Thongchai Thailand

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

bandicam 2020-02-23 10-00-02-695

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

bandicam 2020-02-23 10-10-55-242

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST CLIMATE DENIAL ON THE BIZARRE CULTURE WEBSITE [LINK] WHERE TO QUESTION ANY ASPECT OF THE SCIENCE OF AGW CLIMATE CHANGE IS DEFINED AS “CLIMATE DENIAL

 

PRESENTED BELOW IS THE LIST OF CLAIMS MADE IN THE BIZARRE-CULTURE WEBSITE WITH EACH CLAIM FOLLOWED BY A RESPONSE. 

 

 

CLAIM#1: the world’s five largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies spend about US$200 million a year on lobbying to control, delay or block binding climate policy

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#1: The corresponding amount for AGW climate change research from government research funds alone is estimated by the University of Sussex and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs as $1.64 billion per year or more than 8 times the claimed oil industry funding for climate denial. Additional funds for AGW change from private sources are estimated by Jacob Nordangard [LINK] to exceed the amount claimed to flow from oil companies to climate denialism. These data do not suggest that AGW climate change science is at a disadvantage against climate denialism because of funding of denialism by oil companies.

CLAIM#2: Recent polls suggested over 75% of Americans think humans are causing climate change.  There also seems to be a renewed optimism that we can deal with the crisis. School climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, national governments declaring a climate emergency, improved media coverage of climate change and an increasing number of extreme weather events have all contributed to this shift. These positive developments have driven climate deniers to desperate measures of “Climate Sadism”. Climate Sadism is used to mock young people going on climate protests and to ridicule Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old young woman with Asperger’s, who is simply telling the scientific truth. 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#2:  If Climate Sadism mocking of young people deployed in climate activism is a bad thing for which we must feel sorry for the plight of these young people, we should surely demand that deniers must stop the mocking and more importantly we must demand that climate activists must cease and desist from this kind of child abuse and child exploitation that places children at risk of Climate Sadism. Children should be allowed to have a childhood and a normal school education and not burdened with climate change issues or scared with climate change holocaust scenarios. It is also noted that the use of extreme weather as reason to oppose climate denialism requires empirical evidence for the attribution of those events to AGW climate change

 

The Bizarre-Culture article says that there are five types of climate denial described as (1) Science Denial, (2) Economic Denial, (3) Humanitarian Denial , (4) Political Denial, and (5) Crisis Denial. We now discuss each of these in turn as a series of five distinct claims. 

CLAIM#3: Science Denial: In Science Denial, deniers say that the science of climate change is not settled, that climate change is just part of the natural cycle, that climate models are unreliable and too sensitive to carbon dioxide. Some suggest that CO₂ is too small a part of the atmosphere to have a large warming effect or that climate scientists are fixing the data to show the climate is changing (a global conspiracy that would take thousands of scientists in more than a 100 countries to pull off)All these arguments are false because there is a clear consensus among scientists about the causes of climate change. The climate models that predict global temperature rises have remained very similar over the last 30 years despite the huge increase in complexity, showing it is a robust outcome of the science. 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#3: The history of science has progressed through a process of propositions and interpretations of data, their critical evaluation, active and even acrimonious debate, and the resolution of differences by the exchange of ideas and data as seen for example in the resolution of the theory of relativistic gravity described in Nugayev 2014 {Origin and Resolution of the Modern Theory of Gravity, January 1987 Methodology and Science 2014):177-197} where we find deniers of the initial theory of relativistic gravitation challenging the theory and the interpretation of data followed by resolution of the differences with an active exchange of ideas and without any party claiming to God given truth by virtue of their status as scientist. Contentious issues in climate science – as for example the spurious correlation problem [LINK] , should be be debated and ideas exchanged until a resolution is found without the need for either side of the debate to claim a unique and singular access to truth by virtue of their description as scientist. 

CLAIM#4: In Economic Denial, deniers propose that climate action is not cost effective although economists say we could fix climate change now by spending 1% of world GDP. But if we don’t act now, by 2050 it could cost over 20% of world GDP. We should also remember that in 2018 the world generated GDP of $86 trillion and every year World GDP grows by 3.5%. So setting aside just 1% to deal with climate change would make little overall difference and would save the world a huge amount of money. What the climate change deniers also forget to tell you is that they are protecting a fossil fuel industry that receives US$5.2 trillion in annual subsidies which includes subsidised supply costs, tax breaks and environmental costs. This amounts to 6% of world GDP. The International Monetary Fund estimates that efficient fossil fuel pricing would lower global carbon emissions by 28%, fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46%, and increase government revenue by 3.8% of the country’s GDP. 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#4: A sense of Ad hominem runs through this series of claims. Here, individuals whose profession is described as “economist” are considered infallible sources of economic and financial information such that their estimate of the cost of climate action must not be questioned. The reality is very different. In a related post it is described how the 2008 financial crisis in the USA was repeatedly and comically misdiagnosed by economists and their “economic action” programs to resolve the problem such as “Quantitative Easing” and “TARP” had actually made it worse [LINK] . As in the case of climate science described above what is relevant in these disputes is the evaluation of the arguments presented by the two sides and not their professional titles.

 

CLAIM#5: In Humanitarian denial Climate change deniers also argue that climate change is good for us. They suggest longer, warmer summers in the temperate zone will make farming more productive. These gains, however, are often offset by the drier summers and increased frequency of heatwaves in those same areas. For example, the 2010 “Moscow” heatwave killed 11,000 people, devastated the Russian wheat harvest and increased global food prices. Geographical zones of the world. More than 40% of the world’s population lives in the Tropics where from both a human health prospective and an increase in desertification no one wants summer temperatures to rise. Deniers also point out that plants need atmospheric carbon dioxide to grow so having more of it acts like a fertilizer. This is indeed true and the land biosphere has been absorbing about a quarter of our carbon dioxide pollution every year. Another quarter of our emissions is absorbed by the oceans. But losing massive areas of natural vegetation through deforestation and changes in land use completely nullifies this minor fertilization effect. Climate change deniers will tell you that more people die of the cold than heat, so warmer winters will be a good thing. This is deeply misleading. Vulnerable people die of the cold because of poor housing and not being able to afford to heat their homes. Society, not climate, kills them. This argument is also factually incorrect. In the US, for example, heat-related deaths are four times higher than cold-related ones. This may even be an underestimate as many heat-related deaths are recorded by cause of death such as heart failure, stroke, or respiratory failure, all of which are exacerbated by excessive heat. 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#5: Here the authors make some good points about certain questionable and pointless denialist claims that are common – as for example that higher atmospheric CO2 causes greening and increases agricultural yield and so therefore AGW must be a good thing. A similar argument is that hotter is better than colder because more people die of cold than of heat.

CLAIM#6 Political denial:  Climate change deniers argue we cannot take action because other countries are not taking action. But not all countries are equally guilty of causing current climate change. For example, 25% of the human-produced CO₂ in the atmosphere is generated by the US, another 22% is produced by the EU. Africa produces just under 5%. Given the historic legacy of greenhouse gas pollution, developed countries have an ethical responsibility to lead the way in cutting emissions. But ultimately, all countries need to act because if we want to minimise the effects of climate change then the world must go carbon zero by 2050. Per capita annual carbon dioxide emissions and cumulative country emissions. Deniers will also tell you that there are problems to fix closer to home without bothering with global issues. But many of the solutions to climate change are win-win and will improve the lives of normal people. Switching to renewable energy and electric vehicles, for example, reduces air pollution, which improves people’s overall health. Developing a green economy provides economic benefits and creates jobs. Improving the environment and reforestation provides protection from extreme weather events and can in turn improve food and water security.

 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#6: Climate change deniers argue we cannot take action because other countries are not taking action. This is of course a weak denialist argument because where all must act to achieve a certain goal there is no room for the discussion of who must act. However, it must be said that this ideal has already been undone by the United Nations which in both the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC segregated the world’s nations into Annex-1, Annex-2, and non-Annex countries with different emission reduction obligations such that non-Annex countries have no emission reduction obligation and when they do cut emissions they can sell that emission reduction in the dysfunctional  carbon credits market described in a related post [LINK] .

 

CLAIM #7 CRISIS DENIAL:  The final piece of climate change denial is the argument that we should not rush into changing things, especially given the uncertainty raised by the other four areas of denial above. Deniers argue that climate change is not as bad as scientists make out. We will be much richer in the future and better able to fix climate change. They also play on our emotions as many of us don’t like change and can feel we are living in the best of times – especially if we are richer or in power. But similarly, hollow arguments were used in the past to delay ending slavery, granting the vote to women, ending colonial rule, ending segregation, decriminalising homosexuality, bolstering worker’s rights and environmental regulations, allowing same-sex marriages and banning smoking. The fundamental question is why are we allowing the people with the most privilege and power to convince us to delay saving our planet from climate change?

 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#7: The denialist arguments claimed in this section do not sound well thought out and I am not familiar with them as I have not seen them before. As a postscript, I should add that if the author of these claims against denialism is Mark Maslin, whose name appears at the bottom of the linked document above, it should be emphasized that Mark’s work and opinions in AGW climate change can’t be assumed to be unbiased scientific inquiry. In a related post his emotional activism against human activity is described by Mark himself in terms of the Anthropocene [LINK], a concept derived from an extreme and irrational form of environmental activism [LINK]  .

 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:

JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE BAD ARGUMENTS AGAINST AGW CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE DOES NOT MEAN THERE AREN’T ANY GOOD ONES.

WHAT IS CLAIMED TO BE FIVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CLIMATE DENIERS ARE IN REALITY ONE TYPE OF CLIMATE DENIALIST BUT WITH FIVE DIFFERENT ARGUMENTS AGAINST AGW CLIMATE CHANGE. HOWEVER, IN REALITY, CLIMATE DENIERS ARE NOT A HOMOGENEOUS GROUP THAT CAN BE DESCRIBED IN TERMS OF CERTAIN CHARACTERISTICS, ARGUMENT TYPES, MOTIVATION, OR PURPOSE. THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF DENIALISTS MORE DIVERSE THAN THE FIVE TYPES LISTED THAT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THE SAME MOLD. THERE SURELY ARE THOSE WHO HAVE MADE THE WEAK ARGUMENTS HIGHLIGHTED IN THE BIZARRECULTURE ARTICLE. SOME ADDITIONAL WEAK ARGUMENTS PUT FORTH BY THAT GROUP OF DENIALISTS THAT ARE NOT FOUND IN THE BIZARRECULTURE ARTICLE ARE LISTED IN RELATED POSTS ON THIS SITE [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] .

THE EXISTENCE OF THIS GROUP OF DENIALISTS DOES NOT IMPLY THAT THERE ARE NOT CRITICAL EVALUATIONS OF CLIMATE SCIENCE THAT REQUIRE CONSIDERATION AND RESPONSE.  THERE ARE SERIOUS ISSUES IN CLIMATE SCIENCE THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AND THEY CANNOT BE RESOLVED BY SEEKING OUT WEAKER ARGUMENTS OF CLIMATE DENIALISM THAT CAN BE DISCOUNTED. AS AN EXAMPLE, CONSIDER THE REMAINING CARBON BUDGET ISSUE IN CLIMATE SCIENCE [LINK] .

