“What We Really Know” and What the AAAS Failed to Mention.
The Lost Climate Integrity of the American Association for the Advancement of Science .
Essay, in part, by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University .
Climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. recently posted that the AAAS has ignored “the recent recognition of the heightened importance of natural climate forcings and feedbacks” and condemned an AAAS media release as “an embarrassment to the scientific community.”
It is not just natural climate forcings that the AAAS ignored. As a biologist who has studied the impacts of regional climate change on wildlife in California’s Sierra Nevada for 3 decades, the AAAS’s simplistic and misleading discussion of extinctions and ecosystem collapse is simply shameful fear mongering. I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Pielke. It is an embarrassment to the scientific community.
To “inform the public” about their fearful conclusions, they cited 2 outdated peer-reviewed articles written by Camille Parmesan, who not surprisingly was one of the 13 scientists writing the AAAS’ media release. The section on “Ecosystem Collapse” also refers to a 2013 report by the National Research Council titled Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change : Anticipating Surprises, which not so coincidentally cites the same 2 Parmesan papers purporting climate caused “extinctions” and “ecosystem collapse”. If we peruse those papers, we find that one of those 2 papers cites 11 other Parmesan papers, creating a consensus where Parmesan agrees with Parmesan. Not only are the AAAS’s argument very inbred, they are outdated and contradicted by more recent peer-reviewed studies. Below are the most salient examples from Parmesan’s 2 suspect publications showing how they have shaped the AAAS’ narrative on climate change and biological catastrophes.
1. In one cited example from 1996, she claimed the Edith Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha) was moving northward and upward from Mexico to Canada, consistent with global warming. This paper had evoked great fears and was touted by over 500 consensus scientists as proof of global warming disruption, and got her invited to the White House.
Although the AAAS authors gallantly profess that they write because it is “increasingly urgent for the public to know,” Parmesan did not take this opportunity to inform the public about the good news: Many of the populations she had declared extinct in 1996 have now fully recovered. She also failed to mention that only the statistical average moved northward and upward because the urban sprawl in southern California decimate southern populations and dominated the statistics. Actual butterflies never moved. The preponderance of evidence by several experts indicates landscape changes, not climate change, were the driving force of the extirpated populations.
2. In another paper, she had claimed global warming was causing extreme weather that resulted in butterfly extinctions, and that was the mechanism driving butterflies upward and northward.
Again she never reported the good news, (either originally or in this AAAS report), In their natural habitat the butterflies had thrived better than ever during the same supposed “extreme weather”. However to create the illusion of a climate catastrophe, she only published that butterflies just 10 meters away in a recently logged area were extirpated by the mountain weather, a logged area in which the food plants and the microclimate had been drastically changed. Due to such a sin of omission, I requested an official retraction but the editors excused the deception of telling such half truths. Was the refusal to retract bad science affected by political pressure because Parmesan’s papers have been the foundation of so many biological climate catastrophe stories like this AAAS media ploy ?
To be continued .