An immediate halt to CO2 emissions is an absolute necessity…

by Gareth on February 8, 2011

…if we are to maintain the health of ocean ecosystems, says Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in this video presentation, given to a symposium at the recent Our Changing Oceans conference in Washington DC. It’s sobering viewing. Here are the primary messages from the symposium:

  • There is a large body of empirical evidence indicating that anthropogenic climate change is substantially impacting ocean ecosystems. The evidence comes from many taxa, locations and habitats.
  • Changes in biological function in the ocean caused by anthropogenic climate change go far beyond death, extinctions and habitat loss: fundamental processes are being altered, community assemblages are being reorganized and ecological surprises are likely.
  • These changes will have significant consequences for people.

Perhaps even more importantly, Ove suggests that 450 ppm atmospheric CO2 is not a comfortable target. Hat tip to Ove’s co-author John Bruno for posting this at Skeptical Science earlier today. See also Ove’s excellent climateshifts.org blog.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

bill February 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Just trying out erentz’s ‘get in first’ inoculation theory:

Typical alarming catastrophist alarmism / I didn’t bother to read the article all the way through – or watch the video – but this guy is clearly wrong because if he wasn’t I’d agree with him / show me the peer-reviewed paper that proves this so-called ‘sixth great extinction’ isn’t caused by leprechauns* / the only thing that’s really going extinct is Mann’s Hockey Stick / oh, and the CAGW scam / it’s all part of the natural cycle; species go extinct at rates 3 or 4 orders of magnitude above historical norms all the time – look what happened when that comet hit us! / ooh, I saw something I can cut-and-paste about this at Watts… hang on…

*’or ‘natural cycles’; ‘Leprechauns’ at least is definable!

Sorry if I appear to be flippant about a very serious issue, I’ve been following the good prof over at Climate Shifts for some time, but it’s been a long day and I’m sick of the forces of darkness… and here’s something to remind me we’re probably already over the falls in a barrel…

adelady February 9, 2011 at 2:26 am

Or you could just join everyone over at Skeptical Science gloomily downing beers at a bar. It’s not good news.

My suspicion is that we’ll soon start considering wind not just for power. We’ll be setting up mills for grinding suitable rocks to try and speed up processes that would otherwise take geological timescales to absorb CO2.

Killian February 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm

we don’t need to grind rocks, that’s just more degradation and is too slow. grow food, food forests, build soils from the lousy 1% organic material to 20% and you’ll be sequestering huge amounts of CO2, grow forests – not trees, forests – but most of all stop population growth, localize, grow your own food, create walkable, self-reliant communities….

adelady February 10, 2011 at 2:06 am

Building soils. I’ve been trying to track down the source of an article I read in a gardening magazine? catalogue? It was either a précis or an extract from an author whose argument is pretty simple. Gardeners (and farmers) can save the world with soil improvement. Lots of good figures on carbon retention and accumulation in properly managed soils.

Any suggestions who this might have been? Can’t even remember his nationality – I can remember it was a bloke. That’s not very helpful, unfortunately.

Killian February 10, 2011 at 6:34 am

I don’t know if this is what you are looking for, but it’s a longitudinal study comparing types of agriculure. No-till regenerative (permaculture) wins, of course. http://www.ifoam.org/growing_organic/1_arguments_for_oa/environmental_benefits/pdfs/Rodale_Research_Paper_Regenerative_Agriculture.pdf

bill February 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

Ah, yes, those of us associated with the creation of the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area well recall the Cquestrate proposal [shudder]… and right next door to the GAB Marine Park, too!… If it’s going to come to that I figure it’s probably time to go down to the harbour and pull a wave over our bonces, to quote Fred Dagg (and thanks very much for him, NZers – the man’s a genius!)

Killian February 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Cite your sources, then. There is literally not even one scientific study to back your rant. How gullible do you have to be to be made to believe something that has zero scientific or empirical evidence to support it?

Think; don’t let ideologues think for you.

bill February 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Um, I’m calling Poe on myself, here…

I did mention leprechauns!

tom bennion February 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Reading for a second time Gwynne Dyer’s blunt and increasingly prophetic “climate wars” he quotes Dennis Bushnell nasa’s chief scientist that feedbacks by 2100 including oceans going anoxic will “also make it somewhat difficult to breathe”. Page 90

I could happily forego a far bit of western consumerism in order to retain a breathable atmosphere.

