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By Russ Finley on Jun 25, 2016 with 27 responses

Did Climate Change Drive the Bramble Cay Melomys to Extinction? Probably


Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola)
Credit Ian Bell/Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Melomys Rubicola has been declared extinct. Had it been something like a fuzzy koala or panda instead of a rat, the world might have taken more notice, but maybe not. A Google search on the topic goes over 20 pages deep. This seems to have struck a nerve.

It’s possible that an undiscovered genetically identical population exists somewhere else. It’s not unheard of for a species declared extinct to show up again. But if it has been on that tiny island off the coast of Papua New Guinea long enough for speciation to occur, then it is extinct because to repopulate someplace else a pregnant female would have needed to leave the island and establish itself elsewhere, and that is extremely unlikely.

There have been some dubious claims of extinctions caused by climate change, as one would expect, and I’m sure there will be many more. But little by little, the real extinctions will arrive.

I poked around on the internet for critiques of this announcement and found three, two of which were not worth bothering with (one confused the ozone problem with climate change) so I settled on the one at Energy Matters, which is an excellent blog and on my regular reading list. The analysis provided on this particular topic is characteristically thorough but not thorough enough to convince me.

Roger Andrews found that there has not been an increase in the number or intensity of cyclones in that area since 1969. He also looked up the tide gauge records for the area since 2000 and created a crude best fit line through it to determine that the ocean level in that part of the world may have only risen maybe 2.5 inches since 2000. His conclusion was that because the highest point on this island is about nine feet (even with the seasonal fifteen inch increase in sea level rise during cyclone season) sea level rise since 2000 would not have made much difference. And according to the authors’ explanation, he’s right. Temperature changes are likely the main driver, not sea level rise.

So there you have it. The demise of Melomys rubicola had nothing to do with temperature, rainfall or sea level rise. The animal was a victim of storm surges that progressively destroyed its habitat.

This is where Andrew lost me. The researchers are the ones who stated that Melomys rubicola was the victim of repeated storm surges over the last decade that progressively destroyed its habitat. Given time, this is how it will end for other island species.

No evidence – not even a climate model – is presented to support the claim that these storm surges had anything to do with increasing atmospheric CO2.

But the report does present evidence. Keeping in mind that CO2 levels not seen for 800,000 years have led to warmer temperatures which have in turn led to rates of ocean level increase not seen in millennia (all three of which are measured, not modeled) and contrary to the tidal and cyclone data presented by Andrew, the repeated storm surges at that island over the last decade were obviously severe enough to eventually wipe them out after having been there for at least 1.7 centuries. On pages 24 through 26 of the report the authors list several severe surge events that occurred in the vicinity over this time frame and discussed how they are likely linked to climate change:

The increase in cyclonic activity on the east coast of Queensland since 2003 has been attributed to an alteration in the occurrences of El Niño and La Niña events under the influence of the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (J.J. Callaghan, Appendix H in Harper2013). An analysis of three decades of data from across the entire Pacific Ocean basin determined that occurrences of coastal erosion and flooding are most closely tied to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, with the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia, experiencing more severe conditions during La Niña due to increases in cyclonic activity, wave energy and sea surface elevation (Barnard et al.2015).The Torres Strait also experiences higher sea levels during La Niña years, whereas lower sea levels occur during El Niño years (Suppiah et al.2010). Clearly, the damaging impacts exerted on coastal areas by the changing weather regimes are being driven by climatic oscillations (Barnard et al. 2015). The trend towards a strengthening in the intensity of La Niña conditions until at least 2012 has been linked to climate change, specifically the increase in global mean temperature (L’Heureux et al.2013), with the frequency of extreme La Niña events predicted to increase (almost doubling) with greenhouse warming during this century (Cai et al. 2015).

The overall concern with climate change is that the contribution from anthropomorphic sources have increased the rates of change from geologic time scales to time scales that will affect our grandchildren. This would all be a moot point if there were not also a hypothesis that humanity can slow the change by ending fossil fuel use and the destruction of carbon sinks.

A population repeatedly devastated by increasing levels of seawater inundation and vegetation loss will one day fail to recover. That’s how extinction generally happens. A population shrinks for some set of reasons to the point that it can’t reproduce fast enough to recover from losses normally incurred by things like drought, disease, predation, annual inundation, etc.

I found myself in the middle of a feeding frenzy when I made the mistake of asking why storm surges didn’t drive it to extinction millennia ago. What follows are some responses to my remark in the comment field:

Because this little sand spit probably wasn’t there millennia ago …Bramble Cay is effectively a sand bar in the estuary of the Fly River …While coral atolls have a self-regulating mechanism that maintains them at or around sea level sand spits are notorious for coming and going … The Cay may not have existed in the past.

Photo on Bramble Cay from Gizmodo taken by Natalie Waller

The hypothesis that Bramble Cay is an ephemeral sand bar that comes and goes in a river estuary seems unlikely considering that the river ends about 40 miles away across the ocean. But I also found three sources stating that Bramble Cay is primarily composed of rock. So we can throw out the ephemeral sand bar hypothesis suggesting that the mammal could not have been there for very long (long enough for speciation to occur).

Alternately the species was wiped out by storm surges in the past, and repopulated the Cay when it was carried down on vegetation by the Fly River in flood.

The odds that this one species (instead of a different species) has repeatedly repopulated this cay seems very low to me. It was more likely a one-time event. And to ice that cake, from the official report:

…the Bramble Cay melomys population possessed only one mtDNA genotype, suggesting that a single colonisation event took place on the cay

Several commenters thought it was important to demonstrate with links to sources how a mammal could have arrived there by riding on vegetation drifts. Why they thought that mattered, I have no idea. That’s a well-documented phenomena. How it got there is irrelevant. How long it has been isolated there is what matters. A specimen was collected in 1845, suggesting that it has been surviving there for centuries.

From another commenter:

It isn’t a reasonable hypothesis when you have no evidence to back up the claim only supposition and conjecture. Do we know that the creature has lived there for millennia? If so, has it always been present on that island? Sea levels have been rising for considerably longer than we have been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

We know it has been there for centuries. As for changing sea levels, see chart below. And of course it hasn’t always been present on that island. Tortoises have not always been present on the Galapagos Archipelago.

Graph adapted from Real Climate

…and from another commenter:

From what I can gather, the melomys is common on islands in the region and is therefore not even extinct.  I’d have thought it almost certain that the Melomys are thriving in PNG. Where to hell do these biologists come from? Do they think the Melomys evolved from sea slugs on Bramble cay?

There are about 13 species of melomys (compare that to the six surviving species of tiger out of nine that existed just a short time ago).

I found the following comment somewhat appalling:

I live in a declared koala habitat where there are no koalas. Tabby (and Rover) can clean out more native fauna in a night than a year of floods or droughts.  Not that our modern activist researchers would ever obscure such an obvious causative factor just to get an appreciative moo from the herd.

