Biodiversity does NOT shrink with climate change or CO2

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How will the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content affect the biodiversity of Earth’s many ecosystems? The answer after evaluating dozens of studies cited in Climate Change Revisited II: Fossil Fuels, edited by Joe and Diane Bast, is a resounding “Not At All”.

The research clearly stated in the aforementioned book and articles contained therein shows with that increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere, has been in the past, and will be in the future, beneficial to biodiversity. More CO2 expands the ranges of nearly all our life forms and increases their security. The record shows few cases of a negative effect on biodiversity brought on by climate warming, even when temperature increases were far greater than those predicted without substantiation by alarmists.

Jaramillo (2010) studied an abrupt change in Earth temperature 56 million years ago in the Paleocene/Eocene where over a 5 degree centigrade temperature increase was experienced in less than 20,000 years. It was thought by many that our tropical ecosystems would have suffered considerably with such a change in heat but their analysis proved that not to be the case. How do they know this? Jaramillo and colleagues analyzed pollen and spore counts and stable carbon isotope composition in sites in Columbia and Venezuela. That may seem complicated to the average reader but it is basic and accurate science for paleoclimatologists.

Alarmists claim, without any substantiation, that their predicted temperature changes are greater than any thing previously recognized in the geologic record, research shows otherwise. Hof et. al. (2011) used geophysical evidence to prove otherwise. Steffensen (2008) showed temperatures on Greenland warmed by 4 degrees C/year near the end of the last glacial period. Other similar change rates in the past 2.5 million years was not found to have significant measurable impact or even extinctions.

Hof et. al. Speculate that there are many ways that species have effectively adapted to climate change including shifting geography, changing their genetic makeup and adjusting their traits. They are also certain that habitat changes or destruction are far more important than climate.

Polley (2012) found CO2 enrichment from 280ppm to 480ppm strongly increased primary productivity of above ground plants which has been significantly underestimated by models preaching negative outcomes from temperature and CO2 increases.

Steinbauer (2018) report there has been “a continent-wide acceleration in the rate of increase in plant species richness with five times as much species enrichment between 2007 and 2016 as fifty years ago between 1957 and 1966” this is clearly connected to CO2 increases and there are no exceptions across all continents. They said this in-spite of their being admitted global warming alarmists.

One can not talk about biodiversity without discussing extinction predictions as well. Research addressing extinction and evolution exposes the faulty assumptions underlying forecasts that climate change will reduce plant diversity. The IPCC takes advantage of the public’s false perception that extinctions are often or only the result of human disturbances to the natural order. In reality the vast majority of extinctions have nothing to do with human behavior. Raup (1986) states that five mass extinctions stand out consistently, occurring 440 million, 365 million, 250 million, and the largest 65 million years ago now known to be the result of a massive asteroid which destroyed the vast majority of all species including the dinosaurs.

Raup warns that our knowledge of these mass distinctions and many smaller ones in the distant past rely on a data base of only 250,000 known fossil species. This is a small sample due to small probabilities of preservation and discovery. Yet scientists estimate that as many as 4 billion species of plants and animals may have lived in all of geologic time. Most are believed to have lived in the past 600 million years. Yet there are only a few million species living today. Patrick Moore in his new book FAKE INVISIBLE CATASTROPHES AND THREATS OF DOOM categorizes them. Thus extinction of species has been almost as common as origination.

What follows the extinction of a species is the opening of opportunities for other species. A good example is the expansion of mammals after the demise of the dinosaurs .

Extinctions then are not unnatural or objectively bad things. They occur constantly in the absence of human activity. The IPCC bases. It’s forecasts of negative impacts and extinctions on computer models with no scientific support. They rely on unrealistic and invalidated assumptions about the ability of plants and animals to adapt to changes in their environment.

Willis and MacDonald (2011) point out that biotic adaptation to climate change has been rarely addressed. It is referred to as evolutionary resilience, the ability of populations to persist in their current location while undergoing evolutionary adaptation. They state that ongoing change is the norm in nature and one of the dynamic processes that generates and maintains biodiversity.

Portions of this article were excerpted from Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), published by The Heartland Institute, with permission of the editors Joseph Bast and Diane Bast. The author strongly recommends the book for a complete expose of the fallacies behind the Climate Delusion.


Jaramillo,C., et al. 2010. Effects of rapid global warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary on new tropical vegetation. SCIENCE 330: 957-61

Hof, C., Levinsky, I., Araujo, M/B. And Raheem, C. 2011, Rethinking species ability to cope with rapid climate change. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY 17:2987-90

Steffensen, J.P., et al 2008. High resolution Greenland Ice Core data sho abrupt climate change happens in few years. SCIENCE 321: 680-4

Polley, H.W., Jin, V.L. And Fay, P.A. 2012. Feedback from plant species change amplifies CO2 enhancement of grassland productivity. Global Change Biology 18: 2813-23

Steinbauer, M.J. et al 2018, Accelerated increase in plant species richness on mountain summits is linked to warming. NATURE 556:231-4

Raup, D.M. 1986.Biological extinction in Earth history SCIENCE 231:(4745):1528-33

Willis, K/J. And MacDonald, G.M.. 2011. Long term ecological records and their relevance to climate change predictions for a warmer world. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 42: 267-87

  • CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

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