Saturday, March 29, 2014


The Current Extinction Rate

There are myriad estimates of the current rate of species extinction, some of which estimates are clearly impossibly high. So what's the truth? First a sampling of the estimates.

This guy says dozens of species are going extinct every day. Call it 36--more than 13,000 a year.

These guys say it's 72 per day (more than 26,00 a year) and another says 50,000 to 100,000 per year.

Now that's just absurd. Name one species that went extinct in 2013. One! Even the science magazine Nature says cool it with the too-high-for-anyone-to-believe estimates.

Now keep in mind this is species, not sub-species or breeds or races. Thus, if you say, for example, Caspian tigers are gone but Sumatran, Bengal and Siberian tigers etc. are not extinct, then tigers are not extinct as a species but only one sub-species of tigers, one local race of tigers is gone. That's not what we're talking about. If you're saying the species we call tigers (Panthera tigris) is extinct, that means there are no tigers at all, anywhere, anymore.

A little more on the rational side is this German site, which says that 263 vertebrate species have gone extinct in the past 513 years or just under two such species a year about 1 species every other year.

Now there is no doubt that the average 'normal' background species eradication has ticked up a bit since mankind started hunting in earnest (Mammoths, Ground Sloths and their their predators Saber Tooth Tigers, Dire Wolves, etc,); and then ticked up again when humans began transporting species which had involved elsewhere onto islands around the world--first with boats and then with airplanes. But that's not global warming as a cause, nor, I would argue, is it a massive extinction as some are alleging. Although I do miss each of the species we hunted to extinction, I realize it probably would have each been impossible to have them in great numbers and still have modern agriculture, which supports Earth's large human population (which is good).

Global Warming Climate change has done nothing to cause even one species to go extinct. Or so the IPCC is apparently prepared to admit, say the Germans, to which admission the alarmists are quick to add "yet!"

It's not warming and that's becoming impossible to deny and not look completely looney (some don't seem to mind seeming completely looney). It's not warming, yet all the pre-1998 climate models said it would so the only so-called evidence the alarmist true believers have (and computer simulations are NOT evidence) are looking ever more worthless. It's not warming and the ever more desperate search for an explanation that doesn't degrade the central alarmist tenet has again and again come up empty. (My favorite was hidden warmth in the deep seas measured not in degrees but in terawatts or gigajoules of energy, which sounds massive until you do the math and realize the temperature equivalent is about .07 degrees C higher which is too small for the Argo buoys' temperature sensors to measure, Oopsie).

As Dennis Miller said, one man's Global Warming is another man's "it's nice out."

But I see I've strayed from the over-hyped subject of species extinction.

UPDATE: Anonymous points out my simple math inability. Thanks. Fixed now.

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My goodness, we mankind are arrogant, aren't we?

Just as global warming (should it, in fact, be happening at all) may ultimately bestow greater benefit than harm on mankind (oh why stop there? maybe on the planet as a whole), who's to say that species going extinct is a necessarily bad/harmful thing?

For all we know, one species may have to go extinct for a new one to arise. We may never know the unseen cost of preserving that one species.
If "263 vertebrate species have gone extinct in the past 513 years", would that work out to one species every two years, rather than two species a year? Or is it still Monday?
Would we be upset of the anopheles mosquito went extinct? I think not. It's nice out more where most people live, with global warming; plants grow better and are more disease and drought resistant with CO2 at the average rate for most of the last 600 million years (that is, CO2 about 1000 ppmv).
There is the niche theory which says a "filled" environmental niche (diurnal apex avian predator for coniferous forests, eg.) prevents new species arising, but that can't be true all the time.
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