland of Mauritius. It was last recorded in 1693, and was probably driven Extinct by hunters before 1700. 1693
96 Nycticorax megacephalus This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but is now Extinct having been last recorded in 1726, and mentioned as absent in 1761. Hunting was the cause of its extinction. 1761
97 Paroreomyza flammea This species is known from the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, USA, but is now Extinct, probably as a result of habitat destruction and introduced diseases. The last records date from 1961-1963, and a survey in 1979 failed to find the species. 1961
98 Pezophaps solitaria This species was endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mauritius, but was hunted to extinction in the 18th century. It was reported in 1761, but had become Extinct by 1778. 1778
99 Phalacrocorax perspicillatus This species was known from Russia’s Komandorski Islands, but is now Extinct: the last records date from the 1940s and the species is thought to have been lost by the early 1950s. Hunting was the primary cause of its extinction. 1950s
100 Pinguinus impennis This species was formerly distributed across the north Atlantic, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting pressure. The last live bird was seen in 1852. 1852

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I second that!


Third!! What a wonderful piece to read!


Yes Jim has done it again, thanks Jim.

Mike McMillan

Whadduyamean “Sometimes” ?


Richard Haack

I second that!!!


I have interjected these comments about the direction the “EnviroWhacos” are leading us over the years and have always been called a “denier”<or worse in return. It takes very little brain effort to see that the fear mongers are causing more harm than good.
I find it unconceivable that we are not building more nuclear power plants to reduce CO2 and instead are burning forests "because it is CO2 Neutral." We are cutting down hard wood forests and planting soft wood "tree farms." We are clearing land for WInd turbines which require 100 times the cleared land area of a nuclear power plant. What impact will these actions have on the flora, fauna, habitat and migration patterns and the resulting species extinction? Only a Whaco would like it.

i´ll think about your precious thoughts …

Howard Lowe

This article is better than excellent. It spells out what the environmental/global warming loons are foisting on all humanity. They may cause the apocalyptic event to actually happen as a result of their acceptance by politicians and ideologues.


Here is a place to start.

Leonard Lane

Great article, and, long overdue. Thank you so much. The material you presented is extensive, logical, factual, and unbiased. I do have one comment, and it is not a criticism, but adds some small weight to your argument.
Increase cultivation of marginal lands from increased biofuel production from corn has resulted in accelerated soil erosion rates due to cultivation of highly erodible soils on steep lands with shallow soils. Valuable soil resources in our “breadbasket” are being lost because of biofuel subsidies.
In addition, increased herbicide, fertilizer, and pesticide usages from farming marginal lands for biofuels have resulted in increased contamination of groundwater. Finally, as documented on WUWT and other places more energy (from fossil fuels) is used to produce ethanol than is contained within the ethanol. It is bad business environmentally and economically. What is the morality of subsidizing the use of food crops for biofuel that is more expensive than standard fossil fuel?


“What is the morality of subsidizing the use of food crops for biofuel that is more expensive than standard fossil fuel?”
Indeed. Agree 100%. +1
I would add –
What is the profitability of subsidizing the use of food crops for biofuel that is more expensive than standard fossil fuel?
But we know the answer: Subsidies, to waste (precious) energy, but make a few corporations [or individuals] wealthier. And foster CONTROL – sorry about the caps – but needed, I think.
Precious energy.
Have any of you heard about the EU-Mandated ESOS boondoggle?
ESOS => Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme.
For big companies only [at this stage . . . . Can you guess where the dividing line will go in five, ten, twenty years? I think I can! I bet you all can, too.].
Looks at not less than 90% of total Company energy use [but only in, to, or from Europe, excluding flying – as a passenger (the airlines will need to look at their tonnes of Avjet/hour planes), commuting, etc.].
Can you guess about that 90% dividing line, too, in the 2030s?
Which big companies are n o t looking to rationalise and cut their energy use – energy costs money.
Whether coal, gas, electricity or – for a shipping company, bunker oil – Heavy Fuel Oil, denser than water sometimes, you can pick up a double handful, and still have most of it in your hands five minutes later. The stuff that’s not good enough to use in tarmac.
And it’s still about $500 per tonne.
And big container ships – and our gas ships – can burn a couple of hundred tonnes a day – every day.
Do we watch the use of fuel?
Yes – ohhhh, you betcha!!
Yet we must – by law – have an audit, estimated at eight to eighteen man days [each at about $1200, I gather], plus expenses, just to tell us we need to optimise vessel speed [which breaks our contracts – our charter parties], and use PV panels – on LNG ships – so the cabling and connections must be gas tight . . . .
Hey – we’re retro-fitting propeller boss vanes – to cut fuel usage by 1-2% for the same speed.
And a consultant will – expensively it seems – suggest about the same.
Don’t tell Obama, or his EPA malefactors, please.
NB Avjet – one of many names for the sort of fuel used by an A-380 flying village, and other similar-ish fly-boy toys. I’m happy to be told its name in forty languages, and that it complies with Euro-Norm 12345/67 [2014] – or whatever . . . Happy Days.

