Tell Us When It Becomes An Emergency

Wed, 2007-05-23 06:11Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Tell Us When It Becomes An Emergency

Human activities are wiping out three animal or plant species every hour and the world must do more to slow the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs by 2010, the United Nations said.

Previous Comments

Yeah, right. More hyperalarmism from the UN. 3 species going extinct every hour? Sure. Name one then.

This type of non-scientific hubris peddled by alarmists inside the UN does them a great disservice by undermining their credibility.

Exxagerating threats beyond any credible or scientitic basis, and wholly unsupported by peer review, has been used in the past to browbeat the general public. It didn’t work then, and it isn’t working now. Regards,

“Exxagerating threats beyond any credible or scientitic basis, and wholly unsupported by peer review, has been used in the past to browbeat the general public.”

Again, Paul, your ideological fog/smog prevents you from seeing what’s really going on. Threats to this planet as a result of AGW have been consistently and constantly detailed in peer-reviewed journals. No peer-reviewed journal article paints a rosy picture of the future.

Have you actually read any peer-reviewed climate article recently? I doubt it.



I’ll reiterate Paul’s request: name one species which has gone extinct.

In fact, I’ll make it easy for you. The claim is that three animal or plant species go extinct every hour. That means that in one day, as they would have us believe, 72 species have gone extinct.

Pick any one of those species, and tell me which one went extinct today – or last Thursday, if you prefer.

For bonus points, tell us how many species went extinct on this day in, for example, 1783 or 1922?

Take your time. I can wait.

Here’s a little chore for you. Find out how many species there are in the world. Prove it.

We are now experiencing the Holocene Extinction Event, or the Sixth Extinction. (Do you guys have a problem with that number? Are you going to argue that there were not five previous extinction events?) Link here

“…Since 1500 AD, 784 extinctions have been documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources[1]. However, since most extinctions are likely to go undocumented, scientists estimate that during the last century, between 20,000 and two million species have become extinct, but the precise total cannot be determined more accurately within the limits of present knowledge. Up to 140,000 species per year (based on Species-area theory)[2] may be the present rate of extinction based upon upper bound estimating…”

IUCN red list of threatened species

List of extinct animals.

List of extinct plants.

Most recent animal extinctions

“Yangtze River Dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer, 13 December 2006
Western Black Rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis longipes, 8 June 2006
Po’o-uli Melamprosops phaeosoma, 3 December 2004…”

Note that that is just animals, not including plants, invertebrates, etc.

Great VJ. Since up to 140,000 species a year are going extinct, I am sure you can name at least 10 species that have disappeared in Canada in the last decade. That’s only one per year for Canada.

What’s that? You can’t name one? Why not?

The hyper exaggeration of extinction rates by activist scientists employing crude sophistry in an attempt to dupe the general public has completely discredited all this flatulent nonsense about a mythical “Sixth Extinction”.

The childhood phrase “Liar, liar, pants on fire” keeps coming to mind. Regards,

Prove that it is not happening. Produce peer-reviewed scientific papers which say that species are not going extinct. And by the way, you have not yet found out how many species there are in the world. Why not?

You made the claim VJ, not I. The onus is on you to prove the claim.

Sixth Extinction my eye. LOL Regards,

I believe that VJ’s links have references which are peer-reviewed. Read them and find out for yourself what they say. We’ve all got more important things to do.

Paul, you seem to be a waste of time.

So, with between 18,000 and 55,000 species going extinct EVERY year, you can not name one that has gone extinct in Canada recently Stephen.

Considering that 180,000 to 550,000 species have gone extinct worldwide in the last decade, it should be a breeze to provide us with a tiny list of, say ten, species that have gone the way of the dodo in Canada.

I breathlessly await your reply. Regard,

Paul, please tell us about your considerable experience in ecology that allows you to laugh at those learned scientists who are showing that we are in the midst (or at least the start) of the sixth extinction.

There are some very big names in natural science who are describing the sixth extinction. Please show us your proof that it is not happening.

