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.

clip_image002

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.

clip_image003

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?

clip_image005

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.

clip_image007

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.

clip_image009.jpg

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”.


steele-landscapes-cycles

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
1600s
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
Advertisements

261 thoughts on “Apocalyptic Fear-mongering: Sometimes Rush Limbaugh is Right!

    • +10
      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.

    • 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?

      • Leonard,
        “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.

        Auto

        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.

  1. 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!

    • 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!

  2. 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.

      • 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!

      • 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 (https://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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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)
    http://www.ib.usp.br/zoologia/evolution/papers/Marques_01.pdf

    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.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_E._Soul%C3%A9

    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
    brent

  7. 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.

  8. “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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

    • “… need to be suspended from a nearest lamp post.”

      I like that sort of talk, keep it comin’ Athelstan!

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. “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!
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/17/climate-change-is-sucking-funding-away-from-biodiversity/#comment-1664385

    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
    snip
    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
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/michael-ruse-humanism-religion/

    • 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
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/17/climate-change-is-sucking-funding-away-from-biodiversity/#comment-1664385

      Now what are E.O.Wilson (and Suzuki) Smoking?? It certainly must be high potency stuff :: ))

      Equilibrium????
      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)
      http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/glaciation/
      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
      http://www.nps.gov/features/romo/feat0001/BasicsIceAges.swf

      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
      http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/27/a-manifesto-for-rewilding-the-world/
      Feral
      http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/24/feral-searching-for-enchantment-on-the-frontiers-of-rewilding/
      Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/19/-sp-rewilding-large-species-britain-wolves-bears

      http://www.ethos-uk.com/downloads.html
      Cores and Connectivity: A Wildlands Manifesto for Britain
      http://www.ethos-uk.com/downloads/WildlandManifesto.pdf

      all the best
      brent (Southern Ontario)

  14. 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.

  15. ‘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 .

  16. 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.

    https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/green-myths-we-must-conserve-everything/

    or more formally –

    https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/the-steady-state-environment-delusion/

    We are not nature’s cops.

    Pointman

    • 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.

        Pointman

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

      • “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.

  17. Our Gaian Pope

    Scrutinize carefully points 32 to 42
    III. LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY

    eg
    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.
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

    Seems the Pope is endorsing the Wildlands Project!!. Dave Foreman must be ecstatic!!

  18. 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.

    • 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.

  19. 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.)

  20. 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.

  21. 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…
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/un-climate-conference/abbott-and-hunt-confronted-by-anticlimate-science-push-from-within-liberal-party-20150624-ghwuzg.html

  22. “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!)

    • 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.

  23. 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.

  24. “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”.”

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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 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)

  29. 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).
      snip
      Conclusion
      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
      http://www.land-care.org.uk/environment/current_topics/2003/april2003/conservation_science_15_04/conservation_science_15_04.htm

  30. 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…

  31. 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?

    • 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.

  32. 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)!

  33. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  34. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  35. Excellent.

    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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

      • Glenn999,

        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.

  38. Dr. Steele,

    Is there a MS Word and/or PDF version of this post available?

    Thank you for this excellent work!

  39. “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. :)

    http://www.theviewfromthecore.com/20020617/column.html

    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?

    • 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.

  40. Jim
    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.

    • 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.

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

  42. I emailed this story to Rush. (I copied the link from here….I hope that was okay). I doubt it will go far…but ya never know. I also mentioned Anthony and Roy Spencer. If you listen to Rush you would know that he has called out Spencer several times on his show.

  43. A stronger case can be made that industrial society will be wildlife’s savior.
    ====================
    it has been shown that within just a few generations, “domestic” or “tame” versions of wild animals can be bred, similar to day’s dogs, horses, cattle, sheep, etc.

    this process is happening naturally, where many previously wild species are migrating to cities. free from hunting pressure from humans, they successfully co-exist with modern industrial society.

    in the poor countries this cannot happen, because the wild animals represent much needed income and food. they have no opportunity to domesticate naturally. if they stray near to civilization, they are killed. leaving only the wildest, least tame individuals to survive.

    • Hunting, properly managed, has been the savior of some of our game animals in the US. When I was a kid we rarely saw a deer back in Ohio. More recently the state has needed to issue more licenses due to vehicle/deer collisions, prompted, of course by the insurance lobby. Have not lived there for quite some time so one can only hope that this is not overdone.

      Here in WY, there is concern about the sage grouse, while raptors are fully protected while they eat a great number of sage grouse. It’s hard to find a tree, pole or wire that does not have a hawk, owl or eagle perched upon it. Sage grouse will do their mating dance right under a drilling rig. During mating season the rigs are shut down to not disturb nesting of the raptors so they perch on the rigs and eat the sage grouse. Go figure.

      • Jim G1, You are absolutely correct. I too grew up in Ohio and a deer was a rare thing indeed. If anyone hunted deer they had to go to Pennsylvania or West Virginia. As you know, many things have changed and I can say the forest has returned to the southern part of the state. There is abundant wildlife; deer, turkeys, and even bears are now back in Ohio, and I believe bobcats are suspected too. With so many deer can it be very long before someone finds a mountain lion? It really has changed for the better. Conservation has worked thanks to the resources obtained from hunters and hunting ethic. I too have moved to the West and you are right about the sage grouse. Predators are a very big factor. This has been proven repeatedly that ground nesting game birds can be severely impacted by predators. I dare say the up tick in raptors may be related to the Greater Sage Grouse decline.

    • Well written paper! Unfortunately so many humans live in metropolitan areas, who never see the “wild” long term. Thus their influence is to vote for over-controlling the fast empty spaces, even to take their neighbors home in the name of saving the planet. I fortunately have several properties. One is very remote in NE Washington, where wolves have in recent years migrated to. Setting aside the variety of views on wolves, it’s been very interesting to watch them and see the changes in animal habitat with the wolf presence. One change being my own behavior. I do engage in self preservation, so if a time were to come where the grocery store is no longer viable, well, God’s critters will look good on my plate. But I will say, the wolves have depleted the mule dear population, killed off many coyotes, helped themselves to turkey dinners. Infact they will kill just for the sport, leaving behind the kill for the ravens and scavengers etc.

      As it has cooled in the last decade I have seen many little birds enjoying the property, which the other birds of prey get a few extra meals. Rabbits have also appeared with the coyotes missing, which the eagles, large owls and hawks have for breakfast. Chipmunks have also appeared.

      All in all, the eco-nazis have had no hand in the goings on, except in the notion to reintroduced the wolf, which now has created a storm with other ranchers of cattle, sheep, goats, and pets. Also, the state under-reports the numbers of wolf population….interesting.

      I used to own a property on San Juan Island. Land of what seemed like millions of rabbits. Similar to the examples in the written article above, a rabbit hungry critter was introduced to the island. bye bye rabbits, chickens, kitty cats and other small animals. Have not heard the outcome of that. At least the lettuce grows well without the rabbit having salad every night.

      There have been many atrocities to nature by the hand of mankind, but in the end, for the lack of wisdom, sometimes mankind is their own worst enemy. The world is not the garden of Eden, but by comparison, it is a garden compared to Venus or Mars…so far.

  44. Utterly terrifying that we have sunk so low as to make that drugged out blowhard Rush look like a voice of reason. Terrific article, though the mere mention of Rush scare off the people that need to read it.

    • That’s quite an ad hom, “Doug”.
      How would a reader describe you in similar tone; gutless liar hiding behind an anonymous screen name?
      That wouldn’t encourage much discussion, would it? Was that your point- to discourage discussion?

      • That might be a fair description of me, but I frequently testify in a community full of educated liberals, and if they can google up my views on CAGW they would just dismiss what I say. As it is, I provide a voice of reason without being labeled a right wing nut job.

        Rush, on the other hand, is instant poison to any credibility among a large swath of the nation. He does well preaching to the choir but has absolutely no effect on those who might benefit from some of his views
        .
        “In fact, according to a recent Pew survey, Limbaugh was found to be the least trustworthy “news entity” among a long list of various sources such as Fox News, CNN, Buzzfeed and The Daily Show. Coming in at 39 percent, Limbaugh barely edged out Fox News (37 percent) for the top overall spot and was a full 17 points ahead of the highest liberal source in this study, MSNBC (22 percent). But not only that, according to Politifact, 82 percent of the comments they’ve investigated from Limbaugh have been rated as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.

        http://www.forwardprogressives.com/new-pew-poll-exposes-rush-limbaugh-propaganda-pusher/

    • typical low info type
      probably doesn’t even listen to the radio
      and someone told him what to think…

    • Doug
      June 25, 2015 at 7:11 am
      “Utterly terrifying that we have sunk so low as to make that drugged out blowhard Rush look like a voice of reason. Terrific article, though the mere mention of Rush scare off the people that need to read it.”

      Leftists will use any excuse to ignore what they want to ignore. You prefer to play by their rules? Note that they change them at a whim all of the time. Good Luck. Make sure you shun all the people the Left wants you to shun, or you will become one of them.

    • Argument Ad hominem. He has had Dr. Roy Spencer on his program numerous times to provide his insights. I guess you should also label Dr. Spencer with your slurs. Strange that you would use the source of the argument as an attempt to refute a logical argument.

  45. This is a wonderful, wonderful article. I can so relate to the author. I wish everyone could learn and remember this information, kind of like a vaccination.

    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”.

  46. “(LIA) widespread starvation that the pope blamed on witches.”

    And now he’s putting his weight behind another witch hunt. I think his flock is smarter than he is now if the polls are any sign.

  47. A legalistic quibble, But a “Sixth Mass Extinction Event” is not very likely, Mass extinction events are defined by the loss of marine invertebrate species. That’s because the vast majority of fossils are marine invertebrates and the fossil record is what you look at to identify past extinction events. But the species eliminated in recent centuries by human activity are overwhelmingly terrestrial vertebrates and secondarily terrestrial invertebrates as well as, one supposes, a few plants. The marine invertebrates are, by and large, doing just fine. Ergo — probably no “extinction event” by the rules that identify the historic KT, P-Tr etc events.

