Seen elsewhere
Twitter
Support

 

Buy

Click images for more details

Recent posts
Recent comments
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« FT on shale gas | Main | Stern's wheat graph »
Sunday
Apr222012

The second front

If the struggle to put climatology back on a scientific footing were not bad enough, the UN has just set up a new intergovernmental body, which will push biodiversity as the new excuse to "scare 'n' tax".

The former West German capital of Bonn has been chosen for the secretariat of a UN expert panel on biodiversity, the organisation announced on Thursday.

The decision was made at a plenary meeting in Panama City of the Intergovernmental Platform on and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, according to an announcement on the platform's website.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (46)

From your link:

IPBES will join two other big UN environment organisations -- the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) -- whose secretariats are in Bonn.

How many pointless talking shops do we need?

Apr 22, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Does anyone else think that perhaps the UN has outlived its usefulness?

Apr 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Rather an Augean Stables.
The UN needs stripping back to basics.

Apr 22, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Seems to me we replaced communism with communism, except this time it is a whole lot worse.

Apr 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerald

The UK is the 4th largest contributor to the UN budget. The actual figure I find elusive.

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Isn't it a bit ironic that virgin forest is being cut down to make way for palm oil plantations? What's that doing for biodiversity?

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

The palm oil plantations are really neo-colonialism so the Belgians get first choice of Empire this time, not the English.

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

so the Belgians get first choice of Empire this time...

What - the Congo wasn't enough? Yes, it was the personal possession of King Leopold, not part of a "Belgian Empire" per se - but doesn't that make it worse?

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterdcardno

I'll repeat a comment I post yesterday on unthreaded. How this got past the BBC censors, I'll never know. The "science" of biodiversity has already been corrupted.

The first item on "More or Less" this week on Radio 4 is well worth listening to. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd
It is about biodiversity, species extinction and the role of the UN. All the data on numbers and rates of extinction are based on modelling designed to produce scary answers, answers which bear no relation to data (sounds familiar). An American professor who pointed out the errors in the modelling was under pressure from colleagues in the field not to publish his paper - but unusually he did publish.

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Phillip Bratby

Yes, I listened to that. But I was left with the distinct impression that even the guess of species extinctions numbers of the "American professor" was likely out (exaggerated) by at least an order of magnitude.

They ended up verbally waving their arms about and muttering about bacteria and species that were going extinct that hadn't actually been discovered yet.

What the hell! As long as there are a few good grants in it, and the odd conference somewhere exotic.

Mind you, as long as we keep paying these charlatans to come up with scarey stories, who are really the idiots?

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Well, we cannot say we weren't warned about this latest acronymic offspring from the UNEP.

Pls. see:

Move over IPCC ... here comes IPBES

Biodiversity loss … TEEB on the march

Of COPs, MOPs and a global battle of duelling doomsayers

According to the IISD's "Earth Negotiations Bulletin" (the quasi official rapporteurs for the gazillions of UNEP generated meetings around the globe [if not around the clock 24/7]):

At the start of an ambitious evening session, Chair [Robert] Watson** informed plenary that depending on the outcome of the session, he would either wear a “sad” tie, or a “happy” tie on the last day of the meeting. A number of delegates have remarked upon the Chair’s “energetic presence” and there seems to be appreciation for his “persistent” style, though some have concerns over whether the man actually sleeps. Yet all of this does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome. One weary delegate commented that “there is a clear consensus to establish an IPBES, but there remains disagreement over what must be defined before its establishment, versus during the intersessional period.

Source

** Wasn't Watson the first chair of the IPCC, as well?!

From my reading of many of the "discussions", we should also be prepared for the voices of "civil society" [UN-speak for NGOs see Introducing … the UN’s jolly green sustainable hockey stick] to be far less "subdued" than they have been at IPCC proceedings.

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

The American Prof is Steven Hubble and his paper is - He and Hubble 2011
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v473/n7347/full/nature09985.html
The interesting bits are:
".. on average it takes a much greater loss of area to cause the extinction of a species..."
"... He & Hubbell (2011) estimated in a few examples that species extinctions are over-estimated by about 75 %..."
Doesn't sound good
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/19/species-extinction-hype-fundamentally-flawed/
WUWTs Willis is slowly being vindicated :-)

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

Yeah it's a political radical environment agenda. The aim is not to save climate or the environment. The only aim is to use climate and the environment to support and push forward socialist policy and solutions.

We can call them envizists, or envyzitts?(enzists?)

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJon

Professor Hubble on more or less is well worth listening too. The shocking thing is that fellow scientists did not want him to publish the TRUTH.

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJune

There is no contradiction between Faith and Science...the source..."Planet of the Apes" movie.

Apr 22, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

It's clear the UN has no real (read useful) directive, when they get to write their own mission statements and come up with stuff like "Convention to Combat Desertification". I guess the word combat here is meant imply imperative, urgent and dangerous; just like the various "war on ___ " we see come from politicians. Generally found to be an excuse to throw large sums of money on a cause with little regard for efficiency in any way.

All three of those UN missions are pure spendthrift wastes that can not produce any useful outcome for mankind. I would have thought that was the opposite of what the UN was created for.

