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A Moment on the Earth: The Coming of Age of Environmental Optimism.

Gregg Easterbrook, in his book A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism, asserts that the world's environmental problems are not as severe as is often portrayed and characterizes environmentalists as alarmist "doomsayers." In this Review, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) challenges Easterbrook's perspective by focusing on particular passages in the book regarding global warning, ozone depletion, the northern spotted owl, and species extinction. Drawing upon scientific literature, EDF contends that many of Easterbrook's claims are either unsupported by, or reflect a poor understanding of, the existing scientific evidence.


In his book A Moment on the Earth, Gregg Easterbrook argues that environmentalists "are surely on the right side of history, [but] increasingly on the wrong side of the present, risking their credibility by proclaiming emergencies that do not exist."(1) Yet his account of environmental issues is replete with errors and misinterpretations of the scientific evidence. This is especially notable in regard to the four chapters dealing with habitat loss, global warming, ozone depletion, and species extinction. According to a recent report by the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these are probably the four most serious threats to the natural environment.(2) We believe that the record should be set straight on Easterbrook's critical scientific errors, for the faulty statements in these four chapters substantially undermine his thesis that many environmental problems have been overstated.

Although some mistakes may be inevitable given a work of this size, Easterbrook's errors are so numerous and so one-sided in minimizing the seriousness of environmental problems that they must be addressed. Moreover, he has retained some assertions in his book even after technical experts told him that the statements were incorrect.(3)

The author's views continue to receive wide attention. For example, Mobil Oil has chosen to highlight the conclusions of the book and repeat many of its dubious claims in a series of prominent editorial page advertisements in The New York Times.(4) In a recent issue of his newsletter, Rush Limbaugh has quoted copiously from Easterbrook's remarks concerning the spotted owl in support of his argument that the entire environmental regulatory apparatus of the federal government is untrustworthy and should be dismantled.(5) Given the current fervor in Congress to roll back the government's role in protecting the environment, a closer examination of the scientific claims featured in A Moment on the Earth is especially critical at this time.

This Review by no means constitutes a complete account of the misstatements found in Easterbrook's work, but it provides a sample of some of the most egregious errors in just four chapters. Unlike Easterbrook, who cites few sources to back up this claims, our corrections of disputed scientific statements are supported by sources from peer-reviewed technical literature. According to Easterbrook, "[w]hen no source for a fact is indicated in the text or these notes, this is because the assertion is not generally in dispute among specialists."(6) Despite this claim, throughout the text he makes numerous unsupported scientific statements that are not only open to dispute, but, as we shall show, are just plain wrong.


In his chapter on global warming, Easterbrook makes many fundamental errors. He continually confuses global, regional, and local temperature trends, which may differ considerably; he mischaracterizes the results of a poll that was undertaken to determine scientists' views on global warming; and he mistakenly asserts that the sea level has not risen significantly, when it has. Most flagrant, however, are his erroneous claims that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two highly respected scientific authorities on the subject, have substantially lowered their projections of future warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when, in fact, they have not.

A Moment on the Earth: Immediately it got cold. From 1940 through the 1970s global temperatures declined, hitting bottom during the frigid winter of 1977, coldest in a century in North America.(7)

Correction: Easterbrook is wrong on all three counts. First, global temperature did not decline significantly between 1940 and the 1970s; it wavered up and down by small amounts after having risen for several decades.(8) Second, global temperature did not "hit bottom" during the winter of 1977, but averaged above normal.(9) Finally, the average temperature for North America was also above normal that winter. It was in the eastern United States that it was indeed very cold.(10)

It is the long-term global pattern that is considered significant in the global warming context, not annual or seasonal changes in temperature in particular regions, which can be quite variable.

A Moment: In February 1992 the Gallup Organization polled members of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, the two professional groups for climatologists. Only 17 percent said warming trends so far convinced them an artificial greenhouse effect was in progress.(11)

Correction: Though in many respects the poll was confusingly worded and its results difficult to interpret, there was one unambiguous finding: Sixty-six percent of the scientists polled, a large majority, responded "yes' to the question: "In your opinion is human-induced greenhouse warming now occurring?"(12) This is far from the seventeen percent cited by Easterbrook. Only ten percent of the scientists disagreed with this proposition, and the remainder were undecided.(13) Moreover, only two percent believed that there was no chance that substantial human-caused warming would occur over the next fifty to one hundred years.(14)

A Moment: That same year Greenpeace surveyed climate researchers using a poll whose questions were worded such as to elicit alarm. Some 47 percent of respondents said a runaway greenhouse effect is either impossible or highly improbable.(15)

Correction: Easterbrook's reference to this finding, unaccompanied by any further discussion and restated later on the same page, on the book jacket, and in the preface, reveals that he either misunderstands the technical meaning of "runaway greenhouse effect" or is attempting to mislead the reader. A runaway greenhouse effect" means not merely rapid warming, but rather an unstable feedback leading to the complete evaporation of the oceans.(16) While there is little or no chance that a "runaway greenhouse effect" will Occur,(17) there is a possibility that rapid and substantial warming will occur.

A Moment: It turns out that the late 1800s was a cold period. Earth could experience "record" warmth relative to the 1880s and remain cool compared to the bulk of its past.(18)

Correction: Although, as Easterbrook notes, accurate temperature data did not exist before 1860, the best available evidence suggests that the late 1800s were warmer than most of the previous 400 years, and temperatures were close to average for the previous 10,000 years.(19) Therefore, the observed warming since then has indeed been significant.

A Moment: [C]onditions environmentalists would call a global-warming disaster [would entail] typical temperatures higher than today's by ten to 22 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature rise in this range would surely render the Earth inhospitable to genus Homo and thousands of other present species; but not even worst-case projections anticipate warming of such magnitude.(20)

Correction: Not true. The computer climate model developed by scientists at Princeton University projects that if CO2 concentrations were to quadruple, which may well occur after 2100 without concerted international actions to reduce emissions, temperature increases in this range would follow.(21)

A Moment: Artificial greenhouse gases did not become significant until the postwar industrial boom of the late 1940s. According to greenhouse theory, sharp heat increases should have followed. Instead the warming rate slowed down.(22)

Correction: Climate models do not predict sharp temperature increases immediately following increases in accumulated greenhouse gases. Easterbrook ignores the lags in the system, caused by many factors, including the thermal inertia of the oceans, nonlinearities in the CO2 effect, reflection of sunlight by sulfate particles, and random fluctuations of climate, which combine to ensure that the release of greenhouse gases and temperature increases will not occur at exactly the same time. Indeed, computer models for climate warming that take account of these factors predict global temperatures in reasonable agreement with the observed temperature rise over the past 100 years.(23)

A Moment: The studies that find a global warming trend during the 1980s rely on surface-temperature readings taken near cities. Researchers know that the urban "heat-island effect" distorts such readings, and they adjust data to compensate. The degree of adjustment required is controversial, however. The Goddard Institute, whose greenhouse studies are downbeat, subtracts about 0.1 degree Fahrenheit. Other researchers maintain that about 0.3 degrees must be subtracted to remove the heat-island effect. If the Goddard Institute adjusted by 0.3 degrees, this would cancel out the entire claimed global temperature increase of the 1980s.(24)

Correction: Not true. Easterbrook appears to confuse not only Fahrenheit and Celsius, but decades with centuries. The correction applied by Goddard for the urban "heat-island effect" is about 0.1 degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit, and over a century, not a decade.(25) The correction would work out to about 0.01 degrees Celsius per decade, while the surface data show a warming of about 0.15 degrees over the 1980s.(26) Thus, taking into account the urban "heat-island effect" does little to cancel out the observed warming, and this would be the even if one applied Easterbrook's hypothetical 0.3 degree figure for a century's correction. Warming is also apparent in sea-surface data and in surface data for the Southern Hemisphere,(27) where there are few urban areas compared to the Northern Hemisphere.

A Moment: Studies of the total heat in atmospheric air volumes conflict with studies confined to ground temperatures. National Aeronautics and Space Administration data from atmospheric satellites show a small global temperature decline during the past decade.(28)

Correction: The supposed "conflict" has largely been resolved. There are several reasons why temperatures aloft and at the ground should behave differently over the short fifteen-year period for which satellite data exist. These include different responses to volcanoes and El Nino(29) and to the effects of ozone depletion.(30)

A Moment: In the United States, six of the ten years of the 1980s were indisputably warm in urban areas. This was taken in many quarters as proof that an inexorable global warming had begun.(31)

Correction: Once more, Easterbrook confuses regional and global temperature patterns. What was remarkable was that six of the ten years in the 1980s hit record warmth over the globe as a whole.(32) In the continental United States, on the other hand, the average temperature fell shy of record levels.(33)

A Moment: Then the trend dissipated, with 1991 and 1992 being slightly cool for American cities. Greenhouse true believers attributed this decline to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which rejected large amounts of sun-filtering aerosols into the stratosphere. Tests showed that by late 1992 most Pinatubo effects had washed out of the air, suggesting that if an emergency global warming were in progress it ought to resume in 1993. But global temperatures recorded by NASA satellites for 1993 remained slightly below the 1980s average.(34)

Correction: Again, due to the Pinatubo eruption, late 1991 and all of 1992 were relatively cool over the entire world,(35) not merely in American cities, as Easterbrook puts it. Further, warming did resume in 1993, but since not all of the Pinatubo effect had dissipated, the year was not quite as warm as the record years of the 1980s. Moreover, the amount of warming that occurred was almost exactly as predicted by the climate models.(36) Finally, Easterbrook neglects to mention that in 1994, global surface temperatures rebounded close to pre-Pinatubo levels, becoming the fourth or fifth warmest year ever recorded.(37)

A Moment: In 1988, [James] Hansen told a congressional committee he was "99 percent certain" that summer's heat wave stemmed in some manner from greenhouse emissions.

. . . Though it surely was hot in North American [sic] in summer 1988, at the same time central Asia experienced a cold wave. The cold Asian area was roughly equivalent in size to the warm North American region.(38)

Correction: Again Easterbrook mixes up global and regional trends. Hansen's level of certainty, as clearly expressed before Congress, pertained to the existence of a global warming trend over the past century,(39) and was based not on that summer's heat wave, but on a hundred-year record of global temperatures.(40) What happens during any one summer in North America or in central Asia bears little relation to long-term trends.