  48. The most noteworthy thing to me about this argument (acknowledging the terrific data in the piece) is that it bleeds into comparison with religion and apocalyptic cults. It is this morphing of the rules of science into the rules of religion that gets us every time. The essence of a political party, especially in a forced binary system, is to find a core belief that can trump dissenting opinions and weld the believers into a minority. The essence of science is to attack the unknown, or the “known but mistaken” on a minority but experimental basis, and demonstrate a result. Gaia & the isms is the choir of the new left religion, and it is hard to deal with on any other terms– reason has clearly failed among all but the committed skeptics, who too often find themselves stuck in the middle of the road with out of control vehicles coming from both directions.

  49. 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”!

    It’s always interesting to hear one person say one thing and another interpret it as something else. Rush, as I’ve heard him, has never labeled all environmentalists as “whackos.” Although he never says this, the whackos are the one who have adopted environmentalism as a religion and left the science behind.

    Unfortunately the only environmentalists that make the news are the whackos. The science based environmentalists trying to strike a balance and do good things are seldom heard from.

  50. Somehow the major proponent of doom is not even mentioned, Obama himself. He has managed to direct the CAGW scare with manipulation of “science” and goes unmarked into more and more control.

  51. Re-introduced or newly introduced species are indeed fraught with wrong-headed thinking. Salmon and other river fish species suffered tremendously from wrong headed thinking in Wallowa County. Here’s why:

    The approximate 60 year fisheries cycle was unknown to extend into rivers. Since then of course, fish counting has confirmed not only that cycle in rivers, but subcycles as well. But the damage was already set into motion when a diminution of river fish was responded to with poor attempts to force a return of abundant river fish species.

    1. Efforts were made to introduce additional fish species into area rivers. Unfortunately the order in which they were introduced made it very difficult for rainbow trout to survive. Bull, brown, and brook trout are all aggressive fish compared to rainbow. Brook trout are especially aggressive and can out-do any trout species in the fight for food, though they be much smaller than other species. In any event, the resulting fight for food keeps all species in an attenuated condition from this mishmash approach.

    2. Wallowa County used to be a swampy place with streams crisscrossing across the valley as a result of constant runoff from the surrounding Swiss-like mountains. Settlers decided to use those streams by turning them into irrigation ditches. Then someone upstream, in their desire to save fish, decided we should dry up some of those ditches and use a controlled cross-country canal, built in the early 1900’s. Continued efforts were then made to keep fish out of these streams-turned-irrigation ditches by putting up fish screens all over the place. Re-introduced and new species were forced to compete in just the rivers. In addition to increased competition for food, unfortunately that stopped all the fish from going into their preferred spawning grounds (all those streams and ditches) away from the fast running main rivers. Streams and ditches once filled with salmon and trout disappeared along with the fish. All because someone thought they could save fish.

    This story is never told by conservationists and Indian Tribe groups involved in fisheries. They think they have done it all correctly in attempting to return the rivers to what they were before settlers used the many side streams for crop irrigation. But all you have to do is look at the valley from a satellite perspective. You will see the bones of the once criss-crossed streams, now dry, and without fish.

    • I have had these thoughts for years and you have affirmed my concern. The satellite images have been ignored and most (all) of the corrective actions have caused more harm and not corrected or mitigated the problem.

  52. Jim, I’ve thought for some time now that we need some upbeat choices for readers, telling them things like you have up above and the fact that technology has ALWAYS come to the fore to resolve problems. We are a remarkable species and we should rejoice and trust in the its genius and bountifulness. As you point out, degrading science has a huge impact on our present and future wellbeing. I think a good book should survey the doomsters of the past and write a give framework for recognizing this ever-renewing burdensome tax on human progress. We need inspirational speakers to bring this message. Today’s society has been depressed by the constant onslaught of this misanthopist juggernaut. These ill-minded malthusians will step up their campaigns over the next decades because they know once population reaches its peak of ~9B (almost there!) by mid century (earlier if we could get cheap energy to the poor) their game is over. They also know, by keeping it up and dismantling civilization they will create a much higher population.

  53. Mr. Steele, thank you for the very informative article. I have a comment on the chart of gray whale populations: the chart shows conflicting scales on the two y-axes. I found the same graph on the OceanLink website http://oceanlink.info/biodiversity/graywhale/graywhale.html evidently written by a student. What you have done is possibly pulled statistics from it, claiming a 13% increase in population per annum. I’m not sure that is correct if the data are not clearly plotted on the source chart.

    • CoonAZ,

      The 13% refers to Humpbacks and was from references sighted in Ainley, D., et al., (2010) Impacts of cetaceans on the structure of Southern Ocean food webs. Marine Mammal Science, vo. 26, p. 482-498.

      The Gray whale graph was simply pulled from the internet with out further investigation of its source, but based on numerous other reports and papers the graph accurately depicted the trends over the past 100 years.

  54. One species that is truly endangered and possibly extinct are the Lesser Naugas. Some claim that they are merely hiding from man. But, if that is truly the case, then where do Naugas hide?

  55. This is a great effort, Mr. Steele, thank you. On a related note, in the mid-1980s, the federal government embarked on the conservation reserve program which paid farmers to retire cropland. I am not generally a fan of Ag programs, but CRP worked pretty well and turned lots of marginal wheat and corn cropland into prairie. I still farmed in SE Wyoming in the early 1990s and we were over run by wildlife by then because there was now so much habitat on those CRP acres. Promoting biofuels has undone much of the good of that CRP, although I don’t have figures to report.

  56. Steele writes: “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.”

    As a person who comes at the debate from a political/economics perspective, I have been skeptical of the global warming alarmists from the outset, for the simple reason that it looked like an excellent vehicle to gain political and economic power over others. I’m no scientist, and don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of the CO2 debate from a scientific viewpoint. I do, however, believe that I understand the debate from a political power viewpoint.

    Steele says he’s “yet to see Rush take a pro-environmental stance.” While that might be true, I would submit that Rush’s, and my own, views on the matter are strongly “pro-environmental.” Taking just the last, and most important, part of the quote above, for example (“and robs people of hope in order to promote and agenda”), l would submit that the environment we all now live in has, in countless ways, been severely polluted by global warming alarmists and that the political environment our children are now growing up in has been degraded to the point that many are left feeling some combination of fearfulness, helplessness, and even hopelessness. That is an environment created by the fear-mongering alarmists so aptly portrayed in this article by Mr. Steele, and is an environment that would be much improved would people listen closely, and come to understand, what Rush Limbaugh is saying.

    Incidentally, my vote for a Presidential candidate in 2016 will hinge very much on whether the candidate feels the need to pay homage to the global warming alarmist viewpoint (as the Bushes seem so wont to do, for example), or whether instead he (or she) is willing to take a stand much as Mr. Steele has taken here. A smart candidate would simply ask Mr. Steele if he might use it as a position paper on the matter. That would settle it for me.

  57. 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.

    This is simply more evidence that Ceballos and Ehrlich don’t practice science but are members of the Church of Environmentalism. Religions are famous for making apocalyptic predictions. Once you realize that environmentalism is their religion, the apocalyptic predictions make perfect sense and you can and should ignore them.

    You’re never going to eradicate this kind of thinking. It’s always been with us and always will be with us. But it must be marginalized and driven to the fringes so as not to have much influence on public policy much as most other extreme religious beliefs have been in this country.

    A problem we have today though is that much of the mainstream news media are either members of the
    Church of Environmentalism themselves or are sympathetic towards it. That’s why all these alarmist stories get air time almost daily. You never hear stories from the MSM that treat traditional religious stories seriously. When such stories do make it into the MSM they are often ridiculed. There’s not much difference in believing that the mothership will descend from Comet Hale Bopp to take you away than there is from believing in end of the human race in 100 years except in the way the MSM presented each story.

    Somehow we need to separate the science of environmentalism from the Church of Environmentalism to get better environmental public policy decisions. If there was ever a need for a “campaign of awareness” this is it.

  58. Nice presentation, Dr Steele- many thanks. Can’t take serious issue with any of it.

    There’s an extension to this debate about which I’d like to be a little bit more provocative. That is, the manner in which all participants worship the importance of what we call ‘biodiversity’.

    Well, like many of you here, I’m in awe of the natural world – it’s a consuming passion for me, and of course I would like to see the preservation of all the ecosystems and all the species that we currently have around us. It’s what makes me tick. But we are in the very small minority : though many will SAY how much they value it, in practice the vast bulk of the population take no interest and couldn’t really care less. In the UK we have – quite arbitrarily- enacted legislation which visits onerous and sometimes very expensive duties on all landowners, and even houseowners, to protect BATS. Not particular, endangered species of bats, but ALL of our 17 or 18 species, include the common ones, and a small industry of bat ‘experts’ has grown up to help such owners, expensively and laboriously, to discharge their legal duties. The bats’ close relatives -rats and mice – have not been afforded any such protection (except for the (cuddiy) Dormouse). Similarly, the seriously endangered Great Crested Newt is being found in hundreds of localities all over the couintry where development projects must as a consequence be delayed, modified, or shelved Of course, there are experts on hand to help you through this – at a price! Some creatures have lobby groups, some don’t!

    For most folk, it really doesn’t matter whether we have many bats or newts, or few. For our kids, then? Will it make a difference if we have 15 million species to describe and study, or 12 million? If we turn a large area of rainforest into a parking lot, we’ll undoubtedly lose some species (though fewer than most imagine) many of which are undescribed and therefore, we’ll never know. But does it actually matter? Will we lose the possibility to find some cures for cancer in those unknown species? Just possibly, but I’m very sceptical that anything truly unique of this kind will be irretrievably lost.

    Now, I’m not advocating the abandonment of conservation measures- I’ve always been a conservationist in the local and personal sense. And, like you, I don’t think that biodiversity is as easily compromised as we normally assume. But I want to make the point that it’s a life and societal choice to preserve these ecosystems, not a world-saving must. We should understand conservation for what it is – a hobby or an amusement, like art, or music, or stamp collecting, or trainspotting – very valuable to its adherents, but not in itself, fundamental.

    Anybody feel provoked?

    • I don’t know about provoked. But I would like to see some reasonable attempt at evaluating the worth of efforts to prevent certain species’ extinction.

      How much human misery has really been caused by the extinction of the Dodo? Would life as we know it cease if pandas became extinct? And whose parent is being saved from Alzheimer’s because we’ve preserved the snail darter?

      No, I wouldn’t want to be the one to decide to let a certain species go extinct. If I were forced to make the decision, though, I’ll bet the evidence would in many cases lead me to decide that efforts to preserve the species in question are not worth the cost.

