Monday, May 02, 2022

Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk

Bliss! The climate tyrants and the virus tyrants get together. The elite have now got twin cannons aimed at the rest of us, each justifying tyranny over us.

But there is some logic to it. Warmer environments are better for all life and virus life should be part of that. But since the warming is trivial the effect on viral life should also be trivial.

Colin J. Carlson et al.


At least 10,000 virus species have the capacity to infect humans, but at present, the vast majority are circulating silently in wild mammals1,2. However, climate and land use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated species of wildlife3,4. In some cases, this will facilitate zoonotic spillover—a mechanistic link between global environmental change and disease emergence. Here, we simulate potential hotspots of future viral sharing, using a phylogeographic model of the mammal-virus network, and projections of geographic range shifts for 3,139 mammal species under climate change and land use scenarios for the year 2070. We predict that species will aggregate in new combinations at high elevations, in biodiversity hotspots, and in areas of high human population density in Asia and Africa, driving the novel cross-species transmission of their viruses an estimated 4,000 times. Because of their unique dispersal capacity, bats account for the majority of novel viral sharing, and are likely to share viruses along evolutionary pathways that will facilitate future emergence in humans. Surprisingly, we find that this ecological transition may already be underway, and holding warming under 2 °C within the century will not reduce future viral sharing. Our findings highlight an urgent need to pair viral surveillance and discovery efforts with biodiversity surveys tracking species’ range shifts, especially in tropical regions that harbor the most zoonoses and are experiencing rapid warming.


Greenhouse gas emissions could trigger a 'mass extinction' of marine life to levels not seen since the DINOSAURS, scientists warn

Just another prophecy

Greenhouse gas emissions could trigger a mass extinction of marine life to levels not seen since before the dinosaurs, a new study says.

Researchers in New Jersey have modeled future extinction risks for marine life in all the world's oceans, under different projected climate scenarios.

If emissions are not curbed, the loss of marine species from global warming and oxygen depletion could mirror the 'Great Dying', Earth's deadliest extinction event, by around 2100, they say.

Known as Earth's deadliest extinction, the Great Dying saw the loss of 95 per cent of all marine species when it occurred around 250 million years ago.

It could also match other big extinction events in Earth's history, including the End-Cretaceous mass extinction which killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

According to the researchers, tropical waters would experience the greatest loss of biodiversity, while polar species are at the highest risk of extinction.


Around 250 million years ago, a catastrophic event called the Great Dying saw almost all life on Earth wiped out.

Scientists believe around 95 per cent of all marine life perished during the mass extinction, and less than a third of life on land survived the event.

In total, it is believed that 90 per cent of all life was wiped out.

All life on Earth today is descended from the roughly 10 per cent of animals, plants and microbes that survived the extinction.

During the Great Dying, a supercontinent called Pangaea covered the Earth.

On a more positive note, reversing greenhouse gas emissions could reduce the risk of extinction by more than 70 per cent, the experts say.

'The silver lining is that the future isn't written in stone,' said first author Justin Penn at Princeton University's Department of Geosciences.

'The extinction magnitude that we found depends strongly on how much carbon dioxide [CO2] we emit moving forward.

'There's still enough time to change the trajectory of CO2 emissions and prevent the magnitude of warming that would cause this mass extinction.'

The Great Dying marks a period where life on Earth has never been so close to becoming completely extinct without recovering, either before or since.

Also known as the Permian-Triassic event, it wiped out 95 per cent of marine species and 70 per cent of terrestrial species at the time roughly 250 million years ago.

When the CO2 dissolved in the oceans, they became highly acidic and the level of oxygen in the water was reduced, killing sea life.

Scientists have long debated the theories of the cause of the extinction ranging from a meteor impact to volcanoes, which could have caused climatic and environmental changes making Earth inhospitable.

But should the next mass extinction event occur, history will place the blame squarely at greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity.


Earth has experienced five mass extinctions caused by natural phenomena, but a new study suggests a sixth event is underway and human activities are to blame.

