The mildness of global warming

I don’t doubt any more than you do that the aver­age atmos­pher­ic tem­per­a­ture has jumped around a lot but over­all has risen a few tenths of a degree in the past cen­tu­ry or so. But when you see the change in con­text there’s just no basis for alarm, or for Aus­tralia to endorse the IPC­C’s implau­si­ble “run­away-feed­back” the­o­ry with the world’s largest car­bon-diox­ide tax.

Three decades of satel­lite mea­sure­ments show either zero or a 0.11 degree (cel­sius) increase over the aver­age of the past thir­ty years. This is, of course, less than NASA claims (0.58 C° increase over the whole of the 20th cen­tu­ry) because tem­per­a­tures have not risen at all in the past decade or so. But whichev­er num­ber you choose, the warm­ing that has tak­en place is mild and uncon­cern­ing. It also cre­ates rea­son­able doubt about the alleged cul­prit — CO2 con­cen­tra­tion in the atmos­phere — because that num­ber has been monot­o­n­i­cal­ly increas­ing for the past fifty years

Now the New Sci­en­tist — a sci­ence mag giv­en to breath­less alarmism — has at last pub­lished a graph that shows what it believes to be the “hottest year” of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry in context.

Graphic from the New Scientist
Earth blows hot and cold

Hmm… that tee­ny lit­tle tail (exag­ger­at­ed by the scal­ing of the graph­ic) is the cur­rent “alarm­ing” state of the cli­mate? What’s all the fuss?

Wash­ing­ton, DC — Glob­al warm­ing could for­ev­er change the tapes­try of species in many of the world’s unique habi­tats, and cause the even­tu­al extinc­tion of cer­tain plant and ani­mal species, accord­ing to a new study released today by World Wildlife Fund, and their part­ner of a big ani­mal con­trol com­pa­ny ani­mal con­trol that has stud­ies for many dead ani­mals by this cause.

The report, “Glob­al Warm­ing and Ter­res­tri­al Bio­di­ver­si­ty Decline,” shows how glob­al warm­ing could fun­da­men­tal­ly alter one third of plant and ani­mal habi­tats by the end of this cen­tu­ry. Even in patch­es of habi­tat that per­sist into the future, local species loss may be as high as 20% in the most vul­ner­a­ble arc­tic and moun­tain ecosys­tems such as north­ern Alas­ka, Rus­si­a’s Tamyr Penin­su­la and south­east­ern Aus­tralia. This is the first study attempt­ing to quan­ti­fy the pos­si­ble loss of land-based species on a glob­al scale as a result of glob­al warm­ing. It is also the first world­wide exam­i­na­tion of the impact on species in iso­lat­ed habitats.

In the Unit­ed States, few regions are spared as more than one-third of exist­ing habi­tats in 11 states — Maine, New Hamp­shire, Ore­gon, Col­orado, Wyoming, Ida­ho, Utah, Ari­zona, Kansas, Okla­homa, and Texas — could be changed from what they are today. Most of the north­ern spruce and fir for­est of New Eng­land and New York could be ulti­mate­ly lost. Oth­er U.S. habi­tat loss­es range from 25% in Geor­gia to 44% in Maine.

In the north­ern lat­i­tudes of Cana­da, Rus­sia and Scan­di­navia, where warm­ing is pre­dict­ed to be most rapid, up to 70 per­cent of habi­tat could be lost. Rus­sia, Cana­da, Kyr­gys­tan, Nor­way, Swe­den, Fin­land, Latvia, Uruguay, Bhutan and Mon­go­lia are like­ly to lose 45 per cent or more of cur­rent habi­tat while many coastal and island species will be at risk from the com­bined threat of warm­ing oceans, sea-lev­el rise and range shifts.