A Moment: Researchers who have set GCMs [general circulation models] to conditions of the nineteenth century find the models conclude that global temperatures should have risen about five degrees Fahrenheit by now.(41)

Correction: False. The models do not predict this level of temperature change to occur until much later, given the mediating effect of the oceans, among other factors.(42)

A Moment: In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences convened a panel of climate modelers who projected an up to nine-degree Fahrenheit warming from doubted CO2. . . . Since 1990 the National Academy of Sciences has backed away from the high end of its 1979forecast, though the number is still cited by doomsayers as an official" prediction.(43)

Correction: Completely untrue. NAS has not reduced its "high-end" forecast; in its latest report, it actually raised this forecast, from 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit to 9 degrees Fahrenheit. To be exact, the range of likely warming corresponding to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 was widened by the NAS panel from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1979 and 1983 to 1 to 5 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) in its 1992 report.(44)

A Moment: When in the late 1980s preliminary studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change endorsed the nine-degree [Fahrenheit] number, the IPCC's became the doomsday prediction of choice. After the 1992 Rio conference broke up, the IPCC amended to its "best guess" two to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit from doubled carbon dioxide--a range that could hold nasty surprises for the ecology but is nothing like the emergency numbers that dominated Rio rhetoric. . . . [T]he trend toward tower greenhouse-effect estimates . . . has received little media attention and caused no political stir, being nonalarming.(45)

Correction: It caused no stir because it never happened. The IPCC has never altered its range of possible warming due to doubled CO2 or its "best guess" estimate within that range. In its first report in 1990, the IPCC adopted the NAS's range of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) for the doubling of CO2.(46) Since then, the IPCC has continued to endorse this range of possible warming.

Furthermore, in both reports, the IPCC endorsed the same "best estimate" of an increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius as the most likely scenario to result from CO2 doubling. As the IPCC clearly wrote in its 1992 report, "The range of values for climate sensitivity [to a doubling of carbon dioxide] reported in the 1990 Assessment and re-affirmed in this Supplement, was 1.5o to 4.5o C, with a best estimate, based on model results and taking into account the observed climate record, of 2.5o C."(47)

A Moment: So if sulfur aerosols have been masking the greenhouse effect, global temperatures should have taken off in a spectacular way when sulfur pollution began its sharp decline [sic] in the 1970s. This did not occur.(48)

Correction: This is a gross exaggeration. The models again predict a lag, preventing any "spectacular" warming from occurring.(49) Moreover, sulfur pollution, though it did decline over the United States, actually increased in other places, such as China.(50) Nevertheless, a significant warming has indeed occurred since the 1970s.(51)

A Moment: [S]ince the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere has greenhouse gases but little sulfur, masking would be absent there. Thus Southern Hemisphere temperatures should be rising relative to the North. Records do no t show this.(52)

Correction: The larger area of the ocean in the Southern Hemisphere also "masks" the warming, counteracting potential temperature differentials.(53)

A Moment: Scientific support for the notion of a drastic rise in sea level has waned rapidly . . . . The highest observed actual sea-level rise in this century is a mere one inch.(54)

Correction: This is another stunning misstatement on Easterbrook's part of the scientific evidence. The global average sea level has risen four to eight inches over the past century(55)--not a minor error since, for example, this is large enough to have eroded over forty feet of a typical barrier beach on the East Coast of the United States.(56)

A Moment: Why isn't the sea rising if temperatures are rising? Because many glaciers are growing, not melting.(57)

Correction: The sea is rising(58) and to a level consistent with the measured warming. Also, almost all midlatitude glaciers are retreating worldwide.(59) In any event, according to climate models, Antarctic ice is projected to increase, not decrease, at least for several decades, due to additional precipitation in the region.(60)

A Moment: It's getting colder in Greenland? Isn't the Earth supposed to be warming?

Temperature shifts are not uniform. . . . But this would seem a strike against greenhouse theory, which holds that artificial warming should center in the high and low latitudes, as equatorial regions seem historically insulated against climate swings.(61)

Correction: To the contrary, recent cooling around Greenland does not contradict the conclusions of the climate models. Those models that take into account the dynamic role of the oceans show a suppressed warming in the North Atlantic region.(62) Combined with the large natural variability of temperature at these latitudes, a cooling of Greenland for several decades would not be surprising, even as the world warms as a whole.

A Moment: Greenhouse believers often cite the equilibrium state of the natural carbon cycle to justify an assertion that even tiny human-caused additions of carbon dioxide will cause big problems.

Certainly this is possible. But in making the assertion doomsayers leave out a key modifier: The natural carbon cycle is in an approximate equilibrium state. Ice-core records are clear on the point that natural CO2 levels bounced up and down long before the first flint strack steel.(63)

Correction: The key modifier here is "long before." Natural variations in CO2 have contributed to large climate changes for millions of years. But for the last ten thousand years, the period over which civilization evolved, the earth has been in a fairly steady CO2 equilibrium and has therefore enjoyed a fairly steady climate.(64)

Over the last two hundred years, however, human beings have added CO2 to the atmosphere at such a rapid rate the levels are now more than twenty-five percent above what. they had been for the last ten thousand years,(65) hardly a "tiny" amount, as Easterbrook puts it. It is highly implausible if not impossible that the increasing accumulation of CO2, unlike previous ones of similar size, will have no significant effect, as he seems to imply.

A Moment: No one contends that the warming of the past century has done the slightest harm.(66)

Correction: As noted above, significant rises in sea level, due at least in part to global warming, have already accelerated coastal erosion in many areas.(67) More recently, there has been a radical decline in the observed populations of zooplankton in the California current, which may explain recent declines in fish and seabird populations as well.(68) This seems to be due to a local warming of the oceans, which is itself perhaps linked to an observed global rise in ocean temperatures.(69)

In addition, many coral reefs throughout the world are in decline, in part due to bleaching.(70) One cause of bleaching is warmer ocean temperatures, which could also be related to the global trend.(71)

A Moment: A little-reported part of Rio was a proposed agreement by which the First World would increase environmental aid to the developing world, for purposes such as water sanitation. Western nations ended up rejecting this proposal, pleading, We'd love to help, but we just committed ourselves to big investments in fighting the greenhouse menace.(72)

Correction: Easterbrook sets up a false dichotomy. While arguments over funding priorities certainly occurred throughout the Earth Summit in Rio, the conference was specifically convened to address environmental problems from a global perspective.(73) Agreements and funding mechanisms concerning global warming and biodiversity were among the major new initiatives that resulted.(74)

Although insufficient, international funds are already made available by Multilateral Development Banks and the U.S. Agency for International Development to build projects like sewage treatment systems in amounts that far outstrip the much more limited funds devoted at Rio to dealing with global warming.(75)

A Moment: Total 1993preventable childhood deaths from gross water and air pollution in the Third World: 7.8 million.

. . . On the runup to the Earth Summit at Rio, instant-doomsday hyperbole caused the world's attention to focus on the hypothetical threat of global warming to the exclusion of environmental menaces that are real, palpable, and awful right now . . . .(76)

Correction: In essence, this seems to be Easterbrook's largest objection to the idea of global warming: We should focus on present-day problems of air and water pollution in the developing world, instead of future threats like climate change. Yet his argument that there is little point in worrying about long-term global threats when people in the developing world die from poor sanitation and air pollution every day, is as baseless as arguing that during the height of the Cold War, there was little point in trying to avert nuclear war, since every day hundreds of people were already dying in regional wars and conflicts.

Indeed, Easterbrook's point is even more untenable considering those with the most to lose from global warming are indeed the very people for whom he expresses the most concern. The truth is that many public health problems in the developing world will only get worse in a warming regime. For example, substantial declines in agricultural productivity are projected in those areas of the developing world, including parts of Africa, where many people are already malnourished and episodes of starvation occur.(77) The effects of air and water pollution in the developing world are projected to worsen significantly in an era of warmer temperatures.(78) Moreover, efforts to control global warming, such as increases in energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy (for example, solar power) will help reduce other forms of air pollution in the developing world as well.

A Moment: [T]here is growing suspicion that . . . developed countries suddenly care about this issue for selfish reasons. Global warming might affect property values on Cape Hatteras; raw sewage in drinking water in Bangladesh will not.(79)

Correction: Those who are most concerned about global warming view it as a critical threat because of its global implications. Indeed, the inhabitants of the developed world will be best able to insulate themselves from the deleterious consequences of global warming, with access to air-conditioning, advanced agricultural methods, modem medicine and drugs, and, most importantly, the resources to defend the coast. It will be the inhabitants of the developing world who will be hit hardest, with the least ability to adapt to the consequences of a warming world.

To use Easterbrook's own example, the water supply in Bangladesh will indeed become more contaminated as the sea level continues to rise. Salt-water intrusion, already a serious problem for the inhabitants of southern Bangladesh, is expected to become more severe as a result.(80) Moreover, Easterbrook also neglects to mention that millions of Bangladeshis are projected to face an even more devastating fate as a consequence of climate change: the loss of their farmlands, their livelihoods, and possibly their very lives. An area of the country where eight million Bangladeshis presently live may be underwater by the end of the next century, if current trends continue.(81)

III. Easterbrook's Chapter 29: "Radiation, Natural"

In this chapter and elsewhere, Easterbrook attempts to contrast what he calls the "doomsday" approach to environmental problems with his own so-called "eco-realism." He ridicules, for example, the "idea that relatively tiny amounts of CFCs could trigger an unstoppable progression that strips the entire ozone layer, leaving the biosphere defenseless."(82) Yet this is what could have occurred, with very large depletions developing throughout the world, unleashing potentially disastrous consequences for the biosphere, if the decision to aggressively limit the use and production of CFCs had not been made.

