Gregory Wrightstone: exposing the mass extinction lie

Summary: The latest chapter of the climate campaign consists of warnings about a coming mass extinction of species. Here is a stunning analysis of these claims by Gregory Wrightstone. This made a big impact at Wednesday’s House hearings. I doubt you will see this in the news (it does not fit the narrative).

The Sixth Extinction

The mass extinction lie exposed: life is thriving

By Gregory Wrightstone at his website, 13 May 2019.
Posted with his generous permission.

One million species will become extinct in the not-too-distant future and we are to blame. That is the conclusion of a new study by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was issued on May 6th {the full report will be issued “later this year} and warns that “human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before” and that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss.”

It also asserted that we have seen increasing dangers over the last several decades, stating “the threat of extinction is also accelerating: in the best-studied taxonomic groups, most of the total extinction risk to species is estimated to have arisen in the past 40 years.” The global rate of species extinction claimed “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years.”

The release of the report spawned a media frenzy that uncritically accepted the study’s contention that we will see more than 20,000 species per year bite the dust in the not too distant future. PBS called it the “current mass extinction,” and the New Yorker’s headline read “Climate Change and the New Age of Extinction.

The only chart in the SPM that supported the claim of increasing extinctions is shown here (bdlow). The graph covers 500-years and appears to present a frightening increase in extinctions and extinction rate.

Species extinction since 1500

This chart and the accompanying “analysis” are a case study of how those who promote the notion of man-made catastrophic warming manipulate data and facts to spread the most fear, alarm, and disinformation.

First, note that the title of the graph itself (Cumulative % of Species Driven Extinct) is confusing even to scientists used to interpreting such data. More importantly, the data were lumped together by century rather than shorter time frames, which, as we shall see accentuates the supposed increase in extinctions.

The base data were derived from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List, which catalogues every known species that has gone the way of the dodo and the carrier pigeon. Review of the full data set reveals a much different view of extinction and what has been happening recently.

Below, all 529 species available from the Red List with a known extinction date are shown below in Figure 2 by decade of extinction. This chart reveals quite a different story than that advanced by the new report. Instead of a steady increase in the number and rate of extinctions we find that extinctions peaked in the late 1800s and the early 20th century, followed by a significant decline that continues today. It is thought that this extinction peak coincides with introduction of non-native species, primarily on islands (including Australia).

Species extinction by decade

A closer review of the most recent information dating back to 1870 reveals that, instead of a frightening increase, extinctions are actually in a significant decline.

What is apparent is that the trend of extinctions is declining rather than increasing, just the opposite of what the new report claims. Also, according to the IPBES report, we can expect 25,000 to 30,000 extinctions per year, yet the average over the last 40 years is about 2 species annually. That means the rate would have to multiply by 12,500 to 15,000 to reach the dizzying heights predicted. Nothing on the horizon is likely to achieve even a small fraction of that.

Graph of Species Extinctions by Decade, from the Red List

This new extinction study is just the latest example of misuse and abuse of the scientific process designed to sow fear of an impending climate apocalypse. The fear and alarm over purported man-made catastrophes are needed to frighten the population into gladly accepting harmful and economically crippling proposals such as the Green New Deal.

Rather than an Earth spiraling into a series of climate catastrophes that threaten the planet’s life, we find that our planet and its estimated 8 million species are doing just fine, thank you.

Postscript: In an incredibly ironic twist that poses a difficult conundrum for those who are intent on saving the planet from our carbon dioxide excesses, the new study reports that the number one cause of predicted extinctions is habitat loss. Yet their solution is to pave over vast stretches of land for industrial scale solar factories and to construct immense wind factories that will cover forests and grasslands, killing the endangered birds and other species they claim to want to save.

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Editor’s afterword

Wrightstone notes one of the most important aspects of the new report: that they released the Summary for Policymakers alone, orchestrating a media barrage before releasing the supporting information. Considering its vast claims and their weak basis in the peer-reviewed literature, this should arouse our suspicions. People should not decide about such a vital issue before experts have reviewed the full report.