Sime February 9, 2011 at 3:59 am

Hey Bill, oh so know where you are coming from

“I’m sick of the forces of darkness”…

Fear not everyone, it’s not true the Troll (you know who, peek-a-boo) , will shortly pop over and tell us “it’s all a lie”, and he should know after all he is not an expert so anything he tells us totally, absolutely, and utterly supersedes anything some so called Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg has to say.

Heck this guy only Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland what would he know eh, he’s just an alarmist, a conspiracy monger, the sea is just fine and dandy!

As a method of proving his point that being an expert is not necessary in order to make critical life and death decisions the Troll was last seen leaving his crayons behind in Troll Town to become a bomb disposal non expert…

“Who needs expertise… it just gets in the way!” he said.

Snip… click… “D’oh shi..” Boom!

Sime February 9, 2011 at 5:10 am

Ever seen Francis Ford Coppola’s Koyaanisqatsi – Life out of balance? if not you can watch here

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5539613947839465921#

Then find some time and watch this excellent piece of work – Link found on John Cooks excellent Skeptical Science.

http://www.youtube.com/homeproject#p/a/f/0/jqxENMKaeCU

Gareth February 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

I do remember Koyaanisqatsi – very impressive, with music by Philip Glass? We reported on Home at HT when it was released (June 2009). It is certainly worth watching.

bill February 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Koyaanisqatsi – Navajo for ‘life out of balance’; set entirely in the US, the unforgettasble closing scene may from the ultimate obituary for industrial civilization.

Also check out the sequels – Powqaatsi (‘life in transition’ set internationally, and particularly the third world’) and the more recent Naqoyqaatsi, (‘life as war’) which is not just a searing indictment of its subject, it’s an amazing testament to the power of Adobe After-effects. All scored by Glass, including some of his finest work.

And, of course, the related Baraka, ‘the breath of life’, with a soundtrack by Dead Can Dance (fantastic scenes highlighting Lisa Gerrard’s voice), L. Subramaniam , and Michael Stearns.

All of these wordless ‘docu-dramas’ are profoundly moving, but not by any means an escapist outing – ‘All true beauty is melancholy’

bill February 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Dead Can Dance – the Host of Seraphim, taken from Baraka

bill February 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Koyaanisqatsi – finale

Non-50center February 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Lounge chair scientist AGW denialist’s like Bill, who need BAU for their lifestyle, “cant handle the truth” and, as seen in his above comment, skip over the facts because it is counter to their argument. Just watch, in 50 years time they’ll be first inline to blame the government and scream “why didn’t you do something”.

Carol Cowan February 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Bill was being tongue-in-cheek. He was giving a round-up of the usual drivel dished up by our resident deniers.

steve wrathall February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Where is the accelerating sea level producing metres of rise this century? See 4:00
3.4 plus or minus 0.4 mm/year, and possibly slowing.
Catastrophe cancelled.

bill February 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Frankly, Steve, I reckon I do you better than you do!

Steve Wrathall February 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Answer the question. If this huckster is going to produce a flash video demanding we do 13 impossible things before breakfast, don’t you think its a bad idea if the graphs behind him actually prove the opposite? Than nothing alarming is happening.

bill February 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Prof Ove is a huckster, Hansen is a fraud, Monbiot is Marxist, and they’re all colluding in a great big conspiracy, along with all those other actual scientists working on the next IPCC report, and all those biologists reporting on all these changes in various ecosystems around the world (did you see the Amazon actually pumped out masses of CO2 again last year? just like in 2005?) that just happen to be consistent with the AGW hypothesis…

Or you’re an idiot.

Which do you think is more likely?

RW February 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I vote for “idiot”!

adelady February 10, 2011 at 2:12 am

bill, you overlooked the dastardly training of little critters like corals to expel their colourful little friends on demand. Just so those oceanographer conspiracists can take piccies to back up their fibs.

And the ecologists have their tiny invisible sheepdogs herding frogs and the like into new regions just so they can say “Told you so!”

steve wrathall February 10, 2011 at 8:48 am

Answer the question. Does or does not the Uni of Colorado graph at 4:00 show that the catastrophic increase in sea level rise is manifestly not occurring.

Killian February 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

No, you answer the question because it begets an astounding level lack of knowledge for someone commenting on this subject.
Hint 1: you said, “not occurring.”

Hint 2: Non-linear systems.

Signed,

Socrates

bill February 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

Ah yes, ‘Skeptic’ Myopia strikes again!

