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The Beavers of Death

22 Jul 2020 | News Roundup

According to an article on Phys.Org from the Alfred Wegener Institute, climate change is good for beavers. At least it appears to be because beaver dam activity is booming across Alaska. But beavers are cute, sort of, and if the population is booming doesn’t that refute the CDN law that anything caused by climate change must be bad? Well no, because of another CDN law that anything climate-related causes runaway processes ending in disaster. In this case the idea is that beavers make small lakes and lakes melt nearby permafrost, and “Climate researchers fear that, as temperatures rise, this permafrost could increasingly thaw and become unstable. If that happens, it could release massive quantities of greenhouse gasses, which would intensify climate change.” But yet another CDN law is that the refutation of the alarmist speculation is always buried in the final paragraph. And this article doesn’t disappoint.

To wit: “Granted, the frozen soil could theoretically bounce back after a few years, when the beaver dams break; but whether or not the conditions will be sufficiently cold for that to happen is anyone's guess.” So, the effect of the beaver dam is temporary, and if any of the speculated harm actually occurs over the long term is “anyone’s guess.” Not exactly the stuff of settled science. But that has never stopped alarmists from writing the headlines.

What is also missing from the article is any recognition that more beavers means more predators getting fat on beavers, leading rapidly to fewer beavers. If you remember that old kids’ campfire song “Sounds of the Jungle” (the rest of whose lyrics are “Whssst chomp burp” you might think one consequence of more beavers would be more things eating beavers. Especially if warmth also favours, say, cute iconic wolves the way it apparently favours disgusting wolf spiders.

If so you’d get more biological activity than when everything is frozen. But in a complex dynamic self-limiting manner with staggered population boom-and-bust patterns. However climate change apparently doesn’t work that way. Instead warmth causes beavers which cause warmth and it’s all over.

Hence the piece warning about “Burrowing crabs reshaping salt marshes, with climate change to blame”. To blame? Yes. Because if climate change is behind it, it’s obviously bad and getting worse. It’s not evolution, it’s devolution. If burrowing crabs were reshaping salt marshes for some other reason, if Darwin had found them doing it, there’d be paeans to the dynamism of nature. But let vile human fingerprints be detected and it’s all bad and out of control.

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