The research, led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, reveals our planet has lost 150,000 to 260,000 (7.5 to 13 percent) of all its two million known species since 1500.

The study, led by Robert Cowie with the University of Hawaii, notes that the Red List of Threatened Species includes mostly birds and mammals, but leaves out most invertebrates - a group that has seen a dramatic loss.

For the study, Penn and co-author Curtis Deutsch, also at Princeton, combined existing data on marine species with models of climate change to predict how changes in habitat conditions will affect their survival.

The experts compared their model to the magnitude of the 'Big Five', five historical mass extinctions captured in the fossil record, of which the Great Dying is one.

Under 'business as usual' global temperature increases, marine life will likely experience mass extinctions potentially rivaling the size and severity of the Great Dying, the researchers say.

Seeing as the Great Dying is Earth's deadliest extinction event, the upcoming marine extinction would therefore likely surpass the other four.

Among the events, they found a common pattern – as ocean temperature increases and oxygen availability drops, there is a pronounced decrease in the abundance of marine life.

Water temperature and oxygen availability are two key factors that will change as the climate warms due to human activity.

Warmer water is not only a risk factor for species that are adapted for cooler climates; it also holds less oxygen than cooler water, which leads to more sluggish ocean circulation that reduces the oxygen supply at depth.

Paradoxically, species' metabolic rates increase with water temperature, so the demand for oxygen rises as the supply decreases.

'Once oxygen supply falls short of what species need, we expect to see substantial species losses,' Penn said.

Marine animals have physiological mechanisms that allow them to cope with environmental changes, but only up to a point, the experts say.

The researchers found that polar species are more likely to go globally extinct if climate warming occurs because they will have no suitable habitats to move to.

Tropical marine species will likely fare better because they have traits that allow them to cope with the warm, low-oxygen waters of the tropics.

To quantify the relative importance of climate in driving extinctions, the team also compared future extinction risks from climate warming to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on current threats to various marine animals.

They found that climate change currently affects 45 per cent of the marine species at risk of extinction, but is only the fifth-most important stressor after overfishing, transportation, urban development and pollution.

However, Penn said, climate change could soon eclipse all of these stressors in importance.

'Extreme warming would lead to climate-driven extinctions that, near the end of the century, will rival all current human stressors combined,' he said.

The study, 'Avoiding ocean mass extinction from climate warming,' has been published today in the journal Science.

Five times, a vast majority of the world's life has been snuffed out in what have been called mass extinctions.

End-Ordovician mass extinction

The first of the traditional big five extinction events, around 540 million years ago, was probably the second most severe. Virtually all life was in the sea at the time and around 85% of these species vanished.

Late Devonian mass extinction

About 375-359 million years ago, major environmental changes caused a drawn-out extinction event that wiped out major fish groups and stopped new coral reefs forming for 100 million years.

End-Permian mass extinction (the Great Dying)

The largest extinction event and the one that affected the Earth's ecology most profoundly took place 252 million years ago. As much as 97% of species that leave a fossil record disappeared forever.

End-Triassic mass extinction

Dinosaurs first appeared in the Early Triassic, but large amphibians and mammal-like reptiles were the dominant land animals. The rapid mass extinction that occurred 201 million years ago changed that.

End-Cretaceous mass extinction

An asteroid slammed down on Earth 66 million years ago, and is often blamed for ending the reign of the dinosaurs.


A ‘Carbon Fee’ Will Not Save Hawaii from Climate Change

A recent story in the Honolulu Civil Beat claims that climate change in Hawaii, driven by fossil-fuel use, is damaging the islands, a problem that can be solved by imposing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. These claims are demonstrably false. Climate change is not causing unusual damage to Hawaii, and carbon fees will only hurt residents, shifting emissions—and the jobs that produce them—elsewhere, and have no impact on climate.

In the article, “Climate Change Requires Policy Change,” the author claims that climate change is caused by human fuel burning. In reality, the Earth’s climate changes regardless of human activity.

The author writes, “Of course, you should recycle, compost, use a reusable water bottle, etc., but climate change is the result of decades of burning fossil fuels and even giving them subsidies.”

