Tag Archives: climate change

Are 30 thousand species going extinct every year?

Summary: The warnings become increasingly dire and shrill as we approach November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. One theme warns about the increasing rate of extinctions, described with astonishing numbers — and projected to add humanity to the endangered species list. As usual, these claims distract attention from serious and imminent threats, such as our dying oceans. Let’s look beyond the hysteria to the science.

Extinction Poster

 

Contents

  1. Our certain doom from the great extinction.
  2. How many species are there?
  3. How many species have gone extinct?
  4. Should we fear forecasts of mass extinction?
  5. Conclusion.
  6. For More Information.
  7. For a useful perspective on these matters.

 

(1)  Our certain doom, chapter XXI: the great extinction

Exaggeration is the primary tool of activists in the publicity campaign to force public policy changes to fight climate change. “Anything goes” became their watchword once they broke free from the peer-reviewed literature.

It starts with science at the website Endangered Species International — “More than 16,000 species are threatened to become extinct in the near future.” “Of the 44,838 species assessed worldwide using the IUCN Red List criteria, 905 are extinct {was 784 in 2006} and 16,928 are listed as threatened to be extinct.”

Next politics goes wild: The Convention on Biological Diversity went into force in December 1993. Among its best known results are these words by Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf on 21 May 2007 — about extinctions happening now (not just threatened for the future).

“Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost. Every year, between 18,000 and 55,000 species become extinct.  The cause: human activities. … Climate change is one of the major driving forces behind the unprecedented loss of biodiversity. “

This has frequently been debunked. But even after 8 years of rebuttals to this and similar exaggerations, Real News Network repeats this claim in Climate Change: Have We Reached the Point of No Return? (Climate change zombie myths live on the Left, much as Zombie Economics does on the Right.) The RNN story has the typical climate activists’ mix of unbalanced facts, assertions far outside the climate science consensus (and the IPCC), plus exaggerations. They used the poster at the top if this post as their headline graphic.

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Ten years after Katrina: let’s learn from those predictions of more & bigger hurricanes

Summary — Most 10-year anniversary articles about Katrina omit one chapter of that sad story: its exploitation by climate activists. They predicted more and stronger hurricanes. Let’s grade them. Every time activists falsely cry “wolf” we become weaker, less able to prepare for real threats. Remembering is the first step to learning.

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Eye of the hurricane

Contents

  1. Katrina and Wilma hit America.
  2. Alarmists exploit the disaster.
  3. Hurricanes go MIA.
  4. Forecasts of  hurricanes.
  5. Conclusions.
  6. For More Information.
  7. A book recommendation.

(1) Katrina and Wilma hit America

The 2005 hurricane season was the most active on record by many measures. Ten years ago today Hurricane Katrina almost destroyed New Orleans (details here). Hurricane Wilma hit in Florida on 24 October 2005 (among the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic basin).

(2)  Alarmists exploit the catastrophe

Climate alarmists exploited this disaster. For example see Al Gore’s speech at Sierra Club’s National Environmental Convention and Expo in San Francisco on 9 September 2005 — excerpt…

“Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England — which wasn’t sure that the threat was real — he said, “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” He continued, “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.

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The easy solution to the looming monster methane apocalypse

Summary:  The looming disaster from the powerful greenhouse gas methane has become a standard part of alarmists’ shtick. It shows how they’ve abandoned the IPCC — the “gold standard” of climate science — and why we need the IPCC to help defend us against manipulation by the Left and Right.  The consensus of scientists is not always right; it’s just the best we have.

IPCC & the methane monster

By Sam Carana. At Arctic News, 6 October 2013.

 

Contents

  1. What alarmists say
  2. New research, good news
  3. What the IPCC says
  4. The Left-IPCC divorce
  5. Conclusions
  6. For More Information

(1)  What alarmists say

The Independent: “Exclusive: The methane time bomb“. Salon (2010): “Get ready for the methane apocalypse“. Mother Jones (2013): “What These Climate Scientists Said About Earth’s Future Will Terrify You” — with the URL “www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/climate-scientist-environment-apocalypse-human-extinction“. Alternet (2014): “The Giant Methane Monster That Can Wipe Out the Human Race“.

