Friday, June 14, 2019

‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey. Study shows 571 species wiped out, and scientists say figure is likely to be big underestimate

Some people are easily frightened, it seems. No details or reasoning are given to show why it is frightening so it seems we are reading nothing more than yet another screech of Greenie emotionalism.  If they had named just one lost species that is/was important to humankind they might have had a case -- but they do not. Why? Because there have been no important losses, obviously.  They would be all over it if there were such a loss.

I have commented on the Daily Mail version of this report a couple of days ago.  It is the Guardian version below.  I also append the journal abstract at the bottom of the Guardian article -- which is VERY interesting.  But we will get to that.

The reason I am reopening this matter is that I want to make clear how grossly unscientific the study is. I am pointing in particular at the egregious claim that:  "the plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution".  How do they know?  How do they know what the plant extinction rate was before the industrial revolution? Unless they have got a fully operational Tardis, there is no way they CAN know.

To know that they would have to be able to point to a study like theirs which was conducted in (say) the 18th century.  There is no such study.  Even if there were a good species count available from 18th century England, how do we know how typical events in England were?  England has never been typical of anything as far as I can see.  So there is an excellent chance that they were not typical at all. The whole claim is pure bunk, pure guesswork.  And if they are relying on the fossil record, they are no better off.  The most prominent thing about the fossil record is the "gaps" in it.

Interestingly, they do NOT repeat their hysterical claim in the journal abstract.  Where they could have said: "at 500 times the rate of  background extinction", they in fact wrote: "at a higher rate than background extinction", which is not nearly as crazy.  So we have yet another example of crooked Greenie "science".  We all know that there is no such thing as a happy Greenie and I am fast coming to the view that there is no such thing as an honest Greenie. Exterminate! (With apologies to "Dr. Who")

Human destruction of the living world is causing a “frightening” number of plant extinctions, according to scientists who have completed the first global analysis of the issue.

They found 571 species had definitely been wiped out since 1750 but with knowledge of many plant species still very limited the true number is likely to be much higher. The researchers said the plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution, and this was also likely to be an underestimate.

“Plants underpin all life on Earth,” said Dr Eimear Nic Lughadha, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who was part of the team. “They provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, as well as making up the backbone of the world’s ecosystems – so plant extinction is bad news for all species.”

The number of plants that have disappeared from the wild is more than twice the number of extinct birds, mammals and amphibians combined. The new figure is also four times the number of extinct plants recorded in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.

“It is way more than we knew and way more than should have gone extinct,” said Dr Maria Vorontsova, also at Kew. “It is frightening not just because of the 571 number but because I think that is a gross underestimate.”

She said the true extinction rate for plants could easily be orders of magnitude higher than that reported in the study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. There are thousands of “living dead” plant species, where the last survivors have no chance of reproducing because, for example, only one sex remains or the big animals needed to spread their seeds are extinct.

It takes many years to be sure a plant has been wiped out, meaning there are many species awaiting formal confirmation. “How are you going to check the entirety of the Amazon for your lost plant?” Vorontsova said. And some plant species may have gone extinct before ever being discovered. Botanists find about 2,000 new species a year.

The main cause of the extinctions is the destruction of natural habitats by human activities, such as cutting down forests and converting land into fields for farming.....


Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery

Aelys M. Humphreys et al.


Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few can name a recently extinct plant. We present a comprehensive, global analysis of modern extinction in plants. Almost 600 species have become extinct, at a higher rate than background extinction, but almost as many have been erroneously declared extinct and then been rediscovered. Reports of extinction on islands, in the tropics and of shrubs, trees or species with narrow ranges are least likely to be refuted by rediscovery. Plant extinctions endanger other organisms, ecosystems and human well-being, and must be understood for effective conservation planning.

Nature Ecology & Evolution (2019)

National park quietly removed warning that glaciers ‘will all be gone’ by 2020 after years of heavy snowfall

Glacier National Park quietly removed a visitor center sign saying its iconic glaciers will disappear by 2020 due to climate change.

Several winters of heavy snowfall threw off climate model projections the glaciers would all disappear by 2020, according to federal officials.

A blogger first noticed the signage change and noted other signs warning of “impending glacier disappearance have been replaced.”
The National Park Service (NPS) quietly removed a visitor center sign saying the glaciers at Glacier National Park would disappear by 2020 due to climate change.