I’m glad you mentioned ‘non-linear systems’ because much of my early understanding of this issue came from reading James Gleick’s ‘Chaos’ – a lay primer on the eponymous field of mathematics (my paperback copy was lent to a friend a decade ago and never returned, sadly) – from which I took home the clear message that you perturb such systems at your peril! Give a massively complex, sensitively-dependent global system – one on which we all completely dependent – a hard enough shove into disequilibrium and, to demi-quote, ‘repent at your leisure’…

I’d ask my question about the conservative position on conducting radical experiments with the one atmosphere we possess again, but I think we all know none of the deniers is ever going to respond…

steve wrathall February 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

It’s random maths-phrase Thursday is it? Oh all right. Arctan.

Now if you wouldn’t mind. Answer the question. The graph at 4:00 shows no acceleration of sea-level rise. TRUE/FALSE?

Killian February 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm

your re-phrase is not allowing reply so it is here:

1. you are eyeballing charts, which is always a bad way to assess scientific data.

2. There are TWO graphs.

3. Those graphs are not intended to be exhaustive of all SLR data. There are multiple data sets and scientists rely on them all. The images in this video are informative props, not all the evidence he has.

4. #2 and #3 shows typical cherry-picking. Obviously.

5. The graph on the left is somewhat ambiguous only if you don’t understand cyclical systems: nothing we in climate is linear. Nothing. And, the last bit of data is sharply higher. And, you don’t measure trends on a few years of data, but on decades.

6. The chart on the left is extremely clear on SLR being significant.

bill February 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

But Steve, that’s trivial! The graph shows a linear trend between 1994 and 2010. Sea level is clearly increasing, and I guess that many will argue that if you take a small segment of an upwardly trending curve – over the space of, say, the 21st century – that segment may well appear straight. Particularly if it’s actually projected that the rate will increase most sharply in the latter half of the period.

(Bickmore pointed this out with regard to some on Monckton’s nonsense, I recall.)

Lo and behold – what do I see in the chart on page 5 here! Just that!

And I discover that current rises are tracking the upper end of IPCC projections!

But since I can even go to Wikipedia and discover ‘Current Sea Level Rise has occurred at a mean rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past century’, and this period shows a rise of 3.2mm/year in this very graph, then at the least I can safely conclude that the rate of sea-level rise in the last 16 years is greater than the average rate of increase over the 20th Century, can I not? Is that a permanent upward trend? I guess we’ll find out. Yet another not-at-all dangerous experiment to be running…

Hang on – what do I see if I look at the other chart on SLR? Wow, some areas – particularly those to our immediate north where most of the coral reefs actually are – are experiencing the very rates of sea-level rise that are required to reach IPCC projections for the century’s end.

(I have to say I don’t think that this graph can be very encouraging for many of your comrades who like to announce that the rise in sea-level – much like GW – has stopped!)

So where do you get ‘manifestly not occurring’ from again?

I clearly said Gleick’s book was a lay guide. ‘Non-linear’, ‘sensitive dependence (upon initial conditions)’ – these terms have passed into more common usage, not least because they are useful ways to describe the problem of dealing with the kind of linear mindset that assumes it can prove that something’s not happening if it’s not happening monotonically everywhere all-at-once!

Unlike some around here I make no claims to statistical or mathematical whizz-kiddery – hell, I went to Art School! Funny how often I’ve found myself bemused by the inane bungling of some who’ve loudly claimed to be highly-skilled, though…

Well, you’ve seized on all of one chart. And to my mind proved little. What about the rest of the presentation?

And now, will you answer my question: what is the conservative position on conducting a radical experiment with the one atmosphere we possess?

Steve Wrathall February 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Bill: “The graph shows a linear trend between 1994 and 2010.”
yes of 3.4 plus or minus 0.4 mm/year,
with the latest
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
showing only
3.1 plus or minus 0.4 mm/year
not statistically significant, I know. But it is not us climate realists who need to prove that there is no sea level rise. 30 cm of SLR is not catastrophic (or unprecedented). However we have only “been measuring sea level on a global basis with unprecedented accuracy” (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/) since 1992. Such measurements show no ACCELERATION of SLR.

bill February 10, 2011 at 8:51 pm

There’s that ‘not unprecedented’ again!

Righto, Steve, we agree on something. To quote the CSIRO -

This data has shown a more-or-less steady increase in Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) of around 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/year over that period [satellite measurement]. This is more than 50% larger than the average value over the 20th century. Whether or not this represent a further increase in the rate of sea level rise is not yet certain.

and I said -

I can safely conclude that the rate of sea-level rise in the last 16 years is greater than the average rate of increase over the 20th Century, can I not? Is that a permanent upward trend? I guess we’ll find out.

