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Climate risk 'to million species'

  1. Jan 8, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3375447.stm
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2004 #2

    Tsu

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    I was just watching something about this on the news tonight. The good news, if I've heard correctly (and yes, I know, there's considerable doubt about THAT one from a previous thread ), is that the problem is correctable/solvable (IF someone in the white house gets a CLUE) and action is taken in a timely manner.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2004 #3
    If the Kyoto agreement wasn't biased against developed nations, mainly the USA, I'd be happy to hop into it tomorrow.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2004 #4
    You should call Bush and ask why he didn't suggest changes when he had the chance. Also, why shouldn't the countries that PRODUCE THE MOST POLLUTION be responsible for cutting back? Personal responsibility, right?
     
  6. Jan 8, 2004 #5

    We should cut back, but why is there a certain line where you start acting, instead of acting PER the amount you put out?

    China isn't covered under the Kyoto because they are "developing" still. The Kyoto is biased against developed nations, plain and simple.
    I'm fine with the fact that we are going to have to reduce more, as we do produce more...BUT, why should China, and the rest of the developing world not have to reduce ANY? Or adhere to the guidelines ANY??

    I don't know why Bush didn't, it's a damn shame.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2004 #6
    I'm not claiming Kyoto was perfect, but Bush was in a position to make demands, and instead just dropped out completely. It was a disaster on a couple of levels, don't you think? Alienated our allies, wasted a chance to make some points for the environment, made Bush look like a spoiled kid, frankly.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2004 #7

    russ_watters

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    Or maybe Clinton could have? After all - he's the one (or a representative of his - not sure) who signed it. And the text of it was set during his term. Instead, like pretty much every other tough problem he faced (ie, terrorism), he passed it off to Bush rather than try to do something about it.

    For Bush to suggest changes would mean getting rid of the current version which went into force more than 10 years ago and creating a new one. The time to get it right was when it was first being put together.
    Sounds fine to me - so then how do we decide which criteria to use? Gross output? Population normalized? Economy normalized? Relative level of development?

    AFAIK, they base it on gross output. Works great for small and undeveloped countries - they can pollute as much as they want.

    As far as the article goes, I find it highly dubious - did we see such extinction rates going in and coming out of ice ages and during the medieval warming? That kind of rate (I think) is about the scale of something like the dinosaur extinction event.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2004
  9. Jan 10, 2004 #8

    drag

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    Well, who knows... Maybe one of these spiecies will
    be ours, at least all the rest of them can keep
    evolving freely afterwards.
     
  10. Jan 10, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    The clock is ticking...it's 11:59 P.M.

    Of course, the skeptics will only be satisfied at midnight - when the evironment can no longer support human life. Then and only then will they will have their undeniable proof.
     
  11. Jan 10, 2004 #10

    Nereid

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    Time to do some reading and brush the dust off your abacus Russ! No, we did not see such extinction rates at any of the times you mention; and no, it's still a ways from KT ("dinosaur extinction event") - that was ~65%. But WHY is the sixth great extinction we're now in the middle of so much more fierce than 'normal' ice age extinctions? Two reasons: the changes are happening far faster today, and civilization (esp agriculture) has created vastly more fragmented ecosystems (if a species of tree has a continuous north-south range of 1,000km, it has a decent chance of surviving in some part of its range after an ice age; if the range is chopped into hundreds of discontinuous fragments, it has virtually none).
     
  12. Jan 10, 2004 #11

    russ_watters

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    We're already in the middle of an extinction event? Caused by what? Best guesses of climate change so far are what: 2C?

    Sorry, still not buying it.
     
  13. Jan 11, 2004 #12
    Check this out,

    Think about it, we might actually get to witness an ice age....


    The whole Northern area would be frozen. We'd better ameliorate our relationships with Africa and the Mideast:)
     
  14. Jan 11, 2004 #13

    Nereid

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    Homo Sapiens.
     
  15. Jan 11, 2004 #14

    russ_watters

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    Could you be more specific?
     
  16. Jan 11, 2004 #15

    Nereid

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    Apply the scientific method.

    1) Pick your favourite geological interval (anything between 200 and 1 million years would do as a first pass).

    2) Estimate the number of species which have become extinct in this interval, cf the total number of species -> extinction rate during your chosen geological interval

    3) From the geological record, determine what known, major extinction factors are present -> serves to rule out alternative hypotheses as to the cause of the observed extinction.

    Result (high-level):
    a) the observed extinction rate is substantially above any realistic long-term average rate (as determined from the geological record, from the Cambrian to 1mya
    b) the rate has accelerated dramatically in historical times, esp since the Western colonisation of the main New World continents and islands (the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands)
    c) no alternative hypotheses for the observed extinction has credible support in the geological record.

    Ergo ...
     
  17. Jan 11, 2004 #16

    russ_watters

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    Before you can suggest an alternate hypothesis, you need an hypothesis for it to be an alternate to. Just saying that humans are causing an extinction event doesn't suffice because it doesn't say HOW. Its not specific enough.
     
  18. Jan 12, 2004 #17

    Nereid

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    The 'how' is pretty well documented. Some examples, in no particular order:
    - global warming; including newly assembled evidence that the advent of widespread agriculture (starting ~5,000 to 10,000 years ago) got things going
    - habitat loss
    - habitat fragmentation; species loss is much higher in a set of fragments than a single habitat, even if the surface area is the same
    - hunting; particularly of the megafauna of the Americas, Australia, and the Pacific islands
    - introduction of exotics; much the same effect as when Pangea formed, only far faster
    - removal of trophic layers (in the sea; a.k.a. over-fishing)
     
  19. Jan 12, 2004 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3384067.stm
     
  20. Jan 12, 2004 #19

    russ_watters

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    Global warming started 5000-1000 years ago? That's one I haven't heard before.
     
  21. Jan 13, 2004 #20

    Bystander

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    "Estimate?" Based upon what?

    "The present is the key to the past...." Therefore, in any chosen interval, there are large numbers of "dead-end" micro-environments, Galapagos, Hawaii, volcanic islands, C Amer. cloud forests, etc., yielding extinction rates equivalent to current observations.

    This is a thoroughly questionable assertion.

    From the link initiating thisthread, "If the projections can be extrapolated globally, and to other groups of land animals and plants, our analyses suggest that well over a million species could be threatened with extinction." Extrapolation of the lack of adaptability of threatened species to the "global" flora and fauna is, again, a thoroughly questionable step in assessing the extinction threat.

    Fear driven funding proposal.
     
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