The fact that our choice of pets is destroying species far faster than climate change at this time is irrelevant.

The following was a reasonable comment but if he was really so interested, why didn’t he take thirty seconds to Google the answer like I did?

Sure would be interesting to know what characteristics separate this rodent from similar species on the PNG mainland.

Another commenter crafted a 462 word essay response, which I parse below. He accepts that the climate is warming but thinks it will be a good thing for nature. Although this view contradicts what some of the other commenters think, which is that climate change will have no meaningful impact, they all seem OK with his idea that it is already having a positive meaningful impact. The article author thanked him for what he thought was an “excellent response.”

Despite the name you don’t know much about species. Do you?

His ability to extract so much information from my short comment and moniker is a true gift on par with that of Sherlock Holmes. But his insult skills need honing ; )

This is life at the edge. A small patch of land appears, and gets quickly colonized by a few species. Through founder effect, genetic drift, and specific conditions they quickly diverge, but their life is precarious. If conditions become slightly worse the population is wiped out, and this is not a loss to the parent species. This is evolution in action, and has nothing to do with us.

His above statement is accurate until the second half of the last sentence. The hypothesis is that the rapidly rising ocean levels caused by warmer temperatures caused by greenhouse gases from the obliteration of vast carbon sinks and industrial discharge of ancient fossil carbon stores back into the atmosphere has accelerated those conditions that have “become slightly worse [until] the population is wiped out.” It’s an old and well-known fact that, statistically speaking, island species have been and will continue to be the first ones to go.

 …this is not a loss to the parent species.

I don’t see the relevancy of that unless he’s arguing that we should not strive to preserve subspecies because of the continued existence of parent species, be they melomys, zebra, or Galapagos tortoise.

And the main cause is invasive species …Agricultural management and climatic change are the major drivers of biodiversity change in the UK

True but those particular strawman arguments are also irrelevant to the discussion. There are many causes. Reducing any of them would be a good thing.

If we discount these island species that we are losing, the idea of a mass extinction becomes silly.

Right, the idea that we might be causing a mass extinction is silly. He’s now arguing that human activity has not and will not continue to accelerate extinction rates. I’ve read every book written by E.O. Wilson (including Super Organism), and have his latest one on my shelf. So, if I have to pick between biologists, I hope he pardons me if I side with one of the greatest since Darwin (and many in his time also thought his theories were bunk  …and still do come to think of it) on the issue of the sixth extinction event.

As a biologist I am concerned that instead of dedicating our efforts to the protection of wild populations and ecosystems all over the planet, as we have been doing in the developed world, we dedicate the money to fight a climate change that it is having surprisingly little effect on the biology

I’m with him on that one. In fact, when you look at hydro electric dams, the damage being done to bat and raptor populations by improperly sited wind farms, the usurpation of desert tortoise habitat by solar thermal projects etc, one could hypothesize that we are accelerating damage to the ecosystem.

On the other hand, the billions being wasted in Germany in an attempt to decarbonize without nuclear is not going to be handed over to conservation organizations. I would think that a significant number of people would shiver at the site of a melomys (which looks pretty much like most rats) and wonder why we would bother to save it.

…and most of it [effects of climate change] positive …Climatic change has had a wide range of impacts on species, with more species impacted positively than negatively in the short-term at least.

Assuming extinctions are going to result (and they are) he is essentially trading biodiversity for biomass. And being a rate problem, the phrase “in the short term at least” is all important. It’s almost like he threw that line in as an afterthought when at some level of consciousness he realized that his logic chain was missing a link.

This was totally predictable. An increase in temperatures produces an increase in energy and water and together with an increase in CO2 produces more productive ecosystems. Some species might respond negatively to the changes, but most species will respond positively.

In the big picture, every species on the planet today will eventually go extinct. The vast majority of all species have gone extinct. Most certainly in a given boundary at a given time you can find a net positive. Species evolve to survive in a given environment. But change the environment fast enough, and that species will be driven to extinction. An increase in biomass at the expense of biodiversity is what biologists are hoping to avoid. In past climate changes some species were able to survive by shrinking in numbers and holing up in environmental strongholds (a last remaining few mountain rainforests, whatever) until they could expand again with a favorable change in the environment. Other species became much more common as their environment expanded. Many others became extinct. We have overrun the planet. Many species today have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. The number of extinctions will be huge this time around and very fast paced on a geologic time scale.

 Anthropogenic effect on species is greatly negative, but not due to climate change.

But earlier he said “Some species might respond negatively to the [climate] changes …” And as is the case with the above sentence, most of the rest of his comment was a string of strawman arguments. I was not arguing which effect is greater at this point in time.

And finally, another commenter posited the following hypothesis:

May be a cat drifted out there and has since drifted on. As ridiculous as my suggestion is, it makes more sense than their explanation.

So, in the end, other than the drifting cat scenario, the other hypothesis presented in the comment field for why a mammal that has been on this cay for centuries is no longer there all had fatal flaws. Time will tell, as was the case with the ivory billed woodpecker and the passenger pigeon, if it is extinct.

  1. By Rob McCulloch on June 26, 2016 at 5:41 am

    The BS gets even more absurd! Endemic species! Coast of Queensland! Great Barrier Reef! Anthropogenic climate change! These Alarmist’s will stop at nothing to tug on the heart strings of poor gullible people all around the world to prop up their frail crumbling agenda.
    Bramble Cay is over 170klm due north of the designated Great Barrier Reef border.
    It is actually in Papua New Guineas International Fishing Zone and only in around 30mts of water.
    But get this! It’s only 27klm from the enormous shallow river delta of Papua New Guinea’s Fly River.
    The Fly at 1,050 kilometers (650 mi), is the second longest river in Papua New Guinea, after the Sepik. The Fly is the largest river in Oceania, the largest in the world without a single dam in its catchment and overall ranks as the 25th-largest river in the world by volume of discharge.
    The delta of the Fly River is over 100 km wide at its entrance but don’t trust me, check it out on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia just like this next paragraph.
    “However, writing in Australian Geographic, Lauren Smith noted, “The authors of the report do note that there is a slight chance that there’s an as-yet-unknown population of the species in Papua New Guinea around the Fly River delta area, and that until that area is adequately surveyed, the Bramble Cay Melomys should have the tag ‘Possibly Extinct’ added to the IUCN Red listing.”
    It is painfully obvious to any layman that these rats along with snakes and many other animals will get washed down from this wild river riding on all kinds of debris during the wet seasons. Even one stranded python could wipe out a whole marooned colony on an island this small in no time at all! What kind of silly science is this? WAKE UP!

    • By Russ Finley on June 26, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      This is just an academic exercise for me. I don’t envision humanity making any meaningful progress to lower greenhouse gas emissions or ocean acidification. It’s just not in our genes to cooperate in the manner necessary. Warring tribes form up with the drop of a hat. The percent of our electric power from low carbon sources is less today than it was decades ago. I’m glad to see Germany volunteer to test the hypothesis that a first world industrial economy can decarbonize without the help of nuclear. It is not only costing them a fortune but they have also not reduced emissions in many years.