A SERIOUS ISSUE IN CLIMATE SCIENCE IS THAT ACTIVISM BY CLIMATE SCIENTISTS MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO TAKE THEIR FINDINGS AS A PRODUCT OF UNBIASED SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY BECAUSE IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR A RESEARCHER TO CARRY OUT UNBIASED SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY ON A RESEARCH QUESTION IN WHICH THE RESEARCHER HAS AN ACTIVISM INTEREST THAT FAVORS SOME ANSWERS OVER OTHERS [LINK]  . EMOTIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM BY CLIMATE SCIENTISTS IS APPARENT IN THIS VIDEO. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bandicam 2020-02-21 16-21-40-417

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

 

THIS POST IS AN (EDITED) TRANSCRIPT OF THE TED TALK BY BRIAN WESBURY ON THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS  

 

 

BLOGGER’S SUMMARY

The 2008 financial crisis caused a complete meltdown of the American economy that showed no positive response to the intervention by the Federal Reserve and the government in general with regulatory innovations. It turned out that the financial crisis and economic collapse of 2007/2008 was a replay of similar events in 1929/1930. Both of these crises were the result of the mark to market accounting rule. In both cases, the government’s effort to solve the problem with regulatory intervention failed and possibly worsened the crisis – and in both cases, simply rescinding the mark-to-market rule (by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 and by Barney Frank on April 2, 2009) brought about a recovery from the crisis and healthy economic growth immediately followed. The lesson is that free market systems are not operated by the government but by innovators and risk taking investors in new ideas and the financial system that funds these ventures. The government’s job is not to operate the economy but to provide the right kind of regulatory infrastructure where innovators and investors can thrive.

 

 

BRIAN WESBURY’S LECTURE

  1. How most people view the financial system:  “The free market system of capitalism is a domain of the greedy rich and particularly so, the bankers. Their greed drives them to go through periods of excess speculation that causes a collapse of the financial system. The financial crisis thus created then causes an economic crisis that affects the entire population including workers, investors, and small business – seen as victims of greedy rich speculators in financial markets. As for example, the Great Depression is described in this way in textbooks and in the popular press. This conceptual model of the financial system also forms the basis of the way the 2008 Financial Crisis has been presented the way most people understand it.
  2. How the financial system actually works:  A key element of the financial system is the Federal Reserve Bank (The FED) because it controls short term interest rates through the Fed funds rate. As it had done in the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed drops interest rates, to zero if necessary, to stimulate the economy in crisis situations – trying to get the economy moving again.
  3. Here is a financial history from 2001 that is relevant to the 2008 crisis in light of the elements of the financial system described above. In 2001, when the Fed funds rate was 6.5%,  the Fed began dropping the short term interest rate lower and lower until it had reached 1% in 2004. How does the Fed funds rate affect us? When you are making a decision to take out a loan or buy a house, the most important variable in that decision is the interest rate. bandicam 2020-02-21 17-40-54-575
  4. When Alan Greenspan had pushed interest rates down to 1% in 2003 and 2004, interest rates were below the rate of inflation for almost 3 years. So if you are shopping for a house with a mortgage rate proportional to the Fed funds rate, the lower the interest rate the more money you will spend – particularly so if the interest rate is below the inflation rate. Here is an analogy. When you drive up to a green light you don’t stop or look both ways to make sure it is safe. In that way, low interest rates are like a green light to spend and buy with little or no motivation to save and invest. This effect of low interest rates distorts not just the purchase habits of consumers but the financial system as a whole by changing the financial decisions of bankers investors, and business corporations of all descriptions. With interest rates at 1%, all the lights are green and that changes decision making across the entire spectrum of the economy.
  5. Housing prices went up 8% in 2001 but in 2004 and 2005 they went up 14% and 15% respectively. Low interest rate drives up housing prices and prices of non consumer goods in general. Thus, at low mortgage rates and high price appreciation rates of home prices, buying houses becomes an attractive option whether for a home or as an investment. The result was consumers and businesses over-invested in real estate and other investments in real assets with low interest loans and high rate of price appreciation.
  6. These conditions of course encouraged banks to give out more loans at higher and higher  loan to asset ratio and raise their risk level. This is what had created the housing bubble that preceded the 2008 financial crisis. If interest rates were higher – even 2 or 4 percentage points higher, the housing bubble would likely not have formed the way it did.
  7. This is not the first time that interest rates that are too low created an unstable economy. Back in the 1970s, the Fed had also held interest rates too low for too long. Farmers bought too much land, we sank too many oil wells betting on oil prices going up with cheap debt. Then in the 1980s when oil prices and farmland prices collapsed, banks also collapsed. In fact the entire savings and loan industry also collapsed. Although this crisis is remembered as the savings and loan collapse, it was in fact an economic crisis across the board that had affected the savings and loan industry most severely. They made too many loans at low interest rates and and when interest rates went up the market value of those loans shrank and they collapsed.
  8. At the same time, the government encouraged the big banks to make large loans to Latin American countries. So, in the 1970s the banks expanded making loans to farmers, home buyers, oil companies, and to Latin American countries – and all of those sectors of the economy collapsed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The banking system was in big trouble. In 1983 the eight biggest banks in America had no capital because the very large loans made to Latin America were in default.
  9. The 1980s crisis contains insights and lessons that are relevant and useful in understanding the 2008 financial crisis the most salient of which is that the banking problems of the 1980s did not take down the entire economy but the 2008 financial crisis did take down the entire economy. The question is why this difference exists between these two otherwise similar financial crises.
  10. Below is a chart showing the collapse of the S&P500 index from January 2008 to March 2009. The S&P500 index tracks the stock prices of the 500 largest listed companies in the USA. The transcripts of all the Federal Reserve meetings in 2008, that recently became available to the public, contain useful insights into the causes and evolution of the 2008 financial crisis. The red dots in the chart below mark dates of the 14 Federal reserved meetings during 2008 and 2009. In these meetings there are 18 or 20 people sitting around a table and each of them talk for 3 or 4 minutes. The transcript is a record of what was said. Proposed actions to be taken are voted on and these propositions and the votes are also recorded in the transcript. The transcripts of the 14 meetings are 1,865 pages long.  bandicam 2020-02-21 20-52-12-833
  11. The chart above shows that the steepest decline in the S&P500 index in the 2008 financial crisis occurred during September and October of 2008. In the so called called “bloody weekend” of the 2008 financial crisis, September 13&14, Lehman Brothers had failed, and AIG, and Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, and all those things had happened, and he Federal Reserve started a program called “Quantitative Easing” (QE) meaning that the Fed will buy back their bonds as a way of injecting cash into the system (increasing the money supply) in an attempt to save the economy from complete collapse. A few weeks later in October 8, 2008 Hank Paulson the Treasury Secretary in concert with the Bush white house and Congress passed TARP , the Troubled Assets Relief Plan that involved $700 billion of government spending to save the banking system.
  12. Note in the chart above that QE and TARP were passed during the near vertical decline of the S&P500 and they did nothing to stop it. In fact, the 2008 financial crisis escalated after TARP. The stock market lost 40% of its market value with financial companies losing 80%. The chart appears to indicate that the more the Feds met and the more the government took action to ease the crisis, the worse it got.  The government did not save us. It is wrong to think of the government as the architect and manager of the financial system.
  13. The free market of capitalism does not have a press agent but the government does, and the Federal Reserve does. Market forces are invisible but their agents aren’t. There are two thousand books about the financial crisis. The three main ones are:  (1) Geithner, Timothy F. Stress test: Reflections on financial crises. Broadway Books, 2014, (Geithner was head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank in 2008); (2) Bernanke, Ben S. The Federal Reserve and the financial crisis. Princeton University Press, 2013,  (3) Paulson, Henry M. On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System–With Original New Material on the Five Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis. Business Plus, 2013. In all such books, speeches, and media commentaries these government agents credit government interventions such as TARP and QE as what Geithner calls “stress tests” (as for example, stress testing banks so that people will trust them again because they passed the test). bandicam 2020-02-22 09-05-37-770
  14. The underlying question is how a banking crisis turned into an economic crisis that caused the collapse of the world’s largest free market system. The data show that in the late 1970s and early 1980s banks suffered more financial losses than they did later in 2008 and yet the economy had not collapsed back then and in fact it had actually started to grow without government interventions like TARP and without QE. In fact, in the early 1980s, Paul Volcker was raising interest rates as the economy recovered; whereas in TARP & QE the government cut the interest rate essentially to zero and the economy has grown relatively slowly – slower than in the early 1980s. {Footnote: In the Fed transcripts we find that Ben Bernanke had asked his staff of 200 PhD economists to “Go out and find out how big the problem is and how many sub-prime loans were made, how many losses we could face“. This research estimated that the loss could be as high as $228 billion. This loss estimate is only 1.52% of a $15 trillion economyobama.volcker
  15. Therefore, the question here is how this relatively small problem brought the $15 trillion economy down into an economic crisis. The answer to this question is the accounting innovation called MARK TO MARKET ACCOUNTING.  It was re-adopted and enforced in November 2007 after the concept had sat in the accounting books without enforcement since 1938. mark2market
  16. This accounting rule is best understood in the historical context. In the 1800s accountants were yet not elevated to a professional category and were called bookkeepers and bookkeepers of that time did in fact mark all valuation to market instead of computing inflation adjusted historical cost. So as assets went up in value, the bookkeepers marked them up in the books. So in good times things look better but then when you start marking things down to market they look worse. This is surely one of the reasons why the economy in those times was so volatile with panics and depressions alternating with good times. In other words, mark-to-market accounting causes economic and financial volatility. In fact in the crash of the 1930s, mark to market accounting caused many bank failures. It was then that mark to market accounting was considered to be a bad law by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the SEC advised President Franklin D Roosevelt to abolish mark to market. Roosevelt complied and Mark-to Market was abolished in 1938. And it did not come back until 70 years later in 1970.
  17. What does mark-to-market do? How does it affect financial and economic volatility? Suppose that you live on the coast in Galveston TX and you have a $500,000 house on the beach with a $300,000 mortgage; and there is a hurricane on the way and you are told to evacuate. So you pack up all your most important belongings and as you are leaving, your mortgage banker shows up and worried about their loan of $300,000 because of the risk that the asset on which it is based may be worthless after the hurricane hits. If they choose at that point to mark to house to market. The problem is that in the hurricane crisis situation there is no one around to bid on the house so that its market value can be determined. Let us suppose that a random stranger is summoned and asked for a bid and they bid $20,000. That then is the best estimate of the market value of the house at that precise moment in time. In that situation mark to market accounting would imply that the homeowner should pay the balance in cash ($280,000) or lose the house. Essentially, the homeowner is bankrupt. This is what mark to market accounting can do although the example is somewhat theatrical.  mark2market
  18. It is in this context that we can understand what happened in 2008 after mark-to-market accounting was reinstated in 2007. What happens in bad times with mark-to-market accounting is that banks can’t sell assets and they won’t buy assets and what happens as a result is that their losses spiral out of control. And this is how a $300 billion banking problem blew up into a $4 trillion economic collapse.
  19. The amazing thing is what happened right at the bottom when the SP500 indexed had bottomed out on March 9 2009. Something changed the world on that day. It involved Congressman Barney Frank, now retired. His financial services committee actually held for a year and he brought the accountants in and argued against mark-to-market – and this is how mark-to-market was removed once again. They announced that the hearing would be held on March 9. The hearing was held on March 12; and the accounting rule was changed on April 2 and mark-to-market was removed from the accounting rules once again. frank
  20. It was then that the both the stock market and the economy reversed their slide and began to grow. From that point on, the economy has grown. The stock market is up 200% (in 2014) Thank you Barney Frank.
  21. We conclude from the data and analysis presented that the 2008 financial crisis was not a creation of over-speculation that may in fact have been triggered by the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy in the first place – and it was the change in the accounting rule that brought about the recovery of the economy from the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.
  22. It is a generally held belief that the government has brought about the recovery with the Quantitative Easing policy of the Fed and the TARP initiative of the Obama administration. The role and effectiveness  of the Fed can best be understood in terms of their activity which involves either buying or selling government bonds. When they buy bonds they inject cash into the banking system which in turn increases lending. But in the last 5 years (2009-2014) that did not happen. Instead, the banks just sat on the excess reserves. The economic growth seen in the economy today (2014) is driven by entrepreneurship.
  23. Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen never stayed up all night drinking Red Bull, eating pizza, and writing Apps. They’ve never fracked a well, they never built a 3D printer. So when you look at the economy and try to understand its behavior, you must see it in terms of free market capitalism and that if the free market actually works we will see economic growth and prosperity. The appropriate role of the government is to provide the appropriate legal and regulatory infrastructure, for example for interest rates, where the free market can function at its best. The people are the actors and drivers of the free market system with the conventional wisdom and motivation needed for their primary role in capitalism. They are not puppets that move when the government pulls the string. Although the free market system needs to be regulated, regulation can be flawed or overdone when governments misread their role in a free market system where wealth creators can create wealth by “staying up all night drinking Red Bull, eating pizza, and writing Apps” when the government provides the optimal regulatory regime for the free market system.
  24. The conventional wisdom that the 2008 financial crisis was brought about by banking failure because the bankers lost control is wrong. It was the government that lost control or misread its ability to control economy with more and more  regulation. In this case it was a case of regulation gone wrong with a flaw in the accounting rules and the government’s efforts to overcome that flaw with more and more regulatory interference with the free market system. In this case it turned out that not more and more government regulation but simply changing a flawed accounting rule fixed the economy.

bandicam 2020-02-20 09-47-57-981

 

 

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A NASA YOUTUBE VIDEO [LINK] DESCRIBED AS “NASA’s Research on Climate Change Above and Beyond” WHERE WE EXPECT TO FIND THE CLIMATE CHANGE ROLE OF AN AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION. THE YOUTUBE LECTURE IS TRANSCRIBED AND PRESENTED AS A SERIES OF “CLAIMS” FOR EACH OF WHICH WE OFFER A RESPONSE. 

