Sunday, December 11, 2016

Half the world's species failing to cope with global warming as Earth races towards its sixth mass extinction (?)

There probably is species loss going on.  There always is, always has been and always will be.  But how do we know current losses are unusual?  We could only know if we had a full ennumeration of all the species on earth at some point in time.  But it is widely acknowledged that we are nowhere near having such a list

And the claim that anything is due to global warming is simply an assertion. It is admitted below that the warming has been slight so it is hanging a lot on a little to blame any sort of extinctions on it.  There is simply no proof of such an improbable link.

And the idea that we are "racing towards" something is just prophecy. Things could turn around tomorrow. The numbers of any species fluctuate, with populations sometimes coming roaring back from apparent near-extinction. The Chinook salmon rebound in Canada, for instance. Or the New England cod rebound.

And this study was about "local extinctions" only, which mean very little.  Such "extinctions" mostly just mean that the creature has changed its range.   It has gone from one area and popped up somewhere else. There could be many and various reasons for that.

Creatures that become totally extinct do no doubt become locally extinct first but it doesn't follow that all locally extinct creatures go on to become totally extinct.  I don't believe, in fact, that I have ever heard of a declared locally extinct creature going totally extinct.  No doubt it occurs but it is rare.

So local extinctions are no cause for alarm -- unless of course you are a panicky Greenie -- and what Greenie is not panicky?   Crying wolf is their specialty.

Nearly half the species on the planet are failing to cope with the global warming the world has already experienced, according to an alarming new study that suggests the sixth mass extinction of animal life in the Earth’s history could take place in as little as 50 years.

A leading evolutionary biologist, Professor John Wiens, found that 47 per cent of nearly 1,000 species had suffered local extinctions linked to climate change with populations absent from areas where they had been found before.

Professor Wiens, who is editor of the Quarterly Review of Biology and a winner of the American Society of Naturalists’ president’s award, said the implications for the future were serious because his review showed plants and animals were struggling to deal with the relatively small amount of global warming experienced to date.

So far the world has warmed by about 1C above pre-industrial levels, but it is expected to hit between 2.6 and 4.8C by 2100 if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases.

Another problem facing life on Earth is the election of climate science denier Donald Trump as US President.

Professor Wiens, of Arizona University, described this as a “global disaster” and, when asked what he would say to the President-elect if he met him, he joked grimly: “Kill yourself immediately.”

In his study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, the scientist examined academic papers about 976 different species from all over the world that had been studied at least twice, once about 50 years ago and again within the last 10 years.

“In almost half the species looked at, there have been local extinctions already,” he said.

“This is stuff that’s already happened with just a small change to the climate. We’re looking at a two to five-fold increase [in warming over the next century].

“What it shows is species cannot change fast enough to keep up with a small change in climate. That’s the big implication – even a small change in temperature and they cannot handle it.”

The study looked at 716 different kinds of animals and 260 plants from Asia, Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere.

Local extinctions were found to have occured among 47.1 per cent of species at the "warm edge" of their traditional range, as it became too hot for them. There were few areas of the planet that were unaffected.

"Overall, the frequency of local extinctions was similar across most climatic zones, habitats, gradients and clade," the PLOS Biology paper said.

However Professor Wiens found climate-related local extinctions were "substantially higher" among freshwater species at 74 per cent of the 31 studied.

The current rate of global extinction of animals and plants is believed to be faster than some of the five great extinction events in the Earth’s history, but so far the total number lost does not compare to the species lost when the dinosaurs were wiped about 65 million years ago.

However one reason geologists are considering declaring a new epoch in our planet’s history is the rapid loss of flora and fauna that will have a noticeable effect on the fossil record.

Professor Wiens said: “It’s true that in terms of global extinction of entire species that have already happened, I think we’re not there [at the sixth mass extinction] yet.

“But I think unfortunately we are on track for that to happen.

“That’s sort of the good news – it hasn’t happened yet. But if we don’t do anything it seems like that’s going to happen in the next 50 to 100 years.”

