Fungi and Global Warming

As part of its advocacy campaign for the Lieberman-McCain global warming bill, the Union of Concerned Scientists has unequivocally declared on its website that “global warming is real and underway.” According to this green team of white coats, “the mainstream scientific consensus on global warming is becoming clearer everyday.”

What, exactly, is becoming clearer? On what issue or issues have ambiguities or complexity been removed or clarified? None other than “human-induced” global warming, stemming from the menace of SUVs and coal-fired power plants. “The evidence that human-induced global warming is real is increasingly clear and compelling.”

This information is part of the union’s earnest desire to educate the unenlightened about global warming science. “At UCS, we’re working to bring sound scientific information to policymakers and the public to educate them about global warming.”

FACT: In its drive to propagate “sound scientific information,” the UCS “overlooked” a September 8 Washington Post story that casts serious doubt on anthropogenic theories of global warming. Beneath the snowpack of the Colorado Rockies, scientists discovered fungi emitting large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane–a phenomenon totally unconnected to SUVs.

As the Post reported: “Indeed, scientists said, if other regions of the world have similar fungal communities thriving under their winter snows, as now seems likely, climatologists will have to revise their models of global warming to accommodate fungi’s surprisingly massive role in the winter production of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.” Global warming models “can no longer ignore fungi in snowy regions and seasons as they have, scientists said–especially because about 40 percent of Earth’s landmass is covered with snow for at least part of the year.” Steven Miller, a mycologist, or fungus specialist, at the University of Wyoming, and someone the UCS might want to call, said that, “we have relatively little knowledge of what the inputs and outputs are for CO2.”