      Of the warring climate tribes, I’m a member of the one in the middle. I think it’s time to replace coal with nuclear, just as coal replaced wood. I think it’s time to stop the destruction of carbon sinks. I can see the value of limited amounts of properly sited wind and solar acting as fuel reduction devices for the natural gas needed to stitch a low carbon grid together. I think it unwise to experiment with our atmosphere in this manner, assuming we have the wherewithal to do anything about it.

      Given enough time, websites (like Energy Matters) with a theme often develop a following, akin to a congregation. Authors end up preaching to their choir, which seems rather boring to me. Like an atheist questioning a sermon, counterpoints are not welcomed. Their comment fields become useless as a place for reasoned discussion and devolve into places for the like-minded to congregate and reinforce their viewpoints. When a counter-view does arrive the starved readership descends into a feeding frenzy. All very predictable, and entertaining to watch. An atheist who drops into a creationist website is, understandably, quickly labeled as a troll and banned.

      The information available on this subspecies has repeatedly stated that there is a possibility that it may exist on the mainland undiscovered. My argument is that it’s a reasonable hypothesis that the anthropomorphic contribution to climate change could be responsible for its disappearance from the cay. The argument that this has resulted in an extinction hinges on the discovery of a population elsewhere, which sometimes happens when extinctions or probable extinctions are announced. Time eventually tells if there are more ivory billed woodpeckers or Yantze river dolphins etc.

      These Alarmist’s will stop at nothing to tug on the heart strings of poor gullible people all around the world to prop up their frail crumbling agenda.

      The paper was written by biologists, not climatologists. They looked for evidence of what removed this mammal from an island it has been known to populate since 1845 and concluded it was from storm surges not seen by the island since they were discovered and then looked at existing research for evidence of what caused the surges. All very reasonable.

      Bramble Cay is over 170klm due north of the designated Great Barrier Reef border.

      From Wikipedia:

      The Great Barrier Reef is a distinct feature of the East Australian Cordillera division. It includes the smaller Murray Islands. It reaches from Torres Strait (between Bramble Cay, its northernmost island, and …

      Rob continues:

      But get this! It’s only 27klm from the enormous shallow river delta of Papua New Guinea’s Fly River.

      More like 61 kilometers, see picture below.

      It is actually in Papua New Guineas International Fishing Zone and only in around 30mts of water …The Fly at 1,050 kilometers (650 mi), is the second longest river in Papua New Guinea, after the Sepik. The Fly is the largest river in Oceania, the largest in the world without a single dam in its catchment and overall ranks as the 25th-largest river in the world by volume of discharge …The delta of the Fly River is over 100 km wide at its entrance but don’t trust me, check it out on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia just like this next paragraph.

      Don’t see the relevancy in any of that.

      “However, writing in Australian Geographic, Lauren Smith noted, “The authors of the report do note that there is a slight chance that there’s an as-yet-unknown population of the species in Papua New Guinea around the Fly River delta area, and that until that area is adequately surveyed, the Bramble Cay Melomys should have the tag ‘Possibly Extinct’ added to the IUCN Red listing.”

      There is often debate between biologists when an extinction is announced. Many creatures pronounced extinct have been rediscovered, many more have not.

      It is painfully obvious to any layman that these rats along with snakes and many other animals will get washed down from this wild river riding on all kinds of debris during the wet seasons.

      This was also suggested in the report as the most likely way they colonized the island centuries ago.

      Even one stranded python could wipe out a whole marooned colony on an island this small in no time at all! What kind of silly science is this? WAKE UP!

      The authors considered other possible causes and concluded it was storm surges. There is no evidence of a predator being on the island (which is visited several times a year by maintenance crews) and certainly, anything that eats melomys would eat seabirds so it wouldn’t have starved. And if this is such a common thing as you suggest, why didn’t it happen in past centuries? This floating cat hypothesis was already suggested by a commenter and was most certainly considered by the authors.

      The article and comments at Energy Trends failed to convince me for the reasons cited in my article, and certainly, your argument, which contains a few errors, also failed in large part because it didn’t add anything new to the discussion.

      • By Rob McCulloch on June 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        I am just another concerned human who is getting sick and tired of the lies that are told to the gullible masses to drive political agendas.
        I live and work from a similar Coral Cay in the middle of the Torres Straits that measures 1.9klm by 0.3klm and visit many of these islands on a daily basis. I look directly out my window at the coral reefs and observe the exposed corals that are sometimes high and dry. I can actually walk amongst and observe the bleached corals recovering extremely well in a relatively short time.
        My job sees me travelling to within 45klm of Bramble Cay nearly every day and night. I have to contend with possible collisions from the huge amount of debris coming down from the Fly River in the wet seasons carrying all kinds of passengers with it.

        These Cay have continually built up and washed away by severe storm surges, cyclones and flood water since the beginning of time.

        The paper was written by biologists, not climatologists. They looked for evidence of what removed this mammal from an island it has been known to populate since 1845 and concluded it was from storm surges not seen by the island since they were discovered and then looked at existing research for evidence of what caused the surges. All very reasonable.

        - Maybe they should look at the probable causes of their very existence on the island?
        - One snake arriving on a tree branch could wipe them out in no time at all.

        The Great Barrier Reef is a distinct feature of the East Australian Cordillera division. It includes the smaller Murray Islands. It reaches from Torres Strait (between Bramble Cay, its northernmost island)

        - Bramble Cay is closer to the Fly River Delta than any major reef system.

        - If you want to use the East Australian Cordillera division that feature stretches way out past the eastern extents of Papua New Guinea’s Islands.

        There is often debate between biologists when an extinction is announced. Many creatures pronounced extinct have been rediscovered, many more have not.

        - This extinction definitely needs more credible research before they can lay that claim. The authors should set them strait, unless it suits a purpose of course.

        Don’t see the relevancy in any of that.

        - Relevance is that it is a huge river system that will flush a huge amount of flora and faun into the ocean and onto structures like reefs and islands.

        More like 61 kilometres, see picture below.
        - Is it? See picture below.

        • By Russ Finley on June 28, 2016 at 12:53 am

          These Cay have continually built up and washed away by severe storm
          surges, cyclones and flood water since the beginning of time.

          It’s made out of rock. Rock does not build up and wash away in storms. It was first documented on the cay almost two centuries ago.

          Everything else in your comment has already been addressed either in the article or in my first response.

          • By Rob McCulloch on June 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

            Wrong yet again! lol
            The 3.62-hectare (8.9-acre) sand cay is predominately grassland, with 1.72 hectares (4.3 acres) covered in grasses.
            About 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the southwest are the Black Rocks, also called Rebes, which rise one metre above the water. Three kilometres northeast, maps show submerged Nautilus Reef, the existence of which is doubtful.
            Your previous comments have all been debunked.