Thank for your precious thoughts! Please, could you send me a link you would prefer to add to my piece. And, even today, I got an Invitation from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/25/leading-health-experts-call-on-wellcome-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels?CMP=ema-60
Perhaps you are interested in, too? Please, stay in contact with me!
thank you

Larry in Texas

Well, Jim, congratulations – welcome to the insight that Rush Limbaugh finally gave you. Like Rush, I respect serious science (he does; it is not Earth Day and the early environmental laws that set guys like Rush and us off, it is the continuous presumption that they must be endlessly expanded, that there are new horizons of regulation to explore, that we must get into every aspect of human life for the sake of the planet because of the apocalypse theory). Serious science has been endangered for a number of years now by those who would overstate their respective cases and use politics as a device to obtain further political power and control at the expense of the rest of us. It is NOT “anti-environment,” as you now realize, to point out these things and to call for an end to apocalyptic rhetoric, especially since it has never been obvious that such an apocalypse was ever on the horizon.
The wackos really do drag down serious scientists, and ruin the credibility of science overall. It’s time all environmentalists, including climate scientists and other environmental advocates, admit that we do not always know everything, that some things remain uncertain, and that things in nature change often enough to surprise us and our ideas about how nature works. But those in political power and those who have access to those with political power refuse to give up their certainties and their arrogance, because it would seem like they enjoy exercising power too much and don’t want to “not act,” because it makes them look weak and helpless. That mentality must end now.


Speak for yourself, Larry – Earth Day does, indeed, set me off.
I choose not to commemorate the birth of Lenin.

Larry, you beat me to it! I will listen to any scientific argument on both sides of the fence, so far the warmist have managed to find problems to fit a predefined solution…. and the lot totally unreproducible. How can I believe anything they say?
As for the last couple of paragraphs: Power is probably part of it, or a side effect of the amount of money that politicians can extract from the masses and the crook scientist can use to build their carriers of lies!

average joe

A new act is needed to reverse the damaging overreach caused by Endangered Species Act! Call it the Endangered Science Act. Congressman, I know you are watching, please start work on this immediately!

To help their world governance plan
An enemy created called ‘man’,
Using pseudo-science fiction,
Without any restriction,
They’ve fooled us as only man can!

John M. Ware

Island species are very susceptible to extinction from habitat and predator change; nothing to do with climate change. Mainland species are mostly pretty stubborn; I don’t have a list at hand, but the only extinct birds I recall from this continent are the passenger pigeon (1914, Cincinnati zoo), the Carolina parakeet, and–that’s all I remember right now. The big woodpecker has been found alive, in Arkansas I believe. I think Willis Eschenbach had an article a couple of years ago about the paucity of mainland extinctions. I think it is nonsense to suppose that an average temperature rise of a degree or two, spread out over many years, will be deadly to birds that endure changes of 15 to 30 degrees F every day and (if they overwinter in a temperate climate) 40 to 100 or more degrees every year*. Migratory birds also encounter wide temperature ranges in their travels; granted, some few die during the long flights, but not from temperature change. *In the Dakotas and Minnesota, which do have overwintering birds, summer temps reach well over 100 at times, while winter temps bottom out at -40 or -50; a potential range of 160 degrees or so. There is a town in northern MN named Grygla, which is the only noise a car makes when you try to start it at 40 below.

Gary Hladik

Thanks, 3×2. WE’s earlier article was the first thing that came to mind when I started reading this excellent piece, but I didn’t have a link handy.


Apparently, good news does not SELL, hence the rush to press of just about anyone’s apocalyptic projections, no matter how asinine. Consider the size of the anti-depressant industry worldwide and it isn’t hard to imagine that a lot of this is people looking to feed their bummer. Doom and desperation also of course drive checks being written to “environmental” NGO’s which is a feelgood thing for the Bohemian Bourgeoisie–those people who don’t connect “breaded chicken fingers” to a living BIRD. I like the truth a lot better, and even Rush gets it right once in awhile!

Willis Eschenbach

In addition, with the invaluable assistance of Dr. Craig Loehle, the “Corpses” post was re-written and published in a scientific journal. Here in chronological order are my posts on extinction.
Where Are The Corpses?
Abstract The record of continental (as opposed to island) bird and mammal extinctions in the last five centuries was analyzed to determine if the “species-area” relationship actually works to predict extinctions. Very few continental birds or mammals are recorded as having gone extinct, and none have gone extinct from habitat…
Common Sense Added to Endangered Species List
As Anthony Watts highlighted, the recent paper in Nature (paywalled, reported here) on extinctions agreed with the main conclusion that I had established in my post “Where Are The Corpses“. The conclusion was that the “species/area relationship” as currently used doesn’t work to predict extinctions, and thus there is no…
New paper from Loehle & Eschenbach shows extinction data has been wrongly blamed on climate change due to island species sensitivity
Guest post by Dr. Craig Loehle Last year, Willis Eschenbach had a WUWT post about extinction rates being exaggerated in the literature (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses/). I offered to help him get this published, and it is now out. We conclude that the …
Always Trust Your Gut Extinct
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach, title from a Paula Abdul quote The backstory for today’s adventure is that this is the first scientific question I seriously researched. It is also the reason I don’t trust the “experts” or the “consensus”. In 1988, E. O. Wilson, an ant expert with little knowledge of extinction, made a…
Alexander the Great Explains The Drop In Extinctions
In a recent post here on WattsUpWithThat called The Thirteen Worst Graphs In The World, Geoff Chambers explores the graphs in a new book called “10 Billion”, by Stephen Emmott. The book appears to be Emmott’s first entry in the “Future Failed Serial Doomcaster” competition. I thought I’d take a…


One problem with US species protection is that the EPA can declare problems down to the county level. Doesn’t matter if the same species of dandelion or vole is in the next county or state, they can still declare dictatorial powers and cause all kinds of havoc where ever because of a “they were there first” rule.

One of the problems we face is that finding an honest climate scientist is much like finding and honest burglar. Possible perhaps, but highly unlikely. The same goes for the environmental activists.
The tragedy of the commons explains much of our difficulty in being good stewards of the planet. The an-cap wing of the libertarian movement has explained that well over the years. Not many people listening of course.


