Two Thirds of Earth's Atmospheric Oxygen is Estimated to come from the Oceans
The ocean absorbs most of the heat and a large amount of the carbon dioxide (CO2) resultant from climate change, leading to the disruption of vertical and horizontal flows of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, salinity, and other molecules and nutrients. This happens on a global scale. Oxygen and other gases is lost more easily from warmer water into warmer air, and increased CO2 in water raises levels of carbonic acid (H2CO3), some of which dissociates into carbonate and bicarbonate and protons (charged hydrogen ions, H+) raising the acidity of the waters, thus making life more difficult, particularly for shell forming organisms.
Meanwhile, all this, and the related massive algae blooms play into the increase in 'dead zones' of waters depleted of oxygen. The sudden fallout of huge amounts of deceased organisms then uses up more oxygen and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and CO2 as they decay.
It is thought of much less, since the plants, algae, diatoms, seaweeds, and other photosynthesizing organisms are net oxygen producers, but photosynthesizers ALSO require environmental oxygen to breathe (operate their metabolic structures) and live, not only CO2 and sunlight and water. So dead zones also destroy oxygen producers.
While it's hard for some people to imagine any individual or local action having a meaningful influence in mitigating climate change issues, many of the oxygen depleted dead zones are driven by anthropogenic factors locally very strongly. Namely, nutrient runoff from agriculture, aquaculture, landscaping, sewage, and likely some factors I'm forgetting. These are things we very much CAN do something about at the individual, household, business, local, state, and national levels.
NOTE: Statistics & sciences are complex and use many different data sets. Not every figure in every cited article is in exact agreement. Also note, I have not added all the relevant links I have yet.
- William Moomaw, et al: What the world needs now to fight climate change — More swamps
- The Climate-Wrecking Industry… and How to Beat It:
Insisting that we’re all responsible for global warming lets the biggest corporate polluters off the hook.
- Mel Gurtov: While Rome (and Most Everywhere Else) Burns
- Tim Radford: Scientists predict a probable worldwide die-off of vegetation as a result of climate change
- Tim Radford: Hothouse Earth could soon be unavoidable
Additions slated for placement somewhere in this site & comment (10/3/2018):
Items I haven't read very thoroughly yet:
- Sunken Treasures: Sylvia Earle On Why We Need To Protect The Oceans by Michael Shapiro, The Sun Magazine Interview, July 2018. There are some pluses and minuses for the current era listed here, but the really cool thing is to see the particular concern of this website addressed, albeit with a modicum of indirection, in a major publication. Two projects founded by Sylvia Earle: Mission Blue and Deep Hope.
- The Race to Solar-Power Africa While the people concerned were not on the grid to begin with, aside from various social benefits from electricity noted, this cuts down a lot on kerosene use for lighting. And continues to drive the advance of solar and efficient technologies.
My Life in the Elusive Green Economy
- Michael Grunwald - Politico Magazine - March 2018 - 5300 words.
“But in 2017, I finally went green. I bought solar panels for our roof and an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. I didn’t do it because the climate emergency has gotten more urgent, although it has, or because I want to be a better person, although I do. I did it to save money.
While the political debate over climate change has been stuck for years on the same is-it-real, is-it-us, should-government-act arguments, there’s been a quiet revolution on the ground, driven not by environmentalism or altruism but the bloodless logic of the marketplace.”
Massive report details the energy economy that limits warming to 2°C
- John Timmer - Ars Technica - November 2016 (post-US-election) - 1400 words. Haven't
had time to fully re-read all my relevant bookmarks yet, but here's one bullet point:
‘ But the report starts off with a look at the present, including the fact that carbon emissions have stayed flat for several years running, even as the global economy grew. The report suggests that we may have reached the point where a combination of efficiency and deployment of renewables has decoupled economic growth from carbon emissions. That had happened previously in a number of countries, but it wasn't clear when it would apply to the global economy. ’
The Myth of Scott Pruitt's EPA Rollback
- Michael Grunwald, Politico Magazine, 4/7/2018
But the EPA rules that were in effect in 2016 are still the rules in 2018, despite Pruitt’s efforts to overturn them. He tried to impose a unilateral stay on an Obama rule regulating climate-warming methane emissions from oil and gas operations; a federal appeals court deemed the stay “unauthorized” and “unreasonable,” so the methane rule is now in force again. He tried a similar maneuver to suspend Obama’s restrictions on smog; after a group of state attorney generals sued, Pruitt reversed course, so those restrictions also remain in effect. Obama’s EPA had worked on both rules for years, engaging with stakeholders and the scientific community, creating a lengthy administrative record. Pruitt still hopes to rewrite them, but success would require the same kind of meticulous process.
“You can’t just govern by press release. You have to do the hard work of developing a rule that can withstand judicial scrutiny, even though it isn’t sexy,” says State Energy & Environmental Impact Center director David Hayes, an Interior Department official in the Clinton and Obama administrations. “Pruitt hasn’t been willing to do that, and that’s why he isn’t really having much of an impact.”""