            • By Russ Finley on June 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm

              Wrong yet again! lol …These Cay have continually built up and washed away by severe storm surges, cyclones and flood water since the beginning of time.

              Below is a picture of a researcher looking for signs of the melomys on Bramble Cay in weathered phosphatic rock (described in detail in the report). The size and shape of the cay varies because of sand deposits on the basic rock outcrops but there is no documentation of it ever disappearing because, unlike sand, rock does not come and go with tidal currents or storm surges. And as I have mentioned twice before, the first melomys was collected 1.7 centuries ago.

              My screenshot from Google Earth showed the distance from the nearest exposed land at the river mouth to the cay. Your screen shot shows a distance to some depth of water from the exposed land at the river mouth. I’m guessing this is your choice for the definition of the end of the river estuary. If so, it further reinforces the contention that the cay is not a sand spit in that estuary.

              Your previous comments have all been debunked.

              …I believe that shoe is on your foot.

              It is entirely possible that other researchers will eventually present evidence for another cause of the melomys extirpation and that would be fine because that is how science is supposed to work.

              I find the climate change scenario plausible based on the multiple sources of corroborating evidence. I have also looked at the arguments against it. There’s no contest. But that does not guarantee that climate change will unfold as predicted. I’m just playing the odds and also working to keep the extremists from making a potential disaster into an existing energy crisis that would also increase the extinction rate with stupid renewable energy schemes.

            • By Rob McCulloch on June 28, 2016 at 8:23 pm

              I fully agree with your energy statements and I also believe there are extremists on both sides. The key statement is that the science is never settled. I also believe that natural Climate Change has always happened but I do not believe in the use of alarmism and manipulated date to drive politically agendas.
              Guano deposits are normal occurrence on all sand and coral Cays. The very existence of Phosphatic rock is due to the presence of the sand and coral cay that provide a haven for birds and animals to lay down their excrement. As your photo shows the Phosphatic rock itself is worn down by the elements and can and do disappear with the rest of the sand and reef deposits.
              My screenshot from my GPS navigation charts confirm as I originally stated, “But get this! It’s only 27klm from the enormous shallow river delta of Papua New Guinea’s Fly River.”

            • By Russ Finley on June 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm

              “But get this! It’s only 27klm from [the extreme end of] the enormous shallow river delta of Papua New Guinea’s Fly River [but 61klm of open water from the river mouth leaving 34 klm of open water from the end of the shallow water ].”

              The shifting sands on the cay are the result of ocean currents. It’s too far from the river for it to deposit silt or sand there.

              I do not believe in the use of alarmism and manipulated date to drive politically agendas.

              Can’t argue with you on that one. There is a lot of that going on.

  2. By Forrest on June 27, 2016 at 5:49 am

    I would think the biologist could determine cause of death. There should be bodies littering the grounds. The island is visited several times a year. A small remote subspecies is very fragile. Vulnerable per lack of biological predators keeping the gene pool strong as well as diversity in food supply and foreign predators. The miracle may indeed be their long history of survival GW or not. If the rats have no isolated brethren to survive an outbreak. It’s akin to a honey bee colony experiencing colony collapse with no other colonies. Biologist have been struggling to understand why honey bees die so quickly. The Environmentalist quickly blamed GW and human civilization practices of growing food. It’s an easy and logical accusation, but arriving at the truth is often a long tedious path as our biological world will always humble us. GW scientist are always stumbling upon new mediation forces within our climate that heretofore unknown. It is interesting to read the logic of those that believe in evolution creation or that the natural world development just happened, with the absolute certainty is was not a creation event.

  3. By Forrest on June 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Rats or no rats the value in nuclear as being the most potent tool in the arsenal of carbon free power is unchallenged, at least in my book. Natural gas and nuclear are the two biggest work horses to mitigate the damage done by low technology coal combustion. I think the wind and solar are realizing the status of supplemental power to offset some N.G. power. Not a big deal, but attractive. If we ever achieve inexpensive power storage that may change the math. It would have to entail gigantic reserves.

    Coal will not go away as the cost and natural advantages to fuel storage are just to attractive. It is the ultimate in back up power. I do think it is foolish to label a fuel supply as evil and attempt to persuade others not to use it. To that end, the U.S. should continue to work on the technology of clean coal. To make the process less expensive and less damaging. We need to focus upon the international needs of developing countries. This may require more practical low cost solutions, but the contribution to environment probably a magnitude higher that our never ending attempts to prevent a minuscule amount of pollution at ever higher costs.

  4. By SquidBonez on June 27, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    “There are no longer any Bramble Cay melomys living on Bramble Cay. Their extirpation was almost certainly caused by environmental degradation resulting from the very nature of Bramble Cay as a “geologically temporary..[island]..of considerable instability, which may respond dramatically to fluctuations in [its] environment”, with a maximum elevation of 3 meters (~ 10 feet), made of constantly shifting sand that collects around a small rocky outcrop surrounded by a shallow reef. The area of the cay that supports vegetation, the main source of shelter and food for the melomys, has been shrinking since 1998, down to less than 10% of the 1998 area in 2014.

    The main contributing factor to this degradation is the success of other species, primarily the Green Turtle and various sea birds, both of which use the island for nesting (and roosting) which resulted in increasing disturbance and destruction of the vegetation required by the melomys for survival.

    Bramble Cay suffered at least one (Spring 2014) or more (or a series of) weather events that inundated the island (maybe repeatedly), that possibly would have reduced the melomys population below a sustainable level, both directly and through destruction of vegetation, their primary food source, however, it is doubtful that there were in fact any remaining melomys at that late date. No melomys had been official recorded on Bramble since 2004.

    The official cause — climate change – is speculative and partially based on predictions of future sea level rise and future increased storminess and intensity of storms.

    It is this author’s opinion that the human contribution to their extinction is limited to the utter inadequacy of the Recovery Plan for the Bramble Cay Melomys, Melomys rubicola prepared by Peter Latch in 2008.”

    ~Kip Hansen @ WUWT

    • By Forrest on June 28, 2016 at 5:59 am

      Thanks for the post. I read the Scientific Urban Legion Department post just now. A nugget of truth surrounded by speculation, 80,000 scientific references within media to make the GW fear claim. The sand vs rock confusion is cleared up. The island has both. I’ve seen the shoreline of Lake Michigan over the years fade and grow 40-80 ft depending on the yearly abundant wave patter/style. The lake some years back had very high water level and minimal shoreline. Yes, the GW claim made back then as a certainty. All has been normal now for at least a decade, but the local news had sensational pictures of houses falling off the sand dune disaster of GW. The rat appears to me to behave like our native muskrat. They eat vegetation and build shelters that utilize an air pocket for protection from predators and waves. Sounds like the specific species designation for this rat is misguided.