Quote from an article by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin:

“Why has there been this criticism of scientists whose expertise supposedly is the understanding of the dynamics of biodiversity? Perhaps one reason is that the message is so startling that people are simply unwilling to hear it, or, if they hear it, are unwilling to believe it. A human-caused mass extinction is startling. Ecologists’ predictions therefore came to be viewed as “the outpouring of overwrought biological Cassandras,” says Thomas Lovejoy, of the Smithsonian Institution. 7 Another reason for the incredulity, no doubt, was the disparity of predictions from different authorities of the scale of the imminent extinction, which ranged from 17,000 species lost a year to more than 100,000. If the experts are so uncertain about the magnitude of the alleged extinction, critics legitimately wondered, how can we believe anything they say? I’ll come back to this.

There is, I suggest, a further reason, one having to do with uncertainty of a different nature: that is, about ourselves. If we accept that species can be pushed into extinction as easily as the ecologists are telling us, then perhaps the tenure of Homo sapiens is less secure than we would like to believe. Perhaps we, too, are destined for extinction. We dislike uncertainty about our origins; and we dislike uncertainty about our future even more”.

Which category do you fall into Paul or are you just contrary and will dispute anything reasonable scientists say just because you don’t like science and what it is telling us about our destructive ways?

From the same article here is a brief description of how the numbers were calculated:

“The method by which ecologists calculate the fate of species in habitats that are reduced in size is based on island biogeography theory, which the Harvard biologists Robert MacArthur and Edward Wilson developed in 1963. Partly the outcome of empirical observation, partly mathematical treatment, the theory is the foundation of much of modern ecological thinking. “We had noticed that the faunas and floras of islands around the world show a consistent relation between the area of the islands and the number of species living on them,” Wilson recalled recently. “The larger the area, the more the species. MacArthur and Wilson saw this relationship wherever they looked, from the British Isles to the Galipagos Islands to the archipelago of Indonesia. From these observations they deduced a simple arithmetical rule: the number of species approximately doubles with every tenfold increase in area. The qualitative relationship between area and number of species-the bigger the area, the more the species-seems intuitively obvious; and the quantitative relationship derives from empirical observation”.

Paul can you critique this at a scientific level or are you just throwing out nonsense which you seem to do a lot (DDT for example?)?

You spend a lot of time calling scientists names. You would be a lot better off by spending that time reading up on some real science then come back and discuss things in a rational manner. Otherwise you are the one to be laughed at, not the scientists you love to poke fun at and belittle in a very childish way.

The full article can be found at: http://www.well.com/user/davidu/sixthextinction.html

Ian Forrester

I’ll ask the same question I asked before Ian. Considering that between 180,000 and 550,000 species have gone extinct in the last decade, it should be a slam dunk for you to post a link naming a tiny number, say 10, of species that are no more in Canada these last ten years.

And posting a link outlining apocalyptic scenarios unsupported by data does not contribute “proof”.

Just 10 extinct species in Canada in the last decade. C’mon Ian, it should be easy to do. Regards,

Paul G said: “Just 10 extinct species in Canada in the last decade”.

If you had any knowledge of ecology you would know that what you ask is impossible. Why you ask?

Because a species has to go unreported for a minimum of 30 to 40 years before it is considered extinct. Thus we do nor know what species have gone extinct this decade for another 20 to 30 years.

Ian Forrester

Ok Ian, I will make it easier for you. Simply list 10 species that have not been at any time in Canada in the last decade. Even if it reappears in the future that’s ok.

And please, only 10! I realize many thousands of species have disappeared in Canada in the last decade (though not yet officially extinct) and if you posted all of them here, it would take up too much space on the blog, so I must insist on a maximum of 10. Regards,

See the answer that was posted below before Paul G. asked the question: “Extinct in Canada Dawson’s… Submitted by Carl Szczerski (not verified) on Fri, 2007-05-25 06:23.”

Trouble with reading compehension, Paul?

The Great Auk does not qualify as a recent extinction.

Since the UN is stating that between 180,000 and 550,000 species are going extinct every decade, it should be a simple matter to provide a list of 10 recent extinctions in Canada.

By any conservative estimate, 10’s of 1,000’s of species have obviously gone extinct in Canada recently. Out of these thousands upon thousand of extinctions, a simple list of 10 recent ones (within the last 10 years) would be appreciated. Regards,

Do your own research.

