Another €100,000 (£88,000, $107,000) has been gifted to a climate journalist via the foundation of Spain’s second largest bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA). The money is an annual presentation and was recently given to the New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert. The bank said it gave her the cash “for her extraordinary ability to communicate in a rigorous, attractive manner the fundamental environmental challenges of our time”. BBVA is deeply involved in funding subsidy-heavy renewable technologies. It recently declared record profits for 2022 of €6.42 billion, and noted that it had channelled €50 billion into “sustainable business”. Past cash recipients include Matt McGrath of the BBC, the Guardian newspaper and Marlowe Hood of Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The foundation was particularly impressed with Kolbert’s 2016 seminal book, The Sixth Mass Extinction, which was awarded a ‘non-fiction’ Pulitzer Prize. This was said to have documented the dramatic loss of species that the planet is suffering. “One third of all reef building corals, a third of all freshwater molluscs, a third of sharks and rays, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of reptiles and a sixth of all birds are heading towards oblivion,” she said. For good measure, she claimed that around a half of all living species on the Earth could disappear by the end of the century.
Kolbert is a Climate Catastrophist straight from central casting. She fervently believes that humans can control the climate by adjusting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a proposition that is disputed by many scientists. She compares climate ‘deniers’ to flat-earthers. What ‘deniers’ think of climate science, or rather her take on said science, is “completely irrelevant“. Like most people in her world, she says, “I have low tolerance for people who deny facts and disregard truths”.
The sixth mass extinction scare is becoming very popular in climate Armageddon circles, and is heavily promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). But it suffers from a major flaw – a lack of proof. Most of the claims are produced by models and are just opinions. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 823 animals and plant species (mostly animals) that have gone extinct since 1500. If you are in the Pulitzer prize winning territory of a sixth mass extinction, you might expect to be able to show more than 823 extinct species in 522 years.
The WWF has been responsible for much extinction alarmism since its Living Planet Index has estimated at least a 50% vertebrate decline since 1970. But a group of Canadian biologists recently cast considerable doubt on this claim, suggesting that it was a cherry pick. They showed that the estimate was produced from less than 3% of vertebrate populations. “If these extremely declining populations are excluded, the global trend switches to an increase,” they point out. “More informative indices are needed,” they conclude. The finding is perhaps not surprising since the small increases in CO2 over the last 40 years has produced 14% more vegetation across the globe.
Five years ago, the eminent Smithsonian palaeontologist Doug Erwin dismissed sixth mass extinction talk as “junk science“. He went on to state that “many of those making facile comparisons between the current situation and past mass extinctions don’t have a clue about the difference in the nature of the data, much less how truly awful the mass extinctions recorded in the marine fossil record actually were”.
As regular readers are aware, MIT Emeritus Professor Richard Lindzen believes the entire climate narrative is “absurd”. However, he acknowledges it has near-universal acceptance, despite the fact that in a normal world the counterarguments would be compelling. “Perhaps it is the trillions of dollars being diverted into every green project under the sun, and the relentless propaganda from grant-dependent academics and agenda-driven journalists, along with the political control offered to elite groups in society by Net Zero, that currently says it is not absurd,” he suggests.
Neil Winton spent 34 years working for the international news agency Reuters, including four years as science and technology correspondent reporting on global warming. He wrote a recent article noting that anyone who abused people by calling them a climate denier “betrays the fact they know little about climate science, or are too lazy to do their own research”. They are more interested in forcing their views on the public and silencing debate, he added. The idea that the science is settled, he says, won’t last long if the reporter can be bothered to use a search engine revealing “scores if not hundreds of highly qualified scientists who beg to differ”.
In his new book on Net Zero, Winton notes, the author Ross Clark accuses Reuters of joining an organisation “which is dedicated to presenting a partisan view of climate change, and silences those who dare to disagree by activating the obnoxious ‘denier’ assertion”.
This organisation is called Covering Climate Now (CC Now), and it specialises in ready-to-publish climate scare stories. The Daily Sceptic wrote about it in December under the heading ‘How billionaires fill the Media with climate fear and panic’. CC Now feeds over 500 media operations and its ‘partners’ include some of the biggest names in news publishing such as Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, CBS News, ABC News and MSNBC News.
Winston notes that CC Now issues the advice: “For God’s sake do not platform climate denialists.” Op-eds that detract from the scientific consensus or ridicule climate activism “don’t belong in a serious news outlet”, it says. Since when did Reuters require an outside organisation to advise it on how to report on controversial issues, asks Winton.
He adds: “If you dig deeper though you’ll find it uses weasel words only too familiar to those like me who’ve striven to provide real honesty and balance to the argument. It reveals itself as just another arrogant, warmist outfit dedicated to shutting down those with whom it disagrees. Not a thing Reuters should be associated with, surely?”
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
via Watts Up With That?
February 14, 2023 at 09:10PM