    • By Russ Finley on June 29, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      The above comment is a quote from an article written by Kip Hansen and published on the WUWT climate change skeptic website as a PDF. I downloaded the original copy should anyone want to compare it to a later one.

      1) He makes no mention of the floating cat scenario (a single invasive predator wiped them out).

      2) He also appears to have rejected the hypothesis that this is an ephemeral sand spit that periodically temporarily disappears, taking the melomys with it only to reappear some years later to be repopulated by this species again.

      3) He begrudgingly admits that it is a separate species:

      To avoid getting bogged down in that mess, it is safest to concede that for our purposes here the Bramble Cay melomysis species in its own right –it is officially listed as one –and it is certainly a distinct breeding population of melomys, reportedly with “some protein differences and a coarser tail caused by elevated scales.”

      4) And although it obviously pained him to do it, he also, begrudgingly, concedes that this species is extinct:

      If we allow the definition of BCM as being only “those melomys that lived and bred on Bramble Cay” then we can safely concede that they are now extinct –there are no more melomys on Bramble Cay.

      Translation; any small, inbred, rat population isolated for centuries in a unique environment will undergo genetic drift from its parent species. Given that this melomys has been on the island at least for centuries and has demonstrated significant unique genetic differences from other known species, it quite simply cannot exist anywhere else. It became unique as a result of being isolated on that island, ergo, not being there any more, it is extinct, it is, like the Norwegian Blue parrot, an ex-melomys.

      So, for those of you holding on to any or all of those above hypothesis posited in the comment field at Energy Matters, please take it up with your fellow climate skeptic, and leave me out it.

      Kip’s PDF, which I downloaded a copy of before it gets edited, has a fair number of typos. Your guess is as good as mine as to why he made the following point four separate times:

      In fact, it is questionable that there have been any melomyson Bramble Cay since 2009-2010, when a casual search of the cay possibly sighted one or two individuals …The only sighting of melomys on Bramble Cay since 2007 is in a “personal communication” from E. Stewart who reportedly saw 1or 2 melomys in late 2009 through “casual searching” …In 2009, when we might assume the vegetated area had approximately halved, no official survey was done but there is an anecdotal report of a visitor to the island seeing 1or 2individual melomys …In my opinion, based on all the evidence available the published reports mentioned here, it is unlikely that melomys existed on Bramble Cay as late as 2010.

      I get the impression that he thinks the original authors are claiming that the 2014 inundation was the final straw and by repeating the above he has built a case that they were already gone by then, ergo, it couldn’t have caused the extinction, so there!

      The following is from the original research paper:

      In conclusion, more than 25 years after Limpus et al. (1983) warned that the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys was in jeopardy, the population has been lost. It appears likely that numbers declined from around the late 1970s, with the species eventually disappearing from the island at some point between late 2009 and December 2011, an event that represented the extinction of the only known population.

      The authors had already feared that it was extinct before the 2014 event. When the authors went looking for the cause of the extinction they found evidence of extreme inundation events occurring in the area in 1991,1998, 2005, 2008 and 2014 (page 20). Indicating roughly a decade long decline to zero correlating to these events.

      When they looked for the cause of increasing inundation events they found evidence suggesting they were likely the result of climate change (pages 21 and 22).

      From the original research paper:

      The key factor responsible for the extirpation of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the last decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals. Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys

      It is a matter for conjecture whether the eventual demise of the Bramble Cay melomys was caused indirectly by seawater destroying the herbaceous vegetation upon which the species depended or directly by wave action drowning remaining individuals and washing them from the island, but most likely both consequences would have arisen from a severe inundation event. Certainly, waves with sufficient power to move logs across the cay surface would be expected to have been lethal for a population of terrestrial rodents.

      Below, Kip presents s new theory:

      The main contributing factor to this degradation is the success of other species, primarily the Green Turtle and various sea birds, both of which use the island for nesting (and roosting) which resulted in increasing disturbance and destruction of the vegetation required by the melomys for survival.

      The idea that the melonys likely depended at least partly on the birds and turtles for sustenance wasn’t mentioned as a possibility.

      Why more birds and turtles and the attendant carcasses, eggs, and young, would not equate to even more high protein food for the melomys, he didn’t say.

      The cause of the birds and turtles unprecedented breeding success was never mentioned (assuming their success would hurt rather than help the melomys).

      From the Australian Department of the Environment:

      The diet of this species is poorly known: Latch (2008) reported that it frequently fed on the fleshy herb Portulaca oleracea and considered that the diet is probably entirely vegetarian, however Ellison (1998 cited in Woinarski et al. 2014) reported an account of feeding on turtle eggs.

      And from a discussion of the family Muridae (old world rats and mice):

      All species are essentially omnivorous with the bulk of the diet composed of plant material, mainly seeds or stems and some insect material (Watts 1977;Watts & Braithwaite 1978; Morton & Baynes 1985). Numerous partial exceptions are mentioned below. Both the water rats are largely carnivorous, mainly eating invertebrates and fishes.

      In addition, according to the University of Queensland study, a “visitor to the island described seeing dead seabirds with chewed wings on the island and had assumed the ‘rats’ were responsible.”

      I found one reference describing how dozens of them would run from under the carcasses of dead sea turtles when disturbed. Assuming they don’t simply enjoy hanging out under dead turtles, one might assume they have developed as part of their speciation, and like many rats, an omnivorous diet that includes meat, eggs, carrion (carcasses of birds and turtles) etc, especially considering the slim pickings in their small world.

      According to Kip, after untold centuries of an ever shifting shape and size of the sandy part of this tiny island and the amount of vegetation it harbored, something different happened in the last few two decades (that never happened in all of the proceeding centuries) that for reasons he never got around to explaining, led to greater breeding success for turtles and birds and assuming that more turtles and birds would be a bad thing for an omnivorous rodent, concluded that they were starved out.

      The timing of which could hardly be worse …an inconvenient coincidence that conditions on the island reached the point of no return for this species just when levels of atmospheric carbon have passed a point not seen for 800,000 years.

      My guess is that the vegetation was part of their diet, especially when there were no nesting birds or turtles, and according to Kips reasoning, without all of those birds and turtles around, that is when the amount of vegetation should have been at its maximum. I’m going to stick to the original authors’ hypothesis of severe inundation that repeatedly and in quick succession destroyed vegetation, nesting bird and turtle eggs, as well as likely washing them from the island. As of 2014 there was no sign that they had ever existed. We can surmise that the melomys population had waxed and waned for centuries in this manner, likely exploding with bountiful food supplies and shrinking when scarce. The new wrinkle in the equation are the storm surges.

      Below he appears to contradict his above conclusion, that unprecedented breeding success from birds and turtles eliminated it:

      Their extirpation was almost certainly caused by environmental degradation resulting from the very nature of Bramble Cay as a “geologically temporary..[island]…

      The key word here is “geologically.” The word “geologically” is usually used to refer to geologic time scales, which are much longer than human time scales. All islands are geologically temporary. It’s a matter of degree. The island has been there since ancient volcanic activity created it, and has been harboring this species of melomys for a minimum of 1.7 centuries. The extinction was inevitable, as it is for all species, but the argument is that climate change moved the time frame up for this particular species, and serves as an example of how it will happen in other similar places.