Leaving aside the information gap between the satellites and the gauges being the ’cause’ of the evident acceleration (a look at this chart is interesting in this regard), here’s a chart from the CSIRO that shows both tracking in the upper bands of the IPCC projections.

And please note; your side of the argument loves to forget that uncertainty cuts both ways – things could be worse than they appear. And I quote from the text below the chart -

However, the ice sheet uncertainties referred to above are essentially one-sided – i.e. they could lead to a significantly larger sea-level rise than current projections but are unlikely to lead to a significantly smaller rise

Which gets us right back to the other points I made, and that you ignored. As a reminder, here’s the CSIRO chart of sea-level projections for the 21st century, and let’s remember that, as we’ve already seen, observations are already tracking ahead, or in the upper reaches of, them.

How flat would any of the projected trends look in this early portion of the Century?

So I’m still not impressed. You have not proved anything is ‘manifestly not occurring’, you’ve just made the point that one might have to qualify the word ‘accelerating’ in relation to the graph on the right!

From this you take the giant leap to concluding that the Professor is a ‘huckster’. Intriguing, After viewing the video above, and then this one, dear reader, which of the two presenters do you find more plausible?

You said ‘don’t you think its a bad idea if the graphs behind him actually prove the opposite?’ remember. This one does nothing of the sort. The graph is entirely consistent with IPCC projections of SLR. In fact, it casts them in a conservative light!

Again, that’s ‘graphs‘, plural, that you said; and yet despite all the bluster this is the best you can do? You have swooped in on one small point that you feel safe to quibble on, and ignored the rest, not just of the graphs on that page, but of the entire presentation. I suggest the overall thrust of the presentation is undermined not one iota!

And you didn’t answer either of my questions. then again, in my experience, if they’re too inconvenient, you don’t…

CTG February 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

“30 cm of SLR is not catastrophic (or unprecedented).”

Um, Steve, do you know something we don’t? It is 30 cm per century, not 30 cm total. Is time going to end in 2100 or something? Or do you just not care what happens in the future?

The rate of SLR will only start increasing once the big ice sheets start melting properly, but that won’t be for a few decades yet.

But you say that everything is okay because something that is predicted to happen in the future isn’t happening right now. What a sad, strange little man you are, Steve.

steve wrathall February 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

“You have not proved anything is ‘manifestly not occurring’,”

There is no burden to prove any negative proposition. The burden of proof is squarely on those making the extraordinary claim. Current SLR of 3mm/year is entirely consistent with natural variability. Your claim that it is “consistent with” catastrophist projections is like saying earning 1c today and 2c tomorrow is consistent with becoming a millionaire within a month. Both rely on blind faith in future exponential increases that violate every known law.

bill February 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Sorry, Steve, you can’t construct some silly strawman based on projections that no-one has actually made, as I spelled out in considerable detail for the benefit of readers who might have a genuine interest in understanding the issue. I’ve made my case, duck the point as you see fit!

And I’ll take as read that you cannot respond to any of my other points, or answer my questions. To re-purpose one of your own (borrowed) catchphrases – ‘Wrathall Cancelled!’

adelady February 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

13 impossible things before breakfast?

1. No till agriculture is not just possible. It’s being done.
2. Solar PV is not just possible. It’s being done.
3. Biochar is not just possible. It’s being done.
4. Solar thermal is not just possible. It’s being done.
5. Geothermal is not just possible. It’s being done.
6. Hot rocks geothermal is possible.
7. Wind power is not just possible. It’s being done.
8. Insulation is not just possible. It’s being done.
……………………

So there are 8 things we can already do, we just need to do more and faster.

I wouldn’t worry about the impossible things (like carbon capture) until we’ve done our best with the possible.

steve wrathall February 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

1. No till agriculture
..has not a snowball’s chance of feeding 7 billion people.
2. Solar PV
…expensive, unreliable, intermittant and has ended in tears in Spain.
3. Biochar
…sourced from?? Would require displacement of food crops= starvation.
4. Solar thermal
…see 2
5. Geothermal
6. Hot rocks geothermal
…severely site limited. The rest of the world isn’t as lucky as NZ.
7. Wind power
…expensive, unreliable, intermittant
8. Insulation
from reality doesn’t help your case.

Killian February 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You are as interested in educating yourself as I am in listening to you. Every new energy technology is more expensive than its predecessor until it becomes widespread.

1. Remove the tens of billions of subsidies for all fossil fuels and see what happens.

2. Include the costs of health and environmental damage and FFs and they’d be cost-prohibitive.

You might try an intellectually honest post.

bill February 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Steve, ‘Team 0.5′ at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is apparently the world’s most powerful transmission electron microscope; and yet even if I had several uninterrupted hours of access to it I doubt I could locate my interest in your willfully jaundiced opinions in these matters.

