Experts Say that Fears Surrounding Climate Change are Overblown

Earth Heating Up

By Hannah Devlin

Alarming predictions that climate change will lead to the extinction of hundreds of species may be exaggerated, according to Oxford scientists.

They say that many biodiversity forecasts have not taken into account the complexities of the landscape and frequently underestimate the ability of plants and animals to adapt to changes in their environment.

“The evidence of climate change-driven extinctions have really been overplayed,” said Professor Kathy Willis, a long-term ecologist at the University of Oxford and lead author of the article.

Professor Willis warned that alarmist reports were leading to ill-founded biodiversity policies in government and some major conservation groups. She said that climate change has become a “buzz word” that is taking priority while, in practice, changes in human use of land have a greater impact on the survival of species. “I’m certainly not a climate change denier, far from it, but we have to have sound policies for managing our ecosystems,” she said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature backed the article, saying that climate change is “far from the number-one threat” to the survival of most species. “There are so many other immediate threats that, by the time climate change really kicks in, many species will not exist any more,” said Jean Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN species program, which is responsible for compiling the international Redlist of endangered species.

He listed hunting, overfishing, and destruction of habitat by humans as more critical for the majority of species.

However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds disagreed, saying that climate change was the single biggest threat to biodiversity on the planet. “There’s an absolutely undeniable affect that’s happening now,” said John Clare, an RSPB spokesman. “There have been huge declines in British sea birds.”

The article, published today in the journal Science, reviews recent research on climate change and biodiversity, arguing that many simulations are not sufficiently detailed to give accurate predictions.

In particular, the landscape is often described at very low resolution, not taking into account finer variations in vegetation and altitude that are vital predictors for biodiversity.

Read the rest of this article at Times Online.

30 Responses to Experts Say that Fears Surrounding Climate Change are Overblown

  1. Rob N. Hood November 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Study Suggests Hurricane Frequency Has Increased Dramatically; Climate Change a Potential Culprit

    By PATRIK JONSSON | Aug. 16, 2009


    A new report in the scientific journal Nature indicates that the last decade has seen, on average, more frequent hurricanes than any time in the last 1,000 years. The last period of similar activity occurred during the Medieval Warm Period.

    The study is not definitive, but it is a unique piece of work that combines an analysis of sediment cores from inland lakes and tidal marshes with computer modeling and finds a “striking consistency” between the two, the authors suggest.

    The use of sediment cores to place and date ancient storms — called “paeleotempestology” — is becoming an increasingly useful tool in the broader effort to try to reconstruct the history of hurricane activity in order to better predict a future potentially influenced by climate change. . .’

    ‘. . . Says Alley: “We’re eventually going to have good models of our climate system, and when policy makers say, ‘Why should we believe that model?’ we can say, ‘Because we ran it for the last 1,000 years, and it matches what happens.’ ”


    • Neil F. AGWD November 9, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

      A smoking gun Rob? Not! Wev’e covered this before. And it has been established that hurricane FREQUENCY has come up, but hurricane INTENSITY has not. The prediction was that both intensity and frequency would rise so the prediction was wrong. This certainly proves that the climate changes, but that was never in dispute. The debate is whether or not anthropogenic greenhouse gases are warming the planet, and this does not address that point either. In fact if you read your post carefully, you will see that it actually is discrediting older computer models when it says “We’re eventually going to have good models of our climate system”. Translated: prior computer models were inaccurate. Which is a position I have held from the beginning.

    • Neil F. AGWD November 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

      If you want a smoking gun this would have been much better.
      Yup the arctic sea ice extent has finally dropped below 2007 levels. You can jump for joy now. Global warming must be happening!
      Huh? Wha? The wind in Siberia slowed ice growth along its coast? You mean it’s not global warming?
      Oh sh*t, sorry. Never mind.

  2. Neil F. AGWD November 9, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    It’s nice to see that there are actual scientific studies saying what I have thought all along. They could have saved a lot of money if they had just asked me in the first place! But at least this way it is official. But come on! It’s common sense. All of the species that exist today have survived though much more adversity than what they face today. Duh! I have said the exact same thing about Polar Bears.