SPACESHUTTLE

 

CLAIM#1: NASA has unique capabilities because we have the point of view from space. With NASA’s carbon monitoring system you can see the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere decreasing in the spring and the summer. Plants and the oceans and the land surface are greening up and pulling the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And then in the fall and in the wintertime you’ll see the CO2 in the atmosphere increasing because plants and animals are releasing the carbon dioxide that was captured during the growing season.

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#1:  The seasonal cycle in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is well known and has been well known for some time simply from Mauna Loa data as explained in a related post [LINK]  and as shown in the video display below. The red and yellow video displays created by a space exploration agency with a $20 billion annual budget are surely more colorful and more entertaining but the simple video below is a clearer expression of the essential data in this seasonal cycle particularly so in terms of the magnitudes and numerical values in these cyclical changes.

 

CLAIM#2 There is a graph called the Keeling Curve where you can see the summer and winter cycles. This process is very natural. Contrast that with old slow carbon. So this is a chunk of coal (speaker holds up a large chunk of coal). It was also made by plants. It also contains carbon dioxide that was in the atmosphere, but the carbon in this chunk of coal was taken out of the atmosphere 350 million years ago. And since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been taking it out of the ground and using it for fuel. The burning of fossil fuel, whether it is coal, oil, or natural gas, has released this very very old carbon back into the atmosphere a lot faster than the plants and the oceans can take it out of the atmosphere. Bit by bit it is moving the Keeling Curve up. 1989 was the last time we saw atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. And it appears that 2016 will be the last time we see CO2 below 400 ppm.

RESPONSE-A TO CLAIM#2:  The NASA animated graphics showing the Keeling curve from 1979 to 2014 is very impressive and certainly useful in evaluating this system in terms of fossil fuel emissions. However, it is not clear that we need a $200 billion dollar space exploration agency to provide us with this kind of information when the same information is readily available from the University of California, San Diego (or from one of many such research institutions) in formats that are just as useful if not more so. The Keeling curve made freely available by the Scripps Institution, where the late great Charles David Keeling had worked, is shown below. There is nothing lacking in this chart in terms of information or useful presentation of information that suggests the need for technical assistance from a space exploration agency .  

RESPONSE-B TO CLAIM#2:  This is a response to the statement that the carbon in this chunk of coal was taken out of the atmosphere 350 million years ago. And since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been taking it out of the ground and using it for fuel. The burning of fossil fuel, whether it is coal, oil, or natural gas, has released this very very old carbon back into the atmosphere a lot faster than the plants and the oceans can take it out of the atmosphere. Bit by bit it is moving the Keeling Curve up“. 

This argument is the the essence and the foundation of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming and Climate Change. It claims that since the carbon in fossil fuels is not part of the current account of the carbon cycle and therefore external to the carbon cycle, its introduction into the atmosphere is a perturbation of the carbon cycle such that the extra and external carbon from fossil fuels causes atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise as seen in the Keeling Curve 1979-2014 presented by NASA and 1960 to 2015 presented by Scripps. The evidence presented for this causation hypothesis is that atmospheric CO2 concentration has been going up during a time when the industrial economy was burning fossil fuels. In terms of the principles of statistics, this argument does not provide evidence of causation. Tyler Vigen’s collection of spurious correlations sheds some light on this issue [LINK] .

Correlation between time series data arises from two different sources. These are (1) shared trends and (2) the responsiveness of the object time series to the causation time series at the time scale at which the causation is supposed to occur. Only the second source of correlation has a causation interpretation. The first source, shared trends, is what creates all those spurious correlations demonstrated by Tyler Vigen. Therefore, to show that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions, we must first remove their trends. And if the causation occurs at an annual time scale, that is if year to year changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration is explained by annual fossil fuel emissions, then the detrended correlation between the two detrended series will show a statistically significant correlation at an annual time scale. Only this detrended correlation and not the observation that atmospheric CO2 concentration has been rising during a time of fossil fuel emissions, serves as evidence of causation, i.e., that fossil fuel emissions cause atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise at an annual time scale. Detrended correlation analyses of this nature are presented in related posts on this site. No evidence is found that the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration during a time of fossil fuel emissions are caused by fossil fuel emissions  [LINK] .

A further investigation of the effect of fossil fuel emissions on atmospheric composition is presented in terms of the the carbon cycle. Carbon cycle flows are an order of magnitude larger than fossil fuel emissions. These flows are not directly measured but inferred and they therefore contain very large uncertainties. Although these uncertainties are declared, they are ignored when carrying out the mass balance that shows  what’s called the “airborne fraction” of fossil fuel emissions, that is the portion of fossil fuel emissions that is thought to remain in the atmosphere and thereby explain the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 driven by fossil fuel emissions. However, this computation is flawed because it does not include the uncertainties declared by climate science to exist in the estimation of carbon cycle flows. In a related post it is shown that when the uncertainties in carbon cycle flows declared by the IPCC are taken into account, it is not possible to detect the much smaller fossil fuel emissions because the carbon cycle balances with and without fossil fuel emissions. [LINK] . The carbon cycle mass balance and the detrended correlation analyses taken together show that no evidence exists to attribute observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration to fossil fuel emissions.

It is noted that in this presentation NASA embraces the theory that AGW climate change began after the Industrial Revolution when the Industrial Economy began to burn coal but their official position is that AGW climate change began in 1950. This contradiction requires an explanation.

CLAIM #3: And what the heck is 400 parts per million? What does that even mean? Well, we know from the analysis of ice samples from Antarctica that before the Industrial Revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 275 parts per million (ppm). It had been there for thousands of years. Something has increased the number from 275 to 400. We are quite certain that it is due to the human activity of burning fossil fuels.

bandicam 2020-02-20 16-30-43-363

 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM #3: It is claimed that the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 275ppm to 400pppm was caused by fossil fuels. No evidence is provided to support that claim. Instead, the claim is supported by the statement that “We are quite certain that it is due to the human activity of burning fossil fuels“. Perhaps this claim is a reference to the scientific credentials of an AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION such that if scientists in such high places are “quite certain” it must be so. This claim is an Ad hominem fallacy. The implication is that if the very knowledgeable scientists at NASA are “quite certain” it must be true. This conclusion is therefore rejected because of the absence of evidence.

bandicam 2020-02-20 16-47-18-071

CLAIM #4: We take these satellite measurements, and the variation over time of how the world is changing as facts. We’ve seen warming over the last century and a half …. very very meticulous measurements … and it shows a really sharp acceleration in the warming over the last four decades.

bandicam 2020-02-20 17-16-23-040

 

RESPONSE TO CLAIM #4:  Presumably, the first two sentences are not related because taken together they imply the impossibility that satellite measurements have seen warming over the last century and a half. But perhaps the real message of this claim is the acceleration in warming seen by NASA with satellite measurements that they take as facts. Below are decadal warming rates for the twelve calendar months found in the global mean lower troposphere temperature measured by satellites for the four decades 1979-2018. The charts for the twelve calendar months are presented as a GIF animation that cycles through the twelve calendar months. Acceleration in the rate of warming will be evident in these charts as a rising trend in decadal warming rates. Such a rising trend is seen for the months of January, February, October, and perhaps November. No acceleration is seen in the other eight months of the year. The annual mean decadal warming rates are seen in the chart below the GIF animation. No evidence of acceleration is found in the annual mean decadal warming rate. These data are inconsistent with the claim of a “a really sharp acceleration in the warming over the last four decades“. 

nasa-gif

annualMean

 

CLAIM#5:  People have a hard time understanding what’s the big deal for a planet that it is warmer by 1C or warmer by 2C. The impact that we are worried about is being treated not at a 20-degree warmer world but they are being treated at a one degree warmer world.

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#5: It is true that 2C is 100% higher than 1C but 21C is only 5% higher than 20C but that is not the issue. The issue is that climate science had initially marked the point of “irreversible climate change” at 5C and proposed plans to limit warming to 5C. Later that danger point of warming that must be avoided was dropped to 4C and then again to 3C and then again to 2C and finally in 2018 IPCC released a special report lowering the “do not cross” line to 1.5C – only 0.5C warmer than today. If NASA and the other climate scientists really understand this warming phenomenon well enough to demand an overhaul of the world’s energy infrastructure, this slide from 5C to 1.5C requires a rational explanation.

 

CLAIM#6:  Over the last decade (2007-2016) we’ve seen the ice melting. We’ve seen the melting in the ?Wo? Pole, we’ve seen the ice melt really fast on Greenland. They’ve fallen off Greenland into the ocean. We’ve had Pacific Islands that have already had to be abandoned because of sea level rise. We can combine our data with global climate models and say how is sea level rise going to change in the next 5, 10, 15 years because if we continue on the path we’re doing there’s going to be a lot of coastal communities all around the world that are going to be flooded. As scientists, we’re taking the most precise data that we can. It’s open data. It’s factual. For instance the enormous droughts and fires that we have around the world that are directly related to a warmer climate. That has a huge impact on people, was unprecedented. If you have a warmer atmosphere that can hold more moisture. That’s what warmer atmospheres do, they can suck up more moisture. That means more convection, more big thunderstorms, more hurricanes, more extreme weather. That’s one of the likely outcomes of a warming world. We built our civilization around the current planet, our coastal cities, our food resources, our water resources … they’re all pegged to the climate … and there’s not much slack in the system. We’re already seeing the impacts and the impacts are going to increase. In a 2-degree warming world there will be more. And in a 3-degree warming world there’ll be even more … and when you’re looking at those kinds of scenarios, 3, 4, 5 degrees warmer – that are totally plausible.  If we go down that path, we’ll be looking at a different planet.

RESPONSE TO CLAIM#6: Claim#6 reads like the usual alarming climate scare stories we read in the newspapers everyday and does not appear to be a scientific argument from rocket scientists. For example in the large fluctuations in Greenland ice melt from gain to loss what is the significance that there was a loss in a specific decade?  And if there are Pacific Islands that have already had to be abandoned because of sea level rise, why have those islands not been identified and the data provided? And that sea level is going to change in the next 5, 10, 15 years also requires data and their interpretation. Is the sea level going to change in 5 years or 10 years or is it 15 years? and by how much will that change and how was that change interpreted as a calamity? And statements like this “We’re already seeing the impacts and the impacts are going to increase. In a 2-degree warming world there will be more. And in a 3-degree warming world there’ll be even more … and when you’re looking at those kinds of scenarios, 3, 4, 5 degrees warmer – that are totally plausible.” contain no useful information and suggest that the speaker has none to offer.

 

CONCLUSION: It does not appear from this presentation that NASA has the climate science expertise it claims to have and to which it apparently aspires. In terms of their aeronautics and space expertise, their role in AGW climate change that would best serve climate science and taxpayers is their priceless technology used for collecting the relevant data from space and making that data available to both taxpayers and climate scientists. Rocket scientists should not be involved in climate action strategies any more than climate scientists should be involved space exploration strategies.