    • Hi Mothcatcher,
      The “commandment” about “biodiversity” comes from the modern Darwinist Religious synthesis:
      e.g. see comments re E.O. Wilson upthread.

      “The northern spotted owl is the wildlife species of choice to act as a surrogate for old-growth forest protection,” explained Andy Stahl, staff forester for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, at a 1988 law clinic for other environmentalists. “Thank goodness the spotted owl evolved in the Pacific Northwest,” he joked, “for if it hadn’t, we’d have to genetically engineer it.” Andy Stahl at a 1988 law clinic for environmentalists, staff forester, Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1838857/posts

      Green bigots vs. human beings
      The red-legged frog is only the latest of many supposedly endangered species whose habitats may be kept off-limits to human beings, even if that means stopping the building of much-needed housing. We have grown so used to having the interests of millions of human beings sacrificed for some allegedly endangered species that we no longer stop and think about how outrageous that is.
      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/may/27/20010527-023324-7532r/

      Jefferson Salamander is sort of the eastern North American… spotted owl eg
      Tunnel vision ‘protection’ for salamander
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/tunnel-vision-protection-for-salamander/article757852/

      The game that is played is finding some non-human animal or insect, declare it to be sacred to the “alleged fragile web of life”, and human activity must be restricted under the PC “biodiversity” dogma.

      In you want to dig deeper into the ideology behind all this, try this author eg

      Smith’s latest book is The War on Humans (Discovery Institute Press, 2014) in which he investigates the views of anti-human activists who want to grant legal rights to animals, plants, and “Mother Earth,” and who want to reduce the human population by up to 90 percent.
      His previous book was A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, a searing critique of the ideology and tactics of the animal liberation movement and a rousing defense of the unique importance of human exceptionalism.
      http://www.nationalreview.com/author/wesley-j-smith

      http://www.waronhumans.com/

  59. Ehrlich’s has been wrong since his 1968 book The Population Bomb proved to be the dumb-ass unsupported doom prophecy that it was. He will continue to be wrong and yet news media reacts to his every new announcement like it is important.

    Maybe the news media feels compelled to follow a continually proven wrong author, thinking that even a stopped clock is right once a day, and reporting nonsense is more acceptable than missing a scoop on the potential end of the world. Or maybe the media is stupid beyond the pale.

  60. Fantastic article, Jim. Thank you.
    I’ve listened to Rush now and then over the years and he spends a great deal of time ridiculing liberal zealots. He recognized long ago that left wing ideologues naturally were attracted to the ecology movement as a way to promote their socialist/communist and sometimes anarchist views.
    Cute polar bears, penguins and and dangerous man made things lurking everywhere tugs on heart strings and freightens people.
    Deceiving people is apparently ok if you are working toward the common good.

    • Deceiving people is apparently ok if you are working toward the common good.
      ————————————————————————————————————————–
      Deceiving people is apparently ok if you Believe or claim you are working toward the common good.

  61. Way, way back in the 80s, my required high school reading list included “The Fate of the Earth”, and “Entropy”, etc. It was strongly suggested we watch movies like “The Day After”, about nuclear war.

    In short, the belief was that we were in the End Times, an ideal that my “progressive” secular-humanist teachers shared with the “regressive” born-again Christians who were (at the time) my social group. Basically, my entire world-view was pretty pessimistic.

    My long journey from True Believer/Chicken Little to rationalistic “show me the stats” started when we had a full-school debate about just how bad things really were. I had been given the (to my then-mind) impossible task of showing that, hey, things aren’t THAT bad.

    One of my opponents was a local peacenik who spent 20 minutes creating a prop consisting of a huge cardboard circle with a tiny paper circle in the middle. The paper represented how many nukes it would take to wipe out the earth, the cardboard was the number of nukes on the planet. Scary stuff. Not a great prop, though, as the cardboard fell over during his presentation. All I had to say was “your argument takes as long to get out as it did to make your prop, and its even easier to blow down”. I got a ton of laffs, a sitting ovation and a C- (see: “progressive” teachers above).

    (Relevant to this thread: we also discussed extinction, and I asked simply “how many species are at risk?”. When I received numerous answers that proved that the estimates were basically useless I brought out my own prop (an elastic band) and stretched it out until it broke and said “when numbers are this elastic, the argument will snap like this”.

    Which, come to think of it, probably did more to earn that C- than anything.

  62. Sadly, Facebook is suppressing the sharing of articles like this one into ‘news-feed’. I clicked on the link to share, but it did not appear in my news feed. It is however on my timeline, but how many people are going to divert from news-feed in order to look at an individual’s time line? This has happened with some other articles(that do not tow the line of the climate changers mantras) I have tried to share. I wonder if there is a way to get around fb’s censorship? well, I just requested to join WUWT closed group on fb, so maybe that will make a difference? Probably not, as relates to news feed, but at least I won’t miss postings from WUWT. BTW, a terrifically great article!

  63. What effect does the mass deforestation of the hard woods and their replacement with fast growing soft woods have on the elimination and extinction species that relied upon the habitat provided by the hard wood forests? This has been going on in the US since ship first hit the shores. Ships were made from the hardwoods and the stripped land was replanted with fast growing pines and other soft woods. In the north areas that had pine trees were cleared for farms or replanted with hard woods needed in shipbuilding. No regard was taken for the birds and other animals whose life depended upon the nuts and seeds of the trees that were destroyed, yet now we ask why aren’t there as many of these species as there were 300, 200 years ago. What doers the removal of these species also do to the numbers of fleas and ticks that cause harm to man?

  64. Excellent survey of the misuse of scientific data and statistical analysis in service to a fanatical agenda.

    (Note: third line of penultimate paragraph: “there” should be “their.”)

    FURTHER READING:

    SHORT AND DIRECT: Transcript of the late Michael Crichton’s speech to the Commonwealth Club on September 15, 2003. Subject: Modern Environmentalism as a Religion. https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~kw/crichton.html

    BOOK LENGTH PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT: “The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings” by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner, translated by Steven Rendall.

    Highly recommended.

  65. I’ve always wondered why people like Ehrlich refuse to do their part in the over population problem. Guy is in his eighties and still drawing breath. If all the people claiming over population will doom mankind or push the argument of “carrying capacity” really had the courage of their convictions, hey would voluntarily remov themselves.

  66. The global fertility map reports the highest fertility rates in areas likely to have population statistics of poor quality. I’d be willing to bet that those rates are somewhat exaggerated.

    • Those areas have the least industry, the least medical care and the least contraception, so they are indeed likely to have high fertility rates.

      I would like to see a comparison between fertility rates and power stations.

  67. precisely, precisely, precisely! Well said Mr. Steele! I have long argued that the banner of castastrophic climate change is a mere smoke screen to hide from the real causes of the changes being wrought at by the hands of humans – and for goodness sake, why is it there are never any *success stores???* Of course we are having success – we know more than we did back in the 1700s and 1800s! So for goodness sake, why don’t more castastrophic-followers celebrate the fact that we can and do reverse our destructive tendencies with a high degree of success and effectiveness at the small scale. This is far far more effective than relying on political hand-wringing to get one ‘global’ thing changed which is just based on predictive modelling and 20 years of field results have failed to support any predictive models, past or current!

  68. >>Overhunting claimed many island species like the Dodo early on.

    I think the best explanation for the extinction of the dodo, was again the introduction of a new species.

    The dodo was not good to eat, and so the pig was introduced for meat production. And there is nothing a pig likes more, than a dodo egg laying on the ground. And since the dodo was ill-equipped to adapt to pig predation, they went extinct very quickly.

    Ralph

  69. Many outstanding points.

    The biggest problems related to this issue, come from the “science is settled” “debate is over” mentality. If we are talking about gravity or the earth revolving around the sun, this is warranted.

    If we are talking about how CO2 effects the planet, then to be objective, there is a powerful positive side, just considering photosynthesis. If one side completely ignores most of this, they are being subjective and not practicing good science but instead are promoting something that must be more important than just the pure objective science. If they are exaggerating the effects beyond what the science and observations support, that’s even more evidence that an ideology/agenda is at play which is filtering information via their belief system vs using the scientific method to interpret.

    Lack of tolerance for any view that does not line up with theirs is another example. Even if I believe in the same physics that they do, regarding the effect of greenhouse gas warming but my estimate of the warming is, let’s say 50% of theirs, I am labelled a denier.

    Only those with the exact same belief system(scientific and otherwise) and most importantly with the exact same solution to the theorized problem are tolerated. Veering in any way from the belief system or proposed solution means that you are an outsider that should be suppressed.

    The objective has become the driving force……………while losing touch with the realities of much of the real world science effecting life on this planet.

    • Life on this planet that Jim Steele gives us a comprehensive, historical perspective of from a view that is not tolerated by the “settled science” party line.

      Thanks

  70. Jim–

    Nice piece but we were after Parmesan early and often. Speaking charitably, her work is crap. See our analyses here:

    September 16, 1996: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/archive/previous_issues/vol2/v2n1/hot.htm
    October 28, 1996: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/archive/previous_issues/vol2/v2n4/hot.htm
    July 5, 1999: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/archive/previous_issues/vol4/v4n20/feature.htm

    I think you will find these rather amusing and hopefully interesting

    • Pat, thanks for the links. I am sorry I didn’t see them earlier or I would vouched for your analyses. Indeed Parmesan is a piece of work. She has refused to make her data available and has kept contrary information “off the books”

  71. Marvelous read. But it leaves me with a question: What, besides an emotional tug at the heart, is wrong with having a species go extinct? Have we suffered from the expiry of the dodo? Carrier pigeon? TRex?

    • Indeed. Its like saying that we must keep steam engines and mechanical computers. Times roll on.

      • Except that steam engines and computers are mechanical things, where birds are living creatures. We have newer, and perhaps better locomotives and PCs, but we don’t have newer and better birds, and very low chances of making our own.

      • Steve P says that living creatures are not like steam engines and mechanical computers, and by inference deserve greater consideration.
        Fine, I agree, in so far as it relates to individual organisms. Yes, they deserve particularly sensitive treatment (is it right to grow animals for food? – that’s a very serious moral question). But that’s individuals.
        Those most keen on preserving rare species have little concern for individual animals (vide, for example, the RSPB’s predilection for birds of prey, over their prey, or the recent attempts to re-introduce European Lynx, or Wolf, to Scotland or northern England, without regard for prey species they will use).
        The preservation of actual species is more akin to architectural activists listing notable buildings, or museum curators seeking the ‘full set’ of their chosen exhibits.

