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Norfolk’s iconic Swallowtail Butterfly at risk from climate change – UEA

March 30, 2018
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Dave Ward

 

The latest nonsense from the UEA:

 

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Norfolk’s butterflies, bees, bugs, birds, trees and mammals are at major risk from climate change as temperatures rise – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Researchers carried out the first in-depth audit of its kind for a region in the UK to see how biodiversity might be impacted in Norfolk as the world warms.

The study finds that the region’s Swallowtail Butterfly, which can’t be found anywhere else in the UK, is at risk – along with three quarters of bumblebee, grasshopper and moth species.

Dr Jeff Price analysed local populations of 834 species found throughout Norfolk to show how they might fare as climate change reaches 2°C – the upper end of the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement goals. He also looked at what will happen at 3.2°C – the current global trajectory if countries meet their international pledges to reduce CO2.

The results, published today in Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society, are sobering.

At risk at 2°C of global warming

The project reveals that at just 2°C, 72 per cent of bumblebees in Norfolk could be lost, along with 75 per cent of grasshoppers and bush crickets, and 68 per cent of larger moths.

The new climate potentially becomes unsuitable for 15 species of birds including Lapland Bunting and Pink-footed Goose. Meanwhile the Common Shrew, Roe Deer and European Badger are among seven mammal species which may be lost from Norfolk.

The Swallowtail Butterfly, local only to the Norfolk Broads, and Red Admirals are among 11 types of butterfly which could be affected.

The Common Frog, Great Crested Newt, Adders, and the Common Lizard could also be lost.

At risk at 3.2°C of global warming

As climate change reaches 3.2°C, temperatures would be largely or completely unsuitable for mammals including Grey Squirrels, Whiskered Bats and Reeves’ Muntjac and trees including Silver Birch, Horse Chestnut, Scots Pine and Norway Spruce.

Additionally, 83 per cent of shield bugs, 84 per cent of moths, 78 per cent of bumblebees, and 45 per cent of butterflies including the Small Tortoiseshell could also be affected.

The findings come after UEA research revealed that up to half of all plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked.

Lead researcher Dr Jeff Price, from UEA’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, said: “This research shows that climate change really will pose increasing risks to biodiversity both globally and in Norfolk. 

“This is a comprehensive investigation of how climate change will impact Norfolk’s biodiversity. I was able to carry out this research thanks to a long tradition of citizen science in the county. The Norfolk and Norwich Naturalist’s Society was founded in 1869 and their members provided data used in the study.

“Robert Marsham (1708-1797) of Stratton Strawless, Norfolk, is considered to be the founding father of the science of phenology through his painstaking studying over 60 years published as Indications of Spring. The effect of changing seasons on plants and animals is now one of the well-documented consequences of climate change.

“The important thing to remember here is that global warming has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels. We’re currently on a trajectory for 3.2°C if international pledges to reduce CO2 are genuine. If so, major changes need to be made to how we use and produce our energy.

“Norfolk’s offshore wind turbines are an excellent example of the beginning of the transition that is needed worldwide to protect biodiversity here in Norfolk and everywhere else.

“The Paris Climate Agreement aims to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5°C. If this is achieved, the climate would still be suitable for the majority of wildlife in Norfolk.

“But 2°C is a tipping point at which climate conditions will become largely or completely unsuitable for many species.

“Insects are essential food to many other species. Their decline will have a knock-on effect for the food webs of Norfolk’s ecosystems of the Broads and the Coast.

“The loss of bumblebees potentially has a major impact on pollination of crops and other plants,” he added.

https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/norfolk-s-iconic-swallowtail-butterfly-at-risk-from-climate-change

 

The report is here.

 

The study is based on, you guessed it, models. In particular, some already developed under the Wallace Initiative.

These models attempt to link together global biodiversity with climate data, thus implying that it is climate alone which determines where plants and wildlife exist. In reality, this is a grossly simplistic assumption.

 

But first, let’s take a look at some of the climatic factors used in the models, and how they apply to East Anglia – basically maximum summer temperatures, annual and seasonal rainfall and extreme rainfall:

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https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets

 

There is no evident trend in any of the datasets. Many summers in the past have been as warm as recent ones, the climate is not getting wetter or drier, and the most extreme rainfall events occurred prior to 1971.