Moreover, he places himself against the weight of scientific evidence in claiming that UV radiation may not have risen since the emergence of ozone depletion, and that where radiation increases occur, there may be little or no effect.83 Along the way, he makes elementary errors regarding the discovery of ozone depletion and even suggests, against medical evidence to the contrary, that increases in UV radiation may not be harmful to human health.(84)

A moment: First, though an ozone hole has been opening over Antarctica since the late 1970s, it is not yet known whether artificial chemicals are the sole cause. Nearly all atmospheric scientists believe CFCs play an important role in the South Pole hole. But part of the cause may be natural. Some new research suggests natural ozone breaches have been occurring on a cyclical basis since long before morning light first warmed our primate ancestors.(85)

Correction: There is no "new research" that claims "cyclical" depletions of ozone in the Earth's past. Moreover, any assertions of ozone losses in prehistoric times are highly speculative.(86) Easterbrook implies that the ozone hole observed over Antarctica might have formed outside of the presence of human-made CFCs and related chemicals. To the contrary, atmospheric measurements have directly shown that the ozone hole would not have appeared without the introduction of CFCs.(87) This is a subject on which the professional literature is now conclusive and it is a central finding of numerous peer-reviewed studies.(88) For instance, the prestigious World Meteorological Organization (WMO) clearly stated: "The Antarctic ozone hole is a new phenomenon. . . . The ozone hole has been shown to result from destruction of stratospheric ozone by gases containing chlorine and bromine, whose sources are mainly human-made halocarbon gases [e.g., CFCs and related compounds]."(89)

A moment: Though research on this topic is in its early stages, some tests show surface levels of ultraviolet radiation have declined slightly during the last decade. Doomsayers never mention this.(90)

Correction: Here Easterbrook is referring to the findings of a limited UV monitoring network that operated at certain urban sites in the United States between the years 1974 and 1985. However, this network was not designed to measure long-term trends, and serious doubts have been raised about the calibration of the instruments.(91) Moreover, as the WMO 1994 Ozone Assessment points out, a downward UV trend at these sites, if there were one, would have been due to local effects of particulate pollution:(92)

Prior to the late 1980s, instruments with the necessary accuracy and stability

for measurement of small long-term trends in ground-level UV-B were not employed. . . .

When high-quality measurements have been made . . . far from

major cities and their associated air pollution, decreases in ozone have regularly

been accompanied by increases in UV-B.(93)

A moment: Data from Nimbus Seven [a NASA satellite] suggested the ozone layer was declining by a small amount . . . overpopulated areas of the Northern Hemisphere . . . . The controversy advanced to headline status in 1985 when a team of British researchers led by James Farman announced they had documented an ozone hole over the Antarctic: not a thinning but an outright breach.(94)

Correction: Easterbrook has the chronology of the ozone evidence backward. Analysis of Nimbus-7 data showing global declines in ozone was not published until 1988, three years after the British team first announced their discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.(95)

A moment: Reactions to the news ranged from the sensible, such as a 1985 agreement for an international summit on CFC restriction; to the theatrical, for example James Anderson, an accomplished Harvard researcher and influential ozone pessimist, saying CFCs were "attacking the Earth's immune system". . . (96)

Correction: James Anderson designed the crucial experiment that proved conclusively that CFCs were the cause of the ozone hole. Portraying this esteemed scientist as an "ozone pessimist" is like calling a hurricane spotter a weather pessimist. Further, calling his reaction "theatrical" does a disservice to Anderson's justifiable concern. Here, as throughout the book, Easterbrook uses simplistic labelling as a substitute for substantive argumentation.

Without the scientifically grounded warnings of such "ozone pessimists" as Anderson, aggressive measures to eliminate the emissions of CFCs would never have occurred. Indeed, on the next page, Easterbrook speaks approvingly of John Frederick of the University of Chicago for pointing out that "[h]ad there been no prompt action after 1985 the situation might have deteriorated to a severe threat to the ecology."(97)

A moment: Even severe ozone loss around the South Pole might mean little to the biosphere. This is so for the obvious reason, that there is only a moderate amount of life in Antarctica to imperil, and for the little-known reason that UV-B radiation falling on the poles is weak to begin with.(98)

Correction: What does "only a moderate amount of life" mean? In this statement, as well as his incredulity that "relatively tiny amounts of CFCs" could cause serious ozone depletion,(99) Easterbrook demonstrates a lack of scientific understanding. Indeed, the phytoplankton living in the waters around Antarctica make up the base of the food chain for an extremely rich and diverse ecosystem, including great whales, seals, sea lions, elephant seals, and penguins. Further, no matter how low the natural amount of radiation reaching the Earth's surface in this part of the world, it remains an open question whether the myriad life forms that exist there will be able to adjust to much higher levels of UV-B.

A moment: But the deep-cold vortex winds of the South Pole have no counterpart over the North Pole or anywhere else in the world, suggesting that ozone breaches over populous areas, though not impossible, are less likely than the South Pole finding might imply.(100)

Correction: The northern polar vortex, though not as strong or self-enclosed as the southern vortex, is cold enough to allow polar stratospheric clouds to form, resulting in significant ozone depletion due to CFCs.101 During the winter of 1995, for example, these processes caused a twenty-five percent ozone loss over large parts of the Arctic.(102)

More importantly, though mentioned by Easterbrook only in passing and without the use of actual figures, scientists have already observed substantially reduced levels of ozone over most of the globe, including North America, Europe, and elsewhere.(103)

A moment: When nations began building high-energy accelerators to shatter protons and neutrons in search of quarks, some theorists suggested the collisions might manufacture a novel subatomic template to which all elemental particles would bind in some way, crushing the Earth, and perhaps the entire universe, out of existence. To this day, whenever a new accelerator such as the Superconducting Supercollider is contemplated, a committee of physicists is appointed to analyze whether the machine might generate a subatomic template.(104)

Correction: The "committee of physicists" Easterbrook cites is a fiction. No such committee worries about whether an accelerator will generate a so-called "subatomic template."(105)

A moment: More generally, researchers increasingly question high estimates of skin cancers caused by ozone fluctuations . . . . (106)

Correction: Easterbrook is wrong on this point. Skin cancer rates among fair-skinned people rise substantially the nearer they reside to the equator, where UV-B is higher.(107) Epidemiologists have high confidence in the connection between UV-B exposure and the incidence of nonmelanoma forms of skin cancer among humans.(108) Scientists predict that the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer will rise by hundreds of thousands of cases per year worldwide over the course of three or four decades due to ozone depletion.(109)

There has been one recent experiment, which Easterbrook notes, that suggests that melanoma skin cancer in fish may be induced more by UV-A, a form of radiation not affected by ozone loss, than by UV-B. However, the relevance of this result to humans is still unknown.

A moment: [I]ncreasing research . . . suggests living things have been exposed to such fluctuations many times in the past. For instance, some studies suggest that during past eras of high volcanism, ongoing eruptions placed into the air, for centuries in succession, perhaps 100 times the human output of halons, gases extremely destructive of ozone. This almost certainly would have led to ozone depletion of a more severe character than the worst-case projections for present problems. (110)

Correction: Volcanoes do not emit halons, which are entirely synthetic chemicals, but rather completely different substances, which are less intensely destructive to the ozone.(111) More importantly, Easterbrook neglects to mention that the period of high, sustained volcanism to which he refers occurred millions of years ago, long before modem humans evolved. This period was so far back in time that we have little idea how it may have affected the ozone layer, if at all. For example, ozone-depleting gases from eruptions may have never reached the stratosphere or may have in amounts too small to cause much harm. There may have been a substantially different density of ozone in the atmosphere millions of years ago, or a different chemistry in the stratosphere, leading to a different response to ozone-destroying chemicals. Thus, whether or not there were higher levels of UV radiation reaching the Earth is entirely unknown, and the effects of such hypothetical levels of radiation on the biosphere are impossible to ascertain.

A moment: [I]n the austral spring of 1990 . . . Palmer Station, an Antarctic research facility, recorded surface UV-B readings double those of 1988. . . . Yet . . . the doubled radiation worked out to only about the natural increase a person would experience by traveling south from Chicago to New Orleans.(112)

Correction: Few natural ecosystems routinely travel from Chicago to New Orleans, even for Mardi Gras. Clearly, a sustained UV doubling at the same location, and at the same point in the season, is by any calculation a radical change in an ecosystem's environment.

Several pages later, Easterbrook again succumbs to the well-worn "traveler" fallacy. In order to refute the importance of another study showing a significant increase in UV radiation, this time at the tip of Argentina, he writes: "A team led by Frederick reported . . . . [an increase that) was 50 percent over expected seasonal intensity and lasted about a month. Does this sound like a calamitous rise? It works out to the natural UV-B increase a person would experience by moving north . . . . from Cape Horn to Buenos Aires."(113)

As noted above, nonmelanoma skin cancer rates among fair-skinned humans are higher at latitudes nearer the equator.(114) Moreover, as already noted, whether ecosystems as a whole can adapt to sustained amounts of UV-B well above natural levels remains an open question. It is likely, however, that many species will suffer under increased UV-B.

IV. Easterbrook's Chapter 13: "Case Study: The Spotted Owl"

Easterbrook's chapter on the northern spotted owl is so full of scientific errors and inaccurate assumptions that its conclusion, that the threat of extinction faced by the owl is overstated, is essentially worthless.

