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BBC Play Green Turtle Climate Card–But Ignore The Real Threats

April 14, 2021
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By Paul Homewood

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-56690950

This is just a rehash of an old story, which I covered here three years ago. It is based on the fact that warmer sand temperatures lead to faster incubation and a greater proportion of females.

Green turtles are found worldwide primarily in subtropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and in the Mediterranean Sea. It is absurd to suggest that there is an ideal temperature for them.

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https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/green-turtle

They have also been around for 100 million years or so, and flourished through massive climatic changes, so are hardly likely to be inconvenienced by a half a degree rise in temperature.

But what about the premise that 99% of baby turtles are female? The dopey BBC reporter calls this “devastating”, as if they were humans. In reality one male turtle will mate with many females, so more females equates to more eggs. Furthermore faster incubation means a higher survival rate. There is a very good reason why green turtles thrive in hot places such as Queensland, rather than somewhere like Blackpool. It really would be catastrophic if temperatures dropped, and there were fewer females.

Even if some beaches like Heron Island did become too hot, others in cooler latitudes would quickly become more suitable. Just as with all animal life, there is nothing in nature which says turtles have to to stay in the same location for ever. Populations ebb and flow as conditions change.

The tragedy is that there are very real threats to green turtles, as NOAA explain:

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https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/green-turtle

Needless to say, they have to mention future climate change, but the other items listed are real and threatening now. Proof of this lies in the fact that turtle populations are increasing in some Pacific Islands, thanks to conservation efforts.

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http://seavoicenews.com/2019/04/30/green-sea-turtles-populations-are-increasing-due-to-conservation-efforts-in-pacific-islands/

 

By focussing on climate change, we lose sight of these other threats. It is a pity that the BBC reporter did not ask the useless WWF bimbo about these.

32 Comments
  1. Crowcatcher permalink
    April 14, 2021 12:36 pm

    I once worked on a very hot desert island where turtles bred.
    The first year I was there we watched thousands of of them heading for the sea, the second year there was a particularly high spring tide just after the main laying season which did have devastating consequences as very few eggs survived, consequently virtually no baby turtles to observe.
    Cold was the killer not heat.

  2. April 14, 2021 12:52 pm

    I know a place in Borneo where are huge government signs in the market place
    saying “do no eat the turtle eggs”

    … Actually turtle egg are widely served up in the town.
    I didn’t think the taste was anything particularly good.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      April 14, 2021 6:01 pm

      SIr Walter Raleigh’s account of the DIscovery of Guiana includes this passage:

      We descried afar off three other canoas as far as we could discern them, after whom we hastened with our barge and wherries, but two of them passed out of sight, and the third entered up the great river, on the right hand to the westward, and there stayed out of sight, thinking that we meant to take the way eastward towards the province of Carapana; for that way the Spaniards keep, not daring to go upwards to Guiana, the people in those parts being all their enemies, and those in the canoas thought us to have been those Spaniards that were fled from Trinidad, and escaped killing. And when we came so far down as the opening of that branch into which they slipped, being near them with our barge and wherries, we made after them, and ere they could land came within call, and by our interpreter told them what we were, wherewith they came back willingly aboard us; and of such fish and tortugas’ (turtles) eggs as they had gathered they gave us, and promised in the morning to bring the lord of that part with them, and to do us all other services they could. That night we came to an anchor at the parting of the three goodly rivers (the one was the river of Amana, by which we came from the north, and ran athwart towards the south, the other two were of Orenoque, which crossed from the west and ran to the sea towards the east) and landed upon a fair sand, where we found thousands of tortugas’ eggs, which are very wholesome meat, and greatly restoring; so as our men were now well filled and highly contented both with the fare, and nearness of the land of Guiana, which appeared in sight.

  3. April 14, 2021 1:45 pm

    The BBC will now condemn facemasks in 3…2…1

    Discarded Covid-19 Masks and Plastic Gloves Are Killing Wildlife

    Can we have our plastic supermarket bags back please?

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 14, 2021 1:48 pm

    It was in the trailer for BBC Ade’s new climate change programs (along with the Solomon Island nonsense I mentioned before), that’s why they rehashed it.

    In a sane world the scientists would investigate what they are overlooking, instead of throwing hands in the air and shouting climate change victim.

    Obviously there must be a BENEFICIAL evolutionary/survival strategy at play here, as you say they would already be extinct otherwise. Maybe all the males hatch later, maybe males and females come from different hatcheries, maybe it’s a numbers game – a female can lay a couple of hundred eggs but only a few males are needed to service the whole population, maybe males live a lot longer or are better at surviving to adulthood… there’s a million opportunities for interesting inquiring science.

