Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who needs biodiversity?

David Evans


Everyone has their own preferences and their own moral judgements. A personal preference does not contradict the personal preference of others and does not need any evidence or proof to validate it. A moral judgement however may contradict the moral judgements of others and must have reasoning (evidence) to back it up. Moral judgements must have reasoning to back them up or else they would be just personal preferences.

Alan Caruba divulges many moral judgements in his Emerging blog posting “Goodbye Global Warming, Hello Biodiversity” (31 October, 2010). His most prominent discusses how we should not trust long term predictions made by global organizations that are cause for international concern due to past inaccuracies and the waste of resources associated with the steps taken to alleviate the proverbial “problem”.

Caruba opens the blog posting displaying his distaste for the concept of global warming calling it a scam “where billions could be made selling and trading bogus “carbon credits”’ (Caruba 2010). Caruba discredits the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as they had been “regularly documenting a rise in the earth’s average temperature even when a new natural cooling cycle began in 1998.” (Caruba 2010) These “false” documents then “caused governments to invest billions into the worst forms of energy, wind and solar, along with endless other equally worthless “Green” programs.” (Caruba 2010)

The concept of global warming has given rise to carbon credits but there is no evidence referenced supporting the claim that global warming is a scam. Global warming has not yet been conclusively proven but is generally supported in the scientific community. What has been proven is the yearly reduction of ice in the arctic. Sea ice in the arctic is essential as a reflector of sunlight lowering the heat transfer from photons of light to the water in the arctic ocean. “... Arctic amplification is largely driven by loss of the sea ice cover, allowing for strong heat transfers from the ocean to the atmosphere.” (Serreze et al. 2009) This stronger heat transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere slowly increases the temperature of the globe.

There is no evidence cited to back up the other controversial claims made by Caruba either. No publications stating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had created false data were sourced. No reasoning for why wind and solar energy are the so-called “worst” forms of energy was stated. The statements stood by themselves and opens Caruba up to lots of criticism.

Caruba’s main claim focuses on the statement made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which states that 26000 species worldwide are in danger of becoming extinct. The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) consists of delegates from 200 countries that translates new scientific knowledge into policy to benefit the environment and humans. The IPBES met in June 2010 in South Korea but as Curaba explains they met “with the goal of denying vast areas of the earth from the development needed to feed six billion people and provide the raw materials vital to the energy required for a modern technological society dependent on electricity and on transportation fuels.” (Caruba 2010)

Caruba compared the statistics provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to the “false” statistical predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “In the same fashion people were told that the global warmers could predict the temperature of the Earth fifty to a hundred years from now, we are expected to believe that all current species are imperiled.” (Caruba 2010) The IPCC did make predictions about the future effects of global warming and these statistical predictions have not yet been validated because we have not yet reached the target area of the predictions. This comparison is valid as it is very difficult to make an accurate prediction many years into the future.

In support of his defense Caruba states “Consider that of all the species that ever existed on Earth, 99% are extinct.” (Caruba 2010) Although this raises a valid point Caruba again neglects sourcing the statistic.

Caruba believes that money spent on discussing, researching and solving potential problems is better put to use on humanitarian ventures. People are sick, starving, and are in desperate need of aid from the western world. At the same time we spend countless resources that could lift these people and nations out of poverty and to safety on bigger issues.

What the issue really boils down to is what you personally believe has intrinsic value. Caruba’s arguments clearly denote him as an anthropocentrist. “Nicholas K. Dulvy, a co-author of the list of alleged endangered species, complained that “We’ve transformed a third of the habitable land on earth for food production.” Oh, heaven forbid that humans should have enough food!” (Caruba 2010) Anthropocentrists only recognize humans as having intrinsic value and moral standing. Anthropocentrists believe humans are ends in themselves while all other species of animals and ecosystems are just a means to an end. This view does not respect animal rights as non-human animals hold no intrinsic value to the anthropocentrists.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature holds an eco-holist view. The name of the organization gives its view away let alone what it stands for. As an eco-holist all species of animals, including humans, and ecosystems have intrinsic value and have rights. They believe these rights must be respected and we should therefore do everything within our power to conserve land for the continued protection of these species and ecosystems.

Personal preferences need no support as they only pertain to the individual which holds said preferences. Moral judgements require support as they attempt to state what actions should or should not be acted upon. Without evidence moral judgements are only personal preferences.


Caruba, A. 31/10/2010. “Goodbye Global Warming, Hello Biodiversity” Emerging Corruption.

Serreze, M. C., Barrett, A. P., Stroeve, J. C., Kindig, D. N., and Holland, M. M. 2009. The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification, The Cryosphere, 3, 11-19.

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