To his credit, Easterbrook is supportive of the Endangered Species Act(115) and the efforts of environmental groups to save species in general. Yet, in opposing the conclusions of independent biologists that the northern spotted owl faced extinction, Easterbrook neglects to cite the voluminous scientific evidence for this position contained in numerous peer-reviewed studies. Most importantly, he neglects to mention the definitive findings of a 1993 meeting in Colorado, where biologists and statisticians from throughout the United States and Europe undertook the single largest population study of a bird of prey. This illustrious group concluded that the northern spotted owl was indeed in rapid decline.(116)

A moment: The [four northern spotted] owls were living wild in a habitat where it is presumed impossible for them to exist: a young woodland, not an old-growth forest. And they were living in a place, California, where environmental doctrine holds spotted owls are rare birds indeed.(117)

Correction: Easterbrook's caricature of "environmental doctrine" is wrong on two counts. For many years, it has been well known to owl biologists that the thin coastal redwood belt of northwest California harbors many owls.(118) However, this area makes up only a small part of the owl's habitat and, despite Easterbrook's suggestion, few northern spotted owls live in second-growth forests elsewhere in their range (except for a relatively small area in the eastern Washington Cascades).(119)

Indeed, the scientific panel headed by Jack Ward Thomas of the U.S. Forest Service, which reaffirmed in 1990 that the northern spotted owls were at risk of extinction, clearly observed the relative abundance of the birds in this area:

An interesting exception to the usual time needed for a forest to develop

from bare ground into suitable owl habitat occurs in the coastal redwood forests

of northwestern California, where owls occur in relatively high numbers in

stands 50 to 80 years old. This exception is likely attributable to a unique set of

conditions . . . . Because these unique conditions occur only in about 70% of the

owl's range, we strongly caution against assuming that they will occur


A moment: The owl-extinction alarm is premised on two notions: that spotted owls live only in ancient forests and that a last, fragile, dwindling population of the northern spotted exists mainly in Oregon and Washington.(121)

Correction: As he does throughout the book, Easterbrook sets up a straw-man argument so that he may demolish it. Biologists and environmentalists do not base their concern about the northern spotted owl, nor did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decide to list the owl as an endangered species, on the notions Easterbrook cites.(122) Instead, three main points proved decisive. First, the downward trend in the habitat of the owl was undeniable.(123) Second, statistical analysis of the trends in birth and death rates of sample owl pairs indicated that populations were declining rapidly.(124) Finally, existing regulations were deemed insufficient to reverse the habitat and population declines.(125)

A moment: In 1993 Steve Self and Thomas Nelson, researchers employed by Sierra Pacific, a California timber company with a progressive reputation, projected spotted owl populations . . . . They estimated the state home to 6,000 to 8,000 pairs of spotted owls . . . . If Self and Nelson are even close to correct, the spotted owl population is not in the zone of an extinction emergency.(126)

Correction: Contrary to Easterbrook's implications, the total numbers of northern spotted owls were never a primary issue in the question of whether to list the owl as an endangered species.(127) Indeed, the definitive Thomas report, which supported the owl's listing, clearly stated that "current data do not permit a statistically reliable population estimate. The approximately 2000 pairs located during the past five years or reconfirmed from pre-1985 surveys represent an unknown fraction of the total population."(128)

A moment: [Timber company biologist Lowell] Diller is among the first to look for spotted owl in successional or nonancient California forests, not beginning his work until the bird was "listed" under the Endangered Species Act. Diller thinks that "if research had started in California rather than in Oregon, the spotted owl would not now be considered endangered. It would be seen as a prolific, genetically secure bird."(129)

Correction: Not only was Lowell Diller, who began his survey in 1990,(130) not among the first to look for these owls in the second-growth forests of California, but northern spotted owl population research started in California well before the owl was listed. Gordon Gould of the California Department of Fish and Game began studies of these owls in the mid-1970s.(131) R.J. Gutierrez and his students began work in 1979.(132) In fact, some of the strongest research in the field relates to northern owl populations residing in California second-growth forests.

A moment: [P]rivate timber firms harvest their lands at a profit, without subsidies, using selection logging or the related shelter-cutting, ecologically responsible practices that generate more jobs than clear-cutting.(133)

Correction: Many private timberlands in the United States, including some of those in the Northwest forests that are home to the northern spotted owl, are harvested by clear-cutting.(134) Furthermore, shelter-cutting, an even-aged logging technique, is closer to clear-cutting than it is to selection logging, an uneven-aged method of harvest.

A moment: [C]lear-cutting can be defended as a nature-mimicking practice in some circumstances. . . . (135)

Correction: Logging does not mimic nature, since it removes most of the coarse woody debris.(136)

A moment: Yet while [Eric] Forsman's paper is now celebrated as a founding text of owl doomsaying, he did not assert the spotted was falling extinct. Indeed Forsman found some of what Diller has found--the birds prospering in young timberlands . . . . (137)

Correction: Incorrect. Forsman concluded that the northern spotted owl was doing poorly in young forests, as measured by their population density.(138)

A moment: Yet rapid forest rebounds in the midst of commercial activity have been the pattern throughout the United States and Western Europe. Serious deforestation commenced in the United States roughly two centuries ago in New England, as timber was cut or woods burned for cropland. About a century ago, destructive logging practices began to end in New England . . . . New Hampshire was 50 percent forest in about 1850 and is 86 percent forest today . . . . Figures throughout New England are the same.(139)

Correction: Forests have returned to New England, but without many of the species they once contained. New Englanders will look long and hard for passenger pigeons, woodland caribou, bison, and elk--all of which lived in these forests but vanished as a result of hunting and deforestation.

A moment: Formal warning of spotted owl extinction was not tendered until the 1986 Audubon report.(140) Correction: Concern for the northern spotted owl's survival was expressed much earlier, first by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1973(141) and then by David B. Marshall and other scientists in 1975.(142)

A Moment: In the wake of that [Audubon] report conservation groups sued to have the northern spotted listed under the Endangered Species Act.(143)

Correction: Environmental groups did not sue until government officials arbitrarily and capriciously (as found by Federal District Court Judge Thomas Zilly) changed the conclusions of the owl status review and decided not to list the owl as threatened.(144)

A Moment: [A] government science panel headed by the biologist Jack Ward Thomas concluded that 3,000 to 4,000 spotted owl pairs exist in the U.S. and to provide a margin of safety over the 1,500-pair extinction number, a minimum of 3,000 owl pairs must be protected. (145)

Correction: Untrue. The Thomas panel neither concluded that 3000 to 4000 owl pairs existed (it agreed that the total number was unknown), nor did it cite specific numbers necessary for the species' protection.(146)

A Moment: In 1991 William Dwyer, a federal judge in Seattle, banned most logging in Washington and Oregon to carry out measures the Thomas report called necessary to assure survival of 3,000 owl pairs. At this point the notion of an owl doomsday was locked in legally.(147)

Correction: Judge Dwyer merely issued an injunction until the public agencies responsible for protecting the owl designed a credible conservation plan.(148)

A Moment: As the California spotted owl is not considered endangered it has never been surveyed for in methodical fashion, leaving its population not well known.(149)

Correction: To the contrary, there have been many systematic surveys of the California spotted owl.(150)

A Moment: Some observers have long wondered whether there is really any meaningful difference between northern and California spotted owl[s].

In 1990 George Barrowclough, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Gutierrez of Humboldt State compared proteins from the northern and California spotted owls. "No genetic difference was found" between the two, their report states. The researchers further found no statistically significant genetic differences between the northern and Mexican spotted owls ....(151)

Correction: According to Dr. R.J. Gutierrez, one of the authors of the cited report, Easterbrook has completely misinterpreted these results. The authors specifically stated that the limited genetic analysis they undertook prevented them from concluding that no meaningful differences existed between the northern and California spotted owls.(152) As for the Mexican and northern spotted owls, Barrowclough and Gutierrez did find notable differences between them, and concluded that the two may be different species altogether.(153)

A Moment: The Mexican spotted roosts in woodlands adjacent to the deserts of the Southwest and Mexico: habitat utterly different from the moist old-growth forests doomsayers describe as the sole imaginable habitat for northern spotted.(154)

Correction: The vast majority of Mexican spotted owls nest in the same types of habitats that northern and California spotted owls inhabit.(155)

A Moment: In 1994 Barrowclough began using genome sequencing, an advanced best, to determine whether there exist subtle DNA distinctions between northern and California spotted owls .... It's worth noting that Barrowclough calls both bird types "Pacific Coast" spotted owls, reflecting a feeling the two soon may be seen as one and the same.(156)

Correction: The DNA analyses, now completed, demonstrate that there are substantial differences between the genes of the two kinds of owls, and that they are indeed two entirely separate subspecies.(157) Moreover, the term "Pacific Coast owls" is merely a shorthand way to refer to the two subspecies that inhabit the Pacific Coast states, and implies nothing about their. genetic similarities or differences.(158)

A Moment: Does a figure such as 10,000 pairs of spotted owl still sound perilously small? ... [I]t is significantly greater than the population nadirs of similar raptors that avoided extinction. The bald eagle was down to 417 known nesting pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963 and now has recovered to about nine times that number .... The peregrine falcon was down to about 1,000 breeding pairs in North America two decades ago and now has bounced back to an estimated 5,000.(159)

Correction: The figure of ten thousand pairs derives from Easterbrook's erroneous conclusion that the California and northern spotted owls will be shown to be genetically identical. Furthermore, his argument is based upon a false comparison. The bald eagle and the peregrine falcon were threatened largely by pesticides.(160) When DDT was banned, both species had considerable amounts of habitat in which to live and reproduce.(161) The threat to the spotted owl, in contrast, is almost exclusively due to habitat loss. Indeed, there are many examples of species that rapidly became extinct when their habitat disappeared, such as the cerulean paracuse-flycatcher.(162)

A Moment: Now many assert that owl numbers are less important than the demographic trend: That is, actual birds counted in "the laboratory of nature" mean less than prospective birds projected by computer model.(163)

Correction: The demographic trend is established not by computer projections, but by an analysis of measured birth and death rates of sample owls as observed in the field. The trend in owl numbers, scientists know, is more important than some poorly enumerated population size.(164)

A Moment: Since the late 1970s, pessimistic owl studies have been projecting population trends averaging around minus-five percent annually, suggesting total spotted owl numbers should have fallen drastically by now. Yet actual field surveys continue to find more birds than previously counted.(165)

Correction: Easterbrook confuses survey efforts to find new owls with the survival and reproduction data of owls already located. Indeed, it is the latter evidence that has been considered crucial to demonstrate that the species is in danger of becoming extinct. That conclusion was unanimously shared by independent wildlife experts from government agencies, research institutes, and universities, who convened in Fort Collins, Colorado for a December 1993 workshop on the northern spotted owl.(166) Every federal, state, private, and academic biologist who studied the owl was invited, as were statisticians and scientists from related fields to help in the analysis. Timber industry biologists were invited, but only one attended, and he refused to share his data.(167)

More than fifty experts participated in this workshop, and various statistical analyses were made from their combined observations, drawn from eleven studies and spanning the entire range of the northern spotted owl, including California second-growth forests. The result was the single largest population analysis ever done for an endangered species. Among those who shared their data, the conclusions were clear and unanimous: the northern spotted owl was indeed in serious and rapid decline. Across its range, its survival and reproduction rates were dropping, and these losses appeared to be accelerating.(168)

A Moment: By the theory that local variations in climate and diet convert creatures into different species, a black man who lives in Seattle, gets rained on, and eats salmon would be a different species from a white man who lives in stilling humidity in Louisiana and dines on gumbo. By this theory the human race contains hundreds of entirely distinct species. The typical northern and California spotted owls appear more alike than the typical American and Asian. But according to orthodox doctrine, the different people are identical while the similar birds are drastically different.(169)

Correction: This statement reveals an ignorance of genetics and evolutionary biology. Speciation requires some sort of genetic barrier and time. Human beings can and do move long distances, mixing up their gene pool. When DNA is studied to ascertain the differences between members of various human races, humanity as a whole is found to be strikingly uniform, especially when compared to different animal subspecies.(170)

As Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at the University College, London, and Editor of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, has written,

Humans are a rather homogeneous species, perhaps because they evolved so recently....