As is always the case with UK weather, the year to year variability swamps any underlying climatic trends.

 

Swallowtail Butterfly

 

 

 

According to UK Butterflies:

The Swallowtail is our largest native butterfly, and also one of our rarest. This spectacular insect is our only resident butterfly of the Papilionidae family, which is one of the largest butterfly families in the world. The British race is the subspecies britannicus which is confined to the fens of the Norfolk Broads in East Norfolk. This is partly due to the distribution of the sole larval foodplant, Milk-parsley. Seeing the adult butterflies flying powerfully over the Norfolk Broads is a sight to behold, and one near the top of the list of most British butterfly-watchers.

In some years, there are reports of the gorganus subspecies arriving from the continent. This subspecies is less fussy and will use many kinds of Umbellifer, such as Wild Carrot, as the larval foodplant. 2013 was an exceptional year for this subspecies, with sightings from 13 sites across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, and a single site in Buckinghamshire. These sightings included evidence of egg-laying and the resulting larvae and pupae have been followed through to spring 2014. On April 14th 2014 a single continental Swallowtail was seen and photographed at the Magdalen Hill Down Butterfly Conservation reserve near Winchester in Hampshire.

http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=machaon

 

From a purely climate point of view therefore, the Papilionidae family is perfectly able to flourish in all sorts of climate across Europe, and indeed elsewhere.

The Swallowtail is only restricted by the availability of milk-parsley, which can only grow in wetlands, such as the Broads.

 

In 2014, the BBC reported:

The swallowtail is one of Britain’s finest butterflies. Its large and distinctive wing shape and beautiful markings make it eyecatching.

Swallowtails were once found in wetlands across the UK but their numbers declined sharply in the 1920s. Nowadays careful management of the habitats in which they thrive is enabling a slow reversal of their fortunes.

Swallowtails are currently found on the Norfolk Broads, at one privately-owned site in Suffolk and at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire.

Swallowtail distribution is wholly dictated by the availability of milk parsley, its caterpillar food source.

When the Norfolk Broads were actively managed by reedcutters who harvested both reed and sedge for thatching, areas were left clear enabling milk parsley, and consequently swallowtail butterflies, to flourish.

Around World War One demand for thatch declined sharply as other roofing materials became more popular. By the 1980s many of the Broadland reed and sedgebeds had become overgrown and neglected.

Milk parsley had been all but choked out, depriving swallowtail caterpillars of their lunch. Conservationists now recognise the necessity of regular reed and sedge cutting to nurture swallowtails and other Broadland wildlife.

At several places on the Norfolk Broads, principally Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve at Hickling Broad, regular cutting is providing more open areas where swallowtails can flourish.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/your/extra/swallowtail.shtml

 

So, the big decline in the 20thC had nothing at all to do with climate, but the draining of wetlands and the lack of maintenance of them.

As for milk-parsley itself, this is a very widespread plant and is native to most of Europe. If Norfolk does get a bit hotter in the next century, the effect on milk-parsley is likely to be zilch.

The UEA study appears to have fallen into the trap of assuming that because the butterfly does not exist in warmer climes on the Continent, it will not be able to survive in a warmer climate here.

Unfortunately, the Swallowtail is a bit of an evolutionary dead end, which has become overspecialised in its reliance on a single source of food.

 

Common Shrew

A common shrew sits on a moss covered log

 

Incredibly this little varmint also appears on the UEA’s death list, under the category “Climate largely or completely unsuitable by 2°C”.

According to the BBC Nature:

Common shrews are one of Britain’s and northern Europe’s most abundant small mammals.

 Map showing the distribution of the Common shrew taxa

 

They inhabit a wide variety of habitats and climates. The idea that Norfolk might get a bit too warm for them is frankly piffle.

Which just about sums up the whole UEA study!

 

Laughably at the end of the UEA’s press release, we get this:

 

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At least they’ve got a sense of humour!

53 Comments
  1. March 30, 2018 12:33 pm

    Paul states: “Unfortunately, the Swallowtail is a bit of an evolutionary dead end, which has become overspecialised in its reliance on a single source of food.”