The IPCC’s conclusions about methane (see below) are widely derided, as in this at Arctic News: “Just do NOT tell them the monster exists” (see the comic above). Also by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (one the increasing number of vaguely funded climate change groups): “we are drawing attention to the more unpleasant realities of rapid Arctic warming and climate change, which have been downplayed or ignored by IPCC…”

Turning to my favorite source of climate alarmism, Robert Marston Fanney (fantasy writer; bio here) at his blog RobertScribbler: “Ignoring the Arctic Methane Monster: Royal Society Goes Dark on Arctic Observational Science” and “Concern Over Catastrophic Methane Release“.

Update: The alarmism appears even in the major media, such as this in The Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed: “Seven facts you need to know about the Arctic methane timebomb” — “Dismissals of catastrophic methane danger ignore robust science in favour of outdated mythology of climate safety.”

The alarmism goes wild as we approach November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. At the misnamed TruthOut, Dahr Jamail tells us “The Methane Monster Roars“. Real News Network includes methane in its compendium of misinformation, the video Climate Change: Have We Reached the Point of No Return?

“… we’ve triggered a bunch of self-reinforcing feedback loops, many of which are irreversible, including methane release from the arctic, for example, and also methane from the permafrost. As permafrost degrades it breaks down into methane.” … “we’re already seeing methane going exponential in the atmosphere, and methane is many, many times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, molecule for molecule”

Living in the Bay Area, I see the effects of this propaganda. People casually mention that we’re doomed, stated with the certainty of cultists. These shrill warnings induce a sense of passivity and apathy in Leftists. Our ruling elites probably see that as good news.

But — where are the climate scientists? Where are rebuttals at RealClimate? by the Climate Science Rapid Response Team? At the websites above that feature climate science?

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A report about America’s extreme weather. Just the facts, no hype.

Summary: Discovery that weather is the mother lode of clickbait made climate change activism appealing to publishers. As antidote to the weather porn now flooding the internet, here’s a real analysis of recent weather — more understandable than NOAA’s reports, more accurate than the everything is climate change schtick.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

When the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is negative & the Atlantic is warm

North American weather

© Evelyn Browning Garriss/Browning Media. US data: USGS.

 North America Feeling the Extremes

Excerpt from the August 2015 issue of the Browning World Climate Bulletin
Posted with their generous permission.

The drought in the Great Plains is over. Meanwhile, the drought west of the Rocky Mountains is easing in the Southwest and intensifying in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Flooding is dominating the Midwest, but historically eases and permits a large crop followed by a wet, difficult and frequently late harvest.

Ending the Drought

“It takes a flood to end a drought.”
— Attributed to Mark Twain.

Here is the good news – the drought in the plains is over. Here is the bad news – it ended with a flood. North America is once again suffering through a summer of extreme weather.

For four years the US Great Plains have endured a drought. It always included the Southern Plains, Texas, Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and the Desert Southwest. The drought sometimes include large portions of the Midwest and Gulf states. It remained centered in the US, never extending to Canada and only occasionally including Northern Mexico.

This dry weather is part of the “New Normal”, the standard climate for North America when the Pacific is in the Negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This huge, long-term cycle is centered in the North Pacific and affects the entire ocean. Since the Pacific is slightly greater than 30% of the globe’s surface, it shapes weather all over the Earth, but especially for Pacific Rim nations, including Canada, the US and Mexico.

History of the PDO Index

Nothing unusual here. From JISAO: NOAA and the U of Washington.

In 2004 the US Geological Survey published a study of what historically happens when the PDO is in this phase and the Atlantic is warm. It shows large sections of the US and Canada average dry conditions 20% of the time. Unfortunately, these times usually occur when there is a La Niña and cool, drought-causing La Niñas are more frequent when the PDO is negative. We started to see more La Niñas when the PDO turned negative in 1999 and they have become common after the PDO tipped to the negative phase in 2006.

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Six headlines from 2009 telling us important news about 2015’s climate

Summary: This is the first in a new regular feature on the FM website showing the best of the propaganda headlines that fill our news. Today we have six headlines telling an important story about us and climate change. Post your thoughts about these in the comments. Get your favorite headlines posted (past or present, mocking Left or Right) by emailing them to PropagandaHeadline at G mail dot com (anti-spam spelling). Enjoy!  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

When we again see the world clearly, we can start the reform of America.

Clear vision

Six years ago began a new chapter in one of the most incompetently run campaigns ever, the preparation for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The following snippets show one theme from that massive bombardment of stories intended to arouse people’s fear and so create a stampede for far-reaching public policy measures to save the world. These headlines warned that the end was near and time was running out.