For more about the data and papers about modern extinction rates, see About the mass extinctions supposedly occurring now.

See the pdf of Marc Morano’s testimony about Wrightstone’s work at the May 22 hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee about the new Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Also see his article about the hearings and Dr. Curry’s analysis. As of May 28, not a single journalist has contacted Wrightstone about his analysis, despite the coverage given to this hearing.

My favorite quote from the hearing was made by Patrick Moore (pdf of testimony).

“The IBPES claims there are 8 million species. Yet only 1.8 million species have been identified and named. Thus the IBPES believes there are 6.2 million unidentified and unnamed species. …This is highly unprofessional.”

Gregory Whitestone

About the author

“Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth’s processes. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Waynesburg University and a master’s from West Virginia University, both in the field of geology. {Many climate scientists began in geology, some climate science programs are in the geology departments.}

“He has written and presented extensively on many aspects of geology including how paleogeography and paleoclimate control geologic processes {relating to oil and gas deposits}. His findings have allowed him to speak at many venues around the world including Ireland, England, China and most recently India.”  {From his website.}

See his website and his Twitter feed. He has an app, Inconvenient Facts, based on his book (see below), available for both Apple and Android.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see The keys to understanding climate change and these posts about climate propaganda. The good news is that the very bad news is wrong.

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  3. The oceans are dying. See their condition on World Oceans Day!
  4. Are 30 thousand species going extinct every year?
  5. Warning: dying insect populations threaten our future – A real threat overshadowed by the climate hysteria.
  6. About the mass extinctions supposedly occurring now.
  7. Important: The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science.

About Wrightstone’s iconoclastic book

Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn't want you to know
Available at Amazon.

Inconvenient Facts:
The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know.

From the publisher …

“You have been inundated with reports from media, governments, think tanks and ‘experts’ saying that our climate is changing for the worse and it is our fault. Increases in droughts, heat waves, tornadoes and poison ivy – to name a few – are all blamed on our ‘sins of emissions’ from burning fossil fuels and increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Yet, you don’t quite buy into this human-caused climate apocalypse. You aren’t sure about the details because you don’t have all the facts and likely aren’t a scientist. Inconvenient Facts was specifically created for you. Writing in plain English and providing easily understood charts and figures, Gregory Wrightstone presents the science to assess the basis of the threatened Thermageddon.

“The book’s 60 ‘inconvenient facts’ come from government sources, peer-reviewed literature or scholarly works, set forth in a way that is lucid and entertaining. The information likely will challenge your current understanding of many apocalyptic predictions about our ever dynamic climate.

“You will learn that the planet is improving, not in spite of increasing CO2 and rising temperature, but because of it. The very framework of the climate-catastrophe argument will be confronted with scientific fact. Arm yourself with the truth.”

12 thoughts on “Gregory Wrightstone: exposing the mass extinction lie”

  1. Pingback: Gregory Wrightstone: exposing the mass extinction lie – Has everyone lost their mind?

  2. I thought about the “mass extinction” hysteria for a bit.
    Then I realized, no one is that lucky.

  3. Great article. There is a book called “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff published in 1954. It is just as relevant today (if not more so). It will explain in simple terms how these climate alarmists minipulate statistics to favor their agenda.

    1. Al,

      That is a great book, essential reading! I had it in my business library for 30 years.

      There is another aspect to this. Much climate scientists relies on statistics. But statisticans are seldom (almost never) consulted when preparing analysis or reviewing papers. Climate scientists often rely on esoteric stat tools, requiring an expert’s level of knowledge (but can be obtained by pushing buttons on a stat package) – but too seldom use even simple stats when describing events. How often do you see articles about “record” storms or such, without even simple 19th C stats for probability.

      Articles about financial markets are written for similar audiences, yet frequently use these freshmen level stats about standard deviations and error bars.

      We know why they are so seldom used: they would ruin the narrative. Many of the record-breaking extreme super monster events would be two standard deviation events – not evidence for unprecedented climate change.

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