Scientists have it all wrong when they claim that climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. According to the Heartland Institute’s recent report, Climate Change Reconsidered Part II, we have nothing to worry about: “Animal species are adapting, and in some cases evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era, as expected by Darwinian evolution.”

It turns out climate change is not a threat to animals: they will just evolve.

Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful thing called evolution. Darwin proposed that evolution occurs through death and failure. When environmental conditions change, most individuals die of starvation, thirst, predation or disease, and a few lucky individuals suited to the new conditions get to pass on their genes to offspring.

When this process of Darwinian evolution prunes out an entire species, it’s called extinction.

If animals are evolving in response to rising atmospheric CO2, as the Heartland Institute predicts, animal life a hundred years from now will be unrecognizable to us.

Most of the animals we know today will be extinct, and the remaining species will have expanded their ranges to cover the earth. Perhaps our familiar grassland and forest ecosystems will have been replaced with futuristic biomes we can’t even imagine.

As you can see, there is no need for us to mitigate climate change: We just need to trust in evolution. We need to accept that most animals on the planet will succumb to disease or famine. We have to accept that a number of the adversely affected organisms will be the crop, livestock and seafood species on which we depend.

And, now that we’re being scientific about it, we should go ahead and accept that humans, as an animal species, will respond to climate change through Darwinian evolution, too.

Only among humans, it is the economically advantaged rather than the biologically superior that survive. Those humans who starve due to drought, who die as refugees due to rising sea level, and who contract malaria due to Anopheles mosquito range expansion — well, they will be victims of evolution, not climate change.

Who cares that we humans, the most intelligent and technologically advanced species on the planet, have the unique ability to stop the rise of atmospheric CO2 and prevent massive environmental changes before they result in famine, drought, disease and extinction? Let’s keep emitting greenhouse gases.

Just imagine what we’ll learn about evolution.

Nina Finley

Walla Walla