As it turns out, higher-than-average snowfall in recent years upended computer model projections from the early 2000s that NPS based its claim glaciers “will all be gone by the year 2020,” federal officials said.

“Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park speeds up and slows down with fluctuations in the local climate,” the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors Glacier National Park, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,” USGS said. “Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.”

NPS updated signs at the St. Mary Visitor Center glacier exhibit over the winter. Sign changes meant the display warning glaciers would all disappear by 2020 now says: “When they completely disappear, however, will depend on how and when we act.”

Hikers trek through snow along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana
Fred Longheart (R) and Marjory McClaren of Kalispell, Montana hike through snow along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana August 24, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight.

The total area of Glacier National Park covered in its iconic glaciers shrank 70% from the 1850s to 2015, according to USGS. Melting began at the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when scientists believe 146 glaciers covered the region, opposed to just 26 in 2019. (RELATED: EPA Dealt A Huge Blow To The ‘Resistance’ By Reassigning A Top Bureaucrat)

USGS still says on its website glaciers could all disappear sometime between 2030 and 2080, depending on how much warming occurs. As recent years demonstrate, however, glacial melt can be slowed by heavy winter snowfall.

“The overall picture remains the same, however, and that picture is that the glaciers all continue to retreat,” USGS said.

Blogger Roger Roots first noted the signage change in a blog post published Thursday on the website Watts Up With That. Roots was able to compare the signs to film and photographs he had taken on previous visits.

“As recently as September 2018 the diorama displayed a sign saying GNP’s glaciers were expected to disappear completely by 2020,” Roots wrote. “The ‘gone by 2020’ claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources.”

Roots also noted another sign had been changed from 2030 had also been changed to be more “nuanced.” Roots put up a $5,000 bet that Glacier National Park would still have glaciers in 2030.

“Almost everywhere, the Park’s specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced messaging indicating that everyone agrees that the glaciers are melting,” Roots wrote.

“Now the Park Service is scrambling to remove the signs without their visitors noticing,” Roots posted on his Facebook wall, along with video footage showing the sign changes.

The Park Service works closely with USGS to understand glacial melt and the information it puts on informational signs. NPS, however, does not notify the public when it adds or changes signage.

“There are currently 26 glaciers in the park. Scientific models project that many will no longer meet the size criteria used to define a glacier sometime between 2030 and 2080,” NPS said in a statement to TheDCNF.


Chuck Schumer: ‘No Threat Poses a Greater Danger to Our Planet Than That of Climate Change’

Chuckie will say anything that benefits his party

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) went to the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to express his view that “no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than climate change” and that President Donald Trump is something like “a member of the Flat Earth Society” on this issue.

“On the climate, as I have said so many times, no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than that of climate change,” said Schumer.

“The last 5 years have been the warmest on record,” he said. “There is more carbon dioxide in the air than any point in human history.”

Schumer made reference to a conversation that President Donald Trump had with Prince Charles of Great Britain earlier this week about climate change.

“Just yesterday, President Trump once again--not based on fact, based on whim, as he so often acts--voiced a dangerous skepticism about climate change while meeting with Prince Charles,” Schumer said.

As reported by The Guardian: “Prince Charles spent 75 minutes longer than scheduled trying to convince Donald Trump of the dangers of global heating, but the president still insisted the US was “clean” and blamed other nations for the crisis.”

Appearing on Britain’s ITV, Trump summarized the conversation, The Guardian reported.

“He is really into climate change and I think that’s great. What he really wants and what he really feels warmly about is the future. He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree,” Trump said.

“I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics,’” said Trump. “And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”

“China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution,” Trump said. “If you go to certain cities … you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up … They don’t do the responsibility.”

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Schumer suggested Trump is “a member of the Flat Earth Society” when it comes to climate change.

“The President is sort of, on climate, a member of the Flat Earth Society, just denying the facts,” said Schumer. “It would be as if Columbus sailed, and the President still said the earth is flat. That is how he is acting on climate.”

Here is the text of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s statements about climate change on the Senate floor on Wednesday:

Sen. Charles Schumer: “Mr. President, on the climate, as I have said so many times, no threat poses a greater danger to our planet than that of climate change. The last 5 years have been the warmest on record. There is more carbon dioxide in the air than any point in human history. Our children and grandchildren will live with the consequences of the decisions we make today. We need all hands on deck--the Federal Government, local governments, municipalities, corporate leaders, global efforts--if we are to meet the challenges of climate change head-on, but for years our government has been too slow to act and more often than not we have done nothing or very little.