    This is the situation with a number of plants and animals over the eons. The California Condor is at an evolutionary dead end. So are the remaining examples of a once widespread group of trees in the Cypress family: the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), the Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and their Chinese cousin the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). The Dawn Redwood was first described from fossils and then found in China and rushed out just ahead of Mao’s advancing army. It and the Giant Redwood are both grown here, but the Coast Redwood requires a moist, foggy environment. It is also the one “farmed” for wood.

    Vaccinium elliottii (Elliott’s blueberry) found in the southeastern US, is an example of a group of plants from Miocene which are also at a dead end. Environmentalists love to use them as examples of our civilization’s negative influence, but such is not the case. These plants have basically lost their ability to sexually reproduce. Instead they form clonal colonies and do quite well in specific habitats. However, since they set little viable seed, they cannot “roll with the punches”. Genetically, they are at a dead end.

    • March 30, 2018 4:50 pm

      One might speculate that when the British subspecies diverged from its continental relatives, there was an advantage to the population here in specializing on milk parsley. Until relatively recent history the fens were heavily managed for thatch. Milk parsley thrived on that.

      With little use for thatch these days, the only management is by conservation groups, & the future of the milk parsley is uncertain. Obviously there are plenty of monospecific insect herbivores, and this only becomes a disadvantage when your host plant becomes rare. (In this case, because the milk parsley is shorter than fully-grown reeds, the butterfly may not be able to find the plant in unmanaged sites if it cues visually.)

    • mothcatcher permalink
      March 30, 2018 10:43 pm

      Knowledgeable and well-founded observations, as per your usual standard, Joan.

      However, I don’t think this paper deserves the dignity of such a considered response . It is complete and utter garbage – a daydream, a vacuous storytelling, something that could have been coddled up in a few hours, without any recourse at all to either the regional effect of climate models, or the examination of local natural history lists, and no-one could have noticed the difference in the results. It is an apalling bit of schoolboy essay-writing, dressed up to look like it has some connection with science. Drivel. Shameful.

  2. March 30, 2018 12:34 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    These studies should really begin “once upon a time, in a land far away the climate was perfect and ask the creators lived in perfect harmony and never died…like eva!”

  3. March 30, 2018 12:43 pm

    In the old days when I applied to study physics at university you could put six universities down in order of preference. UEA was used as the sixth choice since they would take you if you messed up your A-level exams. Fortunately I didn’t mess them up, since UEA has gone steadily down hill ever since. It gave up having a physics department, preferring soft subjects like “Environmental Studies” and “Creative Writing”. This paper is supposed to be from UEA’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences (science, what science?), but I suspect it is really from the School of Creative Writing – unless they now have a department of Creative Modelling..

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 30, 2018 8:16 pm

      Same here. The “University of Easy Access” was my last choice for chemistry, on my UCCA form back in 1979!

    • April 2, 2018 2:13 pm

      “subjects like “Environmental Studies” and “Creative Writing””

      Are they not now rolled into one instead of separate?

  4. bobn permalink
    March 30, 2018 12:58 pm

    Paul. You graph above purportedly shows East Anglia Summer MAX Temps. Are you sure its not summer Mean temps? It shows a max temp of 24c over 100yrs! I lived in East Anglia for 7yrs and we certainly had higher temps than that!
    Agree there are so many things wrong with this junk report that its not worth correcting them all. just tragic that such crap is now being disseminated as ‘scientific’. I guess the age of enlightenment is well and truely over. Latest report from UEA ‘Models prove the earth is flat’!

    • March 30, 2018 3:03 pm

      Sorry, it’s a bit ambiguous.

      It should read “average max temperatures”

      Now amended

      • April 2, 2018 2:15 pm

        Actually, plants and animals don’t “give a hoot” about average temperatures. It is the extremes of hot and cold which determine their survival.

  5. Ian Magness permalink
    March 30, 2018 12:58 pm

    Well done for an excellent post Paul. The paper is clearly utter garbage from start to finish. A real scientist would have sought to seek out – at the very least – the habitat and short term weather drivers that are so crucial to invertebrate and small mammal population changes – then removed those effects from the models before identifying other determinants such as long term temperature change (assuming such existed). This was clearly not done here. Classic modelling failure by those who really should have known better. Hard evidence in the form of historical data ignored in order to create the desired answer. Pathetic.