 

bandicam 2020-02-18 09-14-18-235

grandfathers

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

[RELATED POST ON THE LIA]

 

 

THIS POST IS A REVIEW OF 19TH CENTURY RESEARCH CITED AS VALIDATION OF THE SCIENTIFIC CREDENTIALS OF AGW CLIMATE CHANGE. IT IS PRESENTED IN TWO PARTS. PART-1 IS A PRESENTATION OF CLAIMS THAT THE SCIENTIFIC CREDENTIALS OF CLIMATE SCIENCE IS VALIDATED BY HISTORY. PART-2 IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THESE CLAIMS. 

 

PART-1: THE CLAIM THAT HISTORY VALIDATES AGW SCIENCE

  1. SOURCE: JSTOR DECEMBER 2019 [LINK] : The road to understanding climate change stretches back to the tweed-clad middle years of the 19th century when Victorian-era scientists conducted the first experiments proving that runaway CO2 could, one day, cook the planet. In other words, “global warming was officially discovered more than 100 years ago. Joseph Fourier asked why the Earth was as warm as it was. In two papers published in 1824 and 1837 he proposed that the atmosphere creates barriers that trap earth’s long wave radiation and that this mechanism could change the earth’s temperature when altered by natural forces and human activity. These papers are the first predictions of climate change.
  2. In 1856, Eunice Newton Foote, an amateur scientist placed jars of different gas combinations in the sun and found that the jar with CO2 and water vapor  in it got hottest. These results were published in 1856 in the American Journal of Science and established empirical evidence of the heat trapping effect of CO2.
  3. Irish scientist John Tyndall set out to explain ice age cycles because it wasn’t clear why the earth’s surface temperature fluctuated so wildly. He reasoned that could be the atmospheric heat trapping effect of Fourier with the temperature cycle driven by a CO2 cycle due to the CO2 effect demonstrated by Eunice Foote. In 1860 Tyndall carried out experiments similar to those of Foote and found that water vapor and CO2 were powerful heat trapping gases.
  4. Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius put it all together into the climate science we know today more than 100 years ago in 1896: Arrhenius, like Tyndall, was interested in explaining ice age cycles. At the time, there were two competing explanations. One was the perturbations in Earth’s orbit and the other was changes in atmospheric composition, specifically, CO2.
  5. Arrhenius investigated the CO2 theory and with the help of CO2 expert Arvid Högbom and atmospheric heat  balance scientist Samuel Pierpont Langley, Arrhenius calculated how much heat would be trapped if levels of CO2 and water vapor changed. He determined if you doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it would raise the world’s temperature by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius – i.e., a equilibrium climate sensitivity of 5C to 6C.
  6. It is thus that the era of modern climate science was born. The industrial revolution was well underway but Arrhenius was not concerned with that because his science was an attempt to explain nature’s glaciation and interglacial cycles that had recently been discovered by geologists. In those cycles the horror was the glaciation and CO2 and water vapor driven warming the relief from the ice. The other significant event of nature that worried him was volcanic activity having lived through the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. Therefore, for Arrhenius CO2 driven warming was not a horror but a relief from nature’s cold spells.
  7. JSTOR conclusion: It was a nice idea at the time—but nature, as is now dangerously clear, had different ideas. We’re now faced with the challenge of mitigating as much climate change as possible, while adapting to what’s already set in place. The onset of a warmer planet can seem sudden, if you judge by today’s panicked headlines. But the science predicting that it would occur? It is, alas, generations’ old.
  8. This story line in various forms is found in many other sources that include (1) The Guardian’s “Father of Climate Change [LINK] , The Open Mind website’sThe Man Who Foresaw Climate Change” [LINK] , NASA’s “Svante Arrhenius” page [LINK] , and a comprehensive presentation by HISTORY.AIP.ORG’S “The Discovery of Climate Change“, that includes the important work of Callendar (1938) [LINK] .This work is presented below. 
  9. SOURCE: HISTORY.AIP.ORG: THE DISCOVERY OF CLIMATE CHANGE: In the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a “greenhouse effect” which affects the planet’s temperature. These scientists were interested chiefly in the possibility that a lower level of carbon dioxide gas might explain the ice ages of the distant past. At the turn of the century, {Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming. False}. Other scientists dismissed his idea as faulty. In 1938, G.S. Callendar argued that the level of carbon dioxide was climbing and raising global temperature:   [[RELATED POST ON CALLENDAR 1938] . In the early 1960s, C.D. Keeling measured the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it was rising fast. Researchers began to take an interest, struggling to understand how the level of carbon dioxide had changed in the past, and how the level was influenced by chemical and biological forces. They found that the gas plays a crucial role in climate change, so that the rising level could gravely affect our future.
  10. John Tyndall was fascinated by recent and alarming discovery of the time that the earth goes through glaciation and interglacial cycles. He considered the possibility that these “ice age cycles” were driven by atmospheric composition based on the works of Joseph Fourier and others that energy in the form of visible light from the Sun easily penetrates the atmosphere to reach the surface and heat it up, but heat cannot so easily escape back into space because of atmospheric absorption. For the air absorbs invisible heat rays (“infrared radiation”) rising from the surface. The warmed air radiates some of the energy back down to the surface, helping it stay warm. This was the effect that would later be called, by an inaccurate analogy, the “greenhouse effect.” The equations and data available to 19th-century scientists were far too poor to allow an accurate calculation. Yet the physics was straightforward enough to show that a bare, airless rock at the Earth’s distance from the Sun should be far colder than the Earth actually is.
  11. Tyndall set out to find whether there was in fact any gas in the atmosphere that could trap heat rays. In 1859, his careful laboratory work identified several gases that did just that. The most important was simple water vapor (H2O). Also effective were carbon dioxide (CO2), although in the atmosphere the gas is only a few parts in ten thousand, and the even rarer methane (CH4). Just as a sheet of paper will block more light than an entire pool of clear water, so a trace of CO2 or CH4 could strongly affect the transmission of heat radiation through the atmosphere.
  12. The next major scientist to consider the Earth’s temperature was another man with broad interests, Svante Arrhenius in Stockholm. He too was attracted by the great riddle of the prehistoric ice ages, and he saw CO2 as the key. Why focus on that rare gas rather than water vapor, which was far more abundant? Because the level of water vapor in the atmosphere fluctuated daily, whereas the level of CO2 was set over a geological timescale by emissions from volcanoes. If the emissions changed, the alteration in the CO2 greenhouse effect would only slightly change the global temperature—but that would almost instantly change the average amount of water vapor in the air, which would bring further change through its own greenhouse effect. Thus the level of CO2 acted as a regulator of water vapor, and ultimately determined the planet’s long-term equilibrium temperature.
  13. In 1896 Arrhenius completed a laborious numerical computation which suggested that cutting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by half could lower the temperature in Europe some 4-5°C (roughly 7-9°F) — that is, to an ice age level. But this idea could only answer the riddle of the ice ages if such large changes in atmospheric composition really were possible. For that question Arrhenius turned to a colleague, Arvid Högbom. It happened that Högbom had compiled estimates for how carbon dioxide cycles through natural geochemical processes, including emission from volcanoes, uptake by the oceans, and so forth.
  14. It had occurred to Högbom to calculate the amounts of CO2 emitted by factories and other industrial sources. Surprisingly, he found that human activities were adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate roughly comparable to the natural geochemical processes that emitted or absorbed the gas.
  15. Arrhenius did not see that as a problem. He figured that if industry continued to burn fuel at the current (1896) rate, it would take perhaps three thousand years for the CO2 level to rise so high. Högbom doubted it would ever rise that much. One thing holding back the rise was the oceans. According to a simple calculation, sea water would absorb 5/6ths of any additional gas. Arrhenius brought up the possibility of future warming but by the time the book was published, 1908, the rate of coal burning was already significantly higher than in 1896, and Arrhenius suggested warming might appear within a few centuries rather than millenia. Yet here as in his first article, the possibility of warming in some distant future was far from his main point. He mentioned it only in passing.
  16. What really interested scientists of his time — the cause of the ice ages. Arrhenius had not quite discovered global warming, but only a curious theoretical concept.(5) An American geologist, T. C. Chamberlin, and a few others took an interest in CO2. How, they wondered, is the gas stored and released as it cycles through the Earth’s reservoirs of sea water and minerals, and also through living matter like forests? Chamberlin was emphatic that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere did not necessarily stay the same over the long term. But these scientists too were pursuing the ice ages and other, yet more ancient climate changes — gradual shifts over millions of years.

 

 

 

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. What we find in this history is that 19th century climate scientists were studying what was then a recent discovery that the earth goes through glaciation and interglacial cycles over a time scale of hundreds of thousands of years. The research agenda of these scientists, particularly Arrhenius, was to discover what drives glaciation cycles at time scales of 100,000 to 200,000 years. Arrhenius did find an explanation of these climate cycles in terms of the greenhouse effect of CO2 and water and that work was published and recognized as a significant advance in science.
  2. However, to draw a parallel between that and AGW climate change at multi-decadal and at most centennial time scales, is a failure to account for the importance of time scale in time series analysis (See for example [LINK] ). The authors in this work note that ” When monitoring complex physical systems over time, one often finds multiple phenomena in the data that work on different time scales. If one is interested in analyzing and modeling these individual phenomena, it is crucial to recognize these different scales and separate the data into its underlying components”.
  3. Therefore, the “climate science” of AGW climate change at multi-decadal or centennial time scales is not the same science as the “climate science” of glaciation cycles at time scales that are orders of magnitude longer. Therefore there is no correspondence between AGW science and Arrhenius although both these sciences rely on the heat trapping effect of atmospheric composition in terms of its CO2 and water content. Besides, these works had nothing whatsoever to do with an impact of the industrial economy on climate. These are two very different events in the history of climate research with very little if any correspondence between them.
  4. Yet another matter to consider in the claim that Arrhenius is the father of AGW climate change and that the science has been established for over a hundred years is that the Arrhenius theory of glaciation cycles has been discredited in favor of the theory of Milankovitch cycles proposed by Milutin Milanković about a hundred years ago and only 25 years after the work of Arrhenius.
  5. The only historical work that used the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere at the time scale of AGW climate change and did so in the context of the burning of fossil fuels in the industrial economy is Callendar 1938 described in a related post [LINK]. The history from 1938 to the present is summarized here [LINK]
  6. SUMMARY: To summarize, the parallel drawn between the work of Arrhenius on glaciation cycles and the current theory of catastrophic climate impacts of the industrial economy that operate at grossly different time scales appears to be a desperate search for validation – and the need for such validation along with the Ad hominem need for validation by virtue of consensus  –  suggests weaknesses in AGW science that requires this kind of support.

 

 

 

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

 

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A CARBON BRIEF ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON 14/2/2020 ON THE CARBON BRIEF WEBSITE [LINK] . IT DESCRIBES CLIMATE CHANGE TIPPING POINTS. THE REVIEW IS PRESENTED AS A SERIES OF “CLAIMS” MADE BY CARBON BRIEF IN THE ARTICLE WITH EACH CLAIM FOLLOWED BY A RESPONSE THAT OFFERS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE CLAIM. 

