The Walrus and the Climate Hysterics

First the polar bears, now the walruses. At the New York Times, Gail Collins says there is a “walrus crisis.”

They’re piling up in Alaska. About 35,000 walruses have formed what looks to be a humongous brown ball along the northern coast. A mass of critters, some weighing 4,000 pounds, are pressed shoulder to shoulder — or flipper to flipper.

Normally, they’d be sitting on chunks of ice, periodically flopping into the water to hunt for snails and clams. But the ice has melted away, and now they’re stuck on land.

The “walrus crisis” is the Left’s latest effort to bully us into electing Democrats. Because…they’re going to do something about the walruses, I guess. Hard to say what. Chase them back onto the ice, maybe.

Like the other manifestations of climate hysteria, the walrus crisis is entirely fabricated. First, let’s note what how great it is that you can find 35,000 Pacific walruses in one place. It is a sign of a thriving wildlife population, estimated to have doubled since the 1950s.

Climate Depot has a thorough debunking of the walrus hype, beginning with Dr. Susan Crockford, a zoologist:

The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.

Walruses have always swarmed on land during the fall. This is called a “haulout.” In 2007, Wikipedia said, in its entry on walruses:

In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.

That portion of the walrus entry was recently deleted. Hmm, wonder why?

Walrus haulouts have been observed for hundreds of years: “Dating back to at least 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haul outs.”

So the alleged walrus crisis is more hot air. As is the rest of Ms. Collins’ op-ed:

In Alaska, entire towns are beginning to disappear under the rising seas.

It is true that a number of coastal Alaska towns are subject to erosion, as they have been for many years. The Army Corps of Engineers wrote a report on the subject:

The potential for erosion exists wherever land and water connect. Erosion, as part of a natural process, does not become a problem until it starts to affect something of intrinsic or quantifiable value. In the past, communities simply moved away from erosion sites as necessary. As communities became tied to the land through infrastructure development, it became more difficult to move away from erosion sites, and residents have tried to combat erosion on their own until the problem grew so severe that external assistance was needed.

This has nothing to do with global warming. The oceans are, of course, rising–very slowly–as they have been doing for thousands of years, since the end of the last Ice Age. The rate of rise has not increased.

A vast, vast majority of climate scientists say that human beings are causing all or part of the changes in climate that are making life miserable for the walrus and destroying the bayou country in Louisiana.

“All or part?” How’s that for weasel language? How big a part, is the obvious question. A vast, vast majority of climate realists, like me, believe that human emissions of CO2 (through breathing, burning coal, etc.) have a slight impact on the Earth’s climate. And who says the walruses are miserable?

The Earth’s climate hasn’t warmed for 18 years, and the rise of the oceans hasn’t changed. The alarmists’ models are obviously wrong. One wonders: why does a newspaper–even a bad newspaper like the Times–print op-eds that blithely ignore the most basic facts?

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