  6. Richard Woollaston permalink
    March 30, 2018 1:01 pm

    Apart from the specious nature of this ‘research’, why is the founding assumption of all such studies that we live in evolutionary stasis? Maybe it’s because design and intervention by humans is then necessitated in order to protect life. This is an intellectual conceit and is present in many fields where evolutionary principles can and will allow adaptation to changing environmental conditions – however slowly they may in fact be changing.

    I’m also noticing an increasing tendency to equate belief in evolution with what is now called the alt.Right. Disturbingly this implies that social liberals believe they alone are are capable of saving the world via design and intervention. They conveniently ignore the fact that totalitarian policies will be required to deliver such interventions.

    • JerryC permalink
      March 30, 2018 2:31 pm

      The fact that totalitarian policies will be required is a feature, not a bug.

  7. Broadlands permalink
    March 30, 2018 1:25 pm

    “The Paris Climate Agreement aims to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5°C. If this is achieved, the climate would still be suitable for the majority of wildlife in Norfolk.”

    These concerned “scientists” have not looked at the reality? The Paris plan requires the elimination of carbon emissions (to zero?) with the slow transition to solar and wind. This will be followed by CCS technology to safely and permanently bury hundreds of billions of tons of oxidized carbon. Continuing to warn us about our “dangerous” future is a total waste of resources because the Paris goal is unachievable.

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      March 30, 2018 4:23 pm

      The Paris goal may be – and probably is – unachievable. But not because it “requires … the slow transition to solar and wind“. The Agreement makes no mention of either solar or wind.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 31, 2018 1:59 pm

        Robin.. It requires an alternative to carbon. Solar and wind are the current choices. Nuclear energy is a no-no? Capture and storage of CO2 is one “sink” referred to in the language and CCS suffers the same problems? Safety and location of storage.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        March 31, 2018 4:07 pm

        Broadlands: the reality is that, apart from stating that developed countries are to “provide financial resources” to developing countries, the Agreement doesn’t really “require” anything much – goals and aims are hardly requirements. Of course Western European countries will regard moral obligations as requirements. But they’re responsible for only about 11% of emissions. That’s the main reason why the overall goal is unachievable.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 31, 2018 11:26 pm

        Agree Robin. But the point to “take home” is that the Paris goals are very expensive, and time-consuming which in the end… unachievable. Continued scary futures not withstanding.

  8. Tony Budd permalink
    March 30, 2018 1:44 pm

    It’s a bit ironic to see Robert Marsham’s ground-breaking work in 18th Century Norfolk referred-to without any acknowledgment that the chart produced at that time and headed “Lord Suffield’s Remarks on Mr Marsham’s Indications of Spring” clearly shows a large variation in the arrival of spring from year to year, with little indication that if spring was early one year many local species died out due to rising temperatures, or vice-versa.

  9. thedude permalink
    March 30, 2018 2:07 pm

    More windmills. That should save the butterflies and bees.

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    March 30, 2018 2:25 pm

    What really irked me (and lead to a burst of expletives) was the following:

    “The important thing to remember here is that global warming has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels”

    In other words merely ONE DEGREE more will push us past the “tipping point”. Sounds as if attempting to scare people with talk of “2 degrees” hasn’t worked, so they are going to try another tactic.

    “It won’t be possible for them to adapt by moving elsewhere”

    If true that’s unfortunate, but other species have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to “climate change” (or just different circumstances). For several years now we’ve had Blackcaps (normally a summer migrant bird) over-wintering here. They seem to have realised that most suburban gardens these days contain bird feeders, and have decided to stay put, rather than risk the long journey to and from Africa.

