The Inconvenient Truth about Species Extinction

"Overall, species loss is now occurring at a rate 1,000 times greater than the natural background rate," says Al Gore in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.  However, new data published in a peer-reviewed journal illustrate how this claim, shown in the video clip below, is radically misleading.     Gore fails to mention that this "natural background rate" he speaks of is a fossil-based estimate burdened with so many assumptions that a 2005 Cambridge University Press book on biodiversity (page 139) states that no "serious" attempt has been made to "judge the reliability" of this figure.  Indeed, the "uncertainties at each stage of the calculation" would make the effort worthless.  The book goes on to explain, "Probably no one will be surprised if this estimate is off by a factor of 10 or even 100." To illustrate the vacuousness of comparing modern extinction rates to the so-called background extinction rate, we need only...(Read Full Article)

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