“The tragedy of the commons” was an excuse invented by/for landowners and business owners who wanted commoners to have no choice, no alternative (as provided by hunting & gathering, and even living, in the commons), to renting from said landowners and working for said business owners. Jim Steele has just been explaining that, yes, having seen the damage we wrought in common, we are now actually working — with growing success — to repair that. We can and we do and we are. The recoveries Steele has itemized for us falsifies the inevitability of the “tragedy” part.

I see you know nothing of economics. To put it in common language, people take better care of their personal property than they do of “public property”.
Perhaps you would benefit from this:
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt
This classic is written so that even the uneducated may benefit.


An eloquently demonstrates that CO2 has nothing to do with it.

Tom J

How dare you insult burglars in that manner.



This is a superb article! All western politicians should read this.
The pity of course is, they will not, and most will just believe the the sensationalist newspaper headlines.

A very useful reference article.
I’ve been pointing out the coming peak and reversal of global population trends on blogs for years.
Richer, free societies voluntarily move towards long term sustainability whereas poor, centrally controlled societies do the opposite.
Environmentalism is currently dominated by the proponents of central control (which always increases poverty) and they must be dislodged if the environment is to be best preserved.


One useful outcome of the Ravetz discussions, is that it’s easy to identify disciplines corrupted by Post Normal thinking because they define themselves as “Crisis Disciplines”
Conservation Biology is another of the Post Normal disciplines
What is Conservation Biology?
Michael E Soule
The Biological Diversity Crisis.
In crisis disciplines, one must act before knowing all the facts; crisis disciplines are thus a mix-ture of science and art, and their pursuit requires intuition as well as information.A conservation biologist may have to make decisions or recommendations about design and management before he or she is completely comfortable with the theoretical or empirical bases of the analysis (May 1984, Soule and Wilcox 1980, chap. 1). Tolerating uncertainty is often necessary)
Michael E. Soulé is a U.S. biologist, best known for his work in promoting the idea of conservation biology. He earned a Ph.D. in Population Biology at Stanford University under Paul R. Ehrlich.
The harm Paul Ehrlich has done to real science is immense.
Although this is only the straw that broke the camel’s back, I regard his elevation to FRS a few years ago to represent the final descent of the Royal Society. (Now Royal Post Modern Society!)
all the best

Steve Case

Whenever I run into a environmental PhD, you know, the ones dressed like Paul Bunyan with a pony tail, wire rim glasses and a baseball cap, the first thing I think about what they have to say, is that I have to somehow check it out before I consider believing it.

Evan Jones

You need to do check everything out. It is the way of the wicked world.




The first thing they usually say is “I guess you don’t read national Geographic, huh?”


“Anyone who thinks for themselves, rejects an inevitable apocalypse, or exposes the bad science of fear mongering, are called deniers by a legion of ignorant but rabid internet stalkers.”
I’m stealing that line.
What an excellant, informative read.


Among the many idiocies, not least blaming man made CO² for ‘killing off species’, it is the crackpot green fuc*wits who advocate biofuels as some sort of panacea, as an insane cure-all to solve a hypothesized myth [MM CO² =Warming] all of ’em – they want, they need to be suspended from a nearest lamp post.

Evan Jones

I don’t like that sort of talk. Let us content ourselves with suspending the policies. We don’t need their heads. Their hears and minds will suffice.


I’m with you evanmjones, we cannot tolerate over-the-top comments from either viewpoint. Our skepticism is charactertured as militant as it is. We must be vessels of science and reason.

Reality Observer

Of course – we must let genocidal racist sociopaths run free. They certainly won’t come for US if we just let them go on their merry way. (sarc off).
I would suggest you reread your Niemoller – or read it for the first time, perhaps.


I have to reject the initiation of violence, even vs. the wackos.


Yes, and also consider that in the warmist’s perspective, we are the wackos. Callous comments can validate that without intending.

average joe

“… need to be suspended from a nearest lamp post.”
I like that sort of talk, keep it comin’ Athelstan!

Mike Bromley the Kurd

My compliments on an expertly-reasoned, calm, and honest summary. This type of thing is what elevates science. Ehrlich and his ilk should be censured for their unnecessary and unscrupulous behavior…but the fox is in control of Chicken Little’s abode, I’m afraid.

Evan Jones

but the fox is in control of Chicken Little’s abode, I’m afraid.
Perhaps a FOX needs to be introduced to that environment?

And the said thing is that, in order to read something sane and reasonable on many scientific topics, you have to turn to the blogosphere, while the supposedly reputable, peer-reviewed journals promote the harebrained pseudo-science of Ehrlich et al.
While common sense and honest debate have not been exactly outlawed, as they were in the Soviet Union, they are being pushed to the fringe and have themselves become endangered species.

Evan Jones

Where humans once depended on cheap child labor to operate marginal subsistence farms, there was an economic advantage to having many children. In contrast industrial societies demand greater parental investment and more education, so reproduction is delayed and families are smaller. Furthermore mechanization of agriculture has reduced the demand for abundant cheap labor on marginal farms.
Ding! Ding! Ding! The converse of that is that kids are so darn expensive to raise in the DCs. Rather than an economic asset, a horde of kids is a heavy economic liability. The demographic results are obvious.


wouldnt mind the extinction event of some of the fearmongering species , quite frankly.

Evan Jones

The only way to achieve that is via their intellectual extinction.
We Do Our Part.


I dunno Evan, a Jim Jones moment amongst their leaders would do the entire world a good deed.


