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Gone Bezerkers. Climate change will turn humans into hobbits

Posted By Joanne Nova On January 8, 2013 @ 4:36 pm In Funny stuff,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Pay up, or we’ll turn you into a Hobbit! This is what our public science establishment has reduced itself to?

Science fiction writers have infiltrated universities. They’re running amok, and while it’s all very entertaining (thanks for the laughs) some poor sods (like The Express) might think this is actually science.

Mass extinction forecast with 6C temperature rise

HUMANS will have to become like Hobbits to survive the rapid climate change facing the world, a report claims today.

It says that in the past species have coped with a warming climate by turning to dwarfism.This is because food is less nutritious in a warmer world which means that species have to eat more – and by becoming smaller they can cope with food scarcity.The report published by the Climate News Network  also warns that the speed of climate change could lead to mass extinctions partly because many species, form plants to animals, will not have time to adapt.It is based on the work of an international group of 30 scientists looking at the vast fossil deposits in rock strata in Wyoming in the United States, charting the period 55 million years ago when the earth temperature rose suddenly.

One of the clues that these researchers were having a go at us is the name: It’s called the “Bighorn Basin Coring Project” but strangely it was funded by the United States National Science Foundation. Bravo to the satirists posing as scientists, they are putting on an exceptional show of pretending to believe their own material. Dead-pan to the end.

From the ClimateNewsNetwork:

In the next 100 years the combination of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increased temperature could be “catastrophic” for an overpopulated world, according to one of the scientists involved. With food supply drastically reduced, evolutionary forces suggest hobbit-sized humans who needed to eat less would have the greatest chance of survival. These findings are the work of an international group of 30 scientists looking at the vast fossil deposits in rock strata in Wyoming in the US, charting the period 55 million years ago when the Earth’s temperature rose suddenly – as it is expected to do this century.

On that occasion it took 10,000 years for the temperature to rise by 6°C. There were mass extinctions, but the timescale gave some plants and animals time to adapt and move north and south to survive. Many species evolved quickly – dwarfism being one of the most widespread and successful strategies.

What worries the scientists is that this current warming period will take as little as 200 years, if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  is correct. This gives many long-lived species, for example trees, no time to evolve and migrate.

Righto. So assuming that human civilization today is equivalent to that of miniature horse-like mammals of 55 million years ago (cue raucous canned laugh track) ... we’ll evolve rapidly into Frodo-like beings. A career in basketball will beckon for anyone over five feet!  E’Gad a terrifying prospect. I need to sit down.

Here’s a wild stab: pretend that the IPCC was not a joke, it didn’t rely on disproven climate models, and we did get a 6°C rise, even then the “hobbit” theory has a few holes.  For one, I imagine the fox-sized Eohippus didn’t have much in the way of managed agriculture, internal combustion engines, irrigation, or mass communication.  I’m guessing that our larger offspring might manage to not-die-off-before-childbearing thanks to the slight technological advantage conferred by the Neolithic, industrial and scientific revolutions.

Will farm animals shrink and plants become less nutritious?

Dr Phillip Jardine, one of the scientists involved, is a research fellow at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at Birmingham University, UK. Giving a lecture at the Geological Society of London he said this period of warming, known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, led to catastrophic extinctions of life in the deep oceans, partly because of increased acidification and partly through lack of oxygen. On land many plants and animals also died out.

He said: “Even if future climate change isn’t a convincing enough argument to decrease carbon emissions, increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations has a very real possibility of reducing the viability of our own food supplies, by compromising the base of the food chain for ourselves and the animals that we farm and eat.

“If we acknowledge the presence of increasing temperatures then we have an additional factor that we would expect to decrease further the size of our farmed animals, and thus the amount of food that we can take from them.”

Let’s look at the more similar warming era 0.000 million years ago known as the Green Revolution. The world has been warming for 300 years as CO2 levels rose rapidly, but farm animals got bigger, fatter, and multiplied several magnitudes.  The awful consequences of warming and all that extra aerial fertilizer meant that the human population only got ten times larger and quite a lot taller.

Yes, extra CO2 makes plants grow faster. It greens the world, and adds biomass which is carbohydrate based. Where nitrogen is limited, and fertilizer is not available, some plants will have a slightly lower protein component. Is the new terror campaign a plan to scare us into paying a carbon tax for fear we might have to eat a higher carbohydrate diet? Have I got that right?

If there was a global 6°C rise, I’m sure there would be mass extinctions, but since the evidence suggests climate models exaggerate the threat by a factor of 6 or 7, there are more pressing concerns, like why are we wasting so much money paying people in science departments to propagate ideas so weak they evaporate on contact with unfunded bloggers?

Hat tip Marc Morano.

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*You think I’m taking artistic license in that opening line, but Business Green asked if you want to be a Hobbit, and said “you may not have a choice”, though I suspect even they reckon this story is a bit out of hand.

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