Media Jump On Study Showing Frogs Dying Off From Climate Change
Disease is the bullet killing frogs, but climate change is pulling the trigger, the Post quoted study author J. Alan Pounds. But while there are climate experts who say that Poundss conclusions are half-baked, neither the Posts Eilperin nor ABCs Blakemore feature any dissenting experts.
One such critic is Pat Michaels, of the University of Virginia, who pointed out some flaws in the study on his WorldClimateReport.com Web site.
The title of the manuscript, Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming, wrote Michaels, implies that the authors have proven a pervasive link between a large number of toad and frog extinctions and warming climate. They have done nothing of the sort.
Michaels cast doubt on the connection by pointing to a 2003 Diversity and Distribution journal article. That article showed the disease afflicting the harlequin frog was caused by chytrid fungus, which was most likely introduced by humans, possibly by ecotourists and/or field researchers.
It has been known nearly a half-centurythat the introduction of exotic species produces genetic pandemics over a broad range of climates, added Michaels, the exotic species in question being humans. The concurrence of human introduction of the chytrid fungus and amphibian extinctions cannot be ignored, maintained Michaels.
Including contrary viewpoints like Michaels, however, would have prevented ABCs Bill Blakemore from claiming the fulfillment of dire climate change prophecies. Scientists have long predicted global warming would wipe out many kinds of animals. The new study shows those extinctions have already begun, warned the ABC reporter in closing his January 11 World News Tonight report.
In addition to leaving out any critics of the Nature study, neither Blakemore nor Eilperin cited other studies with similar results and neither warned that Poundss conclusions may be refuted as more study is done or peer reviews cast doubt on his methodology.
The Business & Media Institute previously documented Blakemores erroneous reporting which chalked up polar ice cap melting to global warming, not a cyclical warming pattern as many experts believe.