(And you accuse others of being uninformed, bleating doom-mongers? Talk about zero self-perception!)

Sam Vilain February 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm

+1 for the William Burroughs joke ;-)

I have particular reference to Clause 6(x) which can only be deciphered with an electron microscope and a virus filter. I wonder if you know just what ‘or else’ means, Gene?

– from Queer

adelady February 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm

No till agriculture …. what on earth has this particular technique got to do with feeding x, y or any other number of billions of people? It’s just a method for retaining carbon and moisture and for reducing exposure of soil humus to oxidation.

Biochar? Only uses crop residues (and other wastes) effectively rather than old-fashioned burning. Why would this displace anything? It’s just making best use of something that would otherwise cause disposal problems.

I’ll not bother with the rest.

Killian February 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm

No till agriculture …. what on earth has this particular technique got to do with feeding x, y or any other number of billions of people?

Everything. How do you feed people if you have no humus, water or soil carbon?

Perhaps you are unaware of the depletion of phosphorus? Or that nat gas will also peak in coming decades, thus driving up costs of fertilizers? Or that there are water resource issues due to depleting aquifers and melting mountain glaciers? Or that the soils of much of the planet are depleted and produce only because fertilizers are piled onto them?

I assume you were being sarcastic?

adelady February 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Sorry Killian, I was replying to Steve’s silliness. I’m well aware of the virtues and the issues surrounding no till agriculture. But the way I read sw’s response was as though it was the standard permaculture-hippies-can’t-feed-anyone-let-alone-the-world rubbish.

No till allows whatever kind of agriculture you like – lots of fertilisers or pesticides / none of either. In fact, I see it as a great way to gradually move so-called conventional farmers over to more sustainable, sensible practices.

Thomas February 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Here we go again, A Steve Wrathall who thinks he knows it all without actually knowing much at all. Steve your belief in your own version of reality is unfortunately unrelated to your ability to process whats actually going on.
To your points:
1. No Till agriculture will in the end produce increased yields as it stops and often reverses the current dramatic soil loss of industrial agriculture. It significantly reduces FF input into food generation.
2. Solar PV is the most reliable electricity source imaginable. Solar Panels now come with 25 year performance warranties! No other electric generation concept comes even close. Ask people living in Solar PV homes. Visit these homes and actually inform yourself!
We live comfortably in Summer on a sailingboat with just 120Watt of PV producing enough to run a small fridge, the lights and radio etc days on end. But I guess you would prefer a noisy generator…..
3. Bio Char uses forestry scraps and other non-food competing sources of bio matter.
4. Solar Thermal: Goodness Steve, where have you been? In which sorry dark hole do you hide? Go visit a home with solar hot water systems. Go to China for goodness sake and take a look at their massive successful investment in their own hot water solar thermal plants. In NZ you can easily generate 50 to 70% of your HW needs with HW Solar and your pay back time can be as little as 5 years on commercial systems at current energy prices.
5. Normal Geothermal: Depends indeed on geography but NZ looks great.
6. Hot rock deep Geothermal: Steve please actually read the papers I linked in another post. Google “MIT geothermal energy report”. Deep geothermal could produce enough energy to fulfill all of humanities needs and is in principle possible everywhere.
7. Wind Power: Is reliable, is indeed intermittent but averaging over large networks makes 20% of Wind input realistic, especially in NZ.
8. Insulation: Well Steve you have insulated your mind completely form the future. All you can see and dream for is a continuation of the past with really no way out for yourself into a future that will not destroy our planet and that has any future at all, as unless you believe in the tooth fairies your fossil fuels will run out regardless.

CTG February 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm

One slight problem with your comment: “A Steve Wrathall who thinks he knows it all”

I have seen no credible evidence that Steve Wrathall thinks at all.

Other than that, good response :-)

bill February 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Great work, Thomas, but Matthew 7:6 ;-)

Thomas February 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for the roses guys! :-)

steve wrathall February 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Oh all right then.
(7 billion people stop producing CO2 immediately)
Wow, that was easy!
Anything else?

nommopilot February 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

So your point is? We shouldn’t try to avoid dire consequences of our collective behaviour because making changes is difficult?

That’s the spirit mate. It appears you’ve moved on from denial to despair: maybe you’re making progress.

paulm February 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I thought I heard him say something stronger than ’450 was not a comfortable’ target….

Gareth February 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm

You did. I was employing the fine art of understatement… ;-)

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