Other creatures vary much more from place to place.... The genetic differences between snail populations of two adjacent Pyrenean valleys is much greater than that between Australian aboriginals and Europeans. That between the orangutan of Borneo and that of Sumatra, just a few miles apart, is ten times greater than the difference between any pair of human groups ....(171)

A Moment: Yet with the exception of Pacific Coast salmon, whose 1990s runs were unequivocal disasters, only a handful of the supposed 1,400 additional dying Northwest old-growth species has shown worrisome population trends in studies. Just one, a bird called the marbled murlet [sic], has been classified threatened under the Endangered Species Act ... About a half dozen plants in the region are "missing in action"--not observed recently, though known to prosper elsewhere. . . .


So far in the postwar era there are no known extinctions of animals or vascular (loosely, green-stemmed) plants in the Pacific Coast forests .... Several mammals, among them the red vole and the fisher, are believed in decline. But so far zero known extinctions.(172)

Correction: First of all, Easterbrook neglects to mention the approximately 7000 species of arthropods that scientists estimate are closely associated with old-growth forests. Most of these species have not been studied carefully enough to know their population trends.(173) More importantly, Easterbrook himself admits that a species of bird, several kinds of mammals, and a half dozen species of plants--in addition to the northern spotted owl--are declining or disappearing from Northwest forests.(174) He also mentions the precipitous decline of the Pacific Coast salmon,(175) which has led to the collapse of the area's once-thriving commercial and sportfishing industries. How many signs do there have to be before an ecosystem is recognized to be in serious trouble?

A Moment: [There are] [z]ero known postwar extinctions in the Pacific Coastforest belt. Combined with the prospect that there exist many more spotted owl than previously estimated, this raises the question of whether the owl instant doomsday, which has cost thousands of honest people their livelihoods and occupied the attention of presidents, is at heart a false alarm. (176)

Correction: To the contrary, it was the "instant doomsday" of economic collapse, as trumpeted by the timber companies, that has proven to be a false alarm. Three years into the imposed restrictions on logging, Oregon has posted its lowest unemployment rate in a generation at just over five percent.(177) Some rural counties show a rate of about two percent.(178) Indeed, there are signs of impending labor shortages, and even the most timber-dependent counties in southern Oregon report rising property values and a net increase in jobs.(179) Moreover, instead of making boards from three-hundred-year-old trees growing on public lands, lumber mills are substituting smaller trees from private tree farms.(180) As the mayor of Springfield, Oregon said, "Owls versus jobs was just plain false.(181)

A Moment: Consider that from 9,500 (the White House's own number) to 85,000 jobs will be abrogated by the Clinton owl plan. The lost jobs are skilled, high-wage employment of the sort that real-world Americans who aren't lawyers or consultants need to send their children to college.(182)

Correction: To the contrary, the average wage throughout Oregon has actually risen since the ban was placed on old-growth logging.(183) Further, no net loss of jobs has occurred.(184) Instead, many of the loggers who have lost their jobs are being retrained for high-skilled jobs in health care and high-tech industries.(185) As Ed Whitelaw, Professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, said, "[tlhese 100,000-job-loss figures were just fallacious; they came out of a political agenda. Yet when I would say this, I was dismissed as an Earth-Firster or something."(186)

V. Easterbrook'S Chapter 30: "Species"

Easterbrook's arguments in his chapter on endangered species are equally problematic. While disputing the conclusions of natural scientists and wildlife biologists that human activities are causing a species loss of major proportions throughout the globe, he relies on inaccurate assumptions and faulty reasoning. Easterbrook also makes repeated technical errors, such as confusing different species.

Moreover, as in the spotted owl chapter, he fails to grasp the difference between an increase in the number of species believed to exist and observed trends that show many of these species in decline. This is evident when he wrongly dismisses as contradictory the increasing scientific estimates of the total number of species on Earth and the consensus of biologists that extinction is proceeding at a rate unprecedented since the close of the age of the dinosaur.

A Moment: Roughly since the 1970s ecologists have claimed a rising degree of species loss caused by human activity. And in this same period researchers have supposed the natural world to contain far more species than once believed. These two trains of thought are barreling toward each other on the same track.(187)

Correction: These statements are not contradictory. Virtually all biologists agree that the world is facing an alarming loss of biodiversity caused by human actions. 188 Based on current trends of habitat destruction, it has been estimated that between one and eleven percent of the world's species will be committed to extinction by the year 2015.(189) Meanwhile, estimates of the total number of species now on Earth are increasing, as biologists turn their attention to poorly studied groups of animals and plants in out-of-the-way places.(190)

A Moment: [Biologist Edward O.] Wilson now projects a human-caused loss of 50,000 species per year, or 137 daily....


... Under Wilson's loss estimate ... about 1.1 million extinctions should have occurred globally since 1973. As America contains six percent of the world's land mass, a rough proration would assign six percent of that loss, or 66,000 extinctions, to the United States. Yet in the period only seven actual U.S. extinctions have been logged. There is a rather amazing gap between a projected 66,000 and a confirmed seven.(191)

Correction: Here, Easterbrook's logic is based on scientifically inaccurate assumptions. First, he assumes that the distribution of species is roughly proportional to the land area. We know this is not true. The rain forests, for example, occupy only six percent of the Earth's land surface, but contain more than fifty percent of the world's species in almost every well-studied taxon, including birds, fishes, and vascular plants.(192) Of the approximately 250,000 known vascular plant species, about two-thirds reside in the tropics and subtropics.(193) Further, almost one-sixth of the world's plants can be found in just three countries occupying a mere two percent of the planet's land surface: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.(194) Easterbrook also assumes that rates of habitat destruction, the primary cause of extinctions, are roughly equivalent across the globe. This, too, is incorrect. Over the past decade, the tropical forests decreased almost one percent per year on average,(195) While the forests in the temperate areas of industrialized countries increased slightly over the same period.(196)

A Moment: In 1993 two authorities on biodiversity, Michael Bean and David Wilcove of the Environmental Defense Fund, tallied 27 extinctions of North American fish species and subspecies since the year 1950. The Bean-Wilcove estimate is double the rate for the first half of the century, again a clear danger sign. But it's also a fish loss of about one per year, a figure impossibly low if pessimists . . . are right about their projections of annual losses by the many thousands. (197)

Correction: Easterbrook ignores that rates of extinction for particular types of species--in this case fish--may not be the same as rates for other types. Nor does he acknowledge that rates in one region may not be comparable to rates in other regions.

A Moment: [A]s Ariel Lugo, a Forest Service official in Puerto Rico, pointed out in a 1991 issue of Science, when pristine forests are cut they do not vanish; rather, the next step is usually new second-growth forests. Many species from the pristine forest adapt to the second-growth habitat and continue living .... (198)

Correction: First, forests do not always regenerate after being cut. Tropical rain forests, for example, are among the most fragile of ecosystems, containing thin soils whose nutrients and minerals are washed away quickly by rain after deforestation.(199) There are large areas throughout the American tropics where forests have been converted to cattle pastures, sugar cane fields, and other nonforested habitat.(200) Many of these altered habitats will be very difficult if not impossible to restore to their previous, ecologically diverse conditions.(201) Second, many species are unable to adapt to second-growth habitat. An example from the United States is the now-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.(202)

A Moment: Most troubling is a fundamental inconsistency in the work of Wilson ....

... It cannot be that a human-caused mass extinction occurred just 11,000 years ago, that ten million years must pass for nature to recover naturally from mass extinctions, and that today biological diversity is the highest ever.(203)

Correction: These three points are not related to each other as if in mathematical equllibrium. Measured over millions of years, global biodiversity has increased, as demonstrated by the fossil record.(204) Yet, by 11, 000 years ago, many of the large mammals in the Americas had become extinct.(205) The mammalian biodiversity in the Americas has not recovered.(206) However, because mammals are only a small proportion of the world's species, less than 0.3 percent as currently described,(207) the demise of some of them does not significantly change the numbers regarding species abundance.

A Moment: [Easterbrook presents what he calls An Endangered Species Scorecard. He refers to the Endangered Species Act and says, Let's take a look at what is happening on the list. He then proceeds to examine superficially twenty-four species or species groups for the trend in their numbers.](208)

Correction: Of the twenty-four, only thirteen of his examples are unequivocally correct. In seven cases he refers inaccurately to a group of animals as a single species--the kangaroo rat, for example.(209) There are many species of kangaroo rats, only some of which are on the endangered species list. In fully twenty-five percent of his examples, he is simply wrong about whether a species or group of species is represented on the endangered species list: mute swans, harp seals, tuna, sharks, wild turkeys, and mustangs have never made the list. He makes other errors within his inventory, discussed below.