There were already “two bad signs” that Mr Trump’s election would make things worse, Professor Wiens said.

“One would be this person he’s assigned to head the EPA [renowned climate science denier Scott Pruitt] and the other thing is pulling out of the Paris accord [on climate change],” he said.

“The EPA in this country, they are the ones supposed to be protecting the environment.”

In what was perhaps a sign of the desperation felt by environmental scientists in the US and elsewhere, he jokingly suggested the UK should invade the US or the US and Canada should swap leaders with Justin Trudeau taking over in the White House.

Asked what he would really say to Mr Trump if they met, Professor Wiens said: “I guess I would tell him ‘what would you think if there was a country on the other side of the world that was releasing gas that was going to cause extinctions in our country, to hurt our crops and make people starve’.

“He would say, ‘tell me where it is and we’ll bomb them tomorrow’. Then I’d say, ‘this is what we’re doing to other countries because we are the big polluters.’

“People are already having serious problems with food security. People are going to die and it’s going to be the fault of our country and other big polluters.

“There is no question he would militarily intervene against a country that was doing to us what we are doing to other countries.”


Mosquitos on the Rise Thanks to DDT Ban

Given all the finger-pointing over fake news, it’s worth revisiting the hype over dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Most people know it by its acronym, DDT, which is a chemical compound that, before the ecofascists succeeded in banning it in 1972, was an effective means of helping control the mosquito population and, by extension, deadly diseases such as malaria. The self-righteous Left heralded the ban as saving the environment. The reality is that the DDT embargo, not so-called climate change, has prompted a rapid buildup of disease-spreading mosquitoes.

Via The Washington Times: “The U.S. mosquito population is on the rise, but don’t blame climate change. Blame the ban on the insecticide DDT. A study published this week in Nature Communications attributed the decay of DDT concentrations as well as urbanization to an increase in mosquitoes over the past 50 years. … The analysis, conducted by researchers from Rutgers, the University of California Davis and the University of California Santa Cruz, flies in the face of statements by environmental groups linking warmer temperatures to mosquito-borne ailments like the West Nile and Zika viruses.”

Even the EPA admits DDT “was effective for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens,” though it goes on to claim that environmental and biological hazards countermand the benefits. It’s true that DDT is a potent chemical and should be used judiciously. But like many things leftist do-gooders obsess about, the faux alarm created by lobbyists has not helped the situation, either. Just like fossil fuels, which provide cool air and heat during seasonal swings, are crucial to our livelihood, DDT is critical to helping regulate disease-carrying insects. Let’s stop ostracizing it with fake news.


Scott Pruitt will bring EPA regulatory war on coal to heel under the Trump administration

Americans for Limited Government announced just a week after the election that job one of the Trump administration must be to dismantle the EPA regulations which are crippling our economy; less than a month after he became President-elect, and Donald Trump has already begun this mission.

With the latest appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is allowing Pruitt to continue his crusade against EPA overreach he has been fighting for years.

During his time as attorney general in the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, he has led several law suits against EPA regulations in his state. In 2014 when the EPA proposed new rules to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Pruitt responded telling State Impact News that, “The EPA can’t force utility companies to actually incorporate emission control measures unless they’re achievable through technology. And here, there really isn’t any demonstrated technology that will see a reduction of 30 percent.”

Oklahoma and Texas joined together for a Supreme Court case that year the EPA likely overstepped their authority. The case argued that despite how the Obama administration and the agency itself were interpreting the Clean Air Act, it was not a blanket agreement for the EPA to act however they see fit.

Pruitt also led the fight against cross state air pollution rules, mercury and air toxins reduction, and regional haze regulations. Pruitt has also sued the EPA to take apart the agency’s sue and settle scam to expand its powers.

Pruitt’s battles are not about science; they never have been. They are about the crippling regulations the unelected bureaucrats of the EPA impose on states and businesses that destroy local economies.