Just yesterday, President Trump once again--not based on fact, based on whim, as he so often acts--voiced a dangerous skepticism about climate change while meeting with Prince Charles.

Now, one of the biggest reasons for the slow progress on climate policy has been the oppressive grip of Big Oil, Big Gas, and Big Coal, on our political system. They spent untold millions to debunk climate science and torpedo climate legislation. One of the largest perpetrators has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which never reveals its donors and has acted all too often as a front for Big Oil.

Recently, as public support for action upon climate change has grown even more overwhelming, the chamber is starting to sing a different tune. They have launched a campaign for cleaner energy sources. They have added a new section to their website, “Addressing Climate Change.” They now even say that, on this issue, “inaction is not an option.” Well, I could not agree more; inaction is not an option, but color me skeptical about the chamber.

I hope to see the chamber follow its public stance with real action, but until I do, I fear this change is merely cosmetic. All too often, the big oil and big coal companies don't act themselves, although some do, but they let the chamber do their dirty work for them. So today Sheldon Whitehouse and I, along with a number of our colleagues, will be sending a letter to the chamber, calling on them to speak out against the administration's effort to undermine the “National Climate Assessment.”

It is not enough to simply say: Oh, well, it is a problem. Inaction is not an option. They must do something concrete. This is a concrete action we are proposing that will make a difference. I read in today's New York Times that companies are now beginning to plan for how climate change will cost them more money in the next 5 years. They don't think it is no problem. They don't think it is a 30-year problem.

These companies and their interest in their profits--that is how they should be interested, although I would like to see them a little more interested in workers and communities and climate. These companies, for their own bottom lines, are saying climate change is real, and we better do something.

Well, one way the chamber can move things along is to speak out against this administration in its efforts to undermine the “National Climate Assessment.” For years, this study has been the gold standard for climate research within our government. It is not partisan. It is factual; it is based on science; and it assesses the long-term threats to climate change.

The President is sort of, on climate, a member of the Flat Earth Society, just denying the facts. It would be as if Columbus sailed, and the President still said the earth is flat. That is how he is acting on climate. Well, the Chamber ought to break with that. They ought to let science and facts determine how we act.

This is a moment when the Chamber could actually use its influence to convince the administration to reverse course. If the business community said this, it would make a big difference. So this is a moment. Let's see if the chamber really wants to prove that they are for climate change. Let's see. Let's see. If they don't, we ask their members who say they believe in climate--and who are even planning for the problems we face--to put pressure on them to do it. Let's hope.

Let's hope.


'Stop Traveling,' Say Climate Alarmists

If you're flying or riding cruise ships, you're destroying the planet and future people.

The ideology that permeates the Center-Left is supposed to be “progressive.” Yet the policies that come from these supposedly forward-thinking elites push our culture into a mindset that dwells on crisis, decline, rationing, and mediocrity — all of which drags us backwards.

Recent polling reflects the wide embrace of socialism that redistributes wealth to all regardless of effort or work and centers on “investment” through government control that is characteristic of shortage, corruption, and even illness. In Venezuela, its citizens are emaciated from the lack of food. There’s no fuel, and showers are even a luxury. But socialism is the new darling of the losing Left.

Medicare for All will guarantee government-controlled health insurance that, in other nations, has proven to result in excessively long waits for services and limited access to innovation and top-quality health care and medicines. The open-border approach to immigration is turning some U.S. cities into landscapes that feature the rise of measles, tuberculosis, mumps, polio, the bubonic plague, and widespread illicit drug use in massive homeless camps.

But, again, the intelligentsia on the Center-Left declare The Progressive Way to be that which protects the rights of all for a future of bliss.

The same crowd is angrily fighting the War on Climate Change. This group is composed of entitled, guilt-driven individuals who operate on the wrong-headed belief that authentic progress, mobility, and achievement are mutually exclusive to good stewardship of environmental resources that are changing and resilient. In other words, if you believe that the best for individuals is self-reliance, the honor and dignity of work, or wealth and mobility that comes with personal responsibility, you’re dangerous. To “progressives,” the best way “forward” is to ensure scarcity and minimalism because humanity is the enemy.

