Imminent doom and thereby gloom facing the world of ‘climate’ are reiterated in the Journal Nature but something is glaringly missing.
3 years is sufficient time for the human race to safeguard the climate and the conflagration of climate change upon Earth brought on by yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s CO2 emissions.
The authors who all love a good horror story left out some vital components of the crisis facing this blue planet.
That 72% blue part of this Blue Planet is dogmatically kept at bay by the climate change punditocracy as therein lies the one part of the equation that can save the planet best, at least cost, and most immediately.
Let me be clear I don’t take issue with the FACT that humanity is wreaking havoc on this Blue Planet’s environment and climate. Call it what you will, Climate Change is the flavour of the decade but that moniker is a term create and beloved by climatologists. That there is a new call to safeguard the climate is fine with me. This in spite of the fact that the term ‘climate change’ has been successfully foisted and branded upon all including those following in the footsteps of John Muir, John Jacob Audubon, Teddy Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Jacque Cousteau, Jane Goodall or any of the many champions of Nature.
As a grandfather and old school naturalist/conservationist and practical eco-restoring businessman my personal favourite is a toss up between John Muir and Edward Abbey. Alas few of the legendary naturalist/conservationists would, given the chance, willingly deign to have their life’s great works and inspiration be referred to first and foremost as ‘climate change.’
I also agree wholeheartedly with the author’s proposition that this world desperately needs to be ‘decarbonized’ and that means rapid development and introduction of alternative energy supplies that can deliver the power mankind demands without the foul emissions.
Without transformational new energy technologies we have next to no hope of dramatically limiting Tomorrow’s CO2 emissions. But the fossil fuel age is a mighty beast that has the momentum of a million dinosaurs and it is going to be a desperate battle to kill those beasts before they trample our beautiful world into climate change oblivion.
BUT and this is a VERY BIG BUTT the authors of this new Point of View seem to have relegated and dismissed the 72% of this planet that is ocean to remain the afterthought in the world of climate change models and methods where it has long been sunk. It is no wonder that terrestrial humankind would tend toward viewing it’s terra-centric view of this Blue Planet as what is all important.
Test your own terran bias/vested interest, which view of your planet seen below makes you feel most grounded? Where do you think the vast majority of life resides?
When the noted authors of this new paper in Nature penned it I am certain they have done so with the utmost of good intentions. They all have long standing careers working on the topic of ‘climate change’ in some of the most august positions in the field on Earth. That they have learned their technocrat lessons well is certain, but just as certain from ‘reading’ what they have left out is equally important.
They begin well by saying,
“In the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have levelled after rising for decades. This is a sign that policies and investments in climate mitigation are starting to pay off. The United States, China and other nations are replacing coal with natural gas and boosting renewable energy sources. There is almost unanimous international agreement that the risks of abandoning the planet to climate change are too great to ignore.
The technology-driven transition to low-carbon energy is well under way, a trend that made the 2015 Paris climate agreement possible. But there is still a long way to go to decarbonize the world economy. The political winds are blustery. President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement when it is legally able to do so, in November 2020.
The year 2020 is crucially important for another reason, one that has more to do with physics than politics. When it comes to climate, timing is everything.”
Their worthy list of global ills and technological dream solutions are surely as well written as possible, do read for yourself, BUT what they exclusively speak to is how are we to deal with TOMORROW’s emissions. Scarce mention is made of the role of YESTERDAY’s CO2 emissions. This save for their reference to their math as taking such ‘historic’ emissions into account when calculating the required ‘carbon footprint’ reduction that is required of the world of humanity starting now.
Their maths are good, and well referenced to sources in industry, government, global finance, and academia and the result is the clearly agreed by all those groups on the need to spend trillions of dollars each and every year to begin the battle to save Planet Earth. That battle is clearly to be won or lost in the development and delivery of functioning technologies.
Further, faster, together is their clarion call!
“If we delay, the conditions for human prosperity will be severely curtailed. There are three pressing and practical steps to avoid this.
First, use science to guide decisions and set targets. Policies and actions must be based on robust evidence. Uncensored and transparent communication of peer-reviewed science to global decision-makers is crucial. Academic journal articles are not easily read or digested by non-experts, so we need a new kind of communication in which Nature meets Harvard Business Review. Science associations should provide more media training to young scientists and hold communication boot camps on how to make climate science relevant to corporate boards and investors.
Those in power must also stand up for science. French President Emmanuel Macron’s Make Our Planet Great Again campaign is a compelling example. He has spoken out to a global audience in support of climate scientists, and invited researchers to move to France to help accelerate action and deliver on the Paris agreement.”
“The fossil-free economy is already profitable.”
“Second, existing solutions must be scaled up rapidly. With no time to wait, all countries should adopt plans for achieving 100% renewable electricity production, while ensuring that markets can be designed to enable renewable-energy expansion.