      • By Forrest on June 30, 2016 at 6:01 am

        It reads a lot like educated guessing on why they vanished and to compound the guessing by attributing it to GW is a bit of a stretch. The rational being GW should produce more storms. The common Muskrat is from the same family. They eat underwater vegetation. There is clay soil so, it probably a safe bet they burrowed in water proof clay and formed air cavern for storm surges. If they relied upon carrion high energy food, they might of succumbed per natures abundance. This would be the opposite of GW destruction. It was observed the turtles and bird population increased in the rodents last years. Might scavenger bird population have discovered the food source? They would stick around feasting on the rodents as well. My guess reading the observations of increase in wildlife upon the tiny island the rodents lost food supply and might have become part of the food supply for others. So, maybe mankind is making nature more productive and the winning species are able to compete more fiercely with the losers. Our environmentalist are destroying the weaker species by empowering the competition.

        • By Forrest on June 30, 2016 at 8:33 am

          It might be the case that the rodent did need carrion as supplemental high energy food to survive. If a competitor arrived for that food source that would make for a survival problem. The observation of the rat quickly climbed under the carcass makes me think they have learned to quickly hide from sudden danger from above. They would be easy to target per the carcass location and the open space is a superior hunting zone for raptors. The rats may have had to rely on vegetation food source, as a result, and passed the tipping point of renewal food. If they act like muskrat and other rodents they can chew up the underground roots for high energy nourishment, but at a deadly cost of hastening the loss of sustainable food. I doubt if storm surges could have wiped them out if they are anything like the common muskrat. They have a patchwork of underground tunnels and feast on roots in winter. Over the centuries, the rat must have learned to defend itself with water tight clay Burrows. They probably have much experience with surviving long storm surges. I can imagine the severe storms they must have needed to survived over that long history. GW forces are upon a minuscule scale of such severity. Scientist, like what I posted for sea level measurements, have to utilize the most sensitive measure equipment available and record vast sums of data to have any statistical confidence of the trend. The scientist state it would be impossible rate GW as the cause of any one time event. They are just barely able to pick up a slight trend. Blips on the data are normal as we know the the weather and even climates do change and that is considered normal nature.

  5. By Forrest on June 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Read the NOAA sea level info on line and realize the sea level measurements are extremely tough job for modern statistics and measuring equipment. It is only within modern history than we can achieve accuracy of mean sea level. That measurement is dependent on the specific data station as geographically there is variance. Meaning accuracy can only occur with large data sets for the specific station and utilizing statistics to indicate a trend. They can average the MSL to arrive at a figure, but that is just for reference. There is no “normal” MSL to compare as their is no “normal” temperature. We’re just statistically indicating a trend from a given time period. There are so many variables within measurements including that the land mass datum’s naturally rise or fall, change in ocean currents,tectonic motion, change in earth axis, subsidence, and glacial rebound. Those graphs depicting 100 years of change are just extrapolation per our current computer models. Meaning they are guesses and not measurements. For example the measuring stations are numerous in U.S. and Europe, but for most of the world very sparse or nonexistent. The linear mean sea level trend is at 95% confidence level per a particular station over time, but to know the global average would be based on projections. Note that when land mass is sinking that will increases the sea level trend. Also, variance can occur rapidly even with a history of long stable measurements. This blip in data is considered normal variance and with unknown phenomenon. It could be a change in ocean circulation, dredging impact, El Nino Southern Osculation, or increase in solar energy of which GW may or may not be a factor..

    So, the confidence to proclaim Bramble Cay melomys exterminated from the island sea water flooding may be a good conjecture, at least as good as the rest on the list.

    • By Forrest on June 29, 2016 at 9:18 am

      The ocean acidification is often told as a result of fossil fuel fuel combustion. The ocean carbon cycle is is a major player upon atmospheric GW CO2 accumulations as the atmospheric emission only has a self life of slightly over 5 years before the molecule is absorbed within our huge water mass as the concentration of the two masses are in balance. The other half of the ocean’s carbon cycle emits CO2. The ocean will capture or absorb CO2 per the chemistry of limestone rock formations. So, do our scientist know what going on with the most powerful driver of GW? Apparently, they have studied this for 30yrs and found the ocean’s carbon cycle is quote “not simple”. They have some interesting theories of using up limestone reserves and needing deeper depth minerals. That ocean currents may not be as energetic as in the past to provide the mineral. The question I have is, how do sediments play into this? Every nature show that I’ve seen depicting man’s harm will show ocean sediment choking off life. This will also choke off limestone sediment contribution to de-acidify the ocean as well. The only scientist that I know of that work much in sedimentation are the creationist or those that work in science and not afraid of the Bible references. They claim the science is a good reference for time and young earth theory. Also, it is surprising how the various carbon dating practices diverge on age. Nonetheless the method may fail upon a creation event, so the baseline may be way off. I know some have a Mechanical Engineer background. Check out the book, “The Cambrian Explosion:Evolution’s Big Bang? Or Darwin’s Dilemma” by Walter Starkey. He has impeccable credentials and considered the authority for physical reconstruction events with no witnesses as a trial witness. He makes the case for creation as opposed to evolution as one such legal case. It’s based on science and his abilities per Mechanical Engineering.

  6. By Forrest on July 1, 2016 at 6:44 am

    This is a good review.

    The article states the animal would be a goner sooner or later per inbreeding. There is no info on its’ critical required habitat or food supply. Only a viewing of the rodent eating Purslane weed and a guess they creature might have eaten turtle eggs. Then the speculation of how it became extinct per loss of food supply. What? They first tell us they know nothing of the animal then go on to blame GW? Purslane weed is incredibly tough and probably resupplied by the Fly river debris. You could as easily blame lack of debris for the animals demise or loss of genetic viability to improve or toughen its biological strength. Purslane also comes in sea purslane variety that would have ideal sandy beach shoreline to thrive upon. The media hype this extinction is receiving for GW promotion is a good indicator that the GW science has left the realm of good judgement and scientific evaluations. My question is, what is driving the enthusiasm? Why so much fear mongering and need to convince public that every where they tread is damaged by GW? We know so little of the biology and earth science to understand the damage assessment if in fact the planet heated up a few degrees. Some credible scientist do not discount it may be a net gain for humanity. Also, the calculations of man’s ability per technology or change in forestry practices, farming practices or power generation are probably way under valued. The GW science is rated upon century time scale, so, no prediction is violable under such long periods of what will change. Their is to much excitement and enthusiasm of GW to attribute it to science.