“Why do the Greener-than-thous proselytize their devotion to unnatural unquestioning biodiversity?”
Today, likewise, we see that evolutionism has its priests and devotees. Entomologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson of HarvardUniversity tells us that the “evolutionary epic is mythology,” depending on laws that are “believed but can never be definitively proved,” taking us “backward through time to the beginning of the universe.” Wilson knows that any good religion must have its moral dimension, and so he urges us to promote biodiversity, to amend our original sin of despoiling the earth. There is an apocalyptic ring to Wilson’s writings, and in true dispensationalist style, he warns that there is but a short time before all collapses into an ecological Armageddon. Repent! The time is near!
Michael Ruse
Curb your enthusiasm
High priests, holy writ and excommunications – how did Humanism end up acting like a religion?
In the second half of the 20th century, the outstanding Humanist in my sense has been my long-time friend Edward O Wilson, retired now from his post as professor of biology at Harvard but still going strong at 82 and always immersed in controversy. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book On Human Nature, he declares explicitly that Darwinism is a new mythology replacing the old religious forms. The story is now a familiar one:
… make no mistake about the power of scientific materialism. It presents the human mind with an alternative mythology that until now has always, point for point in zones of conflict, defeated traditional religion. Its narrative form is the epic
By temperament, Wilson is a deeply religious man. This goes back to his Baptist childhood in the American South. He describes his discovery of evolutionary biology as a conversion experience. His faith did not fall away: it changed horses. Despite a strategic alliance with religious leaders in the environmental cause, he can be scathing about religious beliefs. Nonetheless, he sees religion as fulfilling deep human needs. In that sense it needs to be replaced by something like it. If monotheistic religion is a tribal cultural construct, he argues, then ‘religious faith is better interpreted as an unseen trap unavoidable during the biological history of our species. And if this is correct, surely there are ways to find spiritual fulfilment without surrender and enslavement. Humankind deserves better.’
His faith changed horses


E.O Wilson Quotes
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
Science and religion are the two most powerful forces in the world. Having them at odds… is not productive.
People need a sacred narrative. They must have a sense of larger purpose, in one form or another, however intellectualized. They will find a way to keep ancestral spirits alive
I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves
Now what are E.O.Wilson (and Suzuki) Smoking?? It certainly must be high potency stuff :: ))
18K years ago, virtually the whole of Canada was under the Ice Sheet. This is only a speck in geologic time. Even 10K years ago Ice Cover was still extensive (bottom picture)
The problem with the implementation of conservation biology (eg BioDiversity agenda) is that is arbitrary. What version of nature are they talking about when only 18K years ago all Canada was under the Ice Sheet and that too was natural. All flora and fauna since that time is new (recolonization). Yet they have this ideology that somehow nature (which they misdefine) was pristine and in equilibrium, and mankind are the despoilers of same : (
Timeline of Recent Glaciation
I believe a lot of what one relates to is what one is used to. For instance the British people are in love with their countryside. However when I look at a panorama of the British countryside it looks barren to me. It’s all been shaped by the hand of man.
Is this what I personally would prefer? No. However it is not a disaster except if one uses an ideological interpretation that nature is divine and whatever humans do is despoiling this divinity.
I don’t know how many people noticed this, but when Climategate came out George Monbiot professed to be shocked!! Shocked!! at the goings on and threw Phil Jones under the bus.
Monbiot of course has been one of the prime propagandists for the CAGW scam, and was given a fellowship at Green College by Crispin Tickell himself.
George has to be very well informed to deceive people as well as he does. However when TSHTF wrt Climategate, he covered his rear end and switched to promoting the Rewilding agenda in the UK.
Biodiversity Agenda..
A Manifesto for Rewilding the World
Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land
Cores and Connectivity: A Wildlands Manifesto for Britain
all the best
brent (Southern Ontario)


One of the many costs of the cliamte obsession is the damage to the environment committed by so-called climate policies.
Time and capital and policy wasted on developing CO2 centric polices could be better spent saving habitat,restoring damaged habitat, mitigating habitat loss and in developing better habitat management.
Instead we have the climate obsessed imposing failed wind mills on the habitat, building giant bird and insect killing solar arrays across the habitat, and blocking tidal flows to extract marginal expensive power.


‘They simply created a framework that would dramatize their numbers ‘
Part of normal pratice for climate ‘science’ where a papers value depends not on the validity of its contents but on the impact of its ‘claims . There is no law to say that cultural norms have been good ones , so it hardly surprising that poor cultural norms such has this , especially given the benefits they often bring, are seen in this area.
We keep seeing such practices becasue that is the ‘normal’ and rewarded way to work within climate ‘science’, that it is poor science has nothing to do with it .

While I agree with large parts of what is a very interesting article, there are some unexamined assumptions underpinning it. The biggie is that species extinction is somehow unnatural and furthermore, we can somehow prevent it happening. We can’t. I’m sorry, flora and fauna go extinct. They always have, always will and us lords of creation will be no exception to that rule of nature, just ask our hominid ancestors.
or more formally –
We are not nature’s cops.

Evan Jones

We are, in a sense, nature’s mafia. We must bear that necessary responsibility well.
We have been doing so better than the headlines would indicate. In fact, the headlines are symptomatic of a society which is aware (I use that word advisedly) of the issue and is taking it in hand. How well or how poorly we do so is important. So far I give that an E. (But not an O.)
One thing’s for sure. Massive development is imperative for the protection of the environment.

La! There you have it – QED. The reality is that at any time, nature could blow us outta the tubes without even noticing. We are a bacterium on the butt of an amoeba hanging on desperately to the back of a flea, atop the charging elephant that is the Earth’s environment. We’re just an eye blink from extinction ourselves, courtesy of something like an unexpected visitor from the Oort cloud.


