The big red Hawaii curve refers to endemics, which by their nature of having a limited distribution are vulnerable to any type of threat, of which climate is by far the least. The famous Thomas et al study in Nature in 2004 applies the same tactics to scare birdlovers and politicians

The big red Hawaii curve refers to endemics, which by their nature of having a limited distribution are vulnerable to any type of threat, of which climate is by far the least. The famous Thomas et al study in Nature in 2004 applies the same tactics to scare birdlovers and politicians

Secretary of the US Ministery of Interior Ken Salazar released the second ‘state of the birds’report, claiming climate change threatens hundreds of birdspecies to extinction and praising Obama.

As with all these grey literature studies on climate-impact, politics and speculation are the mother of all findings. Salazar is promoting the series of reports that started last year. The 2009 report can be downloaded in full. The 2010 report has to be downloaded chapter by chapter.

Apparently the Ministery of the Interior is confident that most lazy journalists will stick to the overblown conclusions in the press-release and focus on the ‘results’in the summary. This does happen to be the case in most media , so the major goal of this report, media-attention has been succesfull.
This highlights again that this ‘state of the birds’ report is released for it’s political merits. The contents of the report also reveal this, as no references to scientific literature are made, nor any serious studies or numbers are referred to. We thus have to rely on authority, some of which i have never been very good at.
It is not my business to interfere with US politics, so let’s focus on the science here. Then, with the help of experts from Oxford and Belfast we find that….

2 basic rules to build resilience against climatecampaigners

    a. climatemodelling has by far not reached the regional resolution that these type of studies rely on to make valid projections on change in weather, as it is weather that has influence on birds, not global temperature: thus as the report-authors, birdbiologists admit they have to rely on their own ‘expert opinion’.
    b. untill now, no climate signal like the claimed ‘extreme weather events’has been detected in the upscaling of threat to any species, as based on the Red List of IUCN. As has also been highlighted by Butchart et al in 2008, habitat destruction is by far the main threat and though climate is (ofcourse) projected to have influence, the advantages of warming may outweigh the negative impacts for many of not most species in the northern hemisphere.

A longer analysis with input from Oxford and Belfast biologists, and reference to literature follows here

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