Third, encourage optimism.“
Today I am responding to Ms. Figueres, Mr. Schellnhuber, Ms. Whiteman, Mr. Rockström, Mr. Hobley & Mr. Rahmstorf and to all by saying I agree with almost every word you have said and we must get on with the task at hand.
Here is a start to understanding what is possible according to what you have written and what you have not written.
To be brief the crisis this world faces is not merely from the carbon emissions we may be determined, some say destined, about emit. The crisis that faces the world today is already dire and deadly and that crisis is wrought by YESTERDAY’s emissions. That amount is 1 thousand billion tonnes already foisted upon our Blue Planet since the start of the fossil fueled industrial age. Those carbon emissions, mostly CO2, are in the atmosphere and remain there for centuries as dictated by well known and indisputable chemical processes.
Just how this Blue Planet and its ecosystems manage CO2 both formed by Nature and our anti-nurture emissions is also well established.
The point is we ought to begin to restore and replenish Nature back to historic health and abundance so that by helping Nature we can help ourselves. To do this we should first look to that part of Nature where the most of our harm is being done and where we can also work most effectively and efficiently in partnership with Nature to cure our collective climate ills.
Climate change modellers and technocrats have persistently underplayed the role of oceans on this Blue Planet as the most powerful part of the carbon based living ecosystem. Life and Carbon are inextricably linked together. The ‘fossil’ fuel carbon we have burned in all of our yesterday’s and are to burn in all of our tomorrow’s was once living carbon. That carbon became life when green plants converted CO2 via photosynthesis into more and more life. That process remains the single most powerful and potent system of carbon management on this planet.
The oceans contain 98% of all life on this blue planet! But all is not well with our oceans and the life therein. Don’t despair, help is at hand!
The oceans have been dying and becoming ever clearer bluer lifeless deserts. This process of ocean desertification is due to the effects of our fossil CO2 however the process is different than the popularized ‘climate changing’ process that CO2 that is widely reported, virtually exclusively reported.
While CO2 does increase global warming by acting as a ‘greenhouse gas’ and the warming of the atmosphere is in effect ‘climate change’ that path is more than matched, many would say overwhelming outmatched by the role of CO2 on living ecosystems, aka life. How CO2 impacts ocean life can be simplified to be seen as along two pathways.
First and easiest to explain is the fact that CO2 dissolves into water, aka our oceans. As it does this as the default chemical process the chemical equation that results is often called ‘ocean acidification.’
H2O (seawater) + CO2 ⇒ H2CO3 (carbonic acid)
It doesn’t take more than an elementary school education to know that life and acid are not expected to get along, the more acid the less life.
The Second, slightly more complicated pathway by which our CO2 is destroying ocean life and its capacity to manage the natural and un-natural CO2 is as follows:
CO2 feeds plants everywhere. On land we see this as widespread ‘global greening.’ That may sound like a benefit to life on Earth and indeed for life on land it is overall greatly beneficial. But for the oceans more plant life covering the Earth means less plant life in the oceans. Here is how that works.
MORE GRASS GROWING MEANS LESS DUST BLOWING
Again one might say, hey less dust blowing in the wind seems like a good thing, less topsoil lost, fewer dust related health issues, how can that be bad?
Walt Whitman the English author once wrote about the vital roles of pastures and pasture management on lands around the world.
He penned it simply, “ALL BEEF IS GRASS”
Grass grows on healthy pastures because that grass is rooted in mineral soil, what makes it green and lush is whether the rain falls, if there is no rain we call that a drought and an extended period without rain produces one of the key phrases one finds in the language of Climate Change – DESERTIFICATION
Oceans, you know, that 72% of this Blue Planet, also are made up of pastures just like the land. The difference is that the grass of the ocean pastures is plankton, phyto-plankton, aka plant plankton. That ocean pasture grass grows rooted in water and what makes it either thrive or perish is the arrival of a similar miracle that comes to it upon the winds -DUSTFALL.
Dust is Mother Ocean’s YIN to Mother Earth’s YANG! When the dust fails to arrive the oceans entered into a period of drought, when the drought of dust lasts for a long time the ocean becomes an ever clearer bluer lifeless desert – OCEAN DESERTIFICATION.
UN Sustainable Development Goals Guide To Saving Our Blue Planet
Here’s what the world has made nearly unanimous as of 2015 and codified this in the Paris Accord and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There are tens of thousands of words to read if your want in those venues but here is my guide to the most important few.
The world seems to be determined to short change the oceans in terms of caring for the environment of this blue planet. Let’s examine the UN Sustainable Development Goals that are prominent in almost all discussion of the environment. These goals seem to be ‘rigged’ to short change the oceans.
Sustainable Development Goal #15, the goal for the lands of this blue planet says.
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”
Yet when we look at SDG #14 the goal for the oceans some elements are clearly missing.
It’s merely says, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”
Where is the word RESTORE with regard to the oceans. Where is the mention of sustainably managing ocean forests, aka ocean pastures? Where is mention of combatting desertification, aka massive loss of primary productivity? Where is the mention of halting and reversing habitat degradation and biodiversity loss?