  3. May Lee November 10, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    I think that perceived “frequency and intensity” of hurricanes is directly proportional to the exploding increase in human populations who are affected and have the education, vocabulary and technologies to observe and report it.
    Now we know what to look for, my view is that we will find “tempestite” deposits in all water-deposited sedimentary sequences, remembering that much of the rock record preserves ” snap-shots” of catastrophic events.
    The earth’s surface has experienced “weather and weathering” for more than 3 billion years.
    Humanity must accept the need to adapt to each other’s scramble for resources or bear the consequences of political egos.

  4. Rob N. Hood November 10, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    May Lee- well said. Thank you. And Neil, you are once again engaging in… I can’t remember the fancy term you used against me. But you are doing it- that is focusing on something that is “wrong” vs. what is reported scientifically that should cause some concern or interest at least. Confirmation bias…, was that it? I don’t remember, it was just a fancy term Neil used inn accurately against me when in fact he uses it constantly, and hypocritically. Neil, you talk about “common sense” all the time, so do many deniers. That term really doesn’t mean anything, in reality. How can a person have common sense? How can you measure that scientifically? Average IQ? Or 10 or 20 points from the average IQ? Why does it seem like some really intelligent people don’t have “common sense”. And conversely, some dull people don’t have it either, but some do. “Common sense” can be wrong of course, and often times it is. All I’m saying is that “common sense” is a meaningless term, and should not be used in a forum like this. I’ve never used it here for that reason. By all means continue using it if you like, but it does indicate you’re dislike and distrust of “science.” A certain amount of skepticism is healthy of course. And taking a stand on something is normal too. But flexibility, tolerance, and open-mindedness is an even greater sign of intelligence. We are dealing with a complex issue, surrounded by strong political gamesmanship on both sides of it. Unfortunately, most people are, of course, too busy trying to raise their kids and pay their bills to keep up with all the crap that is attached to issues like this.

    • Neil F. AGWD November 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

      common sense
      plain ordinary good judgment; sound practical sense
      adj common-sense also common-sensical
      inspired by or displaying sound practical sense

      I’m sorry that you don’t know what it means. Oh, but you don’t think that term should be used in this forum? Who appointed you arbiter of what terms can and can not be used here? That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard you say……. yet!
      And how does it demonstrate a dislike and distrust of science when the science is CONFIRMING what my common sense tells me? Explain that!
      And how is it that I have a confirmation bias when I am pointing out that you left out the other half of the prediction? Remember, the prediction was for frequency AND intensity to increase. Not one OR the other. BOTH. So how am I wrong to say that the prediction was wrong
      “In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. It is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference, or as a form of selection bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study or disconfirmation of an alternative hypothesis.”

      But I know exactly what you’re doing Rob, you’re not fooling me. You are using a basic Alinskiite trick. You accuse me of doing exactly what you are engaged in so I look foolish when I accuse you of doing it. You’re transparent to me.
      Oh, and you should re-read what May Lee wrote because I don’t disagree with what she is saying. And I don’t think you understood it.

      You know something else just occured to me. If you have the degree that you claim to have, how come you are not familiar with confirmation bias, and other cognitive biases? You should know all about them.
      I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on your credentials because, until this moment, I really had no way of knowing if you were being honest about that. I learned about them in phych 101. You call it a “fancy term” when it should be part of your basic vocabulary. At the risk of being too personal, I have to say you are looking to be more and more of a FRAUD every day. Rob N’ Fraud.

  5. Lone Wolf November 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    How they are turning off the lights in America

  6. Lone Wolf November 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    The Alarmists have Lost the Science War

    • Mark Lamont Brown November 12, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

      Yes they have, shame there is no Nobel prize for lying! Oh wait a minute, the peace prize!!