Since the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the agency has regulated carbon emissions as “harmful pollutants” under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Then, under the Obama administration that is exactly what the EPA did with the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding. This rulemaking in turn has been used to justify the continual implementation of regulations that expand the agency’s power and wage a war on coal via the new and existing power plant rules.

The EPA has expanded its reach through sue and settle lawsuits as well. Environmental groups sue the EPA or local governments demanding to have issues addressed. To avoid further litigation, the parties settle the suit and the EPA is given permission to address the issue with newly expanded powers, even if previously the EPA had not jurisdiction or authority over the issue.

Pruitt has already taken a stance against these abusive tactics, not only because they provide the EPA with impermissible powers but because when these “friendly lawsuits” are encouraged they adversely affect the due process system. Pruitt attacked the “loopholes” to legislation that the EPA had been finding, and forced them to be accountable for their policy.

Now as EPA administrator, Pruitt won’t need to sue to get these regulations rescinded. While the removal of these regulations can sometimes take years under the terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, the process will be infinitely more focused and efficient with Pruitt to begin action immediately. We can be certain he’ll get started right away.

The EPA has spent nearly a decade overreaching its power and hampering state economies, finally the agency will be brought to heel by Pruitt. Trump’s selection of Pruitt is evidence of his belief in the American economy above all else, and the coal workers who helped elect Trump to end the war on coal electricity can once again celebrate that he is following through on his promises to the people.



Conservatives must strongly support Trump on climate change

And on his EPA, Interior and other environmental nominations – and their policy decisions

Tom Harris

President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition to the global warming alarm is a refreshing change from the Obama administration’s na├»ve and hugely expensive crusade to lead the world to ‘save the climate.”

Not only has Trump been right on the money in his descriptions of the sub-prime science underlying the scare. He also clearly understands that there is little chance the developing world, the source of most of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, will follow the US lead anyway, as it strives to lift billions out of poverty. These nations don’t even have to. There is an “out” clause for developing countries in the United Nations treaty on which the Paris Agreement is based.

Trump has started out well. First, he appointed Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition, to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team.

As one of the ‘climate criminals’ targeted by activists in wanted posters across Paris during the December 2015 UN climate conference, Ebell is no stranger to controversy. He has faced up to aggressive global warming campaigners for years on television and radio, in newspapers and public presentations, and in his advocacy for solid science and affordable, plentiful, reliable energy.

Next, Trump selected Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to run the EPA. Like Ebell, Pruitt is a climate realist. He wrote in the National Review in May of this year, “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged – in classrooms, public forums and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”

Climate activists are outraged that such people will now have significant influence over America’s, and indeed the world’s climate, environment and energy policies. Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Washington DC-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, sums up the reaction to Trump’s appointments: “The sheer panic and harsh criticism emanating from the Left, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, only validates that he must be ‘saying and doing all the right things.’’”

Despite listening to people from across the political spectrum on these issues, even meeting with former Vice-President Al Gore on Tuesday, it seems unlikely that Trump will change his mind on climate change. Yet, conservatives cannot afford to withdraw from the fight and simply assume that things will continue to go their way after Inauguration Day.

After all, Trump has not been a consistent opponent of global warming hysteria over the years. He was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2008, and a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, which identifies climate change as its first “issue area.”

In 2009, Trump, along with Ivanka, Donald Junior and Eric Trump, signed an open letter to President Obama and Congress supporting “measures to control climate change,” even though doing so is a physical impossibility. The letter, published in the New York Times December 6, 2009, implored:

“Please don’t postpone the Earth. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

So, like former Canadian prime Minister Stephen Harper, who campaigned for office as a climate skeptic, but changed sides after being elected, Trump could end up again supporting climate alarmism if realists don’t strongly support his current policies … and hold his feet to the fire if he waivers.

Already, climate activists and their allies in the scientific community are working hard to change Trump’s mind on global warming:

* November 17: An open letter signed by thousands of women scientists was released. They claimed to fear that “scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time.”