Vito Corleone always wanted the family to go legit. As Michael said, “We’ll get there, papa.”

Gary Hladik

“We are, in a sense, nature’s mafia.”
Actually, we’re Mother Gaia’s only hope of preventing future mass extinctions from all those rocks flying around the solar system. I suspect Mother is just a wee bit disappointed in us.


Our Gaian Pope
Scrutinize carefully points 32 to 42
35. In assessing the environmental impact of any project, concern is usually shown for its effects on soil, water and air, yet few careful studies are made of its impact on biodiversity, as if the loss of species or animals and plant groups were of little importance. Highways, new plantations, the fencing-off of certain areas, the damming of water sources, and similar developments, crowd out natural habitats and, at times, break them up in such a way that animal populations can no longer migrate or roam freely. As a result, some species face extinction. Alternatives exist which at least lessen the impact of these projects, like the creation of biological corridors, but few countries demonstrate such concern and foresight. Frequently, when certain species are exploited commercially, little attention is paid to studying their reproductive patterns in order to prevent their depletion and the consequent imbalance of the ecosystem.
Seems the Pope is endorsing the Wildlands Project!!. Dave Foreman must be ecstatic!!


He is ranting against apocalyptic fear mongering that robs science of its objectivity and integrity, and robs people of hope in order to promote an agenda.
I can’t say that I’ve lost hope. What I have lost is respect for ‘science’, especially ‘environmental’ sciences. The upshot of this is that I no longer read beyond the ‘headline’, I simply don’t care.
I doubt that I’m the only one that has grown weary of the constant stream of doom and gloom. If there are many more like me then this ‘hijacking’ of science could really backfire at some point. Perhaps one day there will be a situation that requires immediate and concerted action and the ‘headline’ will be lost in amongst the rest of that days nonsense.
Somebody should start teaching prospective graduates the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” before it all goes horribly wrong.

Evan Jones

I have been immersed in gloom and doom all my life. It was even worse in the 1970s. Things haven’t gone horribly wrong. They have just gone as one might expect if one takes a rational view, looking at the demographics (of both man and beast) on both sides of the argument.

Evan Jones

so they could be transported by an alien spaceship hiding behind the approaching Hale-Bopp comet and swept away to a “higher level.”
Come to think of it, we don’t know they weren’t, do we? (Leaving their bodies behind, of course.)
Once one leaves probability and stats out of it, all odds of less than one in ten somehow become one in ten. (That being what keeps the numbers racket in the black.)


The saddest thing is how ‘liberals’ have turned themselves into End of Times doomers. This appeals to young people who think, being self centered, that their transient unhappinesses are cosmic and eternal. This is why so many young people commit suicide, for example. The smallest irritations can lead to feelings of endless woe is me.
The cries about how everything is dying is peculiar. I suspect it comes from the armies of people who moved to Arizona (ARID—ZONE!) Nevada, Southern California, etc. thinking they would enjoy a wet, Mediterranean climate and not Sahara conditions. So when it gets really dry (thus the name of the state of Arizona) they think this is unusual and not normal.


They of high self-image, very self-conscious, self-centered, self-identified as “virtuous” but not at all self-aware.


many thanks for this piece, Jim Steele. could sanity be taking hold?
the push against the following has already begun, but it is a landmark day in Australian CAGW history nonethless:
25 June: SMH: Heath Aston: Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt confronted by anti-climate science push from within Liberal Party
VIDEO CAPTION: Liberals ‘need briefing from scientists’
Debating whether climate change is real or not is akin to debating if the Earth is flat or spherical says Greens Co-Deputy Leader Larissa Waters.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a push from inside the Liberal Party to prevent Australia signing up to any binding emissions reduction targets at the upcoming Paris climate talks.
A cabal of regional and rural Liberal members, centred in Western Australia and supported by a number of conservative MPs, will force a vote at Saturday’s federal council meeting in Melbourne on whether Parliament should “examine the evidence” around climate change before agreeing to any post-2020 emissions cuts…
The party’s regional and rural committee, chaired by WA farmer Brian Mayfield, has submitted the motion, which will call for a House of Representatives committee to “examine the scientific evidence that underpins the man-made global warming theory”.
It also calls for investigation into “the reasons for the failure of computer models, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and prominent individuals to predict, among other things, the pause in global warming this century”.
“In light of the uncertainty around this issue, Australia does not sign any binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year,” it says.
Mr Mayfield declined to comment but Liberal Senator Chris Back and Western Australian colleague Dennis Jensen both told Fairfax Media that an examination of whether the science supported climate change was worthy of party debate.
Mr Jensen said the push was coming out of WA because the state has a “reputation for independent thinking”…
“The science is absolutely not settled. This argument that it’s all done and dusted is rubbish,” he said.
Farmers see more climate variability in their working lives than most people and the view that everything is in stasis except for the human influence on the climate was nonsense, he said…

You would do well to present the LDP to dissenting Coalition supporters. No one in Cabinet is going to risk challenging the Climate Change dogma

“Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”.
Yes I agree!
Society is doomed to catastrophic decline from Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering
(Ago I agree it’s a problem – but let’s not overstate it!)

Gentle Tramp

Fear-Mongering can kill people!
I knew an intelligent and sensitive high school girl who killed herself some years ago. She truly believed all those horror stories of Greenpeace & co about the future destruction of our climate and planet by mankind and had lost all her hope.