      • mothcatcher
        June 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        Well, it’s way beyond just apples and oranges. All living things are part of the fabric of life. Man has ripped out threads from this fabric before anyone had a chance to study its undisturbed textures, patterns, and colors, if you will, so of course when we try to put things back together, we may not really know what we’re doing.

        Now all the King’s horses,
        And all the King’s men,
        Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

        We gain valuable knowledge about our world by studying our fellow creatures, and their ways of coping with their environments, like Willis’s silver ants. Whatever secrets nature’s creatures may hold for mankind, we’ll only find out if these critters survive with us.


        “Now let the music keep our spirits high
        And let the buildings keep our children dry
        Let creation reveal it’s secrets by and by
        By and by…”

        Before the Deluge
        Jackson Browne
        1974

        Interesting, in light of Dr. Steele’s excellent post.

      • >>`the RSPB’s predilection for birds of prey, over their prey.

        Indeed. The RSPB’s total disregard of birdlife in general is a national scandal. And for those over the pond, the RSPB is the: “Royal Society for the Protection of Birds”. — Not for the protection of raptors, but birds. But they prefer raptors just as Greenpeace prefers seals – they bring in more money.

        Like all Green ‘charities’, the RSPB has just become a money-making machine, preying like a raptor on the gullible public. These Greenies don’t give a rat’s arce about the species or the environment, all they want is POWER.

        Scandal of the RSPB…..
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2817171/Botham-hits-RSPB-dictators-SIX-Cricket-legend-savages-charity-spending-donated-millions-TV-ads-56m-pension-deficit-forgetting-birds.html

        .

  72. “there is no evidence that climate change has caused any extinctions.”

    I thought they would at least provide a list of extinctions caused by man-made climate change. But if they can’t prove it has caused even one extinction, how do they get off blaming climate change at all?

  73. Does Ehrlich keep coming up with gloom and doom predictions because he really thinks they are true or because he simply wants them to be true? In any case, there are enough people who want to believe such prophecies that being a false prophet is a profitable enterprise.

  74. true story
    it happened to me
    lifelong Democrat
    hated Limbaugh but would tune in now and then to see what the other side was saying
    heard him say “there has been no global warming for 17 years”
    lie, can’t be true
    began to read and to my astonishment concluded ‘climate change’ is a political crock
    now my opinion is that the Left is depraved
    feel a bit embarrassed that I bought into some of this crap for as long as I did
    the net has made it possible to expose the lying of the MSM (Limbaugh right again)
    reminding myself to be careful about trusting anyone

    … and I find climate skeptics to be really cool people and the warmists incredibly boring (IMO stupid)
    as Twain said “one goes to Heaven for the weather, and to Hell for the company”

      • dittos back brother
        strange bedfellows no problem
        “defending Freedom and Liberty” absolutely GD right
        the good people are gonna quietly continue to do the science
        the rest of us left with fighting censorship and intellectual suppression
        that’s why I am compelled to join this discussion
        I want my name on this side of history
        liberals used to be about questioning authority
        I’m gonna question authority no matter what they call themselves
        97% my pimply keister

  75. I’ve said many times, I wish anyone but Rush was leading the charge against the AGW alarmists, because of just the sort of knee-jerk reaction in people like Mr. Steele – who is apparently just another ideologue – just a progressive one instead of conservative. The problem with the ideologues is that they look at everything through the artificial prism of their particular faith – sort of like looking at reality through a computer model.

    It keeps you from seeing obvious reality.

    • knee-jerk reaction? What are smoking Joel? How is this essay evidence of me being an “ideologue”? I will gladly discuss any point of disagreement, but all you are doing is sniping. Perhaps you can share your unfiltered version of the the “true” reality.

      • Well, this condescending snark is a good example of a knee-jerk reaction. Basically, I was referring generally to the type that – if Rush (or some identifiable conservative) said it, it must be wrong, for no other reason than that. You said yourself you can’t believe you have to agree with him (hated his viewpoints, you said), which suggests to me that you started from a counterpoint opinion – ‘left leaning’ as you put it – and the fact that he pushes your buttons demonstrates that his bait works on you. And ‘obvious reality’ is that AGW touts ridiculous alarmism that blames human C02 emissions for everything from giant spiders to total Armageddon – the sort of thing that should never have been given serious consideration in the first place but now influences world policy.

        Ideologue or not, what I was trying to say is that preconceived opinions go a long way towards defining your vision of reality – and sometimes its not reality at all, just circular logic.

      • Just out of curiosity, Mr. Steele, but did you arrive at your negative opinion of Limbough based on what you heard him say (something specific that you remember?), or what others told you about him – others who share a similar ideology as you?

        If it’s the former, than it would be reasonable to take umbrage over the knee-jerk remark. If the latter, then I fear you were programmed by others to react as you do (did?) to him in a thoughtless (it must be so, since it would be based on zero evidence) knee-jerk reaction, and the shoe fits.

        Regardless, this is an excellent analysis, and I thank you.

      • jtom, We are talking decades ago so details are likely blurred, but I would listen in from time to time because my conservative friends liked him. I don’t remember ever hearing a detailed analysis that justified or explained why he was calling people environmental whacks. I just remember the phrase being used along with other more general criticisms. I took umbrage at Joel’s remark because my essay shares my transition and my changing attitudes, yet Joel oddly characterizes that as being an ideologue. Either he doesn’t know what the word means or more likely Joel was reacting to the the first paragraphs and never read the whole essay.

      • Jim, this also might be a demonstration of how people are unfamiliar with certain types of rhetorical devices commonly used in essays. They take take words literally, despite contextual cues.

  76. Rush’s recent view that “Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”.
    Limbaugh has been the master of fear mongering.

    • Remarkable how easy it is to ID MSNBC bots when they characterize conservatives. Whether you agree with Limbaugh’s conclusions or not, his strength (and poison to libs) has always been the replaying of salient audio clips and demonstrating their contrast, or alignment, with reality: you can keep your insurance and will save $2500, they died because of a YouTube video, rogue Cincy agent, the litany of CAGW nonsense…

      I remember no fear-mongering from Limbaugh, just an accurate prediction of the damage wrought by this administration- 8T in debt in 6 years w/out 3% growth despite rates at ZERO, 50% more Americans on food stamps, worst labor participation in 40 years, ~5% LOWER average income, Fed agencies targeting political opponents, utter incompetence in foreign affairs…

      It was Rush that brought Dr. Spencer to my attention more than a decade ago, initiating my evolution from believer to realist. And it’s Rush that treats me to the incomparable brilliance of Mark Steyn.

  77. Good description of species extinctions.

    You missed a couple of points that even more solidly destroy Ehrlich and his ilk’s scare-mongering:

    The number of species believed to have gone “extinct” in the 20th and 21st centuries is dwarfed by the number of NEW species “discovered” in the same time period.

    Looking at just birds, here’s the new species discovered:

    New bird species discovered in the 20th century:

    1964

    Barau’s petrel Pterodroma baraui

    Greater yellow-headed vulture, Cathartes melambrotus

    1973

    Poʻo-uli Melamprosops phaeosoma

    1981

    Chubut steamerduck, Tachyeres leucocephalus

    Okinawa rail, Gallirallus okinawae

    Yellow-footed honeyguide, Melignomon eisentrauti

    1982

    Mirafra ashi

    Malurus campbelli

    Ploceus ruweti

    Vidua raricola

    Vidua larvaticola

    1983

    Amsterdam albatross, Diomedea amsterdamensis

    Glaucidium albertinum

    Cichloris llaneae

    Gerygone ruficauda

    Nectarinia rufipennis

    Eungella honeyeater, Lichenostomus hindwoodi

    1984

    Batis occultus

    1985

    Red Sea swallow, Hirundo perdita

    Phyllastrephus leucolepis

    1986

    Ash-throated antwren, Herpsilochmus parkeri

    Ploceus victoriae

    1987

    Cettia carolinae

    1991

    Roviana rail, Gallirallus rovianae from Roviana, Solomon Islands [7]

    1995

    Certhia familiaris tianquanensis [8]

    1997

    Lina’s sunbird, Aethopyga linaraborae, from Mindanao, Philippines [9]

    Red-shouldered vanga, Calicalicus rufocarpalis

    Batrachostomus pygmeus

    1998

    Araripe manakin, Antilophia bokermanni

    Sangihe scops owl, Otus collari [10]

    1999

    Jocotoco antpitta, Grallaria ridgelyi, from Ecuador [11]

    New bird species discovered in just 2013:

    Rinjani scops owl, Otus jolandae:George Sangster, Ben F. King, Philippe Verbelen and Colin R. Trainor (2013). “A New Owl Species of the Genus Otus (Aves: Strigidae) from Lombok, Indonesia”. PLoS ONE 8 (2): e53712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053712. PMC 3572129. PMID 23418422.

    Pincoya storm petrel, Oceanites pincoyae:Peter
    Harrison, Michel Sallaberry, Chris P Gaskin, Karen A Baird, Alvaro
    Jamarillo, Shirley Maria Metz, Mark Pearman, Michael O’Keeffe, Jim
    Dowdall, Seamus Enright, Kieran Fahy, Jeff Gilligan and Gerard Lillie
    (2013). “A new storm-petrel species from Chile”. The Auk 130 (1): 180–191. doi:10.1525/auk.2012.12071.

    Delta Amacuro softtail, Thripophaga amacurensis:Steven
    Leon Hilty, David Ascanio and Andrew W. Whittaker (2013). “A New
    Species of Softtail (Furnariidae: Thripophaga) from the Delta of the
    Orinoco River in Venezuela”. The Condor 115 (1): 143–154. doi:10.1525/cond.2012.110212.

    Bermuda flicker, Colaptes oceanicus:Storrs L. Olson (2013). “Fossil woodpeckers from Bermuda with the description of a new species of Colaptes (Aves: Picidae)”. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 126 (1): 17–24. doi:10.2988/0006-324X-126.1.17.

    Sao Miguel scops owl, Otus frutuosoi : Juan
    Carlos Rando, Josep Antoni Alcover, Storrs L. Olson, Harald Pieper.
    (2013). “A new species of extinct scops owl (Aves: Strigiformes:
    Strigidae: Otus) from São Miguel Island (Azores Archipelago, North
    Atlantic Ocean).”. Zootaxa 3647 (2): 343–357. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3647.2.6.