Yet, the 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) cited hundreds of research papers published in leading science journals, demonstrating that today’s climate change is nothing to fear. In particular, they concluded that “neither the rate nor magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lies outside normal natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history.”

Current climate change is so slow – 1.5 degrees between 1880 and 2012, according to the United Nations – that we have plenty of time to properly consider alternative points of view on this complex topic.

* November 30: The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released an open letter it had coordinated to Trump and Congress. The 2,300 scientist endorsers worried that, without adequate research resources, “we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather.”

This too is misleading. As the NIPCC report explained: “The commonly held perception that twentieth century warming was accompanied by an increase in extreme weather events is a misconception fostered by excessive media attention, and has no basis in facts.”

* December 6: Over 800 energy and earth science researchers signed another open letter to Trump, urging him to “take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change.”

The letter is riddled with mistakes. Besides the UCS extreme weather blunder, they erroneously labelled plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution.” They claim the science backing the scare is “unequivocal,” a claim that is irrational in any scientific endeavor and especially one this immature.

They said that “virtually all climate scientists” disagree with Trump, an assertion easily disproved by the NIPCC reports; dozens of open letters and other documents endorsed by leading climate experts; former space scientists, engineers and astronauts with The Right Climate Stuff group; and a statement by 31,487 American scientists expressing extreme doubt about manmade climate cataclysms.

Backing all this up is the continuous global warming drumbeat from mainstream media. The National Geographic Society provided a good example in “The Global Dangers of Trump’s Climate Denial,” in which it erroneously claimed that “Trump’s stance on climate change runs counter to physical evidence [and] near-universal scientific consensus....”

To counter such reporting, Trump must promote solid science to justify his position. In particular, the president-elect must be convinced to make full use of reports such as those of the NIPCC to demonstrate that much of what activists say about climate change is simply wrong.

Otherwise, history may repeat itself – and like Harper and both President Bushes, Trump may yield to the aggressive climate movement. That would be a disaster for the United States, and indeed for all nations that rely on a prosperous America for freedom.

Republicans ... and what is left of moderate Democrats who care about working class Americans ... must get behind EPA Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt. He is truly a leader who has the character, wisdom, legal skills and understanding to lead the EPA in a new, more constructive direction.

Via email

Conservative Group, Liberal Bloggers Trade Shots Over Elon Musk’s Taxpayer Subsidies

A conservative advocacy group has a special name for liberal bloggers who have rushed in to defend the business practices of Elon Musk, the multibillionaire co-founder of taxpayer-funded renewable energy and space technology companies. It calls them “stoogers.”

Despite “mounting evidence of cronyism by his crumbling empire, Elon Musk has tapped stooge-like left-wing bloggers to come to his defense,” according to a press release from Citizens for the Republic, a grassroots conservative group based in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Musk should not be permitted to bail out his own companies with taxpayer money,” @dianasbpa says.

The group bitingly defines a “stooger” as “a liberal person … living in their basement spewing left-wing prevarications and slander via blogs, which few read.”

For months now, Citizens for the Republic has been sharply critical of Musk and the government subsidies that flow into his companies. In recent days, however, liberal bloggers and left-leaning news outlets have published articles raising questions about the political action committee’s motivations, objectives, and funding sources.

Diana Banister, a partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs and executive director of Citizens for the Republic, told The Daily Signal in an interview that she suspects the blogs “received their marching orders from Musk” in the aftermath of the November elections.

With Donald Trump about to move into the White House, Musk knows that lawmakers may be more inclined to move against “crony government deals” that benefit his companies, Banister said.

Citizens for the Republic keeps tabs on Musk’s corporate enterprises at the “Stop Elon From Failing Again” website.

“If Musk is suddenly afraid of us and what we are exposing, this might be his reaction to the election results,” Banister said. “He’s panicked and so are his supporters, and this might explain why you see these obscure left-wing blogs popping up to attack us.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from two of Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla Motors, on the criticism of  his business practices and the allegation that he recruited bloggers to defend him. Neither organization has responded.