A Moment: [P]olitical sentiment has run strongly against returning the wolf to Yellowstone, for fear that someday a child touring the park may be snatched and killed. (210)

Correction: Though some people may have expressed this fear, the opposition to the reintroduction of wolves was and continues to be driven primarily by the fears of ranchers that it will lead to loss of livestock.(211)

A Moment: Mountain lions, also called cougars, were extensively bountyhunted in the nineteenth century, and by the 1960s were believed extinct in North America.... Oddly enough, the Fish and Wildlife Service still classifies the eastern cougar as extinct, yet nevertheless also classifies it as an endangered species that cannot be hunted. (212)

Correction: Mountain lions were never believed to be extinct in North America. The species has always been seen in the West (as well as throughout Central and South America).(213) The eastern cougar, a particular subspecies of the mountain lion, is widely believed to be extinct, but unconfirmed sightings are reported from time to time.(214)

A Moment: [T]he steller sea lion ... was listed as threatened in 1990 in response to a lawsuit by environmental groups, though about 65,000 steller sea lions are estimated to exist.(215)

Correction: The Steller sea lion was listed because of sudden and severe population declines throughout its range, with, an overall decline of seventy-eight percent between the 1950s and 1990. The greatest loss occurred in the eastern Aleutians, where 10,802 sea lions were counted in 1985 but only 3145 in 1989.(216) Declines of this magnitude and rate, by any calculation, justify protection.

A Moment: In the last decade environmental litigators have pressured the Fish and Wildlife Service to list creatures at any sign of population decline, regardless of whether the decline appears to engage a threat of extinction. This means a common invocation of doomsday cant--that "more and more creatures are being listed as endangered every day"--is deceptive, since the listings are based on increasingly lenient criteria and now may be registered even when a creature is numerous.(217)

Correction: The reality is the reverse of what Easterbrook asserts. Most species are listed too late rather than too early to ensure their survival.(218) According to a recent study, the median population size of an animal species at time of listing was just under 1000--well below the level generally considered viable; for plant species the median population size was fewer than 120 individuals, and 39 of these species were listed with ten or fewer known members.(219)

A Moment: In the Western world at least, if most imperiled species could make it through the period from the 1940s to the late 1970s--when gross pollution was everywhere, development was unrestricted, and the Endangered Species Act did not yet exist--then those species have already passed the worst test that will be administered by man.(220)

Correction: First of all, imperilment is a site-specific phenomenon, and over most of the globe, including major portions of the Western world, there are few laws to protect endangered species. Moreover, in much of the world, including many developed nations, habitat destruction continues unabated. Species whose habitats have been partly or entirely spared in the past but are now finding themselves increasingly squeezed will find little comfort in Easterbrook's unwarranted optimism.(221) Finally, in the future, human-caused climate change stands as one of the greatest threats to the survival of species, a prospect which, so far, the world has made little effort to forestall.(222)

A Moment: In Monterey County, California, the bush lupine, a native plant, is protected under the Endangered Species Act. About 200 miles away at the Lanphere Christensen Dunes Preserve in Humbolt [sic] County, California, where the bush lupine is not native, the Nature Conservancy has been trying to eradicate the same plant.

It's hard to get your head around the notion that a plant can be so wonderful in one place that it deserves federal protection yet so horrible 200 miles away that it must be destroyed.(223) Correction: Easterbrook confuses two strikingly different species of lupine--one highly endangered, the other not. The endangered species is Lupinus tidestromii, or Tidestrom's lupine, which is not a bush lupine but a creeping perennial found in only three dune systems in California.(224) The other species, which the Nature Conservancy is trying to eradicate from the Christensen Preserve in Humboldt County, is Lupinus arboreus, or yellow bush lupine, a much more common plant.(225)

A Moment: [S]pecies arriving from someplace else do not possess mystical superpowers. They are just different, and the local ecology needs time to react to the difference. (226)

Correction: The fact remains that the human introduction of exotic species into ecosystems often leads to the imperilment or extinction of native species (as Easterbrook himself has pointed out, one paragraph earlier, with his example of the loss of several bird species on Guam after the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake).(227) Indeed, of the known causes of animal extinctions since 1600, introduction of exotics ranks with habitat destruction as the most important.(228)

A recent study found that the introduction of new species was a major cause for the listing of 43 species as threatened or endangered in the United States, and a contributing factor in the listing of 146 more, since the establishment of the Endangered Species Act.(229) Another study found that over the past century, the introduction of new species has been a contributing factor in sixty-eight percent of North American fish extinctions.(230)

A Moment: [M]any environmental groups, including the normally clearheaded Environmental Defense Fund, have succeeded in pressuring some states to outlaw possession of "exotic" species--animals endangered in other nations, but not in the U.S.--and have asked Congress for national legislation to that effect, depicting the notion of private U.S. stocks of endangered species from other shores as an odious hoarding. Yet...on a Texas ranch [there are] more representatives of the endangered scimitar-horned oryx than can be found in the species' native Africa.

...[I]t's hard to imagine how outlawing [this] collection will aid the survival prospects of the scimitar-horned oryx.(231)

Correction: First, EDF has never tried to pressure any state to outlaw possession of exotics. Second, Easterbrook defines "exotic" erroneously. Exotic species are plants or animals that have been introduced, deliberately or accidentally, into countries or areas where they do not normally occur; whether they are endangered or not is irrelevant. Third, his suggestion that the rationale for such restrictions, to prevent "odious hoarding"

by private collectors, is wrong. The motivation of states that have imposed restrictions on exotic-game ranching has been to prevent the transmission of diseases and parasites to native wildlife.(232) A Moment: One looming absurdity is beetle protection [by the Endangered Species Act].... If beetles start receiving the instant-doomsday treatment, species protection will have veered into nonsense.(233) Correction: Would Easterbrook have the Act specifically exclude beetles from its protection just because there are thousands of beetle species? Or because beetles are small? What could be the logic behind this statement, especially if he believes that, as he writes on the very next page, "every animal on Earth may be vital to the cosmic enterprise?"(234) Indeed, obscure creatures often yield things of value, such as penicillin from bread mold or an antileukemia drug from the rosy periwinkle.


In A Moment on the Earth, Gregg Easterbrook attempts to contrast his own supposedly "eco-realistic" views with the views of those he labels environmental "doomsayers." Yet what the book really does is set Mr. Easterbrook's own opinions against the weight of scientific evidence, consisting of the findings of independent climatologists, atmospheric scientists, and wildlife biologists, working in their respective fields throughout the world. He continually dismisses the assessments of these experts as overly pessimistic, caricatures their positions, and incorrectly characterizes their work as part of a biased environmental "orthodoxy." In the process, he impugns the intelligence, judgment, and impartiality of some of the most esteemed scientists of our time, including Rachel Carson, James Anderson, and Edward O. Wilson. Moreover, he repeatedly criticizes scientists whose dire predictions have not come to pass, without fully acknowledging that their forecasts catalyzed changes in laws and policies that forestalled the predictions themselves.