    Seram masked owl, Tyto almae:Knud
    Andreas Jønsson, Michael Køie Poulsen, Tri Haryoko, Andrew Hart Reeve
    and Pierre-Henri Fabre (2013). “A new species of masked-owl (Aves:
    Strigiformes: Tytonidae) from Seram, Indonesia”. Zootaxa 3635 (1): 51–61. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3635.1.5.

    Junin tapaculo, Scytalopus gettyae:Peter
    A. Hosner , Mark B. Robbins , Thomas Valqui , and A. Townsend Peterson
    (2013). “A New Species of Scytalopus Tapaculo (Aves: Passeriformes:
    Rhinocryptidae) from the Andes of Central Peru”. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 125 (2): 233–242. doi:10.1676/12-055.1.

    Cambodian tailorbird Orthotomus chaktomuk:Simon
    Mahood, Ashish John, Hong Chamnan, and Colin Poole (2013). “A new
    species of lowland tailorbird (Passeriformes: Cisticolidae: Orthotomus)
    from the Mekong floodplain of Cambodia”. Forktail 29: 1–14.

    Tropeiro seedeater, Sporophila beltoni: Márcio
    Repenning and Carla Suertegaray Fontana. (2013). “A new species of gray
    seedeater (Emberizidae: Sporophila) from upland grasslands of southern
    Brazil.”. The Auk 130 (4): 791–803. doi:10.1525/auk.2013.12167.

    The following newly discovered 15 Brazilian species are described in the 17th volume of the Handbook of the Birds of the World:

    Western striolated-puffbird, Nystalus obamai

    Xingu woodcreeper, Dendrocolaptes retentus

    Inambari woodcreeper, Lepidocolaptes fatimalimae

    Tupana scythebill, Campylorhamphus gyldenstolpei

    Tapajós scythebill, Campylorhamphus cardosoi

    Roosevelt stipple-throated antwren, Epinecrophylla dentei

    Bamboo antwren, Myrmotherula oreni

    Predicted antwren, Herpsilochmus praedictus

    Aripuana antwren, Herpsilochmus stotzi

    Manicoré warbling antbird, Hypocnemis rondoni

    Chico’s tyrannulet, Zimmerius chicomendesi

    Acre tody-tyrant, Hemitriccus cohnhafti

    Sucunduri yellow-margined flycatcher, Tolmomyias sucunduri

    Inambari gnatcatcher, Polioptila attenboroughi

    Campina jay, Cyanocorax hafferi

    Sierra Madre ground warbler Robsonius thompsoni: Peter
    A. Hosner, Nikki C. Boggess, Phillip Alviola, Luis A. Sánchez-González,
    Carl H. Oliveros, Rolly Urriza and Robert G. Moyle. (2013).
    “Phylogeography of the Robsonius Ground-Warblers (Passeriformes:
    Locustellidae) Reveals an Undescribed Species from Northeastern Luzon,
    Philippines.”. The Condor 115 (3): 630–639. doi:10.1525/cond.2013.120124.

    Guerrero brush-finch Arremon kuehnerii: Adolfo
    G. Navarro-Sigüenza, Martha A. García-Hernández and A. Townsend
    Peterson. (2013). “A new species of Brush-Finch (Arremon; Emberizidae)
    from western Mexico.”. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 125 (3): 443–453. doi:10.1676/12-136.1.

    Omani owl Strix omanensis: Magnus Robb, Arnoud B van den Berg & Mark Constantine. (2013). “A new species of Strix owl from Oman.”. Dutch Birding 35 (5): 275–310.

    New Caledonia snipe, Coenocorypha neocaledonica: Trevor Worthy, Atholl Anderson and Christophe Sand. (2013). “An extinct Austral snipe Aves: Coenocorypha from New Caledonia.”. Emu 113 (4): 383–393. doi:10.1071/MU13019.

  78. A Species Exploration expert believes that we have only discovered a tiny percentage of existing species:

    “”Quentin Wheeler, president of SUNY-ESF and founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration,
    says these animals represent a tiny sliver of the world’s undiscovered species. There are perhaps 12 million species of plants, animals, and fungi—and about 50 million if you add bacteria and microbes called archaea—of which we’ve discovered and described fewer than two million.”

    “We have not increased our rate of species discovery and description at all since before World War II,” said Wheeler. “It’s pretty much a steady state of 17,000 to 18,000 species a year. Given the technological advances in recent decades, I find that really inexcusable. We could easily be working an order of magnitude faster.”

  79. Excellent article and puts so much into perspective. Hey guess what? This will continue as long as we introduce 90+ million people onto the planet each year! Whatever, don’t mention the War!!

  80. Your assertion that Limbaugh portrays “all environmentalists” as whackos reveals a bit of sensitivity. You’re probably rightly sensitive, because it sure sounds like you used to run with a whacko crowd–it’s okay to admit you were wrong.

    Limbaugh portrays whacko’s as whacko. He does not make a generalization that you claim.

    Here’s a good summary of his positions on environmental whacko-ism, from his 1993 book:

    “On no issue has the evidence of my foresight and keen political instincts been more compelling than that of the environment. Come, let us count the ways:
    “Despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming
    “Mankind is not responsible for depleting the ozone layer
    “The Earth’s ecosystem is not fragile, and humans are not capable of destroying it
    “The real enemies of the radical environmental leadership are capitalism & the American way of life
    “There are more acres of forest land in America today than in 1492
    “Less-developed cultures are not kinder to nature than technologically sophisticated civilizations. The reverse more often is true
    “Big-government regulation is not the best way to protect the environment
    “Many environmental groups have adopted their cause with all the enthusiasm of a religious crusade, abandoning reason and accepting many faulty premises on faith
    “Mankind is part of nature and not necessarily the enemy.”

    Source: See, I Told You So, p.189-90 , Jul 2, 1993

    • Your assertion that Limbaugh portrays “all environmentalists” as whackos reveals a bit of sensitivity.

      I think you may have misunderstood what he said.

      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”!

      He can correct me if I’m wrong but, I believe “”painted all environmentalists as “whackos”” refers to his past perception, not his present perception, as your use of the present tense implies.

      • 20 to 30 years ago there were conservationist (not extreme) and the “wackos” (extremist). Both cared about the environment. Conservationist wanted to protect it FOR people. The “wackos” wanted to protect FROM people.

      • One more thing to add.
        Rush has always been concerned with the politics behind what’s going on.
        When the USEPA was formed there was a need to address the issues. Both were all for addressing the issues.
        The problem was those good intentions, any ulterior motives aside, was that a bureaucracy was set up to deal issues. Its regulations have the effect of law but bypass the normal legal process. They make government big and unanswerable to The People.
        We are seeing now what was to be a tool for good being used as a weapon in the wrong hands.
        That’s the nature of the beast.

      • Gunga,

        Thanks, I’m pretty good at understanding “what people say.” I take Steele at his word. You’re putting words into his mouth–likely understanding “what you think he meant to say.”

        The issue here is that Steele implies, and you infer, that he is no longer a frothing at the mouth Politically Correct Progressive–or in his prim description, “left-leaning young ecologist.”

        Yet his essay, written this week, not 30 years ago, asserts that “Limbaugh painted all environmentalists as “whackos.”

        Steele did not say that in his prior incarnation as a “left-leaning young ecologist” he was wrong in his perception of Limbaugh’s views. He stated that “Limbaugh painted all environmentalists as “whackos.” If Steele had actually listened to Rush in the 1980s, he would know that Rush did NOT “paint all environmentalists as whackos.” This representation of Rush’s views is straight out of the PC-Progressives denigration handbook.

        I provided Steele with contemporaneous quotes from Limbaugh (From 22 years ago. Rush’s radio show is not yet 30 years old) demonstrating Rush’s careful delineation of who the whacko’s are, and what their beliefs are. You may want to refer to the quote from Rush’s book cited above.

        Steele could have made his points about Ehrlich, alarmism, and extinctions, while describing his own (apparent) transformation from environmental whacko to a denizen of Real-ville, without denigrating Rush.

      • Also, note the actual title of the essay: “Apocalyptic Fear-mongering: Sometimes Rush Limbaugh is Right!”

        This clearly delineates that the author does NOT agree with Rush, and implies that the author USUALLY does not agree with Rush.

        Steele thinks that his “essay shares my transition and my changing attitudes…” If so, it is couched in terminology intended to telegraph to his whacko buddies that he’s still with them, just not so much any more.

        For a great example of how to communicate your conversion to reality from the netherworld of PC-Progressivism, see this article by David Mamet:

        http://www.villagevoice.com/news/david-mamet-why-i-am-no-longer-a-brain-dead-liberal-6429407

        “David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’

        “I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.”

        A better approach for Steele would have been to title the essay: “John Steele: Why I am No Longer an Environmental Whacko”

      • Thank you for linking to Mamet’s very interesting essay.

        However, I don’t think it says what you think it does.

        He doesn’t document–or argue for–a conversion from Liberal to Conservative. It isn’t a political tract. It is finer and more nuanced than its provocative title.

      • TakeBack,

        You’re welcome.

        I’m pretty sure that I know exactly what Mamet’s piece says.

        He has expounded on his conversion extensively since then. I’ll provide you a couple links to interviews.

        The point, however, is not my understanding of Mamet’s conversion, but that Mamet’s article, including its title is a perfect model for Steele’s apparent attempt at describing his conversion experience. Mamet did not, and does not, try to moderate his clear understanding of PC-Progs and their mission to destroy American culture.

        In fact, Mamet (as you apparently do not know) wrote a follow-up book on just that subject:

        “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture” He makes NO attempt to avoid offending his former Willing Accomplices.
        Here’s the publisher’s description of Mamet’s book:

        “In 2008 Mamet wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for the Village Voice, “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal'”, in which he methodically attacked liberal beliefs, eviscerating them as efficiently as he did Method acting in his bestselling book True and False.

        “Now Mamet employs his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming. The legendary playwright, author, director, and filmmaker pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, Mamet will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America’s current direction.”