Musk, 45, is a South African-born, Los Angeles-based business mogul who has gained fame for his efforts to combat global warming and to establish a human colony on Mars.

But Musk also has been subjected to widespread criticism for pulling in billions of dollars in government subsidies for companies that produce electric cars, sell solar panels, and launch rockets into space.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp., and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., widely known as SpaceX, cumulatively have benefited from about $5 billion in government subsidies, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times from government sources.

Tesla and SolarCity consistently have reported net losses while SpaceX, as a private outfit, does not release financial reports to the public. On Nov. 17, Tesla shareholders approved a $2 billion acquisition of SolarCity.

Musk was chairman and co-founder of SolarCity, a solar energy company based in San Mateo, California. He was also chairman and founder of Tesla Motors, the electric car company based in Palo Alto, California.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that Musk was the largest shareholder in both companies. The merger means that Musk could sell electric cars and solar roofs under one corporate brand.

But without taxpayer-funded support, these companies could not survive, Banister told The Daily Signal.

“Musk should not be permitted to bail out his own companies with taxpayer money,” she said. “But that’s what happened with this acquisition.”

One of the blogs Banister cites as putting out what she views as skewed and misleading material can be found at

A Nov. 24 post there charges that Citizens for the Republic overlooks subsidies the oil and gas industry receives from the federal government. The post says “fake news everywhere” gives Musk good reason to be suspicious that his competitors in the fossil fuel industry lurk behind coverage that is critical of his enterprises.

Musk himself tweeted Nov. 22:  “Can anyone uncover who is behind these fake pieces?”

“Let the trolls launch their slings and arrows Elon’s way,” the post says. “They will not deter him from moving toward his goal—a world where fossil fuels stay in the ground and abundant renewable electricity from the sun is the order of the day.”

Another liberal blog, “The Drive,” on Nov. 22 suggested a link between “big oil” and Citizens for the Republic. That same day, Bloomberg News ran a story about Musk and his online critics that cites the “Stop Elon Musk From Failing Again” website and raises questions about financial support for Citizens for the Republic.

The Daily Signal unsuccessfully sought comment from both blogs via Twitter.

In a press release titled “Bloomberg Smells of Musk,” Citizens for the Republic describes Bloomberg News as a “one-sided, left-wing” media operation. It says the Bloomberg article reads like a propaganda piece that overlooks the fact Musk has received billions in taxpayer funding even though his companies “show no signs of financial stability or success.”

In an online interview about his report on “internet trolls” who have been critical of Musk, Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Paul Barrett says it is difficult to “connect the dots” between Citizens for the Republic and the group’s supporters.

“The dots are that we don’t believe the government should prop up companies or industries, big banks, big abortion, big education, big media, or any others,” Banister said, adding:

We believe in the marketplace. When SolarCity can’t make a profit, and Tesla can’t make a profit, and SpaceX can’t make a profit, it’s not the American taxpayer who should continue to fund these companies. We are against using taxpayer subsidies to bail out failing companies, and we welcome anyone who supports our cause.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Barrett by email, but has not received a response. The Daily Signal also emailed and spoke with a Bloomberg News spokeswoman about responding to Citizens for the Republic, but the outlet has not replied.

Ronald Reagan originally established Citizens for the Republic in 1977, three years before he won the presidency. Conservative activists relaunched the political action committee in 2010 with Banister and Craig Shirley, her partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, as board members.

Shirley, the author of three books on Reagan, also serves as chairman of Citizens for the Republic, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.  He is founder, chairman, and CEO of Shirley & Banister, and Banister is president of the public relations firm.

In June, Citizens for the Republic set up the Sunlight Project, an initiative “to monitor and expose corruption and cronyism at the nexus of government and business.” The “Stop Elon From Failing Again” website is an extension of this project.



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