I don’t mean to offend, but the fact that she “truly believed all those horror stories” makes me wonder just how intelligent she was. Nobody who surfs the internet can be unaware that there are other points of view out there, so there’s never a good reason to blindly believe what one side is telling you without at least a little investigation into what the other side thinks.


Farmers in the US are also angry about the global warming dogma.
But then there is California. Many of the farmers there are corporations owning farmlands and which were invested in when California had record rain rates in the last 40 years. Now that it has reverted to more normal, much drier levels of rain, they have to hang onto some sort of explanation for this stunning news and global warming was a nifty thing to promote.
No matter how cold and wet huge swaths of North America and even Australia and Europe become, they feel that if California isn’t also wet, it has to be global warming, not local climate. I keep saying, people in hot places like Arizona should not be allowed to force places like the Great Lakes to suffer another Ice Age in order to cool down hot places.
And yes, mastodons did live in Arizona and California during the previous Ice Age.

Chris Wright

Beautiful, just beautiful.
The world needs many more people like Jim Steele.

Bob Boder

“Once you believe the world is coming to an end, once you lose faith in humanity and nature’s resilience, once you lose hope, then like the Heaven’s Gate victims, you become easy prey for the charlatans that inhabit all walks of life, left or right, scientist or layperson. Indeed “Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”.”

Limbaugh – not my favorite common-tater – was right again today with his warning of the Confederate Battle Flag’s conflation with the American Flag by such as Islamist Louis Farrakhan.
The Limbaugh I enjoyed flushed himself years ago.

Bob Boder

There are 2 type of people that are want you to believe the world is coming to an end.
1) The Messiah complex ones that see only themselves as the ones blessed with the wisdom to save us from are selves
2) The control freaks that believe they must order the world because the rest of us are to stupid to run are own lives, through fear they get us to deliver our freedoms.
Both are willing to justify any action to achieve their goals, both believe only they know what is best for us all and both will paint anyone who objects to their control as evil.
Always remember the power to do good is the same power to do evil, no matter how good you believe the intentions of any group are, ultimately you have no control over what they do once you give up control of your life to them. This is why limit government and power based on the individual is always the best long term solution to any problem.



Check out the editorial boards of the mainstream journals on climate. In some cases they read like a “who’s who” of the IPCC and the same familiar names appear on several. One example, a certain Peter Gleick.


An extremely well written and persuasive article. I don’t hate many people but just the mention of Paul Erlich’s name sets my teeth on edge. How is it physically possible for him to have failed to make a single correct predicition about anything in his entire career yet still keep his job and still be taken seriously?


Because environmentalism is a religion, and Erlich is a priest?


Because he always forecasts gloom and doom. which is what people want to hear.


He sounds just like Karl Rove ( If you don’t do it my way you’re doomed and please send millions for my sage advice)


An excellent, well written and easy to read article.
Scottish Natural Heritage sparked outrage a few years ago when they announced plans to cull and ultimately eradicate the hedgehog population on the Uists, islands which form part of the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Hedgehog populations in mainland UK have been in decline for years – how could SNH propose such an awful thing?
The hedgehog is a non-native species on Uist. After they were introduced, they thrived as the populations of ground-nesting birds provided a rich source of spring and summer food for the hedgehogs in terms of eggs. As the hedgehogs thrived, bird numbers plummeted, although originally blamed on the obvious culprit, man-made climate change.
The hedgehogs are gone, bird numbers are recovering and the fuss is over. As Jim so clearly points out in his article, human activity may have much to do with extinction rates, but none of it attributable to climate change. It is only as a result of the fossil-fuel powered industrial society in which some of us are fortunate enough to live that we can afford to try and reverse some of our earlier errors.


Conservation and the Misuse of Science
Hedgehogs, Bats and Badgers
Dr James Irvine
Filed 15 April 03
The manner in which Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is handling the problem of the multiplying, egg-eating hedgehogs that threaten waders and other birds in North Uist (1, 2) raises serious concerns about how science is being applied by Government Departments or their agencies involved in conservation. These same concerns also pertain to the problems of bats transmitting rabies to man (3) and badgers transmitting tuberculosis to cattle (4).
Whether it be hedgehogs, bats or badgers it would appear that SNH and others are happy to”fiddle” at taxpayers expense “while Rome burns” in terms of damage to human and animal health and to the economy. It is time that a stop was put to this form of self-indulgent and extravagant pseudo science.
Dr James Irvine FRSE
© Teviot Scientific Consultancy

Steve C

Thanks for actually listening to what Rush says instead of getting it second hand. I’ve been an avid listener for decades now and when he talks about the “wackos” it is the extremist end of the environmental scale. He, and I, are conservatives, we want the planet to live on and we want to conserve as much as possible.
Excellent story…


Rush Limbaugh will be ignored by the majority of people in spite of the fact that his has been the “number one commercial talk show since at least 1991 when record keeping began.” He has more than 13 million weekly listeners. That means that the vast majority of people aren’t listening to him.
Fox News is number one on cable with 300 thousand viewers per night. That’s way less than Rush Limbaugh gets.
Newspapers are dying.
If people aren’t tuned in to the news, how are they getting their information?


See V. I. Lenin on the importance of majorities. (You might also look at de La Boetie.)


“The Daily Show”, Saturday Nite Live, Twitter, Facebook, and more.

The top four news sources of the low information voter.


News outlets are pretty poor places to get information.
Often papers, magazines, cable news, radio programming are awful places to get meaningful information. They are places to see what is popular in the news and deciding whether to do further investigation on your own. News articles rarely provide references, are often one-sided, poorly distinguish fact from opinion, and act as simple stenographers such as with articles based solely on unnamed white house staffers.

I believe Fox gets appx. 3 million viewers in primetime. At least 1.9 to 3 million.


