Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore has testified to Congress on the imminent Sixth Great Extinction predicted in a recent UN report. His verdict could hardly be more devastating to the cause of environmental alarmism: he says there is no evidence to support these doomsday predictions whatsoever.
Moore – whose role in co-founding Greenpeace is so embarrassing to the organisation that it has tried to airbrush him out of its history – was appearing as a witness before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife.
He told the Democrat-led committee that the UN’s Global Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) was merely a “front for a radical political, social, and economic transformation of our entire civilization”.
“As with the manufactured “climate crisis” they are using the specter of mass extinction as a fear tactic to scare the public into compliance. The IBPES itself is an existential threat to sensible policy on biodiversity conservation.”
The IBPES report was released earlier this month and widely covered in the mainstream media. It warned a million species are threatened with extinction.
But Moore told the committee this claim was nonsense.
The IBPES claims there are 8 million species. Yet only 1.8 million species have been identified and named. Thus the IBPES believes there are 6.2 million unidentified and unnamed species. Therefore one million of the unknown species could go extinct overnight and we would not notice it because we would not know they had existed.
This is highly unprofessional. Scientists should not, in fact cannot, predict estimates of endangered species or species extinction based on millions of undocumented species.
There are three main ways in which humans have caused species to go extinct, Moore explained:
- Overhunting for food and purposeful eradication of pests. The dodo bird on Mauritius, the passenger pigeon, the Carolinian parakeet in the US south, and the mastodon are typical examples
- Massive clearing of native ecosystems for food and fiber production. Vast fields of corn are grown for biofuel due to “green” priorities. Equally vast expanses of land have been converted to palm oil plantations for biodiesel. The same is true of massive solar farms covering land that could be rich in native species. These policies should be reconsidered.
- The introduction of exotic predators, such as rats, cats, foxes and snakes, especially on islands where this has been the greatest cause of extinction in recent centuries. This has abated somewhat as particularly vulnerable species are already extinct and those remaining are either not vulnerable or are protected by programs aimed at their survival and recovery.
Moore is quite right, though he arguably missed a trick. The two biggest human threats to wildlife in the last century have been a) Communists and b) Environmentalists.
It was communists – specifically the Soviets – which came close to driving whales to extinction in the last century.
This has been little understood (most people thought it was the Japanese) until the publication of a fascinating 2017 article in the Pacific Standard describing what the author Charles Homans called The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century.
Homans was talking about the massacre of 180,000 whales by the Soviet whaling fleet (in violation of international treaties which, even before the 1986 whaling ban, gave whaling nations limited quotas).
What makes the massacre so bizarre is that the Soviets had little demand or use for whale produce. It was almost as if they were killing the whales for the sake of it. As indeed they were…
The explanation is given in a similarly fascinating article by Alex Tabarrok. The Soviets kept killing whales, he says, because the Commissars in charge of production had decreed that they must.
Tabarrok quotes a Soviet-era fisheries scientist Alfred Berzin, who wrote in his memoirs:
Whalers knew that no matter what, the plan must be met! Looking for whales they would go farther and farther from the islands and bring rotten baleen whales to the stations, those which could not be used for food. This was not regarded as a problem by anybody. The plan—at any price! And whalers were killing everything.
Environmentalists probably can’t quite compete with Communists when it comes to wiping out species, but they’re giving it a pretty good go.
Here’s an example of environmentalism in action, slicing and dicing avian fauna.
Le massacre écologique des îles grecques par les éoliennes ! Quelle tristesse. pic.twitter.com/BkbR2MDMPo
— Laurent Alexandre (@dr_l_alexandre) May 20, 2019
Here’s an Oxford ecologist, Clive Hambler, talking about the problem in the Spectator a few years back:
My speciality is species extinction. When I was a child, my father used to tell me about all the animals he’d seen growing up in Kent — the grass snakes, the lime hawk moths — and what shocked me when we went looking for them was how few there were left. Species extinction is a serious issue: around the world we’re losing up to 40 a day. Yet environmentalists are urging us to adopt technologies that are hastening this process. Among the most destructive of these is wind power.
Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’
Because wind farms tend to be built on uplands, where there are good thermals, they kill a disproportionate number of raptors. In Australia, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle is threatened with global extinction by wind farms. In north America, wind farms are killing tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, the Egyptian vulture is threatened, as too is the Griffon vulture — 400 of which were killed in one year at Navarra alone. Norwegian wind farms kill over ten white-tailed eagles per year and the population of Smøla has been severely impacted by turbines built against the opposition of ornithologists.
Nor are many other avian species safe. In North America, for example, proposed wind farms on the Great Lakes would kill large numbers of migratory songbirds. In the Atlantic, seabirds such as the Manx Shearwater are threatened. Offshore wind farms are just as bad as onshore ones, posing a growing threat to seabirds and migratory birds, and reducing habitat availability for marine birds (such as common scoter and eider ducks).
As I showed in Watermelons, the green movement has very little to do with saving nature, and almost everything to do with hard-left politics.
Maybe the House Democrats should organise another House Subcommittee investigating this vexed issue. But since the villains of the piece are socialists and environmentalists rather than rapacious capitalists, perhaps this is something they’d prefer not to address…