Monday, May 11, 2015

One In Six Species Could Be Wiped Out By Climate Change

             So states a study published in the journal Science. Author Mark Urban (really?), an “evolutionary biologist” at the University of Connecticut, based his calculation on a meta-analysis of 131 previous studies that made predictions about how various species would fare in a warmer world.
An article in the Los Angeles Times about the study reported, “If current trends continue, the Earth’s temperature will wind up 4.3 degrees Celsius higher than it was before the onset of the industrial era.” Yes, and if current trends continue,  soon it will never be dark again in the northern hemisphere. For months on end now, it has been staying light later by a minute or two every night and getting light earlier in the morning, as well! I fear there will be little or no need for lighting of any sort soon. This would cause the lighting industry to collapse and might be the death knell for many owl species. Bats could face extinction, as well.
Too short a time period to extrapolate and make predictions, you say? Back in the 1970’s experts were shouting that, if current trends continue, the Earth was facing another ice age. Still too short? Over the course of the Pleistocene Era, starting about 1.8 million years ago, glacial ice sheets thickened and advanced, pushing their way across much of the land mass of the Earth. This “ice age” lasted until about 11,700 years ago, although many scientists claim that we are technically still in it. Primitive homo sapiens of the time surely were thinking, over the course of hundreds or thousands of years, “If current trends continue, we are so totally screwed. The whole damn planet will be covered in ice.”
As it was, many large mammals and other vertebrates died off during this time, due to the brutally harsh conditions. How many more species would have died off if those present trends continued and the ice sheets just kept expanding?
I’ve heard scientists say, time and again, that the tropics are home to the most plant and animal species and are a “treasured laboratory of diversity.” Are there more species on land and in the seas around the equator or in the arctic and Antarctic?
The 131 studies that were…studied…in this study, admittedly didn’t take into account “complex” factors such as how climate change may alter the way species interact with each other, nor did they attempt to predict how species might evolve and adapt to the changes.
Despite the admitted uncertainties faced in making these types of dramatic predictions, many scientists purport to believe we must act immediately to try to limit global warming/climate change, usually by drastically reducing emissions. Ready…Fire!!...Aim. Always a good plan!
Many dates in the Midwest have a record low temperature that is 60, 80 or even 90-plus degrees colder than their record high. Often times the records were only a few years apart, with some of the record cold temps in the last few years. Plants and animals managed to survive.
 This year, a lake I fish often had its  ice go out  35 days earlier than two years ago. And that date of two years past was the latest ever recorded. The lakes fish and the region’s flora and fauna are doing nicely, thank you.
I know that many “experts” will claim that I’m simply…well…not an expert and am not fully cognizant of the various complexities of planetary life. Well, most, if not all, of them aren’t either…and at least some admit it.
I will go with the historical record and logic- every time- over the catastrophic “predictions” of the experts. There is now and always will be climate change. (If there wasn’t, we’d be in trouble. That would mean, for example, that the sun expired or the Earth stopped rotating).  It is not, however, largely “man-caused.”
A temperature increase of one or two degrees- or even 3 or 4.3 degrees- is not going to be the end of the world.  The planet’s temperature has risen- and fallen- by that much, almost cyclically, at various times in the past.

If, however, the sun expired… so would we.


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