More new reports on global warming. The Bush administration has tried to delay the release of one of them, while the Wall Street Journal tries to muddy the waters.
Global warming has disrupted the lives of dozens of types of animals, birds and insects in the United States and will soon make the Arctic nearly unrecognizable, according to two reports released this week.
The reports document sweeping “you-can-see-them-with-your-own-eyes” ecological changes underway and offer dire predictions of massive species extinctions, an elevation of sea level by 3 feet and widespread disruptions to Earth’s life-support systems.
the first report:
These dramatic changes should be a wake-up call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster efforts to conserve American wildlife and natural habitat, said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that commissioned the Observed Impacts of Global Climate Change in the U.S. report.
But it could get much worse. As much as a third of all species will be extinct by 2050 by some estimates, said report co-author Hector Galbraith of Galbraith Environmental Sciences and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Galbraith said he also worries that entire ecosystems are being affected, which could disrupt soil creation, plant pollination and the natural cleaning of water and air. “Climate change has the potential to affect all those benefits that we get for free.”
The second report has been obstructed by the US:
The damage is most evident in the Arctic regions, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an unprecedented four-year scientific investigation.
Polar bears, walruses and some seals are on their way to extinction, warns the report, which was released Monday at an international science meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. Summer sea ice may disappear entirely and, combined with a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, will likely help raise the world’s sea levels 3 feet by 2100, swamping homes from Florida to Bangladesh.
Average winter temperatures in Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are projected to rise an additional 7 to 13 degrees over the next 100 years because of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities, said the report.
The assessment was commissioned by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body involving eight nations — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States — and six indigenous peoples’ organizations.
The Arctic Council wanted the scientific study and policy recommendations to be released at this week’s meeting in Reykjavik, but the latter has been delayed until Nov. 24, said Susan Joy Hassol, author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report. Although unwilling to explain the reason for the delay, Hassol said that seven of the eight Arctic nations had agreed to the recommendations some time ago.
When asked about the Arctic climate policy report, Claussen said the U.S. government does not want to see strong policy recommendations. “They prefer to stick with their own policies,” she said, and she doesn’t expect any major changes in the Bush administration’s policies on global warming.
Meanwhile the Bushies are busy trying to undercut the studies; witness an op-ed in the reactionary Wall Street Journal today, stating that only a few species became extinct in previous climate change eras. The op-ed conveniently omits the limitations of a “historical’ study, looking at conditions in which there were essentially no impacts by man. A little different today, wouldn’t you say? many habitats are severely restricted, thousands of new toxins and pollutants have been released into the environment, and man, at least Bush and the Wall St. Journal, seem to be aggressively promoting further damage, not solutions.
The author, Daniel B. Botkin, a scientist turned ‘think tanker,” (ie studies for hire) spreads a thick blanket of smoke, but fails to address the actual scientific studies he seems to criticize. He talks about mockingbirds in New York City, but fails to mention that most of it will be under water if we don’t change our ways. Instead, he cites Eric the Red’s voyages a thousand years ago. He deceptively misstates the findings of a retrospective epidemiologic study on tickborne disease in 1992-93. He writes:
…studies by Prof. Sarah Randolph of Oxford University show that temperature changes do not correlate with changes in the distribution or frequency of these diseases; warming has not broadened their distribution and is highly unlikely to do so in the future, global warming or not.
Dr. Randolph, however, wrote:
‘These uniform climatic changes cannot explain how the incidence of TBE varies from district to district with infection rates peaking at different times in neighbouring districts,’ said Professor Sarah Randolph of Oxford University who led the study. ‘Our research suggests that, while changes in climate may play a role, socio-economic effects – such as those related to the break-up of the Soviet Union – have a much greater influence.’ Professor Randolph adds that what is true for TBE is also likely to be true for other tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease.
A summary states:
The explanation proposed by the researchers is that climate is just one of many different types of factors…
In a true bout of mendacity or idiocy at the end of his piece, the author suggests that concerns for global warming are in opposition to concerns about habitat destruction.
I have come to expect nothing more from the Bush administration and the Wall Street Journal. It is sad that scientists like Daniel B. Botkin become tools of these global destructionists.