Look no further than the recent New York Times article informing the masses that an individual enjoying air travel of 2,500 miles will be responsible for melting 32 square feet of Arctic ice. The same piece features this assertion from the University of Tennessee’s Professor John Nolt: “The average American causes through his/her greenhouse gas emissions the serious suffering and/or deaths of two future people.” Nolt’s analysis is based on his calculations that the average American generates about 16 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent a year.

And, if you’re someone who likes cruises, you’re the biggest offender. Compared to flying by jet, those who sail around on even the most efficient cruise ships are supposedly belching out three or four times more CO2 per passenger mile, says Bryan Comer, a researcher at the nonprofit International Council on Clean Transportation.

The message of the NYT’s piece: Either buy carbon offsets at “carbon kiosks” available at airports like San Francisco’s to assuage your guilt or just don’t travel by plane and surely get off those cruise ships. When asking just how harmful one vacation might be, the article’s author, Andy Newman, wrote with dread, “You can’t see the face of the unnamed future person whose coastal village you will have helped submerge.”

This entire mindset is so very sad — to see generations of otherwise intellectual beings mired in fear that the very breath they exhale, containing carbon dioxide, is poisoning our planet. While indoctrinated to view humanity as the enemy, a life of limitations is demanded. Because the curriculum of our modern culture equates progress with destruction — all with little if any mention of the massive climate changes and continental shifts that occurred prior to the world’s population growth or burning fossil fuels with the advent of the combustible engine — many are convinced that development can’t occur with a sustainable community or that advancement can happen without apocalypse.

On Friday, an article looking at “apocalypse anxiety” noted the biblical doomsday scenario — Judgment Day after the war to end all wars on earth with a returning Messiah who would divide humanity into believers for heavenly reward and non-believers to a damned eternal separation. For many modern folks, this age-old belief has now been replaced with a climate catastrophe. As the alternative online news site, published, the return of Christ is seen as “unlikely” to be the End of Days but is now replaced by another end-of-the-world scenario. “We are absolutely sure doomsday will come when climate change melts the ice caps and rising seas swallow our civilisation. And if that doesn’t happen, a killer computer will wipe us off the planet — as long as we manage to survive the inevitable nuclear war, alien invasion or global pandemic.”

The greatness of humanity is being eclipsed by the angst and fear of “progressive” politics, which is moving us into a disgruntled mediocrity. Instead, let’s choose to believe in greatness and make true progress while stewarding our wonderful planet.


Australia: Amazing what the threat of losing power does for your political values: Queensland APPROVES the Adani mine - after voters slammed Labor for putting climate change ahead of 10,000 jobs

Adani has won the final approval it needs to construct its new coal mine in central Queensland. The approval comes after former Labor leader Bill Shorten's refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election.

Queensland's environment department has signed off on the company's plan to manage groundwater on and around its Galilee basin mine site.

Adani promised an immediate start to construction once the last approval was in hand.

In a statement, the environment department said it had approved the most recent version of the plan, which Adani submitted just a day ago. 'Adani submitted its most recent version of the plan, addressing the department's feedback, yesterday,' the department said. 'The (plan's) assessment has been rigorous and based on the best available science.'

The approval commits Adani to additional measures to safeguard and monitor water sources.

Some water experts claim Adani has grossly underestimated the mine's impacts on underground, and fear the effects of its permit to pump water out of the mine to allow for the safe extraction of coal.

Hydrologists from four Australian universities issued a joint report earlier this week, saying Adani's water science was 'severely flawed'. They warned the mine could have a such a dramatic effect on groundwater levels that the ancient Doongmabulla Springs Complex, 8km from the edge of Adani's mining lease, could permanently dry up.

That would spell death for the plant and animal species that rely on the springs for survival, one of those experts, Flinders University hydrogeology professor Adrian Werner said.

Prof Werner also warned of dire consequences for the Carmichael River which flows through the mine site, saying it would be cut off from its flood plain and could be robbed of groundwater that keeps the river flowing for much of the year.

Before Thursday's decision, a former state government water chief said Adani's plan would have irrefutable consequences for underground water sources in an area that's heavily dependent on them. 'We're looking at extraction of four Sydney Harbours out of underground systems. That's a huge amount of water,' he told ABC radio.

'We see politicians put their hands on their hearts and tell Queenslanders that we're managing our groundwater resources sustainably.'They don't know ... the Queensland government doesn't have a clue what's happening in terms of how underground water is being managed.'



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