“'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind.” William Shakespeare
The evil of science deniers recently has been beyond the pale. Not content with killing the planet over climate change, and sowing doubt over vaccines the far-right conspiracy theorists have a new target to haunt the world with the crazy, the world's biodiversity.
The raging denialists first emerged only last year when the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was published and revealed that over one million species are at risk of extinction.
Republicans at the time, went out of their fucking minds when the report came out in 2019. For example, Raul Grijalva's Natural Resources Committee held a meeting after the report came out and it revealed companion crazies in congress, Gop representatives. The full hearing can be seen here.
Two major reports on the loss of biodiversity and extinction have recently been released and looneys once again have attempted to sow doubt on an existential threat to our existence in the public mind as they have repeatedly done over the decades.
The loons really lost it after a report published in the scientific journal Nature titled Biodiversity scientists must fight the creeping rise of extinction denial called the deniers out on their shenanigans.
Monga Bay highlighted a quote from Anne Larigauderie, who is the executive secretary of IBPES. “Anyone who has followed the history of major science-policy issues, such as the smoking/tobacco/public health debates, and the more recent issues around human-induced climate change, is critically aware of the often well-funded and coordinated opposition to expert evidence that arises, especially from those who perceive that they stand to lose the most should the policy be changed on the basis of such evidence.”
The paper describes and debunks three types of extinction denial. The first, “literal denial,” argues that extinction is largely a historical problem. Arguments like this, such as contained in this article claiming that “the onset of further wildlife extinctions seems far-fetched,” ignore the conservatism of biologists in declaring extinctions, as well as actual evidence of recent extinctions and of the widespread population declines that suggest many more future losses are on the way, the authors write.
They point out, for example, that denialists have long stated that the Atlantic Forest in Brazil has suffered no extinctions despite having shrunk in area by 90%. Yet two bird species were declared extinct there in 2019, and seven more are down to their last few individuals or have not been seen for a decade or longer.
“The problem is most of the losses are not the big ‘exciting’ species but smaller and less charismatic ones in areas that lost the big exciting things years ago,” Lees says. “We are now reaching critical loss of habitat for many species in the tropics in places like the Philippines and eastern Brazil. It is in these places that the next wave of extinctions is taking place.”
Lees and colleagues also discuss “interpretive denial,” which acknowledges the loss of biodiversity but argues that economic growth alone will fix it. One example is a 2019 Washington Examiner article, “How capitalism will save endangered species.”
The third form of denial is “implicatory,” arguing for example that technological fixes and targeted conservation interventions — rather than comprehensive changes to socioeconomic systems — will overcome extinction. The authors write that these two forms of denial may use evidence from temperate ecosystems to make inappropriate claims about reduced impacts in the tropics, where habitat loss is accelerating and species are far more sensitive to change.
“The land sparing and abandonment we have seen in the temperate zone has come about because we have outsourced environmental harm elsewhere,” Lees says. “These include countries lauded for their domestic environmental success. For example, Japan is still heavily forested but has plundered rainforests elsewhere for timber. Norway fuels forest loss in Amazonia for soybean to feed fish and cattle. Most people remain ignorant of these global teleconnections and their impacts on biodiversity.”
The report from the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity reported that species loss is happening faster and faster. The threat primarily notes that unlike creatures that are cute and cuddly, the loss of insects, birds, and microbes will be felt for centuries and they enable our civilization to flourish. These species are responsible for agriculture, medicine, pollination, and decomposition.
The second report is from the World Wildlife Fund titled Living Planet Report 2020. From the summary:
As the world reels from the deepest global disruption of a lifetime, this year’s Living Planet Report provides unequivocal evidence that nature is unraveling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs. Humanity’s destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives. A deep cultural and systemic shift is urgently needed, one that sofar our civilization has failed to embrace: a transition to society and an economic system that values nature. We must rebalance our relationship with the planet to preserve the Earth’s amazing diversity of life and enable a just, healthy, and prosperous society – and ultimately to ensure our own survival. Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in millions of years. The way we produce and consume food and energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic model, has pushed the natural world to its limits.COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature and highlights the deep interconnection between the health of both people and the planet.
At several points in the history of our planet, increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have caused extreme global warming, prompting the majority of species on Earth to die out.
In the past, these events were triggered by a huge volcanic eruption or asteroid impact. Now, Earth is heading for another mass extinction – and human activity is to blame.
I am an Earth and Paleo-climate scientist and have researched the relationships between asteroid impacts, volcanism, climate changes and mass extinctions of species.
My research suggests the current growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions is faster than those which triggered two previous mass extinctions, including the event that wiped out the dinosaurs.
The world’s gaze may be focused on COVID-19 right now. But the risks to nature from human-made global warming – and the imperative to act – remain clear.
— Herbiⓥore (@herbivore_club) September 13, 2020
Many species can adapt to slow, or even moderate, environmental changes. But Earth’s history shows that extreme shifts in the climate can cause many species to become extinct.
Before industrial times began at the end of the 18th century, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sat at around 300 parts per million. This means that for every one million molecules of gas in the atmosphere, 300 were carbon dioxide.
In February this year, atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 414.1 parts per million. Total greenhouse gas level – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide combined – reached almost 500 parts per million of carbon dioxide-equivalent.
Carbon dioxide is now pouring into the atmosphere at a rate of two to three parts per million each year.
Using carbon records stored in fossils and organic matter, I have determined that current carbon emissions constitute an extreme event in the recorded history of Earth.
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets laid out a 10-year plan to conserve the world's biodiversity, promote sustainability, and protect ecosystems. The targets were ambitious, but crucial. One, for instance, aimed to prevent the extinction of threatened species and improve their status by 2020.
We've reached the deadline — and the world has collectively failed to fully achieve a single goal, according to the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook report, published on Tuesday.
“Humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy it leaves to future generations,” the report warned. “Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, and the pressures driving this decline are intensifying.”
If we continue our trajectory in the accelerating climate crisis, biodiversity will continue to deteriorate, driven by “currently unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, population growth and technological developments,” the report said.
The GOP and their science denier backers must not only be defeated but destroyed in November.