 

 

  1. CLAIM:  With every week that passes, we are confronted with mounting evidence of a warming climate. Just yesterday saw reports of Earth’s hottest January on record.
  2. RESPONSE:  This claim is derived from a NOAA press release saying that “January 2020 was the hottest in modern recorded history. There has never been a warmer January in 141 years of climate records”. The relevance of these data to AGW climate change has not been established either by NOAA or by Carbon Brief. AGW climate change is a theory about the impact of fossil fuel emissions on atmospheric composition and the further impact of the resultant higher atmospheric CO2 concentration on the long term warming trend in accordance with climate sensitivity. Therefore the progress of climate change and the determination of tipping points can be made only in these terms and not in terms of temperature events without the relevant warming trends that are implied by the use of the high temperature to claim a tipping point in AGW climate change.
  3. CLAIM: temperatures in Antarctica surpassing 20C for the first time in recorded history. As the thermometer mercury creeps ever higher, the cumulative impact of these changes could also cause fundamental parts of the Earth system to change dramatically and irreversibly. These are known as “tipping points”, where a tiny change could see a system shift into a completely new state.
  4. RESPONSE: Esperanaza Base: As described in a related post [LINK] , there was a very high temperature recorded at the Esperanza Base near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. This temperature was reported almost 65F (equivalent to 18.3C). It is also reported that on 9 February 2020, a temperature of 20.75 °C was recorded on nearby Seymour island which is the highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica, higher than 19.8 °C on Signy Island, near Seymour Island, on January 1982. This is a single temperature measurement (not measurements) in an isolated island located in a geologically active area. The arguments against the similar interpretation of the Esperanza Base temperature of 18.3C [LINK] also apply to this isolated extreme temperature event in a geologically active location and therefore it cannot be generalized for Antarctica nor interpreted in terms of AGW climate change.
  5. CLAIM:  From Amazon rainforest “dieback” and permafrost thaw through to ice-sheet disintegration and shifting monsoons, these are “high impact, low probability” events. And there is no shortage of views about what tipping points exist and how close their thresholds lie.
  6. RESPONSE: No data are cited for “Amazon rainforest dieback” or “permafrost thaw” or “ice sheet disintegration”. The only possible interpretation of these claims is that they are hypothetical events – in which case they have no relevance to real events that can be established with data.
  7. CLAIM:  New research published this week warns that deadly “day-night hot extremes” are increasing across the northern hemisphere due to climate change.
    These “compound” heat extremes are particularly dangerous to human health because the round-the-clock hot conditions limit the chances for people to cool off.
    And the risks are set to increase, the study says. For example, if global temperatures reach 2C, the frequency of compound hot extremes could more than double across the northern hemisphere, when compared to 2012. One scientist not involved in the study told Carbon Brief’s Daisy Dunne that the findings present “clear evidence” that human-caused climate change is leaving its mark on extreme heat events.
  8. RESPONSE:  The source of the “day-night hot extreme” is a 2020 paper in Nature Communications [LINK] in which the authors report an increase in the frequency and intensity of summertime hot extremes in the Northern Hemisphere in the study period 1960-2012 and during that time they found that the intensity increased by 0.28C per decade and the frequency increased by 1.03 days per decade. They then concluded that if these trends continue to the year 2100, these summertime hot extremes will increase in intensity and frequency by 4 to 8 times. A strong warming rate is seen in the summer months (June July August) for land surfaces in the Northern Hemisphere in the CRUTEM temperature reconstructions 1960-2010 of 0.22C/decade but this rate is significantly less than the reported warming rate of 0.28C/decade. The corresponding satellite data, generally considered more reliable than reconstructions, show a summer (June July August) warming rate of 0.15C per decade in the period 1979-2019 as compared with 0.307C per decade in CRUTEM for the same period (1979-2019). These significant inconsistencies among the three data sources, the one used by the authors of the paper, CRUTEM, and UAH, need to be resolved before summer heat events are interpreted in terms of AGW climate change.
  9. CLAIM: The magnitude of these climate risks only emphasizes the importance of global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And this year marks a key milestone for achieving just that. November will see tens of thousands of delegates descending on Glasgow (probably) for COP26, the UK-hosted climate talks where countries are supposed to “ratchet up” the emissions reductions pledges they made five years ago at the Paris talks. It will take no small amount of international diplomacy to lead the talks successfully. Hence, the government was rumoured to be looking for a “big hitter” to replace sacked COP26 president Claire O’Neill. David Cameron and William Hague turned it down. Michael Gove was seen as the frontrunner. Yet, in yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle, prime minister Boris Johnson gave the job to new business secretary Alok Sharma.
  10. RESPONSE:  The last claim appears to imply that the the first five claims are intended to set an alarming case for costly climate action that requires the right kind of sales agent at COP26. By extension, the further implication is that the climate alarms are not science but climate action salesmanship. This view is supported by the steep rise and fall of such alarms on the approach to and departure from COP meetings. This, for example, is how COP15 at Copenhagen was sold “Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have caused the following alarming changes to our planet: (1) ice covering the Arctic Ocean shrank in 2007 to its smallest since satellite records began, (2) In Antarctica, a section of the Wilkins Ice Shelf has broken up in recent days, (3) glaciers in the Himalayan mountains are shrinking and threatening to disrupt water supplies to hundreds of millions of people, (4) melting permafrost in Siberia will release large quantities of methane into the atmosphere and hasten global warming, and (5) if all of the land based ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the sea level by 80 meters. 
  11. Details about the rise and fall of Climate alarm before and after COP15 at Copenhagen are described in a related post [LINK] . The graphic from that post is reproduced below. It shows the rise and fall of the number of alarming newspaper stories about the impact of climate change before and after COP15. 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE LOG

  1. 2/19/2020: Corrected bad link to cited document.
  2. 2/19/2020: Added new temperature data from Seymour Island.
  3. Both updates above made with thanks to Philip Clarke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. BLUE CARBON: [LINK]
  2. AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES 2019-2020: [LINK]
  3. OCEAN ACIDIFICATION:  [LINK]
  4. EXTREME WEATHER:  [LINK]
  5. ICE MELT LECTURE:  [LINK]
  6. ICE FREE ARCTIC:  [LINK]

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

[LIST OF TBGY POSTS]

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE CLAIMS MADE BY TBGY IN A YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT BLUE CARBON [LINK TO YOUTUBE VIDEO] . IT IS PRESENTED IN THREE PARTS. PART-1 IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO. PART-2 IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE CLAIMS MADE IN THE VIDEO, AND PART-3 IS A RELEVANT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BLUE CARBON STUDIES 2011-2018. 

 

 

PART-1: TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO

  1. We know that our PLANET is not just made up of land and air. More than 70% of it is covered by the water in our oceans; and those oceans are the biggest carbon sink that we’ve got. Satellites are helping our scientists to get a clearer picture of how our oceans are absorbing a very significant proportion of the extra carbon dioxide we humans are emitting into the atmosphere. And we are also just beginning to understand some of the more disastrous consequences of that extra CO2 absorption. Consequences like OCEAN ACIDIFICATION [RELATED POST] which among other things is affecting the long term viability of shell fish and coral reefs. But human activity and climate change are not just altering the composition and temperature of our open oceans. They are also beginning to threaten ecosystems along our coastlines. And that could have the consequence of releasing huge quantities of CO2 from what our scientists refer to as BLUE CARBON. bandicam 2020-02-04 11-05-42-710
  2. The scale of our seas and oceans is mind boggling. As well as covering three quarters of the planet, they produce 50% of the world’s oxygen and absorb 90% of the excess heat accumulated in our PLANET’s climate system. According to the “IPCC Special Report on the “Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate“, the oceans also take up 1/3 of all the carbon emitted as a direct result of human activity. And all that carbon uptake is slowing the rate of increase in the warming of our atmosphere but it’s also causing all this scientific anxiety on the negative side effects like ocean acidification. bandicam 2020-02-02 18-54-30-240
  3. What about this blue carbon, then? The IPCC report tells us that blue carbon is carbon stored in coastal wetlands such as salt marshes, mangrove forests, and sub-tidal seagrass meadows. According to an action program called “Mitigating Climate Change Through Coastal Ecosystem Management Blue Carbon Initiative” [LINK] , these coastal ecosystems capture more carbon per unit area than the forests on land. Their website offers a few more statistics. It says that 83% of the global carbon cycle is circulated through the ocean. Although coastal habitats cover less than 2% of the total ocean area, they account for about half of the carbon sequestered in ocean sediments. Which is quite significant!  bandicam 2020-01-15 16-14-44-019
  4. These coastal ecosystems are also some of the most productive on earth giving us humans crucial coastal protection from storms and providing a critical habitat for marine species that make that make up a major part of people’s food security and income. They also improve and maintain water quality along coastlines for coastal countries worldwide. And they are one of the planet’s most prolific nurturing grounds for fish. The IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere says “Although they occupy a small part of the global ocean (7.6%), coastal seas provide up to 30% of global marine primary production and about 50% of the organic carbon supplied to the deep ocean. bandicam 2020-02-03 18-19-37-543
  5. In our ignorance, we humans sadly, have already done great damage to these vital resources. According to the Blue Carbon Initiative, lots of mangrove habitats are causing carbon emissions that account for 10% of all deforestation globally, even though they cover only 0.7% of the area. Tidal marshes are being lost at a rate of 1% to 3% per year. They currently cover about 140 million hectares (0.4% of the ocean) of the surface of the earth, an area almost the size of Alaska. They have lost more than 50% of their historical global coverage. Seagrass meadows cover less than 0.3% of the ocean floor but still store about 10% of the carbon buried in the ocean each year. A Guardian article points out that unlike forests that store carbon for about 60 years before releasing much of it, seagrass meadows often store the carbon for thousands of years until they are disturbed. That process is thought to offset up to 2% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions [LINK] . The Guardian article goes on to say that since the start of the 20th century, seagrass meadows worldwide have declined at an average rate of 0.9% per year, mostly due to direct human impacts such as coastal development and water quality degradation. Over the last century about 29% of global seagrass has been destroyed and it is releasing carbon at a rate similar to the rate of Australia and the UK combined. bandicam 2020-02-02 17-44-30-599
  6. So as well as being battered by physical human intervention, all of these precious habitats, are really beginning to suffer as our ocean waters warm. The IPCC tells us that seagrass meadows in particular are highly sensitive to temperature change in the ocean. Back in the Australian summer of 2010-2011, a phenomenon known as marine heat wave hit one of the largest seagrass meadows on earth in an area called Shark Bay [LINK] in Western Australia. About 1.3% of all the CO2 stored by seagrass across the entire world is stored there. The underwater heat wave caused the water to warm locally by up to 4C resulting in a loss of about 36% of the area these flowering {reenpunts???}. Events like this pose a high penalty on our environment as described in a 2018 article by David Nield [LINK] . He says “Losing seagrass is a double whammy for our environment’s health. Not only do we lose the plant’s ability to capture and store CO2, but all the CO2 that’s already being stored gets released back out into the ecosystem“. dugong
  7. The IPCC tell us that as human CO2 emissions have warmed out atmosphere, and out oceans have been absorbing 90% of the heat that this emissions have been producing, so the occurrence of marine heat waves has doubled since the 1980s. Research by conservation international also suggests that the global average number of marine heat wave days has increased by about 50%. This means that an ocean area that might have experienced 30 days of ocean heat wave temperatures will not be enjoying more like 45 days of ocean heat wave temperatures. And that extreme exposure to extreme heat is putting unsustainable and in many cases un-survive-able stresses onto those delicate ecosystems. The IPCC report also points to other climate related factors now threatening coastal wetlands. They state with high confidence that wetland salinization is occurring on a large geographical scale. They also point out that sea level rise combined with more extreme storms are causing wetland erosion and habitat loss. bandicam 2020-02-13 15-09-18-689
  8. So the obvious question is what’s being done to slow or reverse the decline of these absolutely vital blue carbon stores. According to the Blue Carbon Initiative website [LINK]is working on conservation science, policy, and management of blue carbon ecosystems globally. Their major objectives are national level accounting of carbon stocks and emissions from blue carbon ecosystems, increased management effectiveness of blue carbon ecosystems in protected areas, and the development of blue carbon offsets for tourism activities. WE ARE NOW FULLY IN THE COUNTDOWN TO THE COP 26 CLIMATE CONFERENCE which takes place in Glasgow in November. Another globally important pivotal event is also taking place this November (a reference to Trump) but I will leave that one for others bandicam 2020-02-13 15-36-50-863

 

 

 

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY ON THE CLAIMS MADE IN THE VIDEO