All these dire impacts and goals to mitigate those impacts that are taking place on land that are explicitly identified on behalf of terrestrial environments are intentionally missing in the UN SDG #14 for the ocean.
The calls for conservation and protection of our ocean environments are great but the fact is the oceans are the most vital ecosystems, yes that is a plural ecosystems. They are in a cataclysmic state of collapse. Conservation and protection are clearly considered insufficient to help terrestrial systems as SDG #15 clearly proves. The missing elements on behalf of the oceans is an insufficiency that some would say rise to intentional neglect in the UN consideration for the oceans.
Just as SDG #15 demands real action for lands the same must be demanded for our oceans.
- Restoration of our oceans is vital!
- Combatting ocean primary productivity loss, aka desertification is vital!
- Sustainably managing ocean forests, aka ocean pastures is vital!
- Halting and reversing ocean habitat degradation and biodiversity loss is vital!
Here’s the miracle that happens when one acts to replenish, restore, and sustainable care for ocean pasture ecosystems.
In 2012 after a lifetime of work as a professional environmental manager in government and industry I undertook to further my active engagement with ocean pasture restoration. My engagement began in 1990 when I learned of the work of the now Rest In Peace late great John Martin. He had invested his lifetime of work in unravelling the Gordian Knot that is the ecological role of vital dust on the largest and most potent part of Nature’s living carbon based ecosystem, her oceans.
Later in 1999 working for a Canadian energy industry majors consortium I studied whether planting trees could possibly help alleviate their enormous carbon footprint. The answer was NO there was not enough empty treeless land to make a significant reduction in their carbon footprint. (Yes the Alberta Tar Sands corporations were amongst my clientele.)
However at the time having more than a long history as a treeplanting entrepreneur I was also very interested in what I called at the time ‘ocean forests’ now I refer to those ocean ecologies as ‘ocean pastures’, and yes there was ample area to work sustainably replenishing and restoring ocean pasture life to massively reduce the carbon footprint of even the largest of fossil fuel energy supplies. Even better the costs in the business models I developed for those industry clients proved to be a small fraction of the cost of planting sustainable carbon forests.
Skip forward many years during which I started my work at sea with my first ocean pasture restoration experiment conducted off the deck of a 100+ year old wooden Schooner under sail from San Francisco to the South Seas, thanks again to Neil Young whose friendship and help in lending me his fine ship and crew saw my first dust being replenished to the dying ocean.
Doing this work as just one man means it takes a lot of time. I follow a guiding principle in life, it calls for doing the right thing and working to save the world. The principal says, “good, fast, or cheap… choose any two.” Since I am a perfectionist I only accept doing good work, being a poor man that pretty much leaves fast off the table, or in this case off the deck.
But persistence and patience and optimism are powerful and vital traits. So after five years or so I managed to get another ship under my feet and headed out to replenish what humanity denies the oceans, and to sustainably restore our ocean pastures in hopes that they might return to historic health and abundance.
There are trial and tribulations in every story and my story is no different. As it turns out another old adage also seems to often be in play, that being, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
So watch another 5 years pass by and finally with the help of a group of native people who called themselves ‘the people of the salmon’ in 2012 my crew and I upon the deck of yet another modest ship, the Ocean Pearl, set off to replenish and restore a vast ocean salmon pasture in the Gulf of Alaska. The company, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, was determined to bring back the fish by restoring the ocean to health and hopefully abundance.
Years of patient engagement with and documented approval of the carefully planned ocean pastures restoration business plan by the company with myriad government ministries at Federal, Provincial, and local levels proved ultimately to offer no protection.
Not even the fact that the work was heavily funded and supported by prestigious National Research Council of Canada, Ministry of Northern and Indian Affairs, Canadian Space Agency, and Ocean and Fisheries Institutes, Export Development Corporation of Canada, the Canadian Scientific Research and Export Development tax credit agency, British Columbia Provincial Government, NASA, NOAA, academic organizations and many more proved worse than worthless.
In our distant patch of North Pacific we weathered vicious 80+ mph winds, hurricane force, with waves blasting over the top of our 130 ft fishing/research ship.
Noone escaped seasickness, some worse than others as our cook was so ill we had to evacuate her to hospital. But we persevered and over the course of weeks hefted/man-handled 4000 50 lb bags of life-giving mineral deck from the holds of the ship to give dust back to the ocean to replenish and restore all of ocean life, from the bottom up.
Never-the-less IT JUST WORKED!
Thank you to the authors of that fine paper in the Journal Nature and their passionate call for an immediate action plan to save the world by safeguard the climate with intensity and optimism for the next 3 years and more.
The greatest threat to the planet is waiting for someone else to save it, so I say to you, join me.
The next voyage of recovery begins immediately! In three years time we will have repurposed billions of tonnes of Yesterday’s CO2 into new ocean life and that life will be seen as billions of additional fish to feed the world.
Don’t want to join in, that’s fine, just sit back and watch my dust!