The past has been both much warmer and cooler, with no human burning of fuels involved, as discussed on Climate Realism here, here, and here, for example. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that current CO2 levels are where they were about 3.6 million years ago, as reported in at Climate Realism here. Yet today’s sea levels are nowhere near what they were then, and Earth’s average temperature during that time was 7 degrees higher than it is today.

Data presented in Climate at a Glance: Sea Level Rise shows average sea levels are currently rising at approximately the same rate they have since the end of the last ice age. Figure 1 below shows sea level rise in Honolulu has been relatively constant for the last hundred years at about 1.55mm per year, adding up to a half foot per hundred years, which is half as much as the average global rate since the mid-1800s.

The Hawaiian Islands are formed by a volcanic “hot spot” which remains stationary while the Pacific Plate moves north-west. Because of this motion, the southmost islands are youngest, while the Leeward Islands in the chain are oldest. The plate moves slowly over the hot spot, carrying islands away, and without new lava adding to them, they slowly succumb to the erosion of waves and tides, and eventually are submerged entirely. Every island of Hawaii as we know it will eventually be gone, with new islands replacing them. No anthropogenic cause required.

To prevent climate change induced damage, the author endorsed imposing a tax on carbon dioxide.

Policies like a carbon fee or tax suffer from “Pollution leakage,” meaning that because the products—in this case fuel, electricity, and goods—are so essential, they will still be produced elsewhere as manufacturers move operations overseas. This results in no net reduction in emissions.

The carbon tax will not reduce emissions, but, as Climate at a Glance: Carbon Dioxide Taxes shows, a carbon dioxide tax is highly regressive, dramatically increasing energy bills, fuel costs, and the prices for goods and services, which harm poor and middle income households the most.

Hawaii already has the highest cost of living of any other state, with much more expensive utilities and groceries than the national average. A plan that involves making electricity, groceries, and fuel costs in Hawaii even more expensive is not helpful for the poor there.

The admitted goal of the program would be to make petroleum-based fuel sources so expensive, that electric vehicles and other “renewables” become more relatively more affordable. It will not reduce the absolute price for those goods, however, and will harm Hawaii’s economy as a whole. Hawaii depends entirely on fossil fuel transport—most of their food comes from non-Hawaiian sources, and must arrive by ship or plane. Tourism, Hawaii’s largest industry, is predicated in part on affordable airline tickets, which will obviously become more costly with carbon taxes, and could lead to reduced tourism. According to the Energy Information Administration, jet fuel makes up almost three-fifths of Hawaii’s petroleum consumption.

It is absurd to levy this sort of regressive tax on people, potentially destroying household budgets in a state that is already extremely expensive to live in. This absurdity is redoubled when that tax is meant to prevent the climate from changing, which the action won’t do. Even if carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to climate change, as The Heartland Institute’s new study, “Climate at a Glance for Teachers and Students: Facts on 30 Prominent Climate Topics,” shows, this is no cause for alarm. As importantly, in 2018, Hawaii produced 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, China produced 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each day, 21 times more carbon dioxide each day than Hawaii emits in a year. As a result, any contribution Hawaii’s carbon dioxide emissions are making to climate change is so small, the carbon tax will have no noticeable effect whatsoever on climate.


Climate Misanthropes Say Fighting Climate Change Is More Important Than Food, Reliable Energy, and Peace

In the face of unbearable human tragedy around the world, children starving, women and children being bombed, and homes and businesses without power, climate scolds continue to insist climate change is the most important danger the world faces.

With pictures streaming daily out of Africa and Ukraine showing grossly malnourished and starving children as well as leveled cities, callous Biden administration officials, environmental reporters, and researchers, more concerned about continuing the flow of research dollars than saving human lives, insist governments focus their attention on preventing hypothetical future climate harms, rather than present humanitarian crises.