  1. Reference: Paragraph#2 – The scale of our seas and oceans is mind boggling. As well as covering three quarters of the planet, they produce 50% of the world’s oxygen and absorb 90% of the excess heat accumulated in our PLANET’s climate system. 
  2. Response: With regard to the invocation of the planet in the discussion of AGW climate change, kindly note that this invocation is part of the desperate aspiration of climate science to describe AGW climate change on a planetary scale such that the fate of the planet is now in our hands and that we can save the planet from its destruction by climate change if we take climate action. This lofty and ambitious posture is inconsistent with what we know about our planet. The crust of the planet consisting of the oceans and land where we live and where we have things like climate and ecosystems and polar bears is only 0.3% of the planet. The other 99.7% of the planet is the  the mantle and the core located underneath the lithosphere where there is no life, no ecosystem, and no climate. AGW climate change cannot be presented as a planetary phenomenon. It is a surface phenomenon that relates only to the crust and its atmosphere that together form 0.3% of the planet.
  3. Reference: Paragraph#3: – Blue Carbon Sequestration in Coastal EcosystemsBlue carbon is carbon stored in coastal wetlands such as salt marshes, mangrove forests, and sub-tidal seagrass meadows. These coastal ecosystems capture more carbon per unit area than the forests on land. Although coastal habitats cover less than 2% of the total ocean area, they account for about half of the carbon sequestered in ocean sediments.
  4. Response: AGW climate change is a theory that the combustion of fossil fuels by the Industrial Economy has introduced external carbon dug up from under the ground into the carbon cycle. It is argued that this carbon does not belong in the current account of the carbon cycle and that therefore its introduction into the delicately balanced carbon cycle and climate system will act as a perturbation to the climate system and cause unnatural human caused warming by way of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. AGW is therefore a theory of the impact of external non-carbon-cycle CO2 flows that increase atmospheric CO2 concentration. This is why carbon cycle flows are not counted as climate forcings. As for example, human respiration contains CO2 but that is part of the carbon cycle and therefore not part of the Industrial Economy external carbon that has upset the climate system. The presentation above does not make this distinction and assigns climate forcing functions to carbon cycle flows such as photosynthesis carbon that is returned to the atmosphere. This illogic also implies that human respiration is a climate forcing although in climate science it is part of the carbon cycle and not a perturbation of the carbon cycle.
  5. Reference: Paragraph#4 – organic carbon in the the deep ocean: Although they occupy a small part of the ocean, coastal seas provide 30% of global marine primary production and 50% of the organic carbon supplied to the deep ocean.
  6. Response:  The key word here is “organic” because geological sources of carbon from plate tectonics, submarine volcanism and hydrothermal vents are orders of magnitude larger and they are the original source of carbon from which all carbon life forms including coastal ecosystems and humans are derived. In terms of both climate science and biology the carbon from these two different sources are indistinguishable.
  7. Reference: Paragraph#5 – declining carbon sequestration by seagrass:  Carbon sequestration by seagrass offsets up to 2% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions [LINK] . Since the start of the 20th century, seagrass meadows worldwide have declined at an average rate of 0.9% per year, due to direct human impacts such as coastal development and water quality degradation. Over the last century about 29% of global seagrass has been destroyed and it is releasing carbon at a rate similar to the rate of Australia and the UK combined.
  8. Response:  If seagrass offsets 2% of humanity’s carbon emissions, and if human activity is causing seagrass to decline at 0.9% per year, the net effect on emissions net of seagrass sequestration is an increase of emissions at a rate of 0.018% per year. This rate of increase is well within the uncertainty rate in terms of our ability to measure or estimate human emissions. This means that the impact of coastal ecosystem degradation on AGW climate change is not measurable. The implication for blue carbon activism is two fold. Firstly, the impact of reduction in the ability of coastal ecosystems to sequester carbon on AGW climate change is negligible because it is too small to measure. And secondly, the emphasis on carbon cycle dynamics as the driver of climate change warming is inconsistent with AGW climate change theory which points to the impact of external carbon in fossil fuel emissions on the carbon cycle – and not the carbon cycle itiself – as the driver of global warming.
  9. Reference: Paragraph#6 – the David Nield Article:  The David Nield article [LINK], says that more than a third of the world’s seagrass was affected and that about a third of the seagrass meadows were wiped out by the intense climate change warming in 2014 and that as a result 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide was released from these coastal ecosystems into the atmosphere. This event is described as “The Ocean Has Released an Insane Amount of CO2 into the atmosphere” and it serves as the dangerous climate change feedback described in the TBGY lecture where climate change warming causes a release of coastal ecosystem carbon which in turn increases the rate of warming.
  10. Response: With regard to the above figures, note that in 2014, global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for the year added up to about 33 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon dioxide equivalent to 33,000 million tonnes. The 9 million tonnes added by the destruction of coastal ecosystems is approximately 0.027% of fossil fuel emissions in 2014 that is well within the error margin of the fossil fuel emissions estimate. If, instead of only a third, all of the world’s seagrass meadows had had undergone this insane carbon release, the total amount of CO2 released may have been in the order of 3×9 or 27 million tonnes or about 0.08% of fossil fuel emissions – also well within the uncertainty rate of the fossil fuel emissions estimate. These figures do not indicate that carbon release from coastal ecosystems is the kind of AGW climate change catastrophe described in the lecture.
  11. Reference: Paragraph#6 – Marine Heat Waves: Back in the Australian summer of 2010-2011, a phenomenon known as marine heat wave hit one of the largest seagrass meadows on earth in an area called Shark Bay [LINK] in Western Australia. About 1.3% of all the CO2 stored by seagrass across the entire world is stored there. The underwater heat wave caused the water to warm locally by up to 4C resulting in a loss of about 36% of the seagrass.
  12. Response: Marine heat waves are described in some detail in a related post [LINK] Marine heat waves are not really heat waves but a temporary SST (sea surface temperature) anomaly that last more than 5 days. They tend to be found repeatedly in the same geographical location that are usually shallow and close to land. The term “heat wave” is a misnomer although marine heat waves do harm the ecosystems in the shallow sea close to land where they form. Such locations of course conform to those of coastal ecosystems and therefore these ecosystems are likely to be exposed to marine heat waves. However, marine heat waves can’t be described as “underwater heat waves” nor are they a heat wave in the way we understand them in terms of our experience in atmospheric heat waves. Underwater heat events do occur in the deep ocean but these are geological phenomena that transfer heat from the mantle to the ocean. The terms “Marine Heat wave” and “Blue Carbon” are highly charged phrases that belie their more mundane references.
  13. CONCLUSION: We conclude from the data and analysis presented above that the blue carbon issue does not have implications for AGW climate change because the issue in AGW is not carbon cycle flows but the perturbation of the current account of the carbon cycle by external carbon (external to the current account of the carbon cycle) dug up from under the ground where it had been sequestered from the carbon cycle for millions of years. In addition we find that the claimed contribution of blue carbon to AGW forcing as a result of coastal ecosystem degradation is negligible and well within the uncertainty band of the estimates of carbon flows from fossil fuel emissions. 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Dennison, William C. “Effects of light on seagrass photosynthesis, growth and depth distribution.” Aquatic Botany 27.1 (1987): 15-26. The relationships between light regime, photosynthesis, growth and depth distribution of a temperate seagrass, Zostera marina L. (eelgrass), were investigated in a subtidal eelgrass meadow near Woods Hole, MA. The seasonal light patterns in which the quantum irradiance exceeded the light compensation point (Hcomp) and light saturation point (Hsat) for eelgrass photosynthesis were determined. Along with photosynthesis and respiration rates, these patterns were used to predict carbon balances monthly throughout the year. Gross photosynthesis peaked in late-summer, but net photosynthesis peaked in spring (May), due to high respiration rates at summer temperatures. Predictions of net photosynthesis correlated with in situ growth rates at the study site and with reports from other locations. The maximum depth limit for eelgrass was related to the depth distribution of Hcomp, and a minimum annual average Hcomp (12.3 h) for survival was determined. Maximum depth limits for eelgrass were predicted for various light extinction coefficients and a relationship between Secchi disc depth and the maximum depth limit for survival was established. The Secchi disc depth averaged over the year approximates the light compensation depth for eelgrass. This relationship may be applicable to other sites and other seagrass species.
  2. Borowitzka, MAß, and R. C. Lethbridge. “Seagrass epiphytes.” Elsevier Science Pub., 1989. 458-499. Epiphytes are those organisms which grow upon plants. In aquatic environments macrophytes are usually rapidly colonized by microorganisms such as bacteria and micro-algae, and later by larger algae and invertebrates unless the macrophytes have chemical or physical mechanisms for excluding these organisms. Much of the literature on seagrass epiphytes is concerned with taxonomy (e.g. Humm, 1964; Marsh, 1973; May et al., 1978; Harlin, 1980; Pansini and Pronzato, 1985), and shows that seagrasses are colonized by a diverse range of algae and sessile invertebrates such as hydroids, bryozoans and sponges. In this paper we shall not provide further lists of epiphytic organisms, but rather will consider the distribution of the epiphytic organisms on individual seagrasses, between different seagrass species, and at different localities. We shall also discuss the mechanisms of colonization and recruitment, and the role of these epiphytic organisms in the ecology of seagrass communities.
  3. Duarte, Carlos M. “Seagrass nutrient content.” Marine ecology progress series. Oldendorf 6.2 (1990): 201-207. aBSTRACT: Data on nutrient contents of 27 seagrass species at 30 locations were compiled from the literature. Mean (f SE) concentrations of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in seagrass leaves were 33.6 20.31, 1.92 f 0.05, and 0.23 2 0.011 % dry wt, respectively. The median C:N:P ratio was 474 :24: 1, which represents a C:P ratio more than 4 times, and a N:P ratio more than 1.5 times that of oceanic seston. These ratios are, however, less than those previously reported for marine macrophytes (550 : 30 : 1) by Atkinson & Smith (1984). Nitrogen and phosphorus variability within species was large, but carbon contents exhibited little variability. Accordingly, carbon:nutrient (N and P) ratios were inversely related to changes in nutrient content, and the rate of change in C:N and C:P ratios with increasing nitrogen or phosphorus content in plant tissues should shift from high to small as nutrient supply meets the plant’s demands. The median nitrogen and phosphorus contents reported here (1.8 % N and 0.20 % P as % DW) correctly discriminated between seagrass stands that did or did not respond to nutrient enrichment, thus offering a useful reference for comparisons of seagrass nutrient contents.
  4. Duarte, Carlos M. “Seagrass depth limits.” Aquatic botany 40.4 (1991): 363-377.  Examination of the depth limit of seagrass communities distributed worldwide showed that sea-grasses may extend from mean sea level down to a depth of 90 m, and that differences in seagrass depth limit (Zc) are largely attributable to differences in light attenuation underwater (K). This relationship is best described by the equation log Zc(m) = 0.26 − 1.07logK (m−)that holds for a large number of marine angiosperm species, although differences in seagrass growth strategy and architecture also appear to contribute to explain differences in their depth limits. The equation relating seagrass depth limit and light attenuation coefficient is qualitatively similar to previous equations developed for freshwater angiosperms, but predicts that seagrasses will colonize greater depths than freshwater angiosperms in clear (transparency greater than 10 m) waters. Further, the reduction in seagrass biomass from the depth of maximum biomass towards the depth limit is also closely related to the light attenuation coefficient. The finding that seagrasses can extend to depths receiving, on average, about 11% of the irradiance at the surface, together with the use of the equation described, may prove useful in the identification of seagrass meadows that have not reached their potential extension.