I'm thinking the people who created the UN in the first place were suckered.

Apr 22, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

My only excuse in adding this comment is that this UN turn of the screw is all part of an unrelenting political ambition.

This is simply to advise that Vaclav Klaus is back in London addressing the Eurosceptic Bruges Group on 3 May at 2pm at One Great George Street Westminster London SW1P 3AA. Tickets £10 from

http://www.brugesgroup.com/eu/president-vclav-klaus-to-address-the-bruges-group.htm

Apr 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Speciousology?

Apr 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

where does greaser-in-chief Pachauri fit in?

Apr 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Phillip Bratby said -

All the data on numbers and rates of extinction are based on modelling designed to produce scary answers, answers which bear no relation to data

Martin Brumby said -

But I was left with the distinct impression that even the guess of species extinctions numbers of the "American professor" was likely out (exaggerated) by at least an order of magnitude.

June said -

The shocking thing is that fellow scientists did not want him to publish the TRUTH.

Also Brady,

You people are unbelievable.

For a start Phillip and Martin just appear to have made stuff up!

Secondly - What exactly is the "TRUTH" contained in this paper?

Well it would appear that this paper was published a year ago and discusses a statistical technique used to estimate species extinction.

Due to the title of the paper it was immediately touted throughout the "skeptic" blogosphere as the "TRUTH" about the "massive overestimation" of the species extinction problem.

Has anyone here actually read the paper? Has anyone here read any papers cited by this paper, or papers that cite this paper? Has anyone here read a wide number of papers on species diversity and extinction? Is anyone here a recognised expert in these subjects?

Because if they were, they would know that this is a minor paper within the broad body of published works on the subject and that it was immediately challenged by other experts in the field. These included scientists who's work was cited in the paper.

The paper is both mathematically flawed and just plain wrong -

It makes a false mathematical distinction between Species-Area Relationship (SAR) and Endemics-Area Relationship (EAR), when in fact both techniques give the same answer.

It is wrong in that years of study by researchers all over the world have found the SAR technique to be remarkably accurate, both historically and predictively (there are a whole series of papers available on the web if anyone can be bothered to search them out).

The BBC More or Less report is both superficial and misleading.

All that the Hubble paper does is make a small contribution to the understanding of a minor theoretical point. It does not in any way challenge the overall thinking on the problem of species extinction (a point by the way that the authors of the paper agree with).

There is a difference between immediate short term extinctions and the number of extinctions that will eventually actually happen. There were over estimates of immediate extinctions made in the early days of ecological study, but these are now well recognised and do not change the overall problem.

So all this is, is a single minor paper with a sensationalist title being spread around the media in the usual way, by people who don't really want to understand the issue at hand, but just want to spread what they see as their "TRUTH".

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

I just can not trust "scientists" anymore. They have standards below estate agents and used car salesmen and I'm not even going to mention politicians.

Full marks to BBC R4 More or Less exposing scientists trying to cover up the true science on bio diversity.

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen

How did this scam get get broadcast on R4 without Richard Black noticing?

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterWensley

No modelling should be publishable as science without absolute experimental proof.

Apr 23, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Simples, a warmer world will sustain more life and more diversity of life than a colder one.
====================

Apr 23, 2012 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

anivegmin- "There is a difference between immediate short term extinctions and the number of extinctions that will eventually actually happen."

The latter being very close to 100%. Despite the tree-of-life continuing to flourish, most of it's branches get ruthlessly pruned by evolution. It'll happen to us all some day.

Apr 23, 2012 at 2:33 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Pick a naturally occurring event, and blame mankind, then tax the hell out of the scam...the UN (United Numpties) are good at it.....and need a replacement for the AGW scam.

They will never stop this charade until enough sensible people say enough is enough and can the scam mongers.

The UN is past it's use by date.

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurice@TheMount

michael hart,

You are being wilfully facile.

The sentence you quote is referring to the paper being discussed. The differences between SAR and EAR in relation to habitat depletion over short time periods.

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:25 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

Just as the League of Nations outlived its usefulness (if it ever had any), even more so has the UN, as currently constituted, reached that point. These uber-bureaucrats will never give up or listen to reason. As the vast majority of the UN's funding comes, I understand, from the USA and a few other Western countries, it cannot survive in its present bloated form without their (or more accurately the taxpayers' unwitting) largesse. The UN's funding arrangements need to be laid bare and become a topic for public debate. In its present form the UN is more likely to add to the world's problems than help solve them.

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM | anivegmin

What paper are we talking about??

Because if they were, they would know that this is a minor paper within the broad body of published works on the subject and that it was immediately challenged by other experts in the field. These included scientists who's work was cited in the paper.

The references you provide contradict this don't they?

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

"scientists trying to cover up the true science on bio diversity.", "No modelling should be publishable as science without absolute experimental proof.", "charade" "scam mongers"

I don't really need to say any more. People on here just can't help but reveal themselves to be simple minded and anti-scientific.

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

anivegmin-"People on here just can't help but reveal themselves to be simple minded..."
You just said I was "wilfully facile". Please make your mind up.