People are starving in Africa today. People are being killed by Russia’s unconscionable actions in Ukraine as I write. Yet, misanthropic climate alarmists are concerned temperatures might be a little bit hotter 10, 30, 50, or 100 years from now—and insist working to prevent the latter should be the main focus of government efforts. They decry the fact that war and lack of food is diverting attention away from the purported climate crisis.

Proof of this heartless inattention to very real human suffering by climate obsessives arises almost daily, promoted by the corporate media no less. Just a few days before Vladimir Putin launched his deadly invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, bemoaned on BBC Arabic the effect the war would have, not on people, but on people’s focus on climate change, saying:

“But it [the war] could have a profound negative impact on the climate, obviously. You have a war and obviously you’re going to have massive emissions consequences to the war. But equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus, you’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact.”

Kerry then expressed the hope that Putin would remain focused on climate change, regardless of any actions he took in Ukraine. Kerry’s statements were both clueless and vile.

I and others at The Heartland Institute have previously detailed how Europe’s and America’s energy policies, and their dependence on Russian oil and natural gas, were contributing factors to the war in Ukraine as well as global food shortages and price hikes.

Biden seemingly recognized at least part of the problem and signed an agreement to ship U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe to supplant the loss of Russian gas supplies. The reaction from the progressive climate left was predictable, perhaps exemplified best by an article in The Hill, titled “LNG exports will add to climate change.” The authors of the article warn of the increased greenhouse gas emissions from the production of natural gas, and the added infrastructure, pipelines, shipping terminals, etc., from ramping up U.S. LNG production and shipping it to help Europe out of its energy crisis.

Rather than helping Europeans heat their homes, cook, and run their lights on U.S. natural gas, the academics behind this article say, in effect, let Europeans’ heat pumps and electric appliances run on wind turbines and solar panels. Of course, this call for electrifying Europe with renewable power is disingenuous, and the writers know it. Europe is far ahead of every other region on Earth in the use of wind and solar power. As wind and solar have failed spectacularly in recent months, this reliance has contributed to the trading bloc’s energy woes.

Never fear, climate harpies, Biden got the message. Even as he was talking the talk of helping our European allies with LNG, his administration was putting in place new rules to make the proposed expansion of gas development and shipments nearly impossible. Just a week after saying he would expand LNG exports to Europe, Biden rescinded Trump-era National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations allowing the expedited construction of critical infrastructure. Biden’s NEPA rules virtually guarantee no new gas pipelines or LNG shipping terminals or associated infrastructure can be built. So much for sticking it to Putin and helping Europe.

Then there’s the food crisis. People, thousands of them, many children, are not just going hungry but starving to death daily.

“More than 13 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia already are experiencing extreme hunger, according to a recent report from humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps,” states an article in the Scientific American. “Humanity now is feeling the rumblings of a ‘seismic hunger crisis,’ the World Food Programme warned earlier this month.”

Based on these facts, if you thought the Scientific American article was a clarion call for countries to do whatever was necessary to immediately reverse this humanitarian crisis, you’d be wrong. The title of the article says everything you need to know about Scientific American’s true concern: “Responses to Rising Hunger Could Threaten Climate Goals.” The article subtitle goes on to decry the fact that “policy makers are considering easing environmental protection measures to allow for increased crop production.” Imagine the temerity of Europe considering allowing an increase in crop production to save lives today, despite climate models projecting modestly rising sea levels in the future; the horror of it!

Never fear, in America, we are much more sensible. Despite rapidly rising food prices and often empty store shelves, the Biden administration seems unwilling to pause its inane attempt to control future weather in order to enhance food security. Despite pleas from members of Congress and farm groups, the U.S. Agriculture Department has thus far refused to grant waivers to allow the import of fertilizer or to allow farmers to farm on fallow fields enrolled in the Conservation and Wetlands Reserve programs. The crop season has begun, people are starving, prices are higher, and the Biden administration fiddles as the world’s food supply is figuratively burning.

Peoples around the world face many more immediate, pressing, and deadly problems than climate change. That’s an indisputable fact. It’s immoral and inhumane for the media to keep giving climate alarmists a platform to claim otherwise.




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