  7. Paul Wenum November 11, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    Neil as well as others. Discussions with Rob N Hood is a sincere waste of your time. I get a kick out of his comments “Flexibility, tolerance, open-mindedness.” What?? Maybe he was one of the 80 laid off by Albert Gore today at Current TV??? Whatever.

    • Neil F. AGWD November 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

      Paul I don’t think it’s a waste of time. I think it’s nesseccary, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I just can’t ignore when he puts down flat out lies, and Leftist talking points.
      I’m sorry, I wish I could just let it go, but that’s not my nature. And I have to be true to my nature. I wish I could be like Lone Wolf who says more in a few choice words than I could ever say with my rantings, but I am not Lone Wolf.
      I think it’s an important endeavor, and to that end I have found this.
      For anyone that thinks I’m crazy, (well I probably am regardless), click on that link to see why I try my best to counter Saul N’ Hood

  8. Paul Wenum November 13, 2009 at 12:13 am #

    Neil, I agree! I hate losing an argument when what I know, read, see, hear is BS. I had a weak moment. Take on the adversarial “Saul Rob” He’s a plant I say. Please take on the “Man/Child.” I’m losing patience.

  9. Rob N. Hood November 13, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    Neil, your prowess with looking things up on Wikopedia notwithstanding, you and all deniers have confirmation bias, as demonstrated by you on several occasions. It is you who cannot, even for a few moments, engage in objectivity. Of if you do it is unnoticable. And I hate to add that I went to school some time ago and either have forgotten some of your “cognitive biases” , more likely it is a newer term for something which is not uncommon in any field. We were taught to use the term cognitive dissonance, which more or less covered the same thing. But I’m sure you will “educate” me about my mistaken belief in that too. Wow, Wikopedia can sure make robotic experts out of people, huh?

    You are correct, however, in one thing. I did misread May Lee, mostly, although I sitll like her post. Why? Because it is intelligent, original (for this site anyway) and it makes sense. I won’t say it is “common sense” because even though you so thoughtfully provided us all with a concrete definition of it, you still haven’t really explained exactly what that term really means. And I doubt that you will find anything that does, because as I said before it is a meaningless term, in reality. But enough of that, right? As far as my involvment in this site, I do it I admit mostly for amusement, e.g to “debate” and learn more about people such as yourselves. I think you benefit from it too, in that without some dissent what would you really have here? I will answer that for you: You would have an artificial and limited view of the rest of the world and limited exposure to how “weirdos” like me think and feel about these important issues. It has made me think about certain things more than I would have probably, and hopefully you can say the same- that’s really what it boils down to, in my opinion anyway.

    • Neil F. AGWD November 14, 2009 at 12:01 am #

      I’m sorry that you don’t know what common sense is. For me it is a combination of things that I have learned from my education, and my life experiences. It’s things you learn on the road of life, from day to day dealings with friends and loved ones, to experiences with co-workers and strangers. It involves making connections with facts, imagination, forethought, and hindsight. It combines intuition and memory about how things work and react, and knowing that there are some things that work in a manner that is counter-intuitive. It is essentially learning from trial and error. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work.
      As far as looking things up on wikipedia, I usually don’t trust what is there. But in the instance of looking up the “nulear option” I knew that what was there was fairly accurate, so I went with it. Who cares?
      As far as having a confirmation bias, everbody has it to one degree or another, including me. I have conceeded that in the past if you recall. But a confirmation bias is not the same thing as cognative dissonance.
      “Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena.”
      “Bias arises from various life, loyalty and local risk and attention concerns that are difficult to separate or codify. Much of the present scientific understanding of biases stems from the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and their colleagues, whose experiments demonstrated distinct and replicable ways in which human judgment and decision-making differ from rational choice theory. This led to Tversky and Kahneman developing prospect theory as an alternative. Tversky and Kahneman claim that the biases they identified are at least partially the result of problem-solving using mental short-cuts or “heuristics”, for instance using how readily or vividly something comes to mind as an indication of how often or how recently it was encountered (the availability heuristic). Other biases have been demonstrated in separate experiments, such as the Confirmation bias demonstrated by Peter C. Wason.