    And if there is a genuine threat, like the gender altering effect of PCB pollution, focusing on climate change may prevent it being addressed.

    “In TSD [temperature dependent sex determination] turtles, the estrogenic effect of some PCBs reverses gonadal sex in individuals incubating at an otherwise male-producing temperature. Furthermore, certain PCBs are synergistic in their effect at very low concentrations.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1518857/

    TSD is not unique to these turtles, so if the story were true, a whole range of animal species would be in trouble.

    • April 14, 2021 3:12 pm

      I am not sure which was worse, the programme by Abe or the one by Greta.

      Stickling with Abe, he not only made the turtle claim, but when in Australia visited a bat first aid centre for bats that fell from the sky because of the Heat.

      The always highly credulous Abe shook his head at how humanity has allowed temperatures to soar, but obviously had not been briefed that in 1790 a British expedition to Australia noted the very same thing-bats dropping from the sky due to intense heat

      • Mack permalink
        April 14, 2021 3:34 pm

        Quite clearly, in the simple world of modern wokery, heat exhausted bats falling from the sky in 2021 is due to man made global warming. Heat exhausted bats falling from the sky in 1790 was due to white supremacist colonial aggression. Or something like that. Simples!

      • Les Saunders permalink
        April 14, 2021 4:42 pm

        Apprently these two programmes were the first in a series. The BBC is ramping up the propaganda season in readiness for full 24/7 reports once the climate circus commences in Glasgow later this year

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 14, 2021 9:05 pm

        With the odds on cancellation of COP26 rising fast, you have to wonder what they will do with the schedules.

  5. April 14, 2021 2:02 pm

    I have seen many claims of species vulnerable to climate change or declining now because of it. Wherever I have had the time to analyse such claims, I’ve found that far more direct problems are the cause. A good example is the list Paul provided above. Everywhere you look around the world, particularly in poorer areas, humans are destroying wildlife by direct means. And we obsess about the slowly growing concentration of a trace gas.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 14, 2021 8:01 pm

      RSPB pages/reports are a typical example, you (used to be able to anyway) find the ghost traces where the real threats to a particular bird were listed and discussed. Now nearly everything has climate change as a primary threat.

      • Peter Paddon permalink
        April 15, 2021 2:38 pm

        It’s a band wagon to jump on and very likely a cheap way to raise funds, rather than investing in expensive research to determine the actual cause of some change.

  6. April 14, 2021 2:48 pm

    This is how it works. The turtle has evolved with a preference for warmer water but has developed a mechanism for survival in colder water which most likely is based on food availability.

    How do we know this? Because fewer males can impregnate more females and therefore create more offspring so in warm water they obviously have evolved knowing there is also more food. The reverse of that, colder means more males so males have to compete more for females ( which is good for the species) and the resultant fewer offspring therefore means surviving as a species but not imposing too much pressure on their food supply.

    What do the BBC 12 year olds not get about that?

  7. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 14, 2021 4:55 pm

    VICTORY!

    I got the BBC to withdraw their FAKE NEWS story on SO2 near Sinai.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56735508

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      April 14, 2021 8:24 pm

      Well done! Score one for the good guys.

    • April 14, 2021 8:35 pm

      @ IDAU, thanks for your efforts. These guys are too quick to uncritically report scare stories.

      I’m still waiting for the conclusion to my complaint saga that began in December 2019.

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 14, 2021 4:57 pm

    Here is the email I sent:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56735508

    This story contains factual errors, and Dr Maryam Pourshamsi does not provide evidence to substantiate her claims.

    Firstly, while the canal was blocked to traffic, large numbers of vessels were forced to wait at anchor both at the Port Said anchorage and also South of Suez. The Port Said anchorage is to the West of the channel which ships use to access or leave the canal. The total numbers of vessels caught at each end of the canal were roughly equal as can be verified through marine tracking sites or satellite images. For example, these from Copernicus:

    https://www.copernicus.eu/en/media/image-day-gallery/ships-waiting-transit-through-suez-canal-anchored-its-southern-entrance-new

    https://www.copernicus.eu/en/media/image-day-gallery/ships-waiting-cross-suez-canal-anchored-north-port-said-new-images-egypt

    https://www.copernicus.eu/en/media/image-day-gallery/ships-waiting-cross-suez-canal-anchored-south-suez-new-images-egypt

    The claim that “Most were anchored at the canal’s northern end, in the Med” is false.