Is Jim Steele talking about a plateau in the global (human) population or a plateau and reversal in its growth (rate)? If the latter, then that happened long since. Actually around the time (1968) of Erlich’s notorious book, when the population growth rate peaked at 2.1% per annum, after decades of steady increase. This is 20-year old ‘hard’ information, Wikipedia gives slightly different data. Apparently it has fallen to around 1%p.a. now.
Erlich was extrapolating from previous decades in 1968 and then ‘apocalypsing it up’. In the 1990’s, this kind of neo-Malthusian stuff used to attract ridicule. But it has reinvented itself and we/they are not laughing now (much)!

Bruce Cobb

Excellent piece. Enviromentalists have really “jumped the shark” with the whole CAGW campaign, creating foes from former allies. It has also brought under scrutiny former campaigns, including those resulting in DDT bans and the acid rain scare resulting in bans on CFCs. It has opened the eyes of many who were previously asleep, unaware of the exaggerations, political pandering, and lies of charlatans interested only in fame and fortune.

JLC of Perth.

Agreed. The relentless apocalyptic predictions have destroyed the credibility of the entire environmental movement. It’s a shame. There will be much less good will and support for efforts to fix genuine environmental problems in the future.
The baby will be thrown out with the bathwater.

Greg Cavanagh

Disagree that the baby will be thrown out.
The things that caused the environmental movement to be created in the first place have largely been addressed. So the environmentalists now have little to complain about. They now invent pseudo catastrophes in order to have their say and retain some authority.
Unfortunately, they are also making themselves look more foolish by turning every trivial thing into an emergency. This turns people off, or turns people against them.


The real frustration for me concerns the under-reported gains wildlife have made over the last few decades. In my yard alone I now see Coopers Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, Bald Eagles, and Osprey. I live in a city of 400,000 people. Our famous oysters are now safe to eat again, and Striped Bass have rebounded significantly. River Otters use my neighbors dock for a nice place to dine. When it gets to 100 degrees, the sky is still blue (I remember the haze of my youth). We have bear, fox, coyote and deer; all are reemerging after no sightings 20 years ago.
All of the gains happened as the population increased and development continued. The only difference were common sense measures taken to remove know pollutants from the process. I won’t believe the shrill doomsayers because I have caught them in too many fabrications…even if they have letters after their name.


This article gives me hope that this green madness can be stopped. If more people awaken and begin to speak out as Jim Steele has done, then perhaps the sheeple will listen and realize that they have been bamboozled into following a suicidal and environmentally destructive path.
Let’s hope this article is published far and wide in as many newpapers/blogs etc!

Alan Robertson

Same thing in my city (minus the sea critters.) The whole metro area has above 1.3 million fine folks and enough deer that two of the routes I can take across town to visit my son have signs to warn motorists about deer as road hazards. I’ve never applied any chemicals to my lawn and not only have very rich soil, but a menagerie of wild critters and birds frequenting the place. Robins will perch next to dried out bird baths and raise a racket until I fill ’em up. They have me trained, it seems.

Matt Bergin

I live in Hamilton Ontario Canada. Better known as Steeltown and at one time possibly the dirtiest town in Ontario next to Sudbury. We now have a very nice town lots of trees and lovely parks, nature paths and trails. Lots of wildlife can be found inside the city limits. Many times I have run into groups of deer along the trails. The change from when I first saw Hamilton in 1967 is staggering. This is what I thought the environmental movement was aiming for and would consider the result a win but sadly the environmentalists seem to have lost their way.

Steve P

Matt Bergin
June 25, 2015 at 9:35 am
This is what I thought the environmental movement was aiming for and would consider the result a win but sadly the environmentalists seem to have lost their way.
I agree with you and Alan about environmental improvements in recent decades, but I don’t think environmentalists have really lost their way. Rather the label has been hijacked, and It is now being applied to something else, which is the idiotic campaign to save the planet from CO₂.
These misguided zealots are not environmentalists; for all the damage they are doing they might as well be barbarians or madmen, these useful idiots who are tools in the hands of interests who would retard, downsize, and stupify Western Civilization, destroying our standard of living by wasting money on expensive boondoggles that enrich the well-placed few, further impoverish the masses, while driving the poorest from their hovels and out onto the streets, and further squeezing out the middle class.
You might even call it a kind of identity theft. Most real environmentalists oppose real pollution, but skeptical evironmentalists know that CO₂ is not pollution.
Don’t let the alarmists or other elements of gang green hijack, appropriate, co-opt, buy out, or steal noble ideals like environmentalism, and twist them into something else.
It should not be any great revelation that a bird-chopping, landscape-gobbling, infra-sound emitting, high-maintenance, low return, unreliable, grid-tangling, scene-stealing contraption like a wind turbine is about as far from environmentalism – and common sense – as one could get.

Brilliant! Link shared and saved to my phone for future rebuttals of doomsayers. Great article. Thank you!

Kevin Rea

Fantastic article.


This is the type of piece I once expected to read at this site. I’m happy to see that its ilk has not yet gone extinct.
Still, preservation efforts would not be out of line.


Like others before me, “Thank you, Jim.”
The worst enemy of apocalyptic fear mongering and the political corruption that breeds it is critical thinking and an open mind.
I don’t know if the academic world is up to the task of teaching students how to think. I worry about this.

Dodgy Geezer

I would like to ask Jim Steele:
1 – Have you ever heard of Julian Simon?
2 – If you have, as an environmentalist, what do you think of his ‘Cornucopia’ theory?