  5. Michener, William K., et al. “Climate change, hurricanes and tropical storms, and rising sea level in coastal wetlands.” Ecological Applications 7.3 (1997): 770-801.  Global climate change is expected to affect temperature and precipitation patterns, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, rate of rising sea level, and the frequency, intensity, timing, and distribution of hurricanes and tropical storms. The magnitude of these projected physical changes and their subsequent impacts on coastal wetlands will vary regionally. Coastal wetlands in the southeastern United States have naturally evolved under a regime of rising sea level and specific patterns of hurricane frequency, intensity, and timing. A review of known ecological effects of tropical storms and hurricanes indicates that storm timing, frequency, and intensity can alter coastal wetland hydrology, geomorphology, biotic structure, energetics, and nutrient cycling. Research conducted to examine the impacts of Hurricane Hugo on colonial waterbirds highlights the importance of long‐term studies for identifying complex interactions that may otherwise be dismissed as stochastic processes. Rising sea level and even modest changes in the frequency, intensity, timing, and distribution of tropical storms and hurricanes are expected to have substantial impacts on coastal wetland patterns and processes. Persistence of coastal wetlands will be determined by the interactions of climate and anthropogenic effects, especially how humans respond to rising sea level and how further human encroachment on coastal wetlands affects resource exploitation, pollution, and water use. Long‐term changes in the frequency, intensity, timing, and distribution of hurricanes and tropical storms will likely affect biotic functions (e.g., community structure, natural selection, extinction rates, and biodiversity) as well as underlying processes such as nutrient cycling and primary and secondary productivity.Reliable predictions of global‐change impacts on coastal wetlands will require better understanding of the linkages among terrestrial, aquatic, wetland, atmospheric, oceanic, and human components. Developing this comprehensive understanding of the ecological ramifications of global change will necessitate close coordination among scientists from multiple disciplines and a balanced mixture of appropriate scientific approaches. For example, insights may be gained through the careful design and implementation of broad‐scale comparative studies that incorporate salient patterns and processes, including treatment of anthropogenic influences. Well‐designed, broad‐scale comparative studies could serve as the scientific framework for developing relevant and focused long‐term ecological research, monitoring programs, experiments, and modeling studies. Two conceptual models of broad‐scale comparative research for assessing ecological responses to climate change are presented: utilizing space‐for‐time substitution coupled with long‐term studies to assess impacts of rising sea level and disturbance on coastal wetlands, and utilizing the moisture‐continuum model for assessing the effects of global change and associated shifts in moisture regimes on wetland ecosystems. Increased understanding of climate change will require concerted scientific efforts aimed at facilitating interdisciplinary research, enhancing data and information management, and developing new funding strategies.
  6. Duarte, Carlos M., and Carina L. Chiscano. “Seagrass biomass and production: a reassessment.” Aquatic botany 65.1-4 (1999): 159-174.  The biomass and production of seagrass populations were reassessed based on the compilation of a large data set comprising estimates for 30 species, derived from the literature. The mean (± SE) above- and below-ground biomass in the data set were very similar, 223.9 ± 17.5 and 237.4 ± 28 g DW m−2, respectively, indicating a general tendency for a balanced distribution of biomass between leaves and rhizomes + roots (mean ratio (± SE) = 1.11 ± 0.08). The biomass development and the ratio of above- to below-ground biomass varied significantly with latitude and was species-specific, with a significant tendency for large-sized seagrass species to develop high below-ground biomass. Maximum daily seagrass production differed significantly among species, but averaged 3.84 ± 0.34 and 1.21 ± 0.27 g DW m−2 per day for above- and below-ground organs respectively, with an average ratio of above- to below-ground production of 16.4 ± 8.5. The biomass turnover rates averaged 2.6 ± 0.3 and 0.77 ± 0.12% per day for the above– and below-ground material respectively, and tended to be faster for temperate species. The average annual seagrass production found here, 1012 g DW m−2 per year, exceeds previous estimates by 25%, because the average excedent carbon produced by seagrasses must be revised upwards to represent 15% of the total surplus carbon fixed in the global ocean.
  7. Waycott, Michelle. “Genetic factors in the conservation of seagrasses.” Pacific Conservation Biology 5.4 (1999): 269-276.  Increasingly our awareness of seagrass conservation issues requires an understanding of population dynamics and knowledge of the ability of different species to recover from disturbance. Seagrass populations may recover vegetatively or through the establishment of sexually derived seedlings. Some understanding of the processes of population formation and maintenance can be obtained through population genetic surveys. With the advent of molecular genetic markers even genetically depauperate populations can be studied. Patterns of genetic variation can vary over the range of seagrass populations and with the type of marker used. A case study is presented which demonstrates the importance of surveying a significant range of species to better understand the patterns of genetic diversity present. Seagrass phylogeny needs to be improved before reliable taxonomic interpretations can be made in many seagrass groups. Uncommon or rare seagrass species require special attention to ascertain their evolutionary origins and the nature of their extant distributions. Studies of genetic factors may enhance our understanding of how seagrass populations survive over both short and long time scales and can provide considerable insight to the seagrass conservation strategist.
  8. Duarte, Carlos M. “The future of seagrass meadows.” Environmental conservation 29.2 (2002): 192-206 Seagrasses cover about 0.1–0.2% of the global ocean, and develop highly productive ecosystems which fulfil a key role in the coastal ecosystem. Widespread seagrass loss results from direct human impacts, including mechanical damage (by dredging, fishing, and anchoring), eutrophication, aquaculture, siltation, effects of coastal constructions, and food web alterations; and indirect human impacts, including negative effects of climate change (erosion by rising sea level, increased storms, increased ultraviolet irradiance), as well as from natural causes, such as cyclones and floods. The present review summarizes such threats and trends and considers likely changes to the 2025 time horizon. Present losses are expected to accelerate, particularly in South-east Asia and the Caribbean, as human pressure on the coastal zone grows. Positive human effects include increased legislation to protect seagrass, increased protection of coastal ecosystems, and enhanced efforts to monitor and restore the marine ecosystem. However, these positive effects are unlikely to balance the negative impacts, which are expected to be particularly prominent in developing tropical regions, where the capacity to implement conservation policies is limited. Uncertainties as to the present loss rate, derived from the paucity of coherent monitoring programmes, and the present inability to formulate reliable predictions as to the future rate of loss, represent a major barrier to the formulation of global conservation policies. Three key actions are needed to ensure the effective conservation of seagrass ecosystems: (1) the development of a coherent worldwide monitoring network, (2) the development of quantitative models predicting the responses of seagrasses to disturbance, and (3) the education of the public on the functions of seagrass meadows and the impacts of human activity.
  9. Orth, Robert J., et al. “A global crisis for seagrass ecosystems.” Bioscience 56.12 (2006): 987-996. Seagrasses, marine flowering plants, have a long evolutionary history but are now challenged with rapid environmental changes as a result of coastal human population pressures. Seagrasses provide key ecological services, including organic carbon production and export, nutrient cycling, sediment stabilization, enhanced biodiversity, and trophic transfers to adjacent habitats in tropical and temperate regions. They also serve as “coastal canaries,” global biological sentinels of increasing anthropogenic influences in coastal ecosystems, with large-scale losses reported worldwide. Multiple stressors, including sediment and nutrient runoff, physical disturbance, invasive species, disease, commercial fishing practices, aquaculture, overgrazing, algal blooms, and global warming, cause seagrass declines at scales of square meters to hundreds of square kilometers. Reported seagrass losses have led to increased awareness of the need for seagrass protection, monitoring, management, and restoration. However, seagrass science, which has rapidly grown, is disconnected from public awareness of seagrasses, which has lagged behind awareness of other coastal ecosystems. There is a critical need for a targeted global conservation effort that includes a reduction of watershed nutrient and sediment inputs to seagrass habitats and a targeted educational program informing regulators and the public of the value of seagrass meadows. Seagrasses—a unique group of flowering plants that have adapted to exist fully submersed in the sea—profoundly influence the physical, chemical, and biological environments in coastal waters, acting as ecological engineers (sensuWright and Jones 2006) and providing numerous important ecological services to the marine environment (Costanza et al. 1997). Seagrasses alter water flow, nutrient cycling, and food web structure (Hemminga and Duarte 2000). They are an important food source for megaherbivores such as green sea turtles, dugongs, and manatees, and provide critical habitat for many animals, including commercially and recreationally important fishery species (figure 1Beck et al. 2001). They also stabilize sediments and produce large quantities of organic carbon. However, seagrasses and these associated ecosystem services are under direct threat from a host of anthropogenic influences.
  10. Bayliss, Peter, et al. “Modelling the spatial relationship between dugong (Dugong dugon) and their seagrass habitat in Shark Bay Marine Park before and after the marine heatwave of 2010/11.”  [FULL TEXT PDF]   Shark Bay is a global strong-hold for dugongs because of its extensive stands of seagrass. In the late summer of 2010/11 a marine heatwave occurred in WA coastal waters that had a significant impact on key marine habitats, including the large- cale loss of seagrass in Shark Bay Marine Park that has shown limited signs of recovery. An aerial survey of dugong populations in the Shark Bay-Ningaloo- xmouth Gulf region was therefore undertaken in June 2018 to assess how dugong populations may have responded to the extensive loss of seagrass in 2011. The specific objectives, methodology, population-level analyses and results of that survey are documented in the first report of this project (Appendix 1; Bayliss et al. 2018). 2. The key results from the first report are: the number of dugongs in Shark Bay in 2018 was estimated at 18,555 + 3,396 (SE 18.3%) using the most updated visibility bias correction factors developed by Hagihara et al. (2014, 2018). The estimate for the Exmouth Gulf-Ningaloo region was 4,831 + 1,965 (SE 40.7%), producing a total of 23,386 + 3,124 (SE 16.8%) for both regions combined; preliminary analysis of population trends suggested that no major decline in either region before or after the seagrass dieback event could be detected, however a more comprehensive change analysis complimented with fine-scale spatial modelling of the relationship between dugongs and their seagrass habitat were recommended. Both recommendations comprise major objectives of the following report.
  11. Smale, Dan A., et al. “From fronds to fish: the use of indicators for ecological monitoring in marine benthic ecosystems, with case studies from temperate Western Australia.” Reviews in fish biology and fisheries 21.3 (2011): 311-337.  Ecological indicators are used for monitoring in marine habitats the world over. With the advent of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM), the need for cost effective indicators of environmental impacts and ecosystem condition has intensified. Here, we review the development, utilisation and analysis of indicators for monitoring in marine benthic habitats, (bottom dwellers) and outline important advances made in recent years. We use the unique, speciose benthic system of Western Australia (WA) as a detailed case study, as the development of indicators for EBFM in this region is presently ongoing, and major environmental drivers (e.g. climate change) and fishing practices are currently influencing WA marine systems. As such, the work is biased towards, but not restricted to, indicators that may be important tools for EBFM, such as biodiversity surrogates and indicators of fishing pressure. The review aimed to: (1) provide a concise, up-to-date account of the use of ecological indicators in marine systems; (2) discuss the current, and potential, applications of indicators for ecological monitoring in WA; and (3) highlight priority areas for research and pressing knowledge gaps. We examined indicators derived from benthic primary producers, benthic invertebrates and fish to achieve these goals.
  12. Mcleod, Elizabeth, et al. “A blueprint for blue carbon: toward an improved understanding of the role of vegetated coastal habitats in sequestering CO2.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9.10 (2011): 552-560.  Recent research has highlighted the valuable role that coastal and marine ecosystems play in sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2). The carbon (C) sequestered in vegetated coastal ecosystems, specifically mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and salt marshes, has been termed “blue carbon”. Although their global area is one to two orders of magnitude smaller than that of terrestrial forests, the contribution of vegetated coastal habitats per unit area to long‐term C sequestration is much greater, in part because of their efficiency in trapping suspended matter and associated organic C during tidal inundation. Despite the value of mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and salt marshes in sequestering C, and the other goods and services they provide, these systems are being lost at critical rates and action is urgently needed to prevent further degradation and loss. Recognition of the C sequestration value of vegetated coastal ecosystems provides a strong argument for their protection and restoration; however, it is necessary to improve scientific understanding of the underlying mechanisms that control C sequestration in these ecosystems. Here, we identify key areas of uncertainty and specific actions needed to address them. [FULL TEXT]