      • Leaving aside the usefulness of publishers’ descriptions, which are designed to sell books…

        Here is how Mamet closes his essay: “The right is mooing about faith, the left is mooing about change, and many are incensed about the fools on the other side—but, at the end of the day, they are the same folks we meet at the water cooler.” It sounds like a view from the middle, where people who get things done have to meet, as he points out repeatedly in the essay. (If I had to boil his essay down to a political checkbox, it would be Libertarian.)

        If you actually believe that “PC-progs” are the entirety of the problem, rather than people at BOTH extremes; and if you also believe that a significant number of people who are to the left of center literally want to “destroy America,” then I have no hope of changing your mind. I leave you to your own devices, and sincerely hope you’ve hit upon a solution.

        I’ll be with Mamet (and the rest of the vast majority in the middle of the political Bell curve), talking at the water cooler, trying to keep my pointing finger in check.

        Regards!

      • Takeback,

        Thanks for your note.

        You may think you’re with Mamet at the water cooler. You’d better read Mamet’s book before you fill your paper cup–cuz you’ll get an earful of “finger pointing.” His coming-out article was just the beginning. Read his book–The Secret Knowledge–and you’ll forget about his water cooler talk. He names and shames his former ideological soul-mates from the PC crowd.

        In the book, “Mamet elaborates on what he calls “the Left’s love affair with Marxism, Socialism, Radicalism, and the Command Economy.’’

        Probably not gonna gain a lot of water cooler buddies from the Obama crowd with that sort of comment. The book is an entire collection of such observations.

        Regardless of what I think, you have “no hope of changing my mind” at all, without facts and a cogent, logical argument. Happy to engage in one–but it is sort of a waste of your time if your argument is based on what you think I understand. I state pretty clearly what I think and understand, and am happy to discuss my research and analysis that led to this knowledge.

        What does “left of center” mean? What is the center? The Left vs Right paradigm has no meaning in America today.

        For an introduction to who our opponents are, what their belief system is, and its origins, you’re invited to check out my book: Willing Accomplices–paperback, Kindle and Audible at Amazon: http://www.willingaccomplices.com If you’d like, I’ll offer you a review copy.

        All the best. Think positive!

        Kent

      • kentclizbe, you imagine many things without knowing me or asking me to clarify. That is a true knee-jerk reaction. It may surprise you to know I am a registered LIbertarian now and that transition was triggered by listening to the Afro-American libertarian Walt Williams whose was a guest host on Rush’s show. I only occasionally listen to radio and only occasionally listen or read about Rush. So I couldn’t tell you how much I now agre or disagree with. Regardless, I am sure I will disagree with many things as I disagree with many things that people say from all political persuasions.

        You wrote, “Steele thinks that his “essay shares my transition and my changing attitudes…” If so, it is couched in terminology intended to telegraph to his whacko buddies that he’s still with them, just not so much any more.”

        Your reference to my “whacko buddies” is the kind of polemics that divides people away and prevents a respectul discussion that can bring people together. There is a wide spectrum of beliefs among my “Whacko buddies”, yet without knowing anything you make insulting comments. That is why many people to the left of Rush have a knee-jerk reaction to dismiss whatever he says. Although there are indeed a few that I too would call whackos, most are very thoughtful, try to look at both sides, but but many avoid Rush and people like you because they feel there is no room to respectfully disagree, no gray area to discuss.

        What you suggest is “telegraphing my whacko buddies”, was my intent to provide a middle ground for those people who may have turned off to Rush for whatever reason. I found his message regards apocalyptic fear mongering important and indeed wanted to “telegraph” all those people that here is a nugget of truth we can all agree on. But as Margaret Thatcher warned it is hard to govern from the middle of the road because you get hit by traffic in both directions. I considered leaving out my personal history of once being left-leaning because I expected it would be a lightening rod for people like you. But it was simply who I am and the road I took. I have no regrets.

        If your aim is to denigrate anyone with whom you disagree, then you are doing a good job. BUt you are only preaching to the choir and that does precious little to open other people’s eyes. Treating Rush as infallible and thus beyond any disagreement is a mistake. It is as if you are demanding my total allegiance, or else I am you enemy. It is the same uncritical thinking that Ehrilch’s supporters embrace. And I know, because I have a few whacko friends who like Ehrlich, who will attack in the same way you are now doing. But most of my friends are simply looking for cogent arguments, and their politics are more issue based, vs ideology.

        So what baffles me though is that even though I am supporting Rush’s latest statements, you would begrudge me for past disagreements as if that was your most sacred mission, and choose to ignore the more important points that are the thrust of the essay.

      • Jim,

        Thanks for your response. While your apparent intentions are laudable–your implementation left much to be desired. From the title to the text, you fairly oozed regret that you were forced to agree with Rush on something.

        I’d again refer you to David Mamet’s “conversion to conservativism” mea culpa linked above. If that is what you intended here, you missed the mark–as a writer, you’re a great bird bander!

        As for your, and others’, belief that the way to convert PC-Progressives to the real-world point of view is to tone-down, modify, and soft-sell the truth, you cite Walter Williams as the one whose views converted you.

        Walter Williams does not “soft peddle” or tone down his conservative beliefs, nor does he strike a “moderate” note in communicating his beliefs. Neither does Rush. Both Williams and Rush speak the truth, in clear, honest declarations.

        The idea that full strength Rush will “scare off those who most need to hear the message” is misguided at best. People respond to the truth. It may take a while, it may take multiple exposures, but if they are going to respond, they will only respond to the actual truth—not a homogenized, washed-out, fake version of it, served up lukewarm and bland, with the intention of avoiding offense.

        Trying to have your cake and eat it too—wanting to avoid offending PC-Progs—won’t work

        Look at comments here—several people have shared their conversion experiences after listening to Rush—do you think they were converted because Rush tried to avoid offending them? Rush’s commentary is full strength, not watered down.

        You’ve right I don’t know you—but there are a lot of biodata points in your article: you’ve lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years, are/were an instructor in a state university, considered yourself a “left-leaning environmentalist,” and have been involved in environmental issues in northern California. Combine that biodata with your clear attempts to straddle the fence on this issue (implying you agree with Rush, but signaling that you’re a bit ashamed, and realize it’s not polite to do so—viz your title), and a pretty clear understanding can be arrived at.

        Let’s assume that you reject the PC-Progressive anti-capitalist AGW scam. You still live in San Francisco—the most Politically Correct city in America. You’ve chosen to live there. You’re surrounded by PC. You have PC friends. Your entire environment is pure PC. Voicing your true beliefs would be dangerous, in many ways–socially, professionally, personally, maybe even for your security.

        While it may be helpful for your social status, the only effect of being wishy-washy is that you may not be totally written off some PC-Progs invitation lists.

        Do you really want to be at their parties?

        The danger to you, and other Normals, comes because the PC-Progs are the “fashionable” ones—the “elites.” They control social, cultural, and many economic power structures. If you do not conform, you’ll be written off—losing your social status, and possibly economic status.

        But if you have the courage of your convictions, as do Rush and Williams, you’ll speak up, loud and proud, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

        Hope that helps. We’re on the same team. My comments are intended to help you fine-tune your message and effectiveness.

        All the best.

        Kent
        http://www.kentclizbe.com

      • Jim,

        Thanks for your response. While your apparent intentions are laudable–your implementation left much to be desired. From the title to the text, you fairly oozed regret that you were forced to agree with Rush on something.

        I’d again refer you to David Mamet’s “conversion to conservativism” mea culpa linked above. If that is what you intended here, you missed the mark–as a writer, you’re a great bird bander!

        As for your, and others’, belief that the way to convert PC-Progressives to the real-world point of view is to tone-down, modify, and soft-sell the truth, you cite Walter Williams as the one whose views converted you.

        Walter Williams does not “soft peddle” or tone down his conservative beliefs, nor does he strike a “moderate” note in communicating his beliefs. Neither does Rush. Both Williams and Rush speak the truth, in clear, honest declarations.

        The idea that full strength Rush will “scare off those who most need to hear the message” is misguided at best. People respond to the truth. It may take a while, it may take multiple exposures, but if they are going to respond, they will only respond to the actual truth—not a homogenized, washed-out, fake version of it, served up lukewarm and bland, with the intention of avoiding offense.

        Trying to have your cake and eat it too—wanting to avoid offending PC-Progs—won’t work

        Look at comments here—several people have shared their conversion experiences after listening to Rush—do you think they were converted because Rush tried to avoid offending them? Rush’s commentary is full strength, not watered down.

        You’ve right I don’t know you—but there are a lot of biodata points in your article: you’ve lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years, are/were an instructor in a state university, considered yourself a “left-leaning environmentalist,” and have been involved in environmental issues in northern California. Combine that biodata with your clear attempts to straddle the fence on this issue (implying you agree with Rush, but signaling that you’re a bit ashamed, and realize it’s not polite to do so—viz your title), and a pretty clear understanding can be arrived at.

        Let’s assume that you reject the PC-Progressive anti-capitalist AGW scam. You still live in San Francisco—the most Politically Correct city in America. You’ve chosen to live there. You’re surrounded by PC. You have PC friends. Your entire environment is pure PC. Voicing your true beliefs would be dangerous, in many ways–socially, professionally, personally, maybe even for your security.

        While it may be helpful for your social status, the only effect of being wishy-washy is that you may not be totally written off some PC-Progs invitation lists.

        Do you really want to be at their parties?

        The danger to you, and other Normals, comes because the PC-Progs are the “fashionable” ones—the “elites.” They control social, cultural, and many economic power structures. If you do not conform, you’ll be written off—losing your social status, and possibly economic status.

        But if you have the courage of your convictions, as do Rush and Williams, you’ll speak up, loud and proud, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

        Hope that helps. We’re on the same team. My comments are intended to help you fine-tune your message and effectiveness.

        All the best.

        Kent

      • kent,

        You can list all the “bio data” points to justify your prejudice, but it doesn’t make you any better or any more correct or any less insulting. For me, your tactics has resulted in categorizing you as an extremist not worth listening to, even though we share similar thoughts. So consider how your words might effect someone who is less open minded.

        I have never argued that a hard-hitting sell vs a soft cell is either better or worse. I think a hard hitting sell of our beliefs is often needed. And indeed most people respond to the truth. But that does not negate the fact that a soft sell is an equally useful approach. Tell people they are wrong, stupid or wish washy and most people will defend themselves by trying prove it s you who is wrong, and the truth of the argument is lost.