    This fact should alert your reporter to the idea that the rest of the story is also false. Firstly, the location of the SO2 concentration shows no connection with the Northern anchorage site – there is a clear gap between them. Second, despite similar numbers of vessels at the Southern end at anchor, there is no sign of any increased SO2 emission anywhere close to the Southern end anchorage. There is no reason to suppose that the vessels behave any differently at anchor at either end of the canal.

    It is absurd to claim that vessels at anchor, many running low sulphur diesel fuelled generators at limited levels sufficient to provide basic power to crew quarters and the bridge, would produce such a cloud. Moreover, the IMO 2020 fuel regulations and the extra regulations imposed by e.g. the EU mean that even where main engines are being used, fuel sulphur levels are now at much lower levels than in the past particularly for any vessels that use EU ports, which would include the majority of those travelling via Suez.

    Dr Pourshamsi and your reporter should be looking for a different explanation for the observation. It would be speculation, but a possibility that might better fit the facts would be emergency offshore flaring from the offshore oil and gas fields that lie under the SO2 plume. The untreated well gas likely has a high sulphur content, which is certainly a feature of a number of Egyptian hydrocarbon fields.

    The story should be withdrawn, and a correction prominently published: it is FAKE NEWS.

    • April 14, 2021 10:32 pm

      Well Done, though it does seem you were one of many complainants.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 14, 2021 11:56 pm

        The original story was up for nearly a day before I sent my email, timed at 16:11. Less that 45 minutes later I was posting about it here, with the story withdrawn.

        If there were other complaints I doubt they were effective. I went via the newssiteerrors email – not the regular complaints procedure. In fact there was an interim version of the story that simply ended in an apology and formal withdrawal before they got around to rewriting it to cover Etna – unfortunately I didn’t think to try to get a wayback capture. They would have had about enough time to track down Dr Pourhamsi and challenge her and agree that the original should be taken down. They’ve kept her name out of the revisions (something that may have taken a little discussion) – must be a bit embarrassing for her to blunder, but then she’s just 18 months out of Leicester University, and doubtless so indoctrinated in green mantras that she wouldn’t have a clue about checking out her story before trying to publicise it.

      • April 15, 2021 4:56 pm

        @IDAU my comment was based on what I saw on Twitter when I searched
        I saw number of people calling out the BBC sulphur story
        (97% just lapped it up of course)
        specifically 33 mins after Amos Tweeted his story on Tuesday someone tweeted this
        (see that whole thread)

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 16, 2021 12:21 pm

        I’m not disputing that others queried the article. I think it is clear that they failed to persuade the BBC to change it, and it was only my detailed argument that their article was full of falsehood that forced their hand.

    • April 14, 2021 10:44 pm

    • April 15, 2021 5:07 pm

      Ironically when the EverGiven was still stuck, shipping experts speculated that anti-sulphur rules may have been the cause
      cos ships running new low sulphur fuels have been experiencing such sudden power loss
      Also the canal is subject to new low sulphur rules.

      video

    • April 15, 2021 5:21 pm

      BBCWorld had tweeted the story 4 hours 15 mins before Amos did

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 14, 2021 5:13 pm

    Original fake news version:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210413153443/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56735508

    • Mark Hodgson permalink
      April 14, 2021 7:32 pm

      Brilliant job – well done.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 14, 2021 7:56 pm

      Well done, I expect you saw my Etna post about the story, but I didn’t realise how directly linked it was. I expect they had a lot of blow-back. The replacement story is apologetic of the mistake (by ‘experts’!) and still exaggerating the harm of shipping emissions and exaggerating how active Etna was at the time of the story.

      BUT, if it had been a claim more directly linked to climate change, I suspect they would have dug in their heels far more.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 14, 2021 8:17 pm

        Yes, I saw your story – and you will see I smelt the rat in my reply. I did consider mentioning the Etna explanation you had already sniffed out, which is of course the obvious culprit – got as far as typing out a sentence on it. I guess if I had found my way better around the Copernicus site I might have been able to create an image to prove it. I did look at wind patterns in the Med via Ventusky at various altitudes. I decided to let them go wild goose chasing (and besides a suggestion that after all it could be nasty oil that was to blame probably helped my credentials!).

  10. Mewswithaview permalink
    April 14, 2021 8:05 pm

    Well, who would collect the subsidies then?

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 14, 2021 9:23 pm

      They are just recycling the “eat the rich” anti-capitalist mantra.

  11. Thomas Carr permalink
    April 14, 2021 9:43 pm

    What a waste of money to send Aide and his crew all that way to draw a false conclusion when he could have nipped over to France to look at the frost damage to the vines and soft fruit orchards in France and pondered the best way to say that global warming was the cause. ( Warmist alert — the sainted Greta is on the front of the Radio Times today)

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