Midnight Rantings

Tired rantings in a tired world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

No, the sky is not really falling, but to hear environmentalists in this article about to come out, it is. The Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) is publishing an article in "Nature" that warns of mass extinction. The study concludes that between 18 and 35% of organisms would be extinct by 2050. In other words: 15-20% of all land species could be saved from extinction if the minimum scenario of climate warming occurs. The study's authors want to stop the production of greenhouse gases.

Let's look at the surface of this study. Can we predict what is going to happen 45 years from now? Can we predict what changes to the environment will do to a species? Can we predict naturally occurring extinction? Do we really want to make public policy on issues without hard and fast answers? Thomas Lovejoy in 1980 predicted 20% species extinction by 2000. This did not happen. Although most climatologists agree that the earth is warming, not all agree that it is due to man. There is some evidence to show that air quality is better.

Why would someone mislead us? I think there are many reasons. I think many environmentalists are anti-progress. They feel that man is inherently evil, thus anything he does is evil. The environmentalist feels that man has lost his connection with the natural world. The environmentalist worships at the alter of Nature.

The CABS is part of the Conservation International, who's mission is to conserve the Earth's living natural heritage, our global biodiversity, and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature. Can we? Do we want to live harmoniously with nature? One of the first things you learn about environmental science is that every organism affects its environment.

I do believe in conservation (small "c"). I am sure most people believe that pollution is bad,etc. However, vainly wishing for change will not happen. Passing laws does not make things magically better. There are too many variables to the equation. There have been too many silly predictions. When one predicts things like 1 million species will become extinct within 45 years, put your hip waders on, because it's getting deep.