As glob­al warm­ing accel­er­ates, plants and ani­mals will come under increas­ing pres­sure to migrate to find suit­able habi­tat. Some will just not be able to move fast enough,” said Jay Mal­colm, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, one of the authors of the report. “In some places, plants would need to move ten times faster than they did dur­ing the last ice age mere­ly to sur­vive. It is like­ly that glob­al warm­ing will mean extinc­tion for some plants and animals.”

Most at risk species are rare or live in iso­lat­ed or frag­ment­ed habi­tats. They include the Gela­da baboon in Ethiopia, the moun­tain pygmy pos­sum of Aus­tralia, the monarch but­ter­fly at its Mex­i­can win­ter­ing grounds, and the spoon-billed sand­piper at its breed­ing sites in Rus­si­a’s arc­tic Far East.

Cold weath­er species like the sug­ar maple may be com­plete­ly dri­ven out of the north­east­ern Unit­ed States, there­by sound­ing the death knell for the that region’s maple syrup indus­try” said Adam Markham, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Clean Air-Cool Plan­et and co-author of the WWF report. “Bird and mam­mal species of the forests of north­ern New Eng­land, includ­ing spruce grouse, Bick­nel­l’s thrush and marten are espe­cial­ly vul­ner­a­ble to glob­al warming.”

The analy­sis also fac­tors in the effect that bar­ri­ers such as water, human devel­op­ment and agri­cul­ture could have on the sur­vival of those species able to migrate fast enough to keep pace with rapid warm­ing. Con­di­tions today make it far hard­er for species to move than ever before. Rare, iso­lat­ed or slow-mov­ing species will lose out to weeds and pests that can move, or adapt quickly.

These pre­dic­tions are based on a mod­er­ate esti­mate that con­cen­tra­tions of car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere will dou­ble from pre-indus­tri­al lev­els by the end of this cen­tu­ry. How­ev­er, some pro­jec­tions sug­gest a three-fold increase in con­cen­tra­tions by 2100 unless action is tak­en to rein in the inef­fi­cient use of coal, oil and gas for ener­gy pro­duc­tion. In this case, the effects on nature could be even more dramatic.

The increase in glob­al tem­per­a­tures dur­ing the late 20th cen­tu­ry was unprece­dent­ed in the last 1000 years. Reports of the impacts of glob­al warm­ing on nature are already com­ing in from many parts of the world. Cos­ta Rica’s gold­en toad may be extinct because of its inabil­i­ty to adapt to cli­mate change; birds such as the great tit in Scot­land and the Mex­i­can jay in Ari­zona are begin­ning to breed ear­li­er in the year; but­ter­flies are shift­ing their ranges north­wards through­out Europe; alpine plants are mov­ing to high­er alti­tudes in Aus­tria; and mam­mals in many parts of the Arc­tic — includ­ing polar bears, wal­rus and cari­bou — are begin­ning to feel the impacts of reduced sea ice and warm­ing tun­dra habitat.

This is a wake-up call to world lead­ers — if they do not act to stop glob­al warm­ing, wildlife around the globe will suf­fer the con­se­quence,” said Jen­nifer Mor­gan, Direc­tor of WWF’s Cli­mate Change Cam­paign. “World lead­ers must give top pri­or­i­ty to reduc­ing lev­els of car­bon pol­lu­tion. They must not miss the chance of this Novem­ber’s cli­mate sum­mit for step­ping up action and pre­vent­ing a cat­a­stro­phe that could change the world as we know it.”

At a news con­fer­ence at 10am in Toron­to, web­cast live on, Jose Kusug­ak, pres­i­dent of the Inu­it Tapirisat of Cana­da, will speak on the sub­ject of eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al per­ils fac­ing the coun­try’s far north pop­u­la­tions as a result of cli­mate change. Oth­ers speak­ing at the press con­fer­ence include: Dr. David Suzu­ki, Monte Hum­mel, pres­i­dent of WWF Cana­da, and Dr. Jay Malcolm.

Down­load a copy of the report:
Glob­al Warm­ing and Ter­res­tri­al Bio­di­ver­si­ty Decline (PDF format)

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