    “Norfolk’s offshore wind turbines are an excellent example of the beginning of the transition that is needed”

    Not exactly:

    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/norfolk-wildlife-disturbed-by-offshore-wind-farms-vattenfall-orsted-1-5323625

    Just look at the route map, and ponder why there wasn’t a bit more “joined up thinking”…

    • bobn permalink
      March 31, 2018 12:52 am

      Yep. 1deg natural warming from the solar cycles and in 100yrs we should get another 1deg warmer thanks to the natural 600yr solar cycle. Heck, we’ll then be nearly as warm as the medieval warm period 1000yrs ago. Wonder how the butterflies got through that traumatic warming?!

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    March 30, 2018 2:42 pm

    I guess the butterflies are more likely to be shivering with cold at the moment.

    Our natural environment is largely man-made. The greenies (not proper environmentalists as Joan would probably attest) fail to grasp this in the wonderful plans. Working as a volunteer for part of the axis of evil – the RSPB – we were cutting reed at Radipole Lake. Without this the lake would gradually become swamp and then land as the plantlife evolves. Cleaning out the reedbeds allowed fish to enter to breed and for heron and bitterns to feed.

  12. Bitter@twisted permalink
    March 30, 2018 3:08 pm

    UEA is not known as the University of Easy Access for nothing.
    It’s reputation is hard-earned on the back of cutting-edge research, as reported above.

    • March 30, 2018 3:46 pm

      It wasn’t known as the University of Easy Access when I put it on my list (see above), but even then it had the easiest access of all the universities I looked at.

  13. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 30, 2018 3:23 pm

    Regarding: The photo of the Swallowtail on the pink flowers – –
    Is this flower from the plant “Milk Parsley” ? Pictures otherwise show white flowers.

    Note: “ . . . of the sole larval foodplant, Milk-parsley
    Key word here is larval.
    Food source for the parent is not the same as ‘larval foodplant’.

    Here in Washington State the plants used are Milkweeds,
    see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias

    Most species are toxic, and a bird that picks up a Caterpillar from such a plant will realize this and spit it out.
    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterpillar#Chemical_defenses

    • March 30, 2018 3:54 pm

      The plant in the photo is red valerian. In the UK it’s common in gardens and popular with butterflies as a nectar source.

      As I understand it, swallowtail larvae will feed on other umbellifers, but the adults don’t seem to oviposit on anything other than milk parsley.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        March 30, 2018 10:03 pm

        Thanks Jit.
        We live at just over 700 m. elevation. Apparently red valerian does grow at lower elevations in our State. I don’t recall seeing any, but I usually I’m not in places where I might.

    • mothcatcher permalink
      March 30, 2018 10:59 pm

      Hi, John
      Red Valerian is common in UK, in warmer places and on the coast,(and especially in Ireland) but I’m pretty sure it is introduced in the British Isles, being a denizen normally of southern Europe. Don’t know if you have it in US but it’s a great plant for insects, and has a long flowering period. Oddlly, it is not an umbellifer, and is completely unrelated to our native Valerian, which is, and it would therefore be of no interest to any Swallowtail except for nectar.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        March 31, 2018 3:30 am

        It was brought to the US by garden folks and has gone wild.
        Just not where we live. Our local climate is too dry and cold – I think.

    • April 2, 2018 2:25 pm

      Butterflies can see color. Therefore, they are attracted to bright flowers. We have “butterfly weed” (Asclepias tuberosa) here and I carefully keep a clump in my north field. It is bright orange w/o any odor. However, other of the milkweed genus, have dull pinkish flowers and a delightful odor. They attract the insects which can smell, but not see color. This genus keeps many insects out with their intricate flower anatomy. The pollen is in little “saddle bags” which attach to the insects’ legs and are transported between flowers and plants.

  14. Mike Jackson permalink
    March 30, 2018 4:30 pm

    Here in southern Burgundy (46°40’ N) we have both swallowtails and scarce swallowtails (which are in reality more common than swallowtails), as well as meadow browns, small heaths, gatekeepers, red admirals, peacocks, adonis blues, large and small tortoiseshells, clouded yellows, the occasional camberwell beauty and several others.

    And the pond is full of frogs and newts and the odd grass snake and the garden is deafeningly alive every summer with crickets and grasshoppers not to mention glow worms and slow worms and I haven’t even started on the birds (including a golden oriole and a pair of hoopoes!j.