        Our disagreement resides in your implied suggestions that only a hard sell trumpeting that everything Rush says is correct and the truth, and the implication that if people dont’ get it, hit them harder. I simply argue there are many paths that reveal the truth. As an educator for 30 years I have long realized each student responds best to a different tactic. Some need a more forceful approach and others need a softer sell. I know that my chosen path has opened the minds of people around me, that you would prefer to write off as whackos. They are immune to your preferred tactics. So I would suggest to you that everyone does not need to engage in the same methods embraced by Kent in order to engage people in truth seeking. And to believe your way is always the bes,t will do more harm than good.

      • Kent,

        I just visited your website to find you declare being a CIA Counter-terrorism Operations Expert

        So let me ask you this. In your experience, when the USA or any country has invaded another country, no matter how righteous the reason, my impression is that such a hard hitting tactic often pushes many moderates and centrists who we intended to help, to resist that invasion and even join forces with the very people we are trying to stop. Is there any truth that?

      • Jim,

        Thanks for your note. Yes, I’m a practitioner of, professor of, and historian of intelligence operations–specifically information operations, otherwise known as covert influence, covert actions, or other related terms.

        Here’s a good interview I did with my colleague, Mike Davidson, of AND magazine, about covert influence operations.

        You may not realize it, but that’s what we (realists vs. apocalypsists) are engaged in. And they’re kicking our butts.

        Our (realists’) Achilles heel is that we have technical guys on the front lines of our information warfare. And to make it even worse, the technical guys waging our information warfare do not understand what it is they are engaged in, nor do they understand our opponents’ strategy or tactics. They are great at their technical specialties, but far out of their depths in information warfare.

        Besides outright capitulation to apocalyptic insanity, one of the worst possible tactics is to try to appeal to those under the whacko influence by softening or weakening our reality message.

        There are several case studies, just in this comments thread, of conversion experiences–specifically from formerly scared-of-CO2 cult member based on their listening to Rush. Your case is another–you saw the light while listening to Walter Williams speak the truth. Here’s how Williams describes his latest book:

        “Skewering the self-righteous and self-important forces throughout society, he makes the case for what he calls the “the moral superiority of personal liberty and its main ingredient—limited government.”

        That is the truth–unvarnished, straight, and clear.

        Our strength comes from speaking the truth.

        Happy to provide more details about information warfare and the battle for the soul of our country that has been fought for the last 90 years. Hint: we’re losing.

        All the best.

        Kent

      • EXCEPT – Fiction well-served trumps truth every time. I am a scientist who is a member of The Right Climate Stuff Research Team – a group almost entirely made up of retired NASA scientists and engineers, with a small spattering of journeymen scientist and engineers like me. The team tries to speak to climate change on a level that laymen can understand. We speak about empirical evidence and theorems, not hypotheses. We explain climate models and their weaknesses to show that the climate issuers are not settled science – FAR FROM IT. You are correct in speaking about the “whackos” – it boils down to this simple phrase – “Don’t confuse them with facts, their mind is already made”.
        To sell the reasonable person – the soft sell, using FACTS, is the best approach by far.

      • Howard,

        Thanks for your work. Sounds like a great approach.

        Our side has the truth. Using the mendacious, manipulative, lie-based covert influence approach would negate our advantage.

        Think positive!

      • Can all the Rush Limbaugh fans just let it go. Rush certainly would welcome the information in the article and most likely have a good laugh over the title. For crying out loud don’t take umbrage with a modest attempt at humor or make a straw dog out of what it might really mean. That’d be “wacko”

      • Ehrlich was a wacko then and nothing appears to have improved in the interim.
        Doom doom thrice doom , the guy is a basket case with an agenda (21?) in his pocket.
        He has been talking tripe his entire life and has done nicely out of it , his solution to the Worlds alleged problems is the elimination of around 7 billion people.. Meanwhile in the real world………

  81. I hope Ceballos and Erlich are lobbying the IUCN to get the assessment of Homo sapiens changed in the Red List from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Endangered’ if they think things are so bad.

    If they are not lobbying then their apocalyptic vision is just a pocket-lining exercise isn’t it?

  82. Being German I didn’t care for Rush Limbaugh, only noticed that he seemed to be some sort of Antichrist to the American Left, still didn’t care, some day somebody sent me a link to a podcast or something, I listened to it and found him perfectly reasonable.

    Now I make sure that any time the Left this or that side of the Atlantic vilifies someone I listen to that person because it’s a sure sign of approval.

  83. One should always be open to the possibility that someone whose politics are far from yours gets it right on an issue. I still agree with the left on many things, but one of their errors is to exclude the possibility that a right-winger can be right about anything. I was also stunned when Rush Limbaugh was right. A bit off-topic, but something similar happened in the UK, when the only people who talked about Muslim child-grooming gangs were the extreme right. Eventually, the right was proven right, and even the Guardian had to admit it.

    • I just read the article on Rush Limbaugh’s website which Jim Steele linked to. I take it back – Limbaugh is an idiot, like so many, unfortunately, of the loudest supporters of skepticism in the USA. With friends like this, science doesn’t need enemies.

  84. Well stated, Jim. Maybe Anthony will let you post your resume on this site after San Francisco State fires you for telling the truth.

  85. thanks Jim Steele great post.
    Rush, or the Progressives reaction to him is most revealing, exactly like Climate Science.
    Where the source is far more important than the facts.
    This is the reasoning of Zealots, more moderate people shy away from being sucked into this vile and vacuous mindset, the result being the true believers exist in a bubble of like minded unthinking.
    Reality has a way of colliding most unpleasantly with such set minds.
    Yes Rush is right, but most of the afflicted believe the disease looks good on them and would rather die than lose face.
    We live in interesting times, our cultural progressives are facing an unprecedented collapse, in areas where they have held power for generations, life is not better for the captive population.
    Magical thinking has not changed any aspect of trade,economics or human nature.
    Now we have two generations of young adults who have never heard “NO” or faced serious resistance to their ideological pap.It is quite amazing to observe how they fall apart when faced with determined opposition.
    Fools and Bandits have and will always be with us, the Gang Green are fully exposed as shameless liars,opportunists and rent seeking parasites.The high ideals that many of us thought we shared with them have turned out to be a means of abusing the public trust.
    Seems we actual conservatives and seekers after a more harmonious world have enabled a voracious gangrene to attack the foundations of our civilization.
    The summary of this current infestation of the publicly financed Doom and Gloom brigade is ;
    Parasitic Overload.

    • I wish people at the extreme left and the extreme right could see themselves clearly: villifying, blaming and shouting down those at the other extreme, unaware how similar their mindsets are, how equally they impede progress.

      The way forward will most certainly come from somewhere in the quieter, more practical middle…

  86. Jim Steele, excellent presentation. A simple yet thorough untwisting of the “facts” as presented by those who have their panties in a wad.

  87. Gary Lamphier had an article on doom here yesterday:
    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/energy-resources/Lamphier+From+climate+change+housing+doom/11164155/story.html

    An excerpt:
    “More than half a million people die of malaria — an utterly preventable and treatable disease — each and every year, according to the World Health Organization. That’s not a future threat, it’s happening right now. Most are poor children in Africa.
    But on the hype-o-meter scale, malaria barely rates a mention in the mainstream media. A quick search of this newspaper chain’s database shows the term “climate change” popped up more than 4,800 times since Jan. 1.
    Malaria? It was mentioned just 239 times. That’s a 20-to-one ratio.”

  88. I confess I didn’t read this piece in all of its detail, but I did do a word search of it on “EMP, CME, tsunami, volcano, volcanic, vulcanism, and earthquake [and] nuclear”, and I didn’t get a single hit. I was looking for some clue as to the author’s definition of “Apocalyptic Fear-mongering”, and must admit to being stumped.

    Apparently, the only apocalypse he can imagine for our planet involves the extinction of species by the hand of man. How quaint, especially considering the number and extent of ancient extinctions before man existed.

    Whether intentionally or carelessly, this rant undermines the attempts of those seeking solutions to the very real and, unlike climate change, imminent, possibilities for global catastrophe posed by solar and volcanic phenomena.

  89. Jim, your optimism is based on conservation successes in the United States and other developed countries. While I agree that environmental policies may have slowed the rate of extinction in the US temporarily, most of the biodiversity is found in tropical regions where environmental laws are lax and habitat destruction is increasing. Wouldn’t you agree that destruction of rainforest in Africa, South America, and Indonesia will lead to higher rates of extinction in the coming decades? So, no, Rush is not right, we are facing an extinction crisis and humans are the cause.

    • Luke, first why do you argue the rate of extinctions in the US have slowed only “temporarily”?

      Second, I agree that there are parts of the tropical world that face further extinction risks, but to just say humans are to blame is meaningless. Why not say petty dictators who sell resources to bribe political allies are to blame. Why not say failed economies that have failed to adopt modern methods are to blame? The point is Ehrlich, like you have done, simply state humans are bad and suggest a global crisis that is not global but local. And by just presenting such apocalyptic fear mongering, no meaningful and tangible local solutions are discussed or pursued.

      And I agreed that there is rainforest destruction in Indonesian and Brazil that has been encouraged by apocalyptic climate fears that justify subsidized cutting down forests to plant biofuels. I am curious what solution you would offer other than the nebuluos “humans are the cause’. Are you just expressing despair? The point is apocalyptic fear mongering misguides our society’s responses.

      • Luke, first why do you argue the rate of extinctions in the US have slowed only “temporarily”?
        Because I do believe that continued warming will lead to a host of extinctions that we will not be able to stop. Think of the “Sky Islands” in the desert Southwest. How will we prevent extinctions of endemic plant and animal species in those situations?
        To say humans are to blame is not meaningless. Look at the string of environmental problems that we studied, lobbied for change, and ultimately reversed. Examples include the effect of DDT on Bald Eagle, Ospreys, Brown Pelicans and other fish eating birds; acid rain and effects on fish and fish eating birds in the NE US; ozone depletion. In all of these cases scientists identified the problem and used their science to lobby for changes. Humans and wildliife are much better off as a result- wouldn’t you agree?
        I am not expressing despair. I am saying that science is identifying human caused environmental problems and scientists in cooperation with policy makers can solve those problems. Sticking your head in the sand is not a solution.

      • Luke It appears to be a matter of your faith that there is a coming climate apocalypse, not a matter of solid science. You ask about the “Sky Islands” in the desert Southwest and ask “How will we prevent extinctions of endemic plant and animal species in those situations?”