  7. By Forrest on July 2, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Since they are all conjectures, I’m sure they all have fatal flaws. It is a guessing game. Maybe some guesses are better, but we have no way to know or test the hypothesis. Because the creature inhabited the island successfully for a century and one half may give credence to the ability to survive storm surges. Meaning this is not a problem. The decreasing food supply is unknown, just a theory. Same for their diet and food source competitors. Given the complexity of biology and nature, nothing can be taken for granted. To blame GW is pure speculation, but probably as good of a guess as all the rest. The parasite topic has yet to be discussed and have a long and common history of destruction. .

    This talk of 6th extinction and referring to mankind as an invasive specie is a bit much. The extinction books are hype and tabloid depictions wherein all is hopeless unless we decrease the excessive population and learn our place in nature. Some Environmentalist, do have this evil in them to desire a collapse of our society and beckon the famine and disease to remove natures top predator. That nature will then flourish. It’s a fatalistic, hopeless, and depressing assessment wherein a “choice” clinic does more good for nature than planting a tree. That any government action that will decrease the standard of living is the best. Same good flows from poor education systems for the lower class in hopes of a better life.

    We do have a horrific history of greed and damage upon wildlife and nature. These are sensational topics within higher education to prove the evil. Yet, we should motivate the individual to the positive. Improve citizen’s understanding on how to energize nature. We needn’t always indoctrinate the youth to evil humans and business. There is more hope now, within our history than any prior time in history. My observations and readings have convinced me that the energy man can bring to nature will maximize not minimize nature abilities.

    I remember as a youth being educated to the fact that evil businessmen cut down our beautiful virgin white pine forest for profit. They had a cartoon to make the point of a Mr Penny Bags running away with bags of money behind a clear chopped forest with teary eyed creatures. Problem is when hiking through modern day virgin white pine forests one can’t help realize it is desert like in the lack of biodiversity and wildlife. I would argue modern day within the states of Michigan and Wisconsin we have maximum biodiversity. That more wildlife exists and at a higher biodiversity today as compared to the gigantic white pine forests period. We can be a force of evil or good. We need to be smarter and empower nature and forget the idea of just leaving.

    • By Forrest on July 2, 2016 at 7:35 am

      I’ve had a hard time to understand some Environmentalist as they will minimize and fight against improvements that one would think they would be first in line to support. But, if they are what I will label as dark Environmentalist they believe these positive improvements will only forestall the climatic destruction required to force earths citizens to accept their wisdom. That these destructive forces need to occur.

      Our wonderful indoctrination education system has a great corrosive effect upon the youth’s attitudes, as we know. Read the recent survey of Millennial generation for a shocker. Their beliefs, biases, motivations, ethos, etc. . They carry a very negative opinion of mankind, U.S., capitalism, companies, and business. They are convinced the U.S. will go down the tubes and hopeless. That communism or socialism is not nearly as bad as the parents claim. That the rich rule the world through the evils of capitalism. They will not suffer though. They have a very positive attitude that they can survive and flourish per their skills, knowledge, and abilities. They seem to infer they are global citizens and will travel to escape and enjoy the best of the worlds fruits. That their computer skill set and sharing of a mutual value system much like the TV show “Friends” is all they need. They are very much into environmentalism. This has replaced their religious ethos. They have an extra load of narcissism to boot. .

  8. By Forrest on July 3, 2016 at 6:29 am

    The August – September survey 2014 report is a trapping, tripod photo, and two hour search for the rodent. This and more important anecdotal evidence from the locals. They have storm history and a few observations of plant growth, but very sketchy information. The GW influence may have been a minor factor, but that is a guessing game. One local made the comment when he visited the island he brought the dog to kill the rats as to protect the bird population. Another told a story of seeing a native killing rats for possibly food or entertainment. May the locals have desired an end to what they deemed as a rat infestation? That would bring up a lot of possibilities for extinction or what the bird lovers probably labeled as eradication. Rat poison, cats, predators, and who knows what.

    Purslane weed is very tough and nutritious. It’s loaded with omega 3′s and the meal of choice for health and resupply for emergency situations. It’s an invasive succulent from India that has tremendous staying power and extremely quick growth. Pulling the weed with roots and all won’t kill it if it touches soil if will regenerate 10x. It lives for days or weeks in direct sunlight with no water out of the ground. It is salt tolerant and flooding wouldn’t kill it, just slow it down. Even if you were to remove every plant from the island the ability for it to regenerate from “air” or whatever or how ever the plant does it is just about magical. Their GW theory hangs on the slight increase in storm surges and wiping out purslane weed. Knowing the weed’s ability, I will bet on the weed. One would think the rodent learned to fatten up or store food for prolong loss of weed, bird eggs, or carrion food supply.

  9. By TimC on July 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

    The report by Gynther et al demonstrates how junk science is being used to support the alarmist agenda. Did climate change drive the Bramble Cay melomys to extinction? Probably not, but there isn’t enough data to say one way or the other. Did climate change create Bramble Cay? Probably. Did climate change create the Torres Strait? Almost certainly. This report uses a tiny data set and a deliberatley narrow perspective to draw extremely broad, illogical, and unsupportable conclusions that reflect the authors’ biases, not good science.

    If a group of actual scientists wanted to test the hypothesis that storm surge events extirpated the melomys from Bramble Cay, here’s what they would do: First, they would construct a model relating all of the species’ pressures and supports to population size. Then, they would gather all of the relevant data on population, predation, food sources, fresh water availability, genetic diversity and inbreeding, storm surges, etc, and incorporate the data into their model. Then they would compare their model results to the actual population data. If they found a strong quantitative correlation between storm surge and population, they would write a research paper and submit it to a reputable journal for peer review and publication. This would establish the sensitivity of melomys populations to storm surge events, within quantifiable uncertainty.

    On the other hand, if a group of biased government-funded propagandists wanted to use the melomys to advance the alarmist climate change agenda, here’s what they would do: First, they would gather a sparse data set from which any conclusion could be drawn. Then they would simply declare, without any quantitative analysis whatsoever, that “..the climate change-induced impacts of sea level rise, coupled with increasing frequency and intensity of weather events that produced damaging storm surges and extreme high water levels, particularly during the last decade, were most likely responsible for the extirpation of the Bramble Cay melomys from Bramble Cay.” No correlation coefficients, no error limits, just vague “most likely” qualifiers. They would then publish this unscientific opinion in a government report, without peer review, so that their junk science would be picked up by news agencies and reported to the gullible public as scientific proof that the “First mammal had been declared extinct from climate change” (Bloomberg headline).