    Since the average annual temperature is around 1.5° higher than central England wtf is the problem? All these delights will be heading their way. Are they really too dim to understand that, with a few obvious and inevitable exceptions, fauna like it warmer rather than not. Bit like human beings, really.

    Oh, and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

    • March 30, 2018 4:44 pm

      Thank you for that. Yes, the swallowtail likes it warmer. It is found throughout Europe and even in North Africa. A pedant may cry that the continental version is a different subspecies to the one we have in Blighty but I doubt there is a difference in environmental tolerance.

      In similar vein, milk parsley, the host plant of the Brit version of the swallowtail is found widely in Europe – not Spain or Portugal, but Italy & Bulgaria, Germany & the north.

      In neither case does it seem likely that a bit of warmer weather will be catastrophic.

  15. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 30, 2018 4:59 pm

    All this sort of research appears to ignore the actual claims about climate change. There isn’t going to be a simple 2 degree increase in all temperatures. Global average temperatures (as measured by max and min I believe) will increase by 2 degrees. There is absolutely no claim that everywhere is just going to get hotter.

    For example, the poor butterflies might just get some more warm days, rather than new record heat – in other words, a slightly longer summer – and fewer cold days – a slightly shorter winter. That seems unlikely to cause them nay problems.

    How you model Norfolk in such a world is beyond me. This is simply junk, utter and total junk.

  16. Athelstan permalink
    March 30, 2018 5:11 pm

    Another example of university of easy access sociologists, attempting Lepidopterology and in combination with some very idle speculation about a false climate premise.

    BS in BS out.

  17. save energy permalink
    March 30, 2018 5:21 pm

    Britain has 59 native butterfly species
    32 different species of butterflies found regularly in Scotland

    But in the warm Amazon 27C average, you get…. 4,000 + species

    These guy should be sweeping the streets NOT writing junk like this

    • March 30, 2018 6:48 pm

      There’s an awful lot of potholes around here that could do with filling in once they’ve finished sweeping. According to our council potholes were going to be a thing of the past due to climate change.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        March 31, 2018 3:37 am

        “. . . potholes were going to be a thing of the past due to climate change.”

        I anticipate a good use for this line in the future, and will save it.
        Thanks.

      • Nigel S permalink
        April 1, 2018 12:29 pm

        Probably what Tesla thought when they shaved a few cents on the steering bolts.

  18. martinbrumby permalink
    March 30, 2018 11:08 pm

    Anyone whose IQ score is numerically larger than their hat size might ponder how this twerp’s model based ‘research’ (i.e. guesswork) could come up with prognoses so precise. Declines of bumble bees of 68%. Some other bug by 72%. Hypotheses upon speculation upon greenie agitprop.
    Absolute tosh.
    Perhaps he should leave his X-Box at home and get out more.
    He could start off by looking again at his ‘excellent’ wind farms and counting actual little furry and feathered bodies.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    March 30, 2018 11:30 pm

    Have UEA found a lesser spotted newt which is endangered yet?

    Powerful creatures, lesser spotted newts. They have stopped more mines, industries and roads than most armies could. Oddly they never seem to stop wind turbines from being constructed. It’s a mystery.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      March 31, 2018 9:31 am

      Now that is well-spotted!
      I have a cunning plan…..

    • April 2, 2018 2:27 pm

      Wind turbines killing a multitude of rare and threatened bats here don’t seem to make the environmentalists’ radar. But they are literally sitting in trees on the VA border trying to stop a pipeline.

  20. Jasg permalink
    March 30, 2018 11:32 pm

    The problem with predicting bad things from warming is the logical conclusion is either that cooling must be jolly good for us all or that we are somehow magically at the current climate optimum now – both of which are refuted by history. Benign warming will be very obviously good for the UK which is why so many researchers were trying to pretend that warming would cause a gulf stream shift which would make the UK freeze. So the only logical and scientific way out is to predict at what temperature or rate of temperature rise things might go from good to bad. To pretend all warming is bad all the time for the UK is just pessimistic nonsense.