Hey Dodgy,
I am aware of Julian Simon and his bet with Ehrlich but I am not familiar with the details of the Cornucopia theory.
However I agree with the point made by Simon. Resources that humans use or not just things laying on the ground in finite limited amounts, such that if one country uses them others are denied. Most resources must be developed and therefore modern technology can develop far more resources than Ehrlich calculated. That’s why Ehrlich lost the bet.
If the Cornucopia theory means there is unlimited energy to be tapped and developed, I tend to agree. I believe we are infinitely better off the more we develop resources from below the surface of the earth and save as much surface for the biosphere. The Sierra Club’s David Bowers and Ansel Adams were at one time proponents of nuclear power for that reason, and that got them drummed out. of the club. I think we can make nuclear safe enough, but there is a huge fear factor to overcome. I think safe clean development of coal, oil and nuclear provides a cornucopia of energy with a far better balance sheet than energy from biofuels and biomass. We have done much to develop cleaner energy, but the awful pollution in China gives those fuels a bad reputation. I like decentralized solar but am opposed to the huge solar bird zappers in the desert and wind energy that slaughters bird and bats. There is a cornucopia of energy that can be developed but I do not like government subsidies that skew the playing field. I would argue to eliminate all capital gains tax on any and all companies developing clean energy so that the cornucopia of ideas from the entrepreneurs of the world can offer their best products as we move forward.


Jim Steele,
You should contact the Audubon Society and talk to someone about the bird zappers and the bird choppers (solar mirrors and wind mills). Ask them how they feel about the bird deaths. Ask them to quantify the bird deaths.
You will be amazed at their answers; I was. They claim to be about helping the birds, but they are blinded by climate change and don’t care about the birds short term.

I have been increasingly unhappy with Audubon’s leadership that has jumped on the climate catastrophe bandwagon to raise funds. Read http://landscapesandcycles.net/audubon-s-bad-climate-science.html
We had 100s of Audubon’s members pass through our field station and I have given several talks to various chapters. Their rank and file are a real mixed bad. Many have support sWINDle and anti wind energy group and hate current wind and solar zappers. Others tend to be a tad to the whacko side. For example the SF chapter fought against renovating a soccer field on the west end of Golden Gate Park used by kids (including my own) for many decades. Even though the park has been built on sand dunes and the park has increased bird populations, they argued that replacing the sod with artificial turf and adding night lights would endanger local birds. That stance only polarized most families against Audubon.


Excellent essay! Very well presented. Thank you.


Long post, you had me convinced at ‘Ehrlich’. ‘Nuff said.

Robert Doyle

Dr. Steele,
Is there a MS Word and/or PDF version of this post available?
Thank you for this excellent work!

Send me your email address I will gladly send you (or anyone else ) a pdf. My email is jsteele at sfsu.edu

Robert Doyle

Thank you Dr. Steele.

“Now, Ehrlich has been wrong, over and over and over again, for decades, yet he has won world-wide acclaim for being some kind of prophet. He should be a gambler: he loses every hand, but somehow manages to win the game.”
I wrote that in 2002. 🙂
Also, this bit:
What the heck is an Environmentalist? There must be lots of them: I see this or that person, on TV or the radio, or I read about this or that person in a newspaper or magazine or on the Internet — and this or that person is identified as an Environmentalist.
For instance, I was looking at a TV news story, and the reporter was interviewing different folks: some were identified as Farmers, others as Ranchers, and yet others as… Environmentalists.
The distinction that was being drawn implicitly — between Farmers and Ranchers on the one hand, and Environmentalists on the other — is pretty much lost on me. Especially since I’d be willing to bet money I don’t have that the Farmers and Ranchers are much closer to the environment than the Environmentalists are.
Now, I pretty much know what a Farmer, or a Rancher, is. What do they do for a living? Basically, they grow crops and raise livestock. Where does their money come from? Basically, from selling their crops and livestock. Where does their money go? Basically, back into the farm or the ranch, most likely. These are things I know, and I think pretty much anybody knows them, without having to ask about them.
But I do not know what an Environmentalist is. What do they do for a living? I don’t know. Where does their money come from? I don’t know. And where does their money go? I don’t know.
Do you?

Bruce Cobb

Enviromentalism is an ideology, not normally a career, so what they do for a living probably varies considerably. But I would guess many suckle from the teats of Academia and Government.

Sal Minella

Rush Limbaugh is documented to be right 99.7% of the time.


You said

“‘Most striking to me is the lost trustworthiness of the peer review process regards climate science. It seems as if all one has to do is suggest apocalyptic climate change to get published no matter how much contradictory evidence is known.”
It seems to me that the only papers that get published are those which somewhere in the paper state words to the effect , “It is worse than we thought, manmade global warming is making things worse or we must drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels” even though the paper has very little to do about these topics. However I have noticed that t he public is beginning to awaken to the widespread misuse of the peer review process and the flawed climate science that made it so . Blaming man on every climate event is one that gets the greatest laugh from the public. when I mention that the alarmists blame them for all these events.

Ian W

The real review is the Internet blog review which rapidly identifies the flaws in papers. This is perhaps why papers are now paywalled and published with no information available for falsification. The press release in breathless hyperbolic terms but lacking any data is then quoted verbatim followed by ‘”the peer reviewed paper will shortly be published in {name a journal}”.
This method allows the media to run with the story for the politicians and the gullibles to start panicking – long before anyone has any chance to read the actual paper. This approach is not accidental.

Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
Jim Steele provides a cogent review of Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015 in which Ehrlich reprises his misanthropic and apocalyptic guilt trip.


Harvey H Homitz.

Add my accolades to a wonderful piece. Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity and human sanity!