(1) President ‘has four years to save Earth’” says climate scientist James Hansen in The Guardian, 17 January 2009.

(2) Global warming has reached a ‘defining moment,’ Prince Charles warns” in The Telegraph, 12 March 2009. “The world has “less than 100 months” to save the planet.

(3) ‘We have hours’ to prevent climate disaster” by Elizabeth May (Member of Parliament and leader of Canada’s Green Party) in The Star (Toronto), 24 March 2009. This was run as news, not an op-ed.

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Testing Skeptical Science: is Roger Pielke Sr. a climate misinformer?

Summary: A post last week examined a darling of the Right, Zero Hedge. This post takes an equally harsh look at a darling of the Left, Skeptical Science. Both show how our stronger loyalty to tribe than truth encourages our information providers to feed us a mix of fact and politically appealing misinformation, shaping our beliefs and maintaining internal cohesion of the tribe (and our distrust of the “others”). We’ll remain gullible and easily led until we learn skepticism and demand more accuracy from those we trust.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

“Truth is strong enough to overcome all human sophistries.”
Timarchum by Aeschines (389–314 BC).

The Truth is Out There

Smearing scientists is a staple on both sides of the climate wars — the debate about the public policy implications of climate change. Such smears not only overflow the comment sections of popular websites, they’re often seen in the writings of major players on the public stage.

For example, see the 40 “climate misinformers” listed on John Cook’s Skeptical Science. It’s one of the climate-focused websites most widely cited on the Left, known for its flamboyant claims.  This post examines the first of 4 SkS page about eminent climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr.

Before examining the details of SkS’s content, note the vast amount of work that went into creating it. The 4 pages about Pielke Sr. are one of 40 about “climate misinformers” — which is one of 10 “resources”, which are just one part of the SkS website (which has aps for iPhone, Android, and Nokia). This shows a major difference between the websites of climate “warriors” and “skeptics”. Despite claims that the skeptics have vast funds from evil oil, their websites are a ramshackle pile of contributions from volunteers (however skilled). Several the climate warriors have professional-quality websites.

About a misinformer

What was are the myths of Roger Pielke Sr.? How do SkS’ claims look today? The SkS page (it’s undated) gives ten quotes which they call “myths”. Not one of their rebuttals looks correct. A lot of the SkS content is like that, which is why people so often report their critical comments get deleted (no Smackdowns page there). I’ve slightly expanded some of Pielke’s quotes, and made small edits for clarity (e.g., numbering the myths).

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Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!

As we approach November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris climate activists will warn of dismal futures, while others assure us that we need take no action. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report 5 (AR5) provides a context for evaluation of these claims, from the horrific to the panglossian. This looks at the dark side of the range, scenarios possible but perhaps unlikely. {Revised July 20.}

World burning

In AR5 four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) describe scenarios for future emissions, concentrations, and land-use, ending with radiative forcing levels of 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 W/m2 by 2100. Strong mitigation policies result in a low forcing level (RCP2.6). Two medium stabilization scenarios lead to intermediate outcomes: (RCP4.5, RCP6.0).

IPCC's AR5: 4 RCPs

RCP8.5 gets the most attention. It assumes the most population growth (a doubling of Earth’s population to 12 billion), the lowest rate of technology development, slow GDP growth, a massive increase in world poverty, plus high energy use and emissions. (For more about these RCPs see van Vuuren, Detlef P. et al 2011. “The representative concentration pathways: an overview”, Climatic Change 109: 1-2, pp 5-31. Source of these 2 graphics.)

People — from scientists to journalists — often describe RCP8.5 as the baseline scenario (“business as usual”, see below), a future without policy action, resulting in severe climate impacts amidst a nightmarish world — but that’s an inaccurate description. Including such a scenario in AR5 would have been useful.

RCP8.5 shows the result of some extreme trends with little or no mitigation efforts. While conservative planning requires considering such extreme outcomes, journalists seldom discuss its assumptions or likelihood.

RP8.5 assumes population growth at the high end of the current UN probabilistic forecasts: 80% odds of between 9.6 and 12.3 billion people by 2100 (Gerland, P. et al, Science 10 Oct 2014). Most of this growth occurs in Africa, which in turn assumes that Africa can support that many people.

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