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The dying earth

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Jan. 8th, 2004 | 01:45 pm
mood: horrified
music: DI.fm Vocal Trance

From An Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming to Kill Off 1 Million Species; Scientists Shocked by Results of Research

"This is a deeply depressing paper. President Bush risks having the biggest impact on wildlife since the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs.


The nature paper referenced by the above essay is available for free: Feeling the heat: climate change and biodiversity loss

abstract: Many plant and animal species are unlikely to survive climate change. New analyses suggest that 15–37% of a sample of 1,103 land plants and animals would eventually become extinct as a result of climate changes expected by 2050. For some of these species there will no longer be anywhere suitable to live. Others will be unable to reach places where the climate is suitable. A rapid shift to technologies that do not produce greenhouse gases, combined with carbon sequestration, could save 15–20% of species from extinction. The cover shows a species in the firing line. Boyd's forest dragon, Hypsilurus boydii, is found in Queensland, Australia. About 90% of its distribution would become climatically unsuitable by 2050, on maximum climate warming scenarios. (Photo: Stephen E. Williams)

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Comments {7}

Dieppe

(no subject)

from: dieppe
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC)
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Isn't extinction part of evolution? Those who don't survive aren't fit enough to make the next generations anyway?

Sure, human caused extinction... but isn't extinction what evolution is all about?
Well that, and helpful mutations...

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 05:47 pm (UTC)
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< soapbox>

i really don't think modern vehicles are part of evolution.

there's a big difference between independent effects on the environment - be it by a beaver or an ice age - and what we're doing as a species (particularly a tiny percentage of us) right now. and really, there's no comparison at all between the two, and i don't understand why people say it's "natural", it's "what's always happened", etc. etc. it seems that people who say that are most often simply trying to make themselves (and sometimes their society at large--which is almost invariably america) feel better; if it's "natural" then we don't have to do anything, if it's "natural" then it doesn't matter that we're destroying the planet and quite possibly our own species.

< / steps off soapbox and dusts it off for next person to use >

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Dieppe

(no subject)

from: dieppe
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 06:59 pm (UTC)
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But, it's been said, that volcanoes put more pollution into the air, depending on the volcano, than mankind has managed in 100 years... or so... there have been large volcanoes... not to mention meteorites.

Not that I'm advocating a "Destroy the Earth because a Volcano will do More Damage Anyway" platform.. just it has been said that in the balance of things human kind has overestimated our impact on the planet...

Or underestimated it. Depends on who ya talk to. ;)

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 11:20 pm (UTC)
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The key detail is that volcanos have been erupting at around the same frequency for millions of years, so the overall load is relatively constant.

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center: FAQ

Also carto.eu.org shows the annual CO2 emissions from just fossil fuel emissions to be about 6.5 * 10^9 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

the USGS page about Mammoth claims that it's emitting about 250 tonnes/day. claims there are 1562 active volcanoes if they all emitt CO2 at the same rate as mammoth does you only get .14 * 10^9 tonnes/year. (That is a completely bogus assumtion, but should work as a back of the envelope calculation).

This suggests volcanic emissions are about equal to 2% of just the human fossil fuel emissions. (There's also emissions from land use alteration).

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 11:31 pm (UTC)
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There's a difference from individuals being killed off for being unfit and large scale environmental changes causing entire species to disappear. The problem with large scale species loss is that life is interdependent taking out a number of key species can ripple through and kill off even more.

One example that I read (but didn't validate) claimed that in the US we've managed to kill off most native insect pollinaters. However since we've imported bees they've been able to replace the lost species. If that hadn't happened a number of plant species would have quite a bit of trouble reproducing.

Since our models of what might happen are kind of squishy we are walking in a difficult to predict space where we don't really know how badly this will effect us.

(Though I do have moral issues about killing of entire species above and beyond the background extinction rate.)

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Josh

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from: irilyth
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 03:58 pm (UTC)
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A different perspective: http://tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml?pid=1163

(Summary: This is all based on computer models, and the underlying assumptions are bogus.)

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)
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Dismissing the nature study because "it's just a computer model" without arguing what is wrong with the model seems to be a form of ad hominem attack. I strongly suspect that the free market type that was writing that rebuttal has plenty of "computer models" they use to predict stock market trends, currency rates, etc.

The first passes at a model are probably inaccurate but as people make constructive criticisms we can be increasingly confident that the model represents reality.

Additionally isn't there is evidence of species loss? (extinction backgrounder)

A good example of a constructive criticism was that Global warming will never bring a "doomsday scenario" a team of scientists says -- because oil and gas are running out much faster than thought.

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