C’mon VJ. Don’t be so obstinate. Quit hiding the evidence of this massive increase in extinctions. No need to list them all. Simply provide a link to the scientific peer-reviewed literature. This evidence does exist, right? Regards,

Ian has already explained why your demand is unreasonable.

My request is straightforward. Ian explained the criteria for a species to be labelled extinct. The United Nations is well aware of extinction criteria. And the United Nations states 3 species are going extinct every hour.

So where’s the list?? Regards,

C’mon Paul. Don’t be so g**damn lazy! Do some reading for yourself. Or are you really incapable of doing so?

I could talk to all the world’s experts on extinction and still not get a list of recent extinctions in Canada.

Why do you so lazily accept whatever drivel the United Nations dishes out? Regards,

Paul G said: “Why do you so lazily accept whatever drivel the United Nations dishes out?”

Science is not decided by bad mouthing your antagonist. Science is decided by presenting facts, logic and competent interpretation of your data.

You keep on showing us your lack of knowledge and contempt of the scientific method.

Go back to playing in your sand box with your fellow kindergarten kids until you have matured enough to have a rational discussion.

Ian Forrester

grapsus stylographically deutoplasm twoness paniconography humanize smudgedly nonvicarious
School of Law http://www.ers-online.co.uk

melastomaceae quadrilobed nightwork tetrastylic baku pelviform formulable endotheliomyxoma
Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue http://www.santarosadaysinn.com

Extinct in Canada

Dawson’s Caribou, Sea Mink, Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Deepwater Cisco, Longjaw Cisco, Banff Longnose Dace, Blue Walleye

Extripated, ie no longer existing in but in other places

Grizzly Bear (Prairie population), Black-footed Ferret, Swift Fox, Walrus (Northwest Atlantic population), Gray Whale (Atlantic population), Greater Prairie-Chicken, Pygmy Short-horned Lizard, Gravel Chub, Paddlefish, Blue-eyed Mary, Illinois Tick Trefoil

No timeline or specific dates of each, but another 55 species are listed as endangered in Canada with conseravation efforts likely to go either way with some. These species only touch on the very visable, nothing to be said about microbial (bacterial/fungal) and would seem to focus on the animals for the most part.

So no recent extinctions, that’s what you are saying Carl? Regards,

Extinction is Nature’s way but having said that, if human activity such as land use practices and pollution of air and water is causing some of it, we need to focus on remedies. Every second and dollar spent pursuing cures for alleged human-caused global warming is time and money that could have been spent on environmental problems that are real.
Global warming destroys habitat which makes species go extinct. It’s as real as it gets.
I really don't get it John. What bigger remedy to the world's problems, both environmentally and socially, is there than reducing fossil fuel consumption and moving to renewable energy sources. On top of that, isn't the move to renewables inevitable? 

No Kevin, neither inevitable nor possible. You can’t run a modern industrial society on sunbeams, zephyrs or moonshine.

I agree that we should be curbing our consumption of petroleum and natural gas - not in response to global warming fantasies, but to conserve these non-renewable resources as long as possible. The only practical alternative is more electricity generated by coal and nuclear plants. I vote for nuclear as the best health and public safety option. (See, for example, “The Health Hazards of Not Going Nyclear” by Dr. Petr Beckman (1976) if you like lots of graphics and tabulations.)

The waste of precious natural gas for base load electrical generation is a crying shame, and guess where the greatest impetus for that is coming from. From primativist “earth saviors” who have concluded that cutting CO2 emissions is a valid exercise, and consequences be damned.

No, the practical alternative is to waste less energy to begin with, by walking or biking instead of driving, by buying locally, by turning down the thermostat, by turning off appliances that are not in use, by using energy efficient applicances, lights, etc., and by demanding higher fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles - no more free rides for half-tons and SUVs.

The next practical alternative is to increase our use of wind, solar, and other renewable energy. Stop giving subsidies to the oil and gas industry and apply them to renewables instead. Every farm on the prairies should have a windmill to fill at least part of their energy needs.

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