Next to mankind and his livestock, is there any animal more dangerous to the global ecosystem than this one:
Eager beavers are rampaging across the Canadian wilderness, chomping down trees and creating enormous methane emitting
manmade, er, beavermade ponds. The ponds currently emit 800 million tons of methane per year, out of a total global emissions of 6.875 billion tons.
[Update: Randy pointed out that it was 800 million kg, and the total figure is CO2 equivalent. Two mistakes. Apologies to the beaver population.]
Modest, but not insignificant. But what’s scary is that this total keeps rising:
Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada have found this methane release from beaver ponds is now 200 times higher than it was a century ago.
. . .
Whitfield said: “The dynamic nature of beaver-mediated methane emissions in recent years may portend the potential for future changes in this component of the global methane budget. Continued range expansion, coupled with changes in population and pond densities, may dramatically increase the amount of water impounded by the beaver.
“This, in combination with anticipated increases in surface water temperatures, and likely effects on rates of methanogenesis, suggests that the contribution of beaver activity to global methane emissions may continue to grow.”
And keep in mind that beavers don’t just menace humans, other forms of animal life are also affected by the changes to the environment.
What can be done to stop this threat to the planet? Environmentalists need to encourage people to wear beaver skin coats, a style that was popular in the 19th century, and which resulted in a dramatic reduction in beaver numbers during that period. Hollywood trendsetters need to take the lead—starting with Brad and Angelina. A worthwhile Canadian initiative would be to breed more wolves and set them loose in the beaver infested areas.
A small reserve for beavers should be set aside in northern Canada, but for God’s sake keep them away from civilization.
PS. This post is not a joke, I’m deadly serious.
PPS. I don’t have much to say about Russia, other than that they should let the ruble float.
PPPS. People seem to want more opinions about Russia. OK, they should ditch the statist model and adopt a neoliberal model. They should pull out of the Ukraine and Georgia. They should respect human rights within Russia. They should stop voting for evil people like Putin. They should kill beavers. What other opinions do you want?