  21. Alec Evans permalink
    March 31, 2018 7:00 am

    Down here in freezing (sarc) SW France (further S than Mike Jackson in Burgundy) swallowtails and scarce swallowtails (+ a host of others) are a common sight. Summer temps up to 38° don`t seem to bother them at all.
    Brit visitors often comment that we would be a naturalist coach party destination if in the UK☺

  22. George Lawson permalink
    March 31, 2018 9:28 am

    What I, as a non-scientist, cannot grasp is why, in an environment that varies between minus 15 degrees in the Winter to plus 90 degrees in the summer, and temperatures that can vary from 90 degrees in the Summer daytime to 10 degrees in the summer nighttime, and similar but lower variants during the Winter day and nights, that a mere two degrees increase on the average annual temperature can have such a devastating effect on our flora and fauna, and wipe out such a wide range of insects, birds, animals, trees and plants. Perhaps Dr, Price will use these columns to enlighten me.

  23. Chilli permalink
    March 31, 2018 1:18 pm

    More green nonsense on BBC’s Gardeners World last night: In the first half of the programme Monty Don was digging up bay trees which had been killed by a -14°C winter frost. In the second half, an ear-ring-wearing environmentalist talked about his work on the mediterranean plant species UK gardeners will need to switch to if they want their plants to survive global warming.

    • mikewaite permalink
      March 31, 2018 9:49 pm

      I too was struck by the obvious discrepancy,clearly invisible to the producers. The environmentalist was , I think a retired University lecturer and his garden was a disgusting chaotic mess of plants with no order or pattern in their placement. I do hate the country garden , floppy – whoppy , style , having seen the beautiful borders and careful management in places like Cordoba and the Alcazar. Disordered garden – disordered mind.

  24. March 31, 2018 3:47 pm

    O/T but the BBC up to their usual tricks mindlessly throwing out the CC excuse;

    Lake Chad – a source of water to millions of people in West Africa – has shrunk by nine-tenths due to climate change, population growth and irrigation. But can a scheme dating back to the 1980s save it?
    […]
    Lake Chad has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s, due to climate change, an increase in the population and unplanned irrigation

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-43500314

    Never mind that the drought days back to the much cooler but drier period of the 1970s and 80s which Lamb highlighted regarding the Sahel (Paul has multiple examples of this) or that it was noted well over a century ago;

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/08/churchills-inconvenient-truth-regarding-al-gores-claims-on-lake-chad/

    Yeah because it’s clearly carbon pfft!

  25. Green Sand permalink
    March 31, 2018 8:23 pm

    Tesla M3 up against it again? Or false flag? Can’t see a 3 day end of month push having any significant effect on ‘deliveries’. But something to look forward to….

    ‘Why it’s make or break for Tesla as Model 3 deadline looms’

    “….On Tuesday, Tesla is expected to reveal how many Model 3s it delivered to customers in the first quarter of the year. Investors, who have seen shares in Elon Musk’s company fall by a quarter in the last month, will be braced for bad news. Just how bad, only Musk and his peers know at present. But internal emails leaked last week revealed the extent of the company’s production hell as it approaches its crucial deadline.

    According to one memo obtained by Bloomberg, Peter Hochholdinger, the company’s head of production, asked workers that had been assigned to manufacturing other cars to switch to the Model 3 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a last minute attempt to boost production. Doug Field, another executive, demanded that Tesla employees “prove a bunch of haters wrong”……”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/03/31/make-break-tesla-model-3-deadline-looms/

    • Athelstan permalink
      March 31, 2018 11:09 pm

      “Doug Field, another executive, demanded that Tesla employees “prove a bunch of haters wrong”……”

      Oh no dougie, you do really have to worry about a ‘company exec’ who’s exhibits paranoid derangement tendencies but hey having said that, and after all it’s Elon Musks lot.

  26. yonason permalink
    April 2, 2018 8:53 am

    Scroll down to “Conclusion” to read a more sensible reason – loss of primary food sources, not temperature change.
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/decline.html

  27. paul weldon permalink
    April 2, 2018 10:58 am

    I noticed the small tortoiseshell was on the list – presumably because of the expected warmer weather. However, the Guardian reported in 2016 that it was because of the cold spring and slow start to summer. The ”research” by the UEA is utter rubbish. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/small-tortoiseshell-butterfly-numbers-plummeted-uk-cool-spring-summer

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