        I worked in the high Sierra for 25 years. The warmest maximum temperature in that region from Shasta to Yosemite happened in the 1930s an 40s. Alarmist suggest the pika will be pushed off the “sky islands” into extinction but 19% of all new pika observations are at lower elevations. Read more at http://landscapesandcycles.net/pika-not-endangered-its-fear-mongering-.html

        I do not argue that man has not created serious problems in the past or that there are not problems that still need addressing. I argue that man is now reversing those trends and rectifying these problems. I argue much of the solution has been due to the advances of modern society irregardless of government regulations. Armed guards are trying to protect African wildlife, but due to a failed economies, those regulations are meaningless. And it is the so-called science of catastrophic climate change that is promoting the biofuel destruction of habitat.

        There is no valid science demonstrating climate caused extinctions. All such claims have been thoroughly debunked. I suggest that unless you can validate those bogus claims, it is you who has his head in the sand.

      • Jim, I have not used the term “climate apocalypse”, that is a label you have incorrectly placed on me. I have looked at your critiques of the pika literature and I think you have made some good points. The data suggesting pikas are presently retreating up the mountains is pretty weak. It is clear, however, that as the climate warms, conditions will become unfavorable for many endemic species on the sky islands and unless we make Herculean efforts to move them, they will go extinct. In addition, I do not share your contempt for Pounds’ suggesting that climate change in conjunction with the Chitrid fungus has lead to the extinction of dozens of frog species in Central America. If his logic is faulty, the best way to refute it is to publish a reanalysis of the data.
        I think you are trying to label me as a whacko without evidence. I see a looming problem that, like most problems, is best dealt with sooner than later.

      • Luke, You said , “I do believe that continued warming will lead to a host of extinctions that we will not be able to stop” I label that apocalyptic. Now you want to quibble, so what would be a better term for your future predictions?

        Furthermore I never labeled you a whacko. I see you as sincerely concerned but misguided bcause you are unaware of all the evidence. You claim “unless we make Herculean efforts to move them, they will go extinct” and I argue that is not only total garbage but your solution to move species is unneeded and has grave side effects.

        Read my essay Audubon Society: Climate Science or just Sticking Feathers on PIGs http://landscapesandcycles.net/audubon-s-bad-climate-science.htmland follow the links. One paper by Tingley shows over the past 100 years in California most bird species have not altered their range. 20% moved up and 20% moved down. Maximum temperatures in the Sierra Nevada (as well as Pounds’ Monteverde) have not risen, yet you are advocating herculean efforts to relocate species. Because such efforts are usually damaging, I hate you solution and consider you an enemy of good ecology.

      • Lue says, “I do not share your contempt for Pounds’ suggesting that climate change in conjunction with the Chitrid fungus has lead to the extinction of dozens of frog species in Central America. If his logic is faulty, the best way to refute it is to publish a reanalysis of the data.”

        There are numerous papers that have already refuted Pounds. I list many of them in my essay. My contempt for Pounds is due to his attempts to denigrate the ecologists who were truly trying to save the endangered frogs imply because they weren’t blaming global warming and a biosphere collapse. Luke you apparently have not read all the literature, most likely stopping because you agreed Pounds and decided to look no further because you agree with the catastrophic global warming meme. So maybe yo are right. Maybe I should label you a whacko.

  90. None of which addresses the fact that such apocalyptic doom-saying is politically useful. Which is why it persists.

    • mojo,

      You are absolutely correct. We as a species are extremely susceptible to apocalyptic doomsaying. It explains so much about human civilization.

      How DO we address that fact?

  91. I found it quite astonishing that Ehrlich is still around. I thought he would have died of shame (or at least had the courtesy to shut up) when mass starvation didn’t happen. He also predicted, in a Playboy interview in 1968 I think it was, that by 1985 people would be “dropping dead in the streets” of North American cities from air pollution. Good call, Paul.

    I spent a few days last year researching a silver mining project, in an office in Alaska (first time in USA for many years) and they had a radio playing all the time, with Rush Limbaugh’s program dominating (to my tender ears) the whole airspace. I had heard of this guy (who hasn’t?) but had never been exposed to him before, What I found quite distressing was the intensity of the anger that he projected. I had to self-medicate to calm myself down. And the way he asserted that everything that went wrong in America had been personally micro-managed by Barack Obama was, well, insulting to the intelligence of anyone with half a grain of objectivity. As I recall the topic of those few days was something about an army vet who hadn’t been treated at a veteran’s hospital (or something like that, typical bureaucratic cock-up of the kind that happens everywhere). As if the president of a country of 300 millions would have the time to even know about stuff like that. OK so he got it right this time about the great extinction, but the guy is still a buffoon. If I want to listen to a right-wing nutbar, please give me Mark Steyn. At least he has a sense of humour.

    ENVIRONMENTALISM: is a self-sustaining industry with budgets bigger than some countries’ GDP. They rely heavily on distortion of facts to create impending crises that can only be averted by us giving them money. One small example, I had an an earnest young man come to the door from Greenpeace saying “we have to do something, they are allowing logging in Algonquin Park” (which they have, under carefully controlled and sustainable rules, since the park was created in 1894; I mean Algonquin Park was a triumph of conservation before the word was even invented!!). I assume that the earnest young man had been fed this drivel by people who knew it was false, but didn’t care. This was maybe 25 years ago. So it’s a logical progression from a local “impending crisis” to imminent global apocalyptic doom. Trouble for them is that not that many people are listening to them any more (except the leaders of the free world), so the apocalypses have to get more apocalyptic all the time. Mass extinction is a late entrant into the apocalypse stakes, and it probably won’t be the last.

    Note that AGW is just starting to claim responsibility for earthquakes. Watch out for new revelations. One is coming to your neighbourhood if you don’t stop heating your house and driving your car.

    • Smarty,

      Glad you had a chance to visit America. Come back again soon.

      When you listen to Rush again, though, you may want to do a little homework on the issue under discussion. Clearly you did not understand the context of what you were hearing the last time. Coming into an ongoing (decades-long) debate about the VA’s criminal mismanagement without knowing the background of the discussion does not qualify you to denigrate either side of the argument.

      ” As if the president of a country of 300 millions would have the time to even know about stuff like that.”

      You obviously were not paying attention to the 2008 campaign. In that campaign, Obama’s handlers loaded his teleprompter with speech after speech about the horrible state of the VA under the idiot Bush. Obama’s teleprompter told him to say, over and over again, that the Great President Obama, soon-to-be Nobel Laureate Obama, would lay his hands on the VA and heal it–simultaneously with his healing Gaia.

      Ok, he did not say exactly that, but he constantly blathered on about the VA–in a blatant attempt to give veterans an excuse to vote for him. In his brief sojourn in the Senate, in preparation for his coronation, his handlers had him serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, exactly in order for him to claim affinity with veterans. Obama repeated over and over that he would “fix the VA.” He said that the VA would be one of his top priorities. His speech line, repeated at every opportunity was that he would “build a 21st century VA.”

      So you came into Rush’s discussion about the VA’s criminal failures in 2014 lacking 6 years of history and context on the issue.

      A more humble response might have been to educate yourself on the context and the history of the issue. It’s not trivial, and it is worth close examination of every failure of the administration to “fix it.”

      “Among the many boasts then-Sen. Obama made when running for president in 2008 was that he would “build a 21st century VA.” Obama, touting his brief membership on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee before groups like the VFW, vowed to fix the broken bureaucracy by slashing red tape and providing every living vet with electronic medical records. He promised that reforming the VA would be one of his top priorities.

      “But, in one of the most disappointing recurring themes of this administration, it turns out the president did a much better job speechifying about how to solve the problem than he did actually solving it.”

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/06/10/obamas_broken_va_promise_122927.html#ixzz3eS31ZDJk

      A hilarious related note is that, on the same issue–VA’s criminal failures under his management–Obama, probably at the same time you were listening to Rush (May 2014), was making the rounds of his captive media outlets, reading a speech about “how angry I am at the VA’s failures!” Rush, in fact, roundly mocked–in a hilarious way–Obama’s fake anger.

      http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/rush-limbaugh-obama-veterans-affairs-va-scandal-mock-106952.html

    • Mr Rock,

      To help with your recollection of Rush’s discussed of the criminal conduct at the VA, serendipitously Rush publishes transcripts of his programs.

      To summarize the transcript below, which was likely aired during the time you listened:

      Rush humorously and with rapier-like wit, illustrates the Obama administration’s utter failure to “fix the VA,” and their PR approach of sending Obama before the TV cameras to declare his “anger” at the incompetence of his own administration. Rush illustrates that having Obama declare “anger” is a default reaction by his administration. Rush’s commentary is illustrated with verbatim audio clips from Obama’s speeches.

      “May 21, 2014

      BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

      RUSH: We went back and put together a montage starting in March of 2009 through May of last year of Obama. This is the Limbaugh Theorem on display here. This is Obama’s “I’m madder than you are.” This is Obama when he first learns about these things and how he does it, how he treats it, how he reacts to it, and how mad he is.

      OBAMA MAY 15, 2013: It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.

      OBAMA OCTOBER 21, 2013: Nobody’s madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t workin’.

      OBAMA OCTOBER 18, 2011: It’s very upsetting to me that somebody showed such bad judgment, that they would allow something like that to happen.

      OBAMA APRIL 15, 2012: If it turns out some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.

      OBAMA MAY 13, 2013: I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it, and we’ll make sure that, uh, we find out exactly what happened.

      OBAMA JUNE 3, 2010: I am furious at this entire situation. I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yellin’ at people.

      OBAMA MAY 15, 2013: We’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable.

      OBAMA MAY 16, 2013: The minute I found out about it, then my main focus is making sure that we get the thing fixed.

      OBAMA MARCH 18, 2009: I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry!

      OBAMA MAY 21, 2014: I will not stand for it, not as commander-in-chief … None of us should. [I]t’s dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it. Period.

      RUSH: So that last one is today’s outrage over the VA — which he didn’t know anything about until today when he talked to Eric Shinseki — and he didn’t know about any of these other things. But again, he knew about them all. They are all the result of Obama policy. They’re all the result of things Obama has done, plain and simple.”

      See the full transcript at:
      http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/05/21/montage_obama_just_found_out_about_insert_scandal_here_and_he_s_really_mad

Comments are closed.