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When in doubt

21 Sep 2022 | OP ED Watch

One of the profoundly anti-scientific aspects of climate alarmism is the way it throws everything into the warming sink. For instance “A known menace is invading Alaska's shores, threatening economies and ecosystems” and of course climate is to blame. The story to which that email teaser linked says “Green crabs have already invaded Washington's shorelines. Now they’re heading to Alaska. The discovery, which experts say is likely tied to warming waters because of climate change, threatens Alaskan economies, ecosystems and long-standing ways of life.” Never mind that green crabs already exist in waters from the Baltic to Hawaii and have been discovered to get around by hitching rides in fishing and shipping gear. It must be climate change.

This beast is old news. “The green crab is a notorious invasive species that has reshaped U.S. ecosystems and hammered East Coast commercial fisheries for decades. The discovery of the species in Alaska represents a profound risk in a state that accounts for about 60% of the nation’s seafood harvest. They’re also almost impossible to remove. Nowhere in the world have green crabs been eradicated after they’ve established a population, scientists say. The discovery, which experts say is likely tied to warming waters due to climate change, threatens Alaskan economies, ecosystems and longstanding ways of life. ‘They’re like marine locusts,’ said Genelle Winter, the tribal community’s invasive species program director, outlining how the creatures could degrade the area’s coastal shorelines, eat the Dungeness crab tribal members rely upon for meals and destroy the area’s eelgrass habitat for salmon – the foundation of the Metlakatla economy.”

So obviously it’s been around for a while. But surely the move to Alaska from places like Massachusetts is proof of the dreaded warming, right? Yes, to journalists for whom everything is. But as the story blurts out, “The European green crab has been a pest in American waters for some 200 years, but it remained an East Coast-only menace until the late 1980s, when it was discovered in San Francisco Bay, likely transported by humans in bait or in packaging.” And did warming get it to chilly San Francisco from tropical Maine? No. Of course not.

What really happened is they started spewing larvae into ocean currents, their normal practice, and they spread on the West Coast as they had on the east. But reporters know that it’s like all bad things are like climate change man, so “Like many invasive species, green crabs are likely benefiting from climate change, which often facilitates invasions.”

It is true that as climate changes, you would expect species to move to adapt. But there’s no more reason to expect warming to displace critters than for cooling to do so.

If journalists had the internet on their computers they could engage in deep research projects like Googling “green crab” and discover that Carcinus maenas “can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and salinities”, pretty much anything from “0 to 30 °C (32 to 86 °F).” For that matter they might learn that “C. maenas is native to European and North African coasts as far as the Baltic Sea in the east, and Iceland and Central Norway in the north”. Iceland? Norway? The Baltic? Yes. It’s highly adaptable and thus “is one of the most common crabs throughout much of its range.” Which doesn’t include the warm Mediterranean though that sea is the scuttling ground of “the closely related species C. aestuarii.” And apparently “Appearances of C. maenas have been recorded in Brazil, Panama, Hawaii, Madagascar, the Red Sea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar; however, these have not resulted in invasions, but remain isolated findings.” So maybe warmth isn’t its thing.

Still, to a journalist with a crab mallet everything looks like a warming crab.

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