The best news all month:
[United States] All of a Sudden, Voting Rights Are Expanding Across the Country
- Ari Berman - Mother Jones - March 2018 - 900 words
‘ From 2010 to 2017, 23 states passed new voting restrictions. Now, the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction: Legislators have introduced at least 206 bills to expand access to the ballot in 30 states this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.ACLU blog post on Let People Vote The ACLU's new grassroots organization, People Power
“Unlike previous years, we’re playing on offense,” says Faiz Shakir, political director of the ACLU, which this year launched a Let People Vote campaign in every state. “We’re seeing a nationwide awakening around voting rights." ’
- The world has rejected the Trump administration's move to repudiate the Paris Climate Accord (Which is supposed to soon be updated with more aggressive pledges and plans). Every UN member state has signed, and 176 have ratified it. The Trump administrations withdrawal is not in effect yet. The Climate Change Denial Delusion (& cynical propaganda) continues to be a uniquely US American phenomenon. The pace of economic change toward sustainability is only accelerating (we HOPE fast enough, soon enough).
Roll Call of Doom
The research demonstrating the essential problem:Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth, research shows - University of Leicester Press Office, UK - December 2015 - 400 words
‘ The team developed a new model of oxygen production in the ocean that takes into account basic interactions in the plankton community, such as oxygen production in photosynthesis, oxygen consumption because of plankton breathing and zooplankton feeding on phytoplankton. ’A link to the paper ‘Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climate Change’ published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology is at the end of the article.
From Now You See It: How to write about the natural world when it's vanishing before your eyes. by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker, October 15th, 2018:
He gives the perennial sea ice until 2030 or so. 'That the Arctic Ocean will become free of sea ice in late Summer to early Autumn is a given.' he writes.
Both Wadhams and Serreze anticipate the loss will have disastrous and, as it were, snowballing consequences. Sea ice reflects sunlight, while open water absorbs it, so melting ice leads to further warming, which leads to more melt, and so on. (This past winter, parts of the Arctic saw temperatures of up to forty-five degrees above normal, even as parts of the United States and Europe were being buried under snow; some scientists believe the two phenomena are related, though others note that the link is, at this point, unproved.) Arctic soils contain hundreds of billions of tons of carbon, in the form of frozen and only partially decomposed plants. As the region heats up, much of this carbon is likely to be released into the atmosphere, where it will trap the heat---another feedback loop. [emphasis mine] In the Arctic Ocean, vast stores of methane lie buried under frozen sediments. If these stores, too, are released, the resulting warming is likely to be catastrophic. "The risk of an Arctic seabed methane pulse is one of the greatest immediate risks facing the human race," Wadhams writes [original emphasis].
"This is definitely disaster movie material" is how Serreze puts it.
- XKCD: Earth Temperature Timeline - Randall Munroe - September 2016
Oxygen is Disappearing from the World's Oceans at an Alarmingly Rapid Pace
- Sydney Pereira - Newsweek - January 2018 - 950 words
“The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment,” Denise Breitburg, lead author and marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, said in a statement. But, Breitburg said, people can solve the problem. “Halting climate change requires a global effort but even local actions can help with nutrient-driven oxygen decline.”
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Cost $5 Trillion Annually and Worsen Pollution
- Daniel Cusick - Scientific American - May 2015 - 1150 words
‘ IMF reports that post-tax global energy subsidies rose $3 billion each year from 2011 to 2014, and are projected to reach $5.3 trillion this year, or roughly 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product. That’s significantly more than emerging and low-income countries spend on public health and other core social and economic priorities, according to IMF. ’
It is my understanding that 90% of energy subsidies go to fossil fuels. Detangling the
conflicting sets of terms, data, and definitions used by various writers is beyond the scope
of what I can do today (3.20.2018). But here is another quote:
" "Source: Giles Parkinson February 2016.
He said the oil depletion allowance had been in place for the oil industry since 1926, and would be ongoing, despite the fact it was one of the most profitable industries in the world. He cited insurance costs for nuclear plants – met by taxpayers – “without which there would be no nuclear plants”.
For natural gas, it was the drilling, or fracking, which had been made exempt from compliance with the safe drinking water act: “That is subsidy,” he said. And he pointed to taxpayer funded rail networks that have helped coal.
By contrast, the large-scale wind and solar industries in the US have had to content with repeated changes to their federal support mechanisms. The tax credits have been changed seven times in a decade.
“How can you plan a wind turbine factory or project in those types of conditions,” he asked.
And he used this graph to illustrate the short-term nature of the subsidies that renewable energy does get. And the biggest benefit. “You put subsidies in renewable energy and costs go down” to the point where they are not needed any more. That has not happened with fossil fuels and nuclear." "
This site is a personal project and as such, always a work-in-progress. Last tweaks 10/3/2018.