    The only actual science in the report is the survey showing that the melomys has disappeared from Bramble Cay. Beyond that, the report offers a rambling and clearly biased discussion that is intended to convince the reader, despite the lack of data, that the evidence “…point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys.” The report makes it clear that the Bramble Cay melomys has been under pressure for decades. Incredibly, despite the seemingly high probability that inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity in the breeding population has deteriorated viability of the population over time, the authors merely wave away this factor by citing a reference which they claim shows that “Erosion has even been considered to be a more important threat than intrinsic factors relating to the species’ small population, such as its high level of inbreeding.” Has even been considered? What does that mean? How much more important has erosion been than inbreeding, 10% more important, 100%, 1000%? Scientists back up comparative statements with quantitative analyses; propagandists simply dismiss competing hypotheses so that they can focus on their pre-determined pet cause. Why then did Gynther et al leap to the conclusion that human-induced climate change drove the melomys to extinction? That leap is explained in the report’s Key Recommendations. The authors recommend more study to conduct targeted terrestrial surveys of the Fly River region, and collect melomys DNA samples from the Fly River delta. Of course Gynther et al will have the inside track to receive the funding to conduct those surveys, and write another report. And so the junk science will continue. It is a certainty that this report, along with lots of other junk science, will be cited by political and news media propagandists when they say things like, “A growing body of evidence suggests that human-induced climate change is destroying vital ecosystems, driving more and more species toward extinction.” Pseudo-scientific poppycock, cleverly disguised as Settled Science.

    • By Russ Finley on July 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      …its a study that put forth its evidence and reasoning for other scientists to scrutinize. That’s how science works. It does not come with a guarantee. I agree that the evidence is weak, but after reading dozens of comments and other articles positing other ideas, I have not seen a better one.

      DNA analysis on remains and pellets might shed some light on your favored hypothesis. Unfortunately, storm surges appear to have eliminated all traces of their existence.

      My biggest problem with you guys is your insistence that the millions of researchers out there are all blowing this out of proportion to obtain research money. Do you realize how absurd that sounds? There are billions more of us concerned about the climate change evidence who are not trying to obtain research money.

      • By TimC on July 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

        A research group, based on personal biases, forms a preferred hypothesis. They set out to prove their preferred hypothesis, but fail, due to lack of data. So they write a report in which they dismiss all competing hypotheses. Some competing hypotheses are dismissed with a bit of cursory hand-waving, while others are simple ignored. Then they declare their preferred hypothesis to be the “most likely”, without any quantitative comparative analysis of hypotheses, or any attempt to quantify the probabilities of any hypotheses. Then a blogger with a science background, a BS from Purdue, reads the report and says, “That’s how science works.”

        No, Russ, it isn’t. That really is not how science works at all. Of the billions of adherents to the Church of Climate Change, you are probably in the top decile in terms of science education. The fact that you are unable or unwilling to see junk science when it is right in front of you provides a valuable insight to explain how the climate change hoax is being propagated.

        • By Russ Finley on July 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

          Believe it or not, I agree with you that the vast majority of people who accept that our contribution to climate change is a near term threat, do so purely out of tribal allegiance. But that does not make it wrong. Sometimes tribalists end up in the correct camp by accident.

          Bias is in all science studies, it is only a matter of degree. Scientists are just people, and just as prone to self-deception as anyone else. The scientific method is designed to ferret it out for them.

          I have looked at competing hypothesis and as I have written, they all have huge holes in them.

          Take a look at this article:

          It’s unsettling, and I’m not saying that because one of my daughters happens to be doing research on sea star wasting disease ; )

          • By Forrest on July 9, 2016 at 7:41 pm

            Again, your link has maximized the emotional. Pretty pictures depicting the majesty of the reef. That is not science, but an effort to gain emotional attachment. The temperature and acidification change rate is a given to be higher than normal as compared to earth science records, but the article only blames GW as the driving force for bleaching and disease. It’s most likely not be that simple. These volunteers and editors of biological science should humble their findings and inform the public of the difficulty within the science. No, their report is once again agenda driven.

            I do want the Great Barrier Reef to be healthy and so does everyone else on the planet. Interesting to read the posts of your commenter ,Rob McColluck, who lives in that area and apparently has a lifetime of observations of reef biological growth. The bleaching event and health of reef growth. His personal opinion is that most of the GW environmental stories are bunk. Including your rodent science post that quickly blames man made GW. Sure it could be, but a bit of a stretch to claim it is the most probable cause, since we haven’t the 200 year history of the island to compare with.

            If the calcium of the reef is deteriorating, shouldn’t science attempt to understand why the oceans’ limestone isn’t working to mediate the concern? May this be a geologic problem or silting problem of preventing limestone from working? As I understand GW, the southern hemisphere has little concern.

            As you know man made GW is natural process. Man has yet to make anything outside of nature. So, it is a distraction to label the problem as such. We work within nature. Their is no synthesized GW element. So, digging a hole and dumping rotting wood into a ditch is as good as driving a battery car. Note: It would take but a small portion of our rotting trees to be buried to offset the entire fossil fuel CO2 annual emission. Coincidentally, the modern Environmentalist have steady complained (decades) of the sanitary landfill was the number one problem and we all need to have compost piles. Science, if they ever attempt to inform the environmentalist would differ with them. No, again the science is agenda driven. They chose not to go there. I read no posts or media that inform the public that all organic waste should be sent to the land fill to prevent GW. Instead were fed a steady diet of the need to maximize gov’t regulation upon every economic activity to save the future and to tax and spend our way to bright future.

            • By Forrest on July 10, 2016 at 6:24 am

              We should demand the GW science “put up or shut up” with the hype. Meaning if the science is so exact and irrefutable, then make the analysis of what to expect when obtaining success. At what point can we claim victory. Then at that point all of the Environmental GW regs can be tossed. Victory over nature. What are the calculated and documented improvements and inform the public beforehand as to compare the massive cost to benefit. Measure the increase in climate stability over the decades, mass improvement of ocean life, the decrease in drought, decrease in forest fire, floods, and hurricanes. Inform the public of what to expect with definable and credible data, so we can measure the accuracy of the science. Don’t just sit back and take credit for any improvements that happens to materialize. We need to document and publish beforehand as the danger is if we accomplish their expensive solutions, the rhetoric will diminish and soon the public will forget the original problem. The cost and regulations will simply be in place for perpetuity.

              The GW fear mongering and following expensive federal control solutions, naturally appear suspect to other’s that are familiar with political delights of the Left. They just happen to align themselves? Russ is butting into this phenomena as the most potent tool to dissipate CO2 emissions of the grid gets axed by GW enthusiasts that prefer their anemic long term solutions that take massive investment and completely change our grid.

              The same can be said of lowering emissions of transportation sector per biofuel wherein the Left will dis any such low cost solution as they desire their taxpayer and ratepayer subsidized toys layered upon maximum federal regs for control.
              These Environmentalists make rather crude comments and prove to know little when making gross statements of deforestation, food supply, and nuclear safety. They are merely attempting to thwart actions that may compete with their cherished solutions. Intelligent use and improvement of nature’s ability is really the battle line. A few battery cars occasionally charged by solar or wind is a poor solution that demands maximum gov’t intervention and taxpayer/ratepayer cost. Refer to this article and video as an example.


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