Though we at the Environmental Defense Fund celebrate the successes of the past (including the banning of DDT and the restrictions on the use of CFCs), we believe that further achievements are possible only with a realistic assessment of those environmental problems that still remain based on the best scientific evidence. Far from being "eco-realistic," Easterbrook's work betrays an extreme naivete concerning the workings of physical processes and natural ecosystems, resulting in an entirely unwarranted optimism that we will easily solve all of our environmental problems in the near future, if we have not already done so. Perhaps he himself should take to heart the advice he offers up so readily to environmentalists: "Learn science and speak logic. Many lesser creatures will thank you."(235) (1) Gregg Easterbrook, A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism at xvi (1995). (2) Science Advisory Bd., U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency, Reducing Risk: Setting Priorities and Strategies for Environmental Protection 13 (1990). (3) For example, Easterbrook asked Michael Oppenheimer, senior scientist with EDF, to review his draft chapter dealing with ozone depletion but failed to fully correct several of the errors that Oppenheimer noted. (4) The Sky Is Not Falling, N.Y. Times, Sept. 28, 1995, at A27; More Good News, N.Y. Times, Oct. 5, 1995, at A29. (5) Rush Limbaugh, American Birthright. Mistrust of Government, The Limbaugh Letter, July 1995, at 3, 16. (6) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 713. (7) Id. at 277. (8) Helene Wilson & James Hansen, Update of GISS Global Temperature Analysis Through 1993, at fig. 1 (study produced by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York) (unpublished manuscript, on file with authors). (9) C.K. Folland et al., Observed Climate Variability and Change, in IPCC, Climate Change 1992: The Supplementary Report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment 135, 147 fig. C4 (J.T. Houghton et al. eds., 1992) [hereinafter IPCC 19921; Wilson & Hansen, supra note 8, at fig. 1. (10) Telephone Interview with Mikiko Sato, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Apr. 1995). The Northern Hemisphere, not the globe, cooled slightly between the 1940s and early 1970s, but by considerably less than it had warmed between the late 1800s and the 1940s, and also less than it has warmed since the 1970s. Id. Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 278. (12) The Gallup Org., A Gallup Study of Scientists' Opinions and Understanding of Global Climate Change 5 (1991). (13) Id. (14) Id. at 8. (15) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 278. (16) James F. Kasting & Thomas P. Ackerman, Climatic Consequences of Very High Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Earth's Early Atmosphere, 234 Science 1383, 1383 (1986). (17) Id. at 1384. (18) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 279. (19) C.K. Folland et al., Observed Climate Variations and Change, in IPCC, Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment 195, 202 fig. 7.1 J.T. Houghton et al. eds., 1990) [hereinafter IPCC 19901. (20) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 279. (21) Syukuro Manabe & Ronald J. Stouffer, Century-Scale Effects of Increased Atmospheric CO2 on the Ocean-Atmosphere System, 364 Nature 215, 216-17 (1993). (22) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 279. (23) The Hadley Centre, Modelling Climate Change: 1860-2050, at 4-8 (1995). Easterbrook mentions the influence of sulfates and oceans on pages 287-88 and 290-92, respectively, but falls to correct the quoted misstatement regarding greenhouse theory predictions. (24) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 279-80. (25) Wilson & Hansen, supra note 8. (26) P.D. Jones, Recent Warming in Global Temperature Series, 21 Geophysical Res. Letters 1149, 1151 (1994); James E. Hansen et al., Satellite and Surface Temperature Data at Odds?, 30 Climatic Change 103, 103 (1995). (27) Folland et al., supra note 9, at 145, 146, 148. (28) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 280. (29) Jones, supra note 26, at 1151. (30) Hansen et al., supra note 26, at 111-14. (31) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 280. (32) Wilson & Hansen, supra note 8, at fig. 3. (33) Thomas R. Karl et al., Trends in U.S. Climate During the Twentieth Century, in 1 Consequences: The Nature and Implications of Environmental Change 3, 7 (1995). (34) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 280. (35) James Hansen et al., How Sensitive Is the World's Climate?, 9 Res. & Exploration 142,155-57 (1993). (36) Jones, supra note 26, at 1151. (37) Telephone Interview with P.D. Jones, University of East Anglia (Jan. 1995). (38) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 281-82. (39) Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate, N.Y. Times, June 24, 1988, at A1; see Richard A. Kerr, Hansen vs. the World on the Greenhouse Threat, 244 Science 1041 (1989). (40) Michael Oppenheimer & Robert H. Boyle, Dead Heat 51-53 (1990). (41) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 284. (42) IPCC Working Group I, Policymakers Summary, in IPCC 1990, supra note 19, at xi, xi; The Hadley Centre, supra note 23, at 6. Easterbrook's statement on page 284 concerning GCMs is more than a decade out of date. (43) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 286. (44) National Academy of Sciences, Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming 19 (1991). (45) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 286. (46) J.F.B. Mitchell et al., Equilibrium Climate Change--and Its Implications for the Future, in IPCC 1990, supra note 19, at 131, 138-139. (47) IPCC Working Group I, The 1992 IPCC Supplement. Scientific Assessment, in IPCC 1992, supra note 9, at 16. The only change in any of the "best estimate" CO2-doubling numbers occurred in 1990, when in its first report the IPCC substituted its own "best guess' figure of 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) resulting from doubled carbon dioxide, for the earlier figure offered by the NAS of 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), a very modest adjustment. Mitchell et al., supra note 46, at 139. Over time, the IPCC has not altered by one iota its "best estimate" of warming due to doubled carbon dioxide. (48) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 288. (49) See T.M.L. Wigley, Possible Climate Change Due to SO2-derived Cloud Condensation Nuclei, 339 Nature 365 (1989); Ronald J. Stouffer et al., Interhemispheric Asymmetry in Climate Response to a Gradual Increase of Atmospheric CO2, 342 Nature 660 (1989). (50) William Pepper et al., Emission Scenarios for the IPCC: An Update 41 (1992). (51) Wilson & Hansen, supra note 8, at fig. 1. (52) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 288. (53) Stouffer et al., supra note 49, at 662. (54) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 292. (55) R. Warrick & J. Oerlemans, Sea Level Rise, in IPCC 1990, supra note 19, at 257, 261. (56) See National Research Council, Responding to Changes in Sea Level: Engineering Implications 49 (1987). (57) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 292. (58) See supra note 55 and accompanying text. (59) Warrick & Oerlemans, supra note 55, at 277. (60) See id. at 276. Aside from changes in the ice, the thermal expansion of water will account for about half of the amount of projected future sea-level rise. Id. (61) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 294. (62) Stouffer et al., supra note 49, at 661. (63) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 296. (64) D. Schimel et al., CO2 and the Carbon Cycle, in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 1994: Radiative Forcing of Climate Change and and Evaluation of the IPCC IS92 Emission Scenarios 35, 45 (1995). (65) Id. at 44. (66) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 301. (67) See supra notes 55-56 and accompanying text. (68) See Dean Roemmich & John McGowan, Climatic Warming and the Decline of Zooplankton in the California Current, 267 Science 1324, 1325 (1995). (69) J.P. Barry et al., Climate-Related Long-Term Faunal Changes in the California Rocky Intertidal Community, 267 Science 672, 673 1995). (70) Peter W. Glynn, Coral Reef Bleaching in the 1980s and Possible Connections with Global Warming, 6 Trends in Ecology & Evolution 175, 178 (1991). (71) Id. (72) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 315. (73) The Earth Summit: The: United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 3 (Stanley P. Johnson & Gunther Handl eds., 1993). (74) Id. at 213, 287. (75) Telephone Interview with Scott Hajost, Executive Director, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Mar. 1995). (76) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 314-15. (77) See Cynthia Rosenzweig & Martin L. Parry, Potential Impact of Climate Change on World's Food Supply, 367 Nature 133, 133 (1994). (78) Paul R. Epstein, Emerging Diseases and Ecosystem Instability: New Threats to Public Health, 85 Amer. J. of Pub. Health 168, 169 (1995); Anne M. Thompson & Michael Kavanaugh, Tropospheric [CH.sub.4]/CO/NOX: The Next 50 Years, in 2 Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate 305, 315 (1986). (79) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 315. (80) See James M. Broadus et al., Rising Sea Level and Damming of Rivers: Possible Effects in Egypt and Bangladesh, in Effects of Changes in Stratospheric Ozone and Global Climate 165, 175 (1986) (discussion of salination and sea-level rise). (81) Id. at 186. (82) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 535. (83) Id. at 534. (84) Id. at 540. (85) Id. at 529-30. (86) See John Ellis & David N. Schramn, Could a Nearby Supernova Explosion Have Caused a Mass Extinction?, in 92 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 235, 237,(1995) (speculation that supernovas exploding near the Earth a few times over hundreds of millions of years could have destroyed the ozone layer). This paper supports neither Easterbrook's claim that the phenomenon was somehow "cyclical," nor his contention of the resilience of life. Indeed, according to the authors of this report, such events may have resulted in the "mass destruction" of living things, including, possibly, the dinosaurs. Id. at 235. Easterbrook may be referring to ancient volcanic eruptions, as in his discussion on page 543, which we also criticize in this Review. See infra notes 110-11 and accompanying text. (87) D.W. Fahey et al., Polar Ozone, in Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1994, at 3.3 (1995). (88) See, e.g., id. at 3.1 (referencing numerous atmospheric studies linking CFCs with the ozone hole). (89) Id. (90) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 530. (91) 1 World Meteorological Org., Report of the International Ozone Trends Panel 27 (1988) [hereinafter WMO Report]. (92) Id. (93) Id. On page 540, Easterbrook refers to an article in Nature by Stuart A. Penkett concluding that tropospheric ozone increases might overwhelm stratospheric ozone decreases. This prediction was based on depletion calculated to have occurred up to 1982. Stuart A. Penkett, Increased Tropospheric Ozone, 332 Nature 204, 204 (1988). But a far larger depletion has been measured since. Consequently, the Penkett article was already out of date by 1991 when the United Nations Environment Programme reported: "[W]e estimate that the combined trend [i.e., due to changes in stratospheric plus tropospheric ozone since the late 1970s) in the UV in the northern hemisphere is in the range of +3% to +11% per decade." United Nations Env't Programme, Environmental Effects of Ozone Depletion: 1991 Update 6 (1991) [hereinafter UNEP 1991 Update]. (94) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 533. (95) WMO Report, supra note 91, at 4. (96) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 533. (97) Id. at 534 quoting John Frederick, University of Chicago). (98) Id. (99) Id. at 535. (100) Id. at 534. (101) James G. Anderson & Owen B. Toon, Airborne Arctic Stratospheric Expedition II: An Overview, 20 Geophysical Res. Letters 2499, 2502 (1993). (102) Pamela S. Zurer, Record Low Ozone Levels Observed Over Arctic, Chem. & Eng'g News, June 12, 1995, at 20, 21. Easterbrook refers to the possibility of significant Arctic depletion on page 540, but he erroneously dismisses it. (103) WMO Report, supra note 91, at 4. (104) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 535. (105) Telephone Interview with P. Lyman, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Apr. 1995); Telephone Interview with B. Richter, Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator (Apr. 1995). (106) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 543. (107) UNEP 1991 Update, supra note 93, at 15. (108) Sasha Madronich & Frank R. de Grujol, Skin Cancer and UV Radiation, 366 Nature 23 (1993). (109) UNEP 1991 Update, supra note 93, at 15. (110) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 543. (111) WMO Report, supra note 91, at 23. (112) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 536. (113) Id. at 541. (114) See supra note 107 and accompanying text. (115) Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. [subsection] 1531-1544 (1994). (116) Kenneth H. Burnham et al., Estimation of Vital Rates of the Northern Spotted Owl, in 2 U.S. Dep't of Agric., Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl 2 (1994). (117) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 211. (118) U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl 57-58 (Draft 1992) [hereinafter Recovery Plan]. (119) Eric D. Forsman et al., Spotted Owl Abundance in Young Versus Old-Growth Forests, 5 Or. Wildlife Soc'y Bull. 43 (1977) (on file with authors). (120) Jack Ward Thomas et al., U.S. Dep't of the Interior, A Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl: Interagency Scientific Committee to Address the Conservation of the Northern Spotted Owl 19 (1990); see also Recovery Plan, supra note 118. (121) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 213. (122) See Endangered and Treatened Wildlife and Plants: Determination of Threatened Status for the Northern Spotted Owl, 55 Fed. Reg. 26,114 (June 26, 1990). (123) Recovery Plan, supra note 118, at 31. (124) Id. at 59. (125) Id. at 4041. (126) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 214. (127) See 55 Fed. Reg. at 26,114. (128) Thomas et al., supra note 120, at 2. (129) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 214. (130) Id. at 213. (131) Gordon I. Gould, Jr., Distribution of the Spotted Owl in California, 8 Western Birds 130, 131 (1977). (132) R.J. Gutierrez et al., Habitat Ecology of the Spotted Owl in Northwestern California: Implications for Management, in New Forests for a Changing Worm 368, 368 (1984). (133) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 217. (134) Telephone Interview with R.J. Gutierrez, Department of Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University (Apr. 1995). (135) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 217-18. (136) Recovery Plan, supra note 118, at 114. (137) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 218. (138) Forsman et al., supra note 119, at 43; Eric D. Forsman, A Survey of Spotted Owls in Young Forests in the Northern Coast Range of Oregon, 69 Murrelet 65, 67-68 (1988). (139) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 218-19. (140) Id. at 219. (141) U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Threatened Wildlife of the United States 159 (1973). (142) David B. Marshall et al., Report of the Committee on Conservation, 92 Auk 11B (Supp. IV 1975). (143) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 219. (144) Northern Spotted Owl v. Hodel, 716 F. Supp. 479, 483 (W.D. Wash. 1988). (145) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 219. (146) Thomas at al., supra note 120, at 31. (147) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 379. (148) Seattle Audubon Soc'y v. Evans, 771 F. Supp. 1081, 1096 (W.D. Wash.), aff'd, 952 F.2d 297 (9th Cir. 1991). (149) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 220. (150) The following articles are examples: Michael A. Bias & R.J. Gutierrez, Habitat Associations of California Spotted Owls in the Central Sierra Nevada, 56 J. Wildlife Mgmt. 584 (1992); Barry R. Noon et al., Estimates of Demographic Parameters and Rates of Population Change, in The California Spotted Owl: A Technical Assessment of Its Current Status 175 (1992) [hereinafter The California Spotted Owl]; Jared Verner et al., Assessment of the Current Status of the California Spotted Owl, with Recommendations for Management, in The California Spotted Owl, Supra, 3 (1992); William S. Lahaye et al., Spotted Owl Metapopulation Dynamics in Southern California, 63 J. Animal Ecology 775 (1994). (151) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 220. (152) Telephone Interview with R.J. Gutierrez, Department of Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University (Apr. 1995). (153) George F. Barrowclough & R.J. Gutierrez, Genetic Variation and Differentiation in the Spotted Owl (Strix Occidentalis), 107 Auk 737, 742 (1990). (154) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 220-21. (155) U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Recovery Plan for the Mexican Spotted Owl (Draft 1995) (on file with authors); J.L. Ganey, Distribution and Habitat Ecology of Mexican Spotted Owls in Arizona (1988) (unpublished M.S. thesis, Northern Arizona University, on file with authors). supra note 1, at 221. (157) George F. Barrowclough et al., Patterns of Control Region Variation in Mitochondrial DNA of Spotted Owls (1995) (unpublished manuscript, on file with authors). (158) Telephone Interview with R.J. Gutierrez, Department of Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University (Apr. 1995). (159) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 221. (160) Thomas R. Dunlap, DDT: Scientists, Citizens, and Public Policy 137 (1981). (161) Melissa Healy, U.S. Will Take Bald Eagle Off Endangered List, L.A. Times, June 30, 1994, at Al, A9. (162) Anthony J. Whitten et al., One or More Extinctions from Sulawesi, Indonesia?, 1 Conservation Biology 44 (1987). (163) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 222. (164) Burnham et al., supra note 116, at 1-2 app. J. (165) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 222. (166) Burnham et al., supra note 116, at 1-2 app. J. (167) Telephone Interview with R.J. Gutierrez, Department of Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University (Apr. 1995). (168) Burnham et al., supra note 116, at 2. (169) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 223. (170) Steve Jones, The Language of Genes 206 (1993). (171) Id. (172) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 225. (173) Forest Ecosystem Management Assesment Team, Forest Ecosystem Management: An Ecological, Economic, and Social Assesment at IV-20, IV-137 (1993). (174) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 225. (175) Id. (176) Id. (177) Timothy Egan, Oregon, Foiling Forecasters, Thrives as It Protects Owls, N.Y. Times, Oct. 11, 1994, at Al, A19. (178) Id. (179) Id.; Brad Knickerbocker, Owls Nest, Jobs Grow in West as High Tech Supplements Forestry, Christian Sci. Monitor, Nov. 4, 1994, at 1, 4. (180) Egan, supra note 177, at Al. (181) Id. at A19 (quoting Bill Morrisette, mayor of Springfield, Oregon). (182) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 227. (183) Egan, supra note 177, at A1. (184) Id. (185) Id. (186) Id. (quoting Ed Whitelaw, professor of economics, University of Oregon). (187) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 556-57. (188) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth's Living Resources 236 (1992) [hereinafter Global Biodiversity]. The authors estimate that as of 1990, 12% of known mammals, 11% of birds, and almost 4% of fish and reptile species are globally threatened. Id.; see also Daniel S. Simberloff, Are We on the Verge of a Mass Extinction in Tropical Rain Forests?, in Dynamics of Extinction 165, 165-66 (David K. Elliott ed., 1986). (189) W.V. Reid, How Many Species Will There Be?, in Tropical Deforestation and Species Extinction 55, 58 (T.C. Whitmore & J.A. Sayer eds., 1992); World Resources Inst., World Resources: A Guide to the Global Environment 1994-1995, at 149 (1994) [hereinafter World Resources]. (190) Robert M. May, How Many Species Are There on Earth?, 241 Science 1441, 1447 (1988); Edward O. Wilson, The Current State of Biological Diversity, in Biodiversity 3, 3-4 (Edward O. Wilson ed., 1988); Kevin J. Gaston, The Magnitude of Global Insect Species Richness, 5 Conservation Biology 283, 288-89 (1991); J. Frederick Grassle, Deep-Sea Benthic Bio-diversity, 41 BioScience 464, 464-67 (1991). (191) Easterbrook, supra note 1,at 558. (192) World Resources, supra note 189, at 148; C.J. Bibby et al, Putting Biodiversity on the Map 1 (1992). (193) Peter H. Raven, The Scope of the Plant Conservation Problem World-Wide, in Botanic Gardens and the World Conservation Strategy 19, 19 (D. Bramwell et al. eds., 1987). (194) Id. (195) Food & Agric. Org. of the United Nations (FAO), Forest Resources Assesment 1990: Tropical Countries 25 (1993); Nigel Dudley, World Wildlife Fund For Nature, Forests in Trouble 22 (1992); Norman Myers, Friends of the Earth, Deforestation Rates in Tropical Forests and Their Climactic Implications 30-37 (1991); Norman Myers, Tropical Deforestation: The Latest Situation, 41 BioScience 282, 282 (1991). Myers's assessments roughly correspond to those of the FAO. (196) United Nations Economic Comm'n for Europe & Food & Agric. Org. of the United Nations, The Forest Resources of the Temperate Zones: General Forest Resources Information 46-47, 295 (1992). (197) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 559. (198) Id. at 562. (199) T.C. Whitmore, Tropical Forest Nutrients, Where Do We Stand?, in Mineral Nutrients in Tropical Forests and Savanna Ecosystems 1, 2-3 (J. Proctor ed., 1989). (200) Id. at 4-5. (201) Wilson, supra note 190, at 3; Christopher Uhl, Restoration of Degraded Lands in the Amazon Basin, in Biodiversity, supra note 184, at 326, 328-32. (202) James T. Tanner, The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker 87 (1942). (203) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 562. (204) Philip W. Signor, The Geologic History of diversity, 21 Ann. Rev. Ecology & Systematics 509, 509 (1990); John Sepkosld, Jr. et al., Phanerozoic Marine Diversity and the Fossil Record, 293 Nature 435, 435 (1981). (205) C. Vance Haynes, Stratigraphy and the Late Pleistocene Extinction in the United States, in Quarterly Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution 345, 350 (Paul S. Martin Richard G. Klein eds., 1984) [hereinafter Quatenary Extinctions]. (206) See Jerry N. McDonald, The Reordered North American Selection Regime and the Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions, in Quaternary Extinctions, Supra note 205, at 404, 414. (207) See Wilson, supra note 190, at 5. (208) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 562-68. (209) Id. at 563. (210) Id. (211) Timothy Egan, U.S to Wolves: Come Back. All Is Forgiven, N.Y. Times, Jan. 8, 1995, [sections] 4, at 2. (212) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 567. (213) Peter Matthiesen, Wildlife in America 62 (1987). (214) John O Whitaker, Jr., National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals 598 (1980). (215) Easterbrook, Supra note 1, at 567. (216) National Marine Fisheries Serv., U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Recovery Plan for the, Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias Jubatus) 8 (1992). (217) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 567-68. (218) David Wilcove et al., What Exactly Is an Endangered Species? An Analysis of the U.S. Endangered Species List: 1985-1991, 7 Conservation Biology 87, 92 (1993). (219) Id. at 90-92. (220) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 570. (221) Robert L. Peters & Joan D.S. Darling, The Greenhouse Effect and Nature Preserves, 35 Bioscience 707, 707 (1985); Paul A. Colinvaux, The Past and Future Amazon, 260 Sci. Am. 102, 108. (222) See generally Global Warming and Biological Diversity (Robert L. Peters & Thomas E. Lovejoy eds., 1992); Walter V. Reid & Mark C. Trexler, Drowning the National Heritage: Climate Change and U.S. Coastal Biodiversity (1991). (223) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 571. (224) California Native Plant Society, Inventory of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plants of California 195 (Mark W. Skinner & Bruce M. Pavlik eds., 1994); Six Plants and Myrtle's Silverspot Butterfly from Coastal Dunes in Northern and Central California Determined to be Endangered, 57 Fed. Reg. 27,848 (June 22, 1992) (codified at 50 C.F.R. [sections]17.12 (1994)). (225) L. Miller, How Yellow Bush Lupine Came to Humboldt Bay, 16 Fremontia 6 (1988) (on file with authors). (226) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 572. (227) Id. at 571. (228) Global Biodiversity, supra note 188, at 199. (229) Michael J. Bean, The Role of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Non-Indigenous Species Issues 1-15 app. (Nov. 1991) (unpublished contractor report prepared by EDF for the Office of Technology Assessment). (230) Robert R. Miller et al., Extinctions of North American Fishes During the Past Century, Fisheries Nov.-Dec. 1989, at 22, 22; cf. Peter B. Moyle & Jack E. Williams, Biodiversity Loss in the Temperate Zone: Decline of the Native Fish Fauna of California, 4 Conservation Biology 275 (1990) (attributing the extinction of fish species in California in part to introduced species); Ecology of Biological Invasions of North America and Hawaii (Harold A. Mooney & James A. Drake eds., 1986) (exploring the impact of introduced species on fish in North America). (231) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 573. (232) Office of Technology Assesment, Pub. No. OTA-F-565, Harmful Non-Indigeous Species in the United States 217 (1993). (233) Easterbrook, supra note 1, at 575. (234) Id. at 576. (235) Id. at 647.

Michael Oppenheimer, David S. Wilcove, & Michael J. Bean Environmental Defense Fund(*) (*) [C] 1995 Environmental Defense Fund, reprinted with permission. This review was originally edited by Leonie Haimson and Billy Goodman. The editors gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of Dr. R.J. Gutierrez, Department of Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University, and Dr. Stephen H. Schneider, Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University. For information, please write: EDF, 257 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010.
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Date:Sep 22, 1995
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