Monday, February 07, 2011

From the Land of Headline Hyperbole

The scare-mongering US News and World Report headline:  Wolverines Threatened by Climate Change, Earlier Springs is typical of media hype over "global warming."

Are wolverines threatened? No. But, "Wolverine habitat in the northwestern United States is likely to warm dramatically if society continues to emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, according to new computer model simulations carried out at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo."

Where is the research to support this statement? Not in the article published in Environmental Research Letters. That is merely a study of the effects of increased average surface temperatures on wolverine habitat, based on the unsupported assumption that human greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming.

This long-term assumption stems from the earliest studies of the misnomered "greenhouse effect by  Svante Arrhenius, who assumed, without evidence, that observed increases in temperatiure were the result of widespread burning of coal.

Based on that assumption, the extending assumption is made that by reducing human produced greenhouses gases, we can somehow stop climate change and save the wolverines.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Climate change continues apace, with or without human contributions. Even if humans were causing every bit of observed climate change, and even if humans stopped producing greenhouse gases today, climate change would continue and wolverine habitat would continue to change. 'Twas ever thus.

Wolverines evolved in a changing habitat and will continue to do so long after Homo sapiens are a distant dusty and unpleasant memory. Despite overwhelming hubris, humans are not the be-all and end-all on this Earth. Climate change is a cosmic phenomenon, with its wagon hitched to our local star, turning in tune to local solar cycles.

Fortunately for wolverines, global climate patterns are not controlled by computer simulations. The world remains a chaotic and inexpressively beautiful place, arising of itself, providing constant surprise and delight to its human inhabitants.