      Some scientists have questioned whether all of the ‘biases’ are in fact errors. David Funder and Joachim Krueger have argued that some so called ‘biases’ may in fact be ‘approximation shortcuts’, which aid humans in making predictions when information is in short supply. For example, the false consensus effect may be viewed as a reasonable estimation based on a single known data point, your own opinion, instead of a false belief that other people agree with you.”

      Two different things entirely.

      You are right though that I do benefit from arguing with you, and I can say the same, as you said, it has made me think about certain things more than I probably would otherwise. Which really is a good thing. So I guess it’s not been an overall negative experience.

      • Rob N. Hood November 27, 2009 at 2:52 am #

        Problem with you is you argue everything, instantly, where I have looked for commonalities. Such as- I never said that confirmation bias was technically the same as cognitive dissonance, just that in my opinion they are simliar, which you have proven above, even while trying to make me look ill-informed. That is a problem with black and white (concrete) thinkers.

        And before you say it- concrete thinking can be useful… etc. Just depends on how and when used, and how frequently. But in my humble opinion, concrete thinking is mostly a problem and not a good habit to get into.

      • Rob N. Hood November 27, 2009 at 2:58 am #

        Where’d you get that bloviated definition of common sense? Will you admit it if you just made it up? Maybe you should stick to being patronizing by looking up definitions to prove the point that you are not very imaginative… or open-minded.

  10. Paul Wenum November 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    We have certainly learned how “deniers” like you think when it comes to reality. You will someday wake up. Hopefully not to late. Educated you may be, common sense? Sorely lacking.

    • Neil F. AGWD November 14, 2009 at 7:24 am #

      What’s so bad about denial anyway? I’m in denial that I’m about 40 pounds overweight and I’m losing my hair! What’s the big woop? Denial can be a positive thing too, as in denial of BS. I’m not just an AGW denier, I’m also a BS denier. What’s wrong with that?

      • Neil F. AGWD/BSD November 14, 2009 at 7:26 am #

        In fact, I’m adding that to my moniker!

  11. Joago Ambisi November 14, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    haha it’s funny, you say that all the press about global warming comes out of the UK in one post, then you believe and side with there Oxford experts when the news fits your agenda.

  12. Rob N. Hood November 14, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Now you’re just being a little defensive. It’s just a term that fits, that’s all. You should be proud of it really, since you beleive what you believe so strongly. If you could choose a term for yourselves what would it be? It’s just a term, not used pejoritively.

    My common sense is just as valid as yours. And we all agree that something is very wrong with our country. Problem is you only blame Liberals, which I believe is irrational and illogical. I beleive it is the system, and both political parties are to blame.

  13. Paul Wenum November 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    The enemy for all of us is the people who DON’T vote yet blame others for the problems we are in. I have no problem with people that disagree, the only problem that I have are the one’s that never vote and then complain! Now those people are the enemy of America! Look in the mirror come November 2010! No commitment, never complain again!

  14. Rob N. Hood November 15, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    You are partially blind to the real problem. You guys have to wake up. Please hurry.

  15. Paul Wenum November 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    No comment to a person that never VOTES, but COMPLAINS!

  16. Paul Wenum November 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Robby Boy, when’s the last time you voted? Kindergarten for a recess break? If you cannot walk the walk, do not talk!!! You get the Scot’s dander up.

  17. Rob N. Hood November 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    As I’ve said before, and will NOT say again: I’ve voted in EVERY major (and several minor) elections since 1980. Are you incapable of retaining info presented a few posts ago? If so, I believe you may scroll around and see it again. Just a suggestion.

    Oh, I get it, you’re not dense, you just choose not to believe me. Either way, quite convenient for you.

  18. paul wenum November 19, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Yes, I’m impervious to all untrained thought from you. Trained thought, I can deal with Robby Boy.

  19. Rob N. Hood November 27, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    Oh wise sage, thank you for your condescension.

  20. paul wenum December 3, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    You are welcome.

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