  13. Fourqurean, James W., et al. “Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock.” Nature geoscience 5.7 (2012): 505-509The protection of organic carbon stored in forests is considered as an important method for mitigating climate change. Like terrestrial ecosystems, coastal ecosystems store large amounts of carbon, and there are initiatives to protect these ‘blue carbon’ stores. Organic carbon stocks in tidal salt marshes and mangroves have been estimated, but uncertainties in the stores of seagrass meadows—some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth—hinder the application of marine carbon conservation schemes. Here, we compile published and unpublished measurements of the organic carbon content of living seagrass biomass and underlying soils in 946 distinct seagrass meadows across the globe. Using only data from sites for which full inventories exist, we estimate that, globally, seagrass ecosystems could store as much as 19.9 Pg organic carbon; according to a more conservative approach, in which we incorporate more data from surface soils and depth-dependent declines in soil carbon stocks, we estimate that the seagrass carbon pool lies between 4.2 and 8.4 Pg carbon. We estimate that present rates of seagrass loss could result in the release of up to 299 Tg carbon per year, assuming that all of the organic carbon in seagrass biomass and the top metre of soils is remineralized.
  14. Pendleton, Linwood, et al. “Estimating global “blue carbon” emissions from conversion and degradation of vegetated coastal ecosystems.” PloS one 7.9 (2012). Recent attention has focused on the high rates of annual carbon sequestration in vegetated coastal ecosystems—marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses that may be lost with habitat destruction (‘conversion’). Relatively unappreciated, however, is that conversion of these coastal ecosystems also impacts very large pools of previously-sequestered carbon. Residing mostly in sediments, this ‘blue carbon can be released to the atmosphere when these ecosystems are converted or degraded. Here we provide the first global estimates of this impact and evaluate its economic implications. Combining the best available data on global area, land-use conversion rates, and near-surface carbon stocks in each of the three ecosystems, using an uncertainty-propagation approach, we estimate that 0.15–1.02 Pg (billion tons) of carbon dioxide are being released annually, several times higher than previous estimates that account only for lost sequestration. These emissions are equivalent to 3–19% of those from deforestation globally, and result in economic damages of $US 6–42 billion annually. The largest sources of uncertainty in these estimates stems from limited certitude in global area and rates of landuse conversion, but research is also needed on the fates of ecosystem carbon upon conversion. Currently, carbon emissions from the conversion of vegetated coastal ecosystems are not included in emissions accounting or carbon market protocols, but this analysis suggests they may be disproportionally important to both. Although the relevant science supporting these initial estimates will need to be refined in coming years, it is clear that policies encouraging the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems could significantly reduce carbon emissions from the land-use sector, in addition to sustaining the wellrecognized ecosystem services of coastal habitats.  [FULL TEXT PDF]
  15. Duarte, Carlos M., et al. “The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation.” Nature Climate Change 3.11 (2013): 961-968.  Marine vegetated habitats (seagrasses, salt-marshes, macroalgae and mangroves) occupy 0.2% of the ocean surface, but contribute 50% of carbon burial in marine sediments. Their canopies dissipate wave energy and high burial rates raise the seafloor, buffering the impacts of rising sea level and wave action that are associated with climate change. The loss of a third of the global cover of these ecosystems involves a loss of CO2 sinks and the emission of 1 Pg CO2 annually. The conservation, restoration and use of vegetated coastal habitats in eco-engineering solutions for coastal protection provide a promising strategy, delivering significant capacity for climate change mitigation and adaption.
  16. Ullman, Roger, Vasco Bilbao-Bastida, and Gabriel Grimsditch. “Including blue carbon in climate market mechanisms.” Ocean & Coastal Management 83 (2013): 15-18.  Including Blue Carbon in market-based climate policy mechanisms could result in significant funding for coastal ecosystem protection and restoration. The most promising market mechanisms for Blue Carbon are regulated cap-and-trade schemes, even if some are still in development. The largest is UNFCCC, followed by EU ETS, national schemes and sub-national schemes. Although the voluntary carbon market is a current option, it is much less attractive than regulated markets due to its small size and low prices. For Blue Carbon to be included in major regulated schemes, additional work is needed, including scientific research, policy design, economic analysis and policy advocacy. In particular, three activities should be given priority: reorienting scientific research from the natural sequestration to the emissions that occur upon destruction, estimating global and national aggregate figures for these emissions, and promoting Blue Carbon in key policy fora. It should be recognized that the development of major regulated cap-and-trade schemes with Blue Carbon offsets may take several years. Therefore, in the meantime, efforts should also be made to develop national Blue Carbon policies in the countries with the most relevant habitat.
  17. Murdiyarso, Daniel, et al. “The potential of Indonesian mangrove forests for global climate change mitigation.” Nature Climate Change 5.12 (2015): 1089-1092.  Mangroves provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, soil formation, wood production, fish spawning grounds, ecotourism and carbon (C) storage1. High rates of tree and plant growth, coupled with anaerobic, water-logged soils that slow decomposition, result in large long-term C storage. Given their global significance as large sinks of C, preventing mangrove loss would be an effective climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy. It has been reported that C stocks in the Indo-Pacific region contain on average 1,023 MgC ha−1 (ref. 2). Here, we estimate that Indonesian mangrove C stocks are 1,083 ± 378 MgC ha−1. Scaled up to the country-level mangrove extent of 2.9 Mha (ref. 3), Indonesia’s mangroves contained on average 3.14 PgC. In three decades Indonesia has lost 40% of its mangroves4, mainly as a result of aquaculture development5. This has resulted in annual emissions of 0.07–0.21 Pg CO2e. Annual mangrove deforestation in Indonesia is only 6% of its total forest loss6; however, if this were halted, total emissions would be reduced by an amount equal to 10–31% of estimated annual emissions from land-use sectors at present. Conservation of carbon-rich mangroves in the Indonesian archipelago should be a high-priority component of strategies to mitigate climate change.
  18. Atwood, Trisha B., et al. “Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems.” Nature Climate Change 5.12 (2015): 1038-1045Predators continue to be harvested unsustainably throughout most of the Earth’s ecosystems. Recent research demonstrates that the functional loss of predators could have far-reaching consequences on carbon cycling and, by implication, our ability to ameliorate climate change impacts. Yet the influence of predators on carbon accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats (that is, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangroves) is poorly understood, despite these being some of the Earth’s most vulnerable and carbon-rich ecosystems. Here we discuss potential pathways by which trophic downgrading affects carbon capture, accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats. We identify an urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling in vegetated coastal habitats, and ultimately the role that these systems play in climate change mitigation. There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest that intact predator populations are critical to maintaining or growing reserves of ‘blue carbon‘ (carbon stored in coastal or marine ecosystems), and policy and management need to be improved to reflect these realities.
  19. Kroeger, Kevin D., et al. “Restoring tides to reduce methane emissions in impounded wetlands: A new and potent Blue Carbon climate change intervention.” Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 1-12Coastal wetlands are sites of rapid carbon (C) sequestration and contain large soil C stocks. Thus, there is increasing interest in those ecosystems as sites for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission offset projects (“Blue Carbon”), through preservation of existing C stocks or creation of new wetlands to increase future sequestration. Here we show that in the globally-widespread occurrence of diked, impounded, drained and tidally-restricted salt marshes, substantial methane (CH4) and CO2 emission reductions can be achieved through restoration of disconnected saline tidal flows. Modeled climatic forcing indicates that tidal restoration to reduce emissions has a much greater impact per unit area than wetland creation or conservation to enhance sequestration. Given that GHG emissions in tidally-restricted, degraded wetlands are caused by human activity, they are anthropogenic emissions, and reducing them will have an effect on climate that is equivalent to reduced emission of an equal quantity of fossil fuel GHG. Thus, as a landuse-based climate change intervention, reducing CH4 emissions is an entirely distinct concept from biological C sequestration projects to enhance C storage in forest or wetland biomass or soil, and will not suffer from the non-permanence risk that stored C will be returned to the atmosphere. [FULL TEXT] .
  20. Ahmed, Nesar, et al. “Solutions to blue carbon emissions: Shrimp cultivation, mangrove deforestation and climate change in coastal Bangladesh.” Marine Policy 82 (2017): 68-75.  In Bangladesh, export-oriented shrimp farming is one of the most important sectors of the national economy. However, shrimp farming in coastal Bangladesh has devastating effects on mangrove forests. Mangroves are the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics, and blue carbon (i.e., carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems) emissions from mangrove deforestation due to shrimp cultivation are accumulating. These anthropogenic carbon emissions are the dominant cause of climate change(??) which in turn affect shrimp cultivation. Some adaptation strategies including Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), mangrove restoration, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) could help to reduce blue carbon emissions. Translocation of shrimp culture from mangroves to open-water IMTA and restoration of habitats could reduce blue carbon emissions, which in turn would increase blue carbon sequestration. Mangrove restoration by the REDD+ program also has the potential to conserve mangroves for resilience to climate change. However, institutional support is needed to implement the proposed adaptation strategies.
  21. Taillardat, Pierre, Daniel A. Friess, and Massimo Lupascu. “Mangrove blue carbon strategies for climate change mitigation are most effective at the national scale.” Biology letters 14.10 (2018): 20180251Carbon fixed by vegetated coastal ecosystems (blue carbon) can mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions, though its effectiveness differs with the spatial scale of interest. A literature review compiling carbon sequestration rates within key ecosystems confirms that blue carbon ecosystems are the most efficient natural carbon sinks at the plot scale, though some overlooked biogeochemical processes may lead to overestimation. Moreover, the limited spatial extent of coastal habitats minimizes their potential at the global scale, only buffering 0.42% of the global fossil fuel carbon emissions in 2014. Still, blue carbon plays a role for countries with moderate fossil fuel emissions and extensive coastlines. In 2014, mangroves mitigated greater than 1% of national fossil fuel emissions for countries such as Bangladesh, Colombia and Nigeria. Considering that the Paris Agreement is based on nationally determined contributions, we propose that mangrove blue carbon may contribute to climate change mitigation at this scale in some instances alongside other blue carbon ecosystems. [FULL TEXT]
  22. Kilminster, Kieryn, et al. “Seagrasses of southern and south-western Australia.” Seagrasses of Australia. Springer, Cham, 2018. 61-89The coastal waters of southern and south-western Australia are home to almost 30,000 km2 of seagrass, dominated by temperate endemic species of the genera Posidonia and Amphibolis. In this region, seagrasses are common in estuaries and sheltered coastal areas including bays, lees of islands, headlands, and fringing coastal reefs. Additionally, extensive meadows exist in the inverse estuaries of the Gulfs in South Australia, and in Shark Bay in Western Australia. This chapter explores (i) how geological time has shaped the coastline and influenced seagrasses, (ii) present day habitats and drivers, (iii) how biogeography patterns previously reported have been altered due to anthropogenic and climate impacts, and (iv) emerging threats and management issues for this region. Species diversity in this region rivals those of tropical environments, and many species have been found more than 30 km offshore and at depths greater than 40 m. Seagrasses in this region face a future of risk from multiple stressors at the ecosystem scale with coastal development, eutrophication, extreme climate events and global warming. However, our recent improved understanding of seagrass recruitment, restoration and resilience provides hope for the future management of these extraordinary underwater habitats.
  23. Wilson, Shaun, Alan Kendrick, and Barry Wilson. “The North-Western Margin of Australia.” World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation. Academic Press, 2019. 303-331.  The coastal areas and seas of north-west Australia traverse tropical and temperate latitudes, extensive ria and arid coastlines, complex inshore and offshore archipelagos and include two world heritage listed sites. As such the geological, physical environment and biodiversity of the region is extensive. The Indonesian Flow Through, and Holloway and Leeuwin currents are important moderators of temperature, vectors of propagules, and have a strong influence on the distribution of benthic communities. In turn, the El Niño southern oscillation is closely aligned to the strength of these currents and periodic disturbances that have caused widespread change to benthic communities over the past 20 years. Aboriginal people have occupied the region for > 46,000 years though European exploration only dates from the 1600s and even today human presence across much of the region is sparse. Nonetheless the region supports petroleum, shipping, tourism, fishing, and aquaculture industries of national economic significance. Human interactions with the marine environment are managed via fisheries, shipping, and threatened species legislation and the extensive network of multiple-use marine reserves.