"I don't really need to say any more."
Is that a promise?

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:43 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Rob Burton,

A five minute search on Google Scholar would probably reveal all if you were genuinely interested in the subject.

Hint : As linked to by Brady above - "Species–area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss" - contains references to ~30 papers and itself is cited by 23 further papers.

Hint 2: Search for information on the internet that is actually written by scientists in the field. i.e. Go to the source. Not politically or ideologically (of any persuasion) motivated blog posts.

Michael hart,

That's a second wilfully facile comment that confirms what I said. You're obviously the king of context.

Apr 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

That will result in a clash of ideas since biodiversity increases with warmth.

Apr 23, 2012 at 4:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Anivegmin:

The BBC More or Less report is both superficial and misleading.

If you are claiming that one of the very few decent BBC programmes (More or Less) is superficial and misleading, what does this say about all the rest of the BBC output?

I think you should write a letter of complaint to the BBC and see where that gets you.

Apr 23, 2012 at 7:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Satellites can see black penguins camped on snow - turns out there's twice as many of them - I guess there's even more underwater.

Apr 23, 2012 at 7:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

@Richard Verney It's a pincer movement. They'll tax us to keep the planet cool and tax us again to keep the planet warm.

Apr 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

People on here just can't help but reveal themselves to be simple minded and anti-scientific.

Apr 23, 2012 at 3:32 AM | anivegmin

Actually I find the contributors here to be amongst the best educated and insightful anywhere in the *debate* - as for 'anti-scientific', I think a more accurate description would be 'anti-pseudoscientific'.

If climate 'science' was clearly about the search for knowledge, then this blog wouldn't need to exist. If you choose wilful ignorance and the dissemination of deceit, then the antiscientific tag is yours alone.

Apr 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM | Registered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers

Not all scientific scares are unjustified. We do need to keep an eye on biodiversity but we should be careful not to let the idea be misused by the political classes like "global warming" has been.

There is one scientific scare that should have much more attention - the development of resistance to antibiotics. This seems to be happening to most of our antibiotics and unless bacterial suddenly stop evolving the problem will inevitably get worse. We need to start looking for solutions now.

What are our politicians doing about this real problem?

Apr 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The UN, and also the EU, are corrupt, pernicious and wasteful organisations, and the world would be a much better place if they were scrapped.

Apr 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

“IPBES was set up in 2010 after five years in gestation... Its goal is to imitate the success of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Hilary Ostrov:
I thought Bob Watson’s area of expertise was the ozone hole. He’s been at NASA, the White House, the IPCC and UEA before ending up at DEFRA. Was he just chairing the interim meetings, or is he running the thing?
Probably a good choice, since he speaks English as if it was his second language. See transcript of the Guardian Climategate debate at
https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/home/20100714_gn

He’s an "Honorary Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George” which seems apt, since both saints were famed for slaying mythical beasts (another species down the drain)

Apr 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

anivegmin, so you're an expert on the ecology of extinctions? As well as on all other areas of eco-doom-mongering?

"[...]this is a minor paper within the broad body of published works on the subject [...]

I guess that is why it was published in Nature?

Many of us read it when it appeared. It states very clearly that:

"The most widely used indirect method is to estimate extinction rates by reversing the species–area accumulation curve, extrapolating backwards to smaller areas to calculate expected species loss. Estimates of extinction rates based on this method are almost always much higher than those actually observed.

This was essentially the point that Willis Eschenbach made some time ago.

You then write:

"... and [...] it was immediately challenged by other experts in the field [...]"

At which point I am going to refer you to what Mandy Rice-Davies said about Lord Astor.

Apr 23, 2012 at 9:10 AM | Registered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Far be it from me to say I told you so but I wrote this post in October 2010 — which makes me lucky rather than especially clever, I admit.
It always seemed to me from my reading that 'biodervsity' and/or 'sustainability' were the front runners tio succeed 'global warming' when it became evident that the climate wasn't playing the game.

Apr 23, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I predict that the people who will be screaming most loudly about the importance of "biodiversity" are exactly the same people who push GM crops and who will yell "unscientific" and "anti - proogress" at those who question GM foods.

What worries me however is not safety issues, (I'm quite happy to eat GM tomatoes, beans, grain etc.) but the amount of control it would focus in the hands of a few corporations that like to keep a very low public profile. How many people know anything about Cargill or Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)?

Apr 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan R Thorpe

It is the fundamental dysfunction and corruption of the UN culture that is the problem. It would be wise to prevent the UN from starting yet more fronts for extremists from big green to hijack and then use to shake down Western money and promote unworkable agendas pushing false data.

Apr 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Hah! 'A slow descent into respectability'. Let's hope the same for climate science.
===================

Apr 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

@ geoffchambers

apt as well since this is Saint George's day & my birthday, yeah (55-10yr nearer to collecting a pisspoor pension)

but back to the post, the UN seem to expand there remit without any input from me/us in the UK (i assume one way or another i/we will be funding this).
what gives them these powers & how can we stop the waste of time & money jango's from setting up jobs for the boys schemes like this.
Geoff/Bishop?

Apr 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>