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New Report on Ocean Oxygen Loss Gives 'Ultimate Wake-Up Call' to Act on Climate

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/07/new-report-ocean-oxygen-loss-gives-ultimate-wake-call-act-climate


Stunning to think that the self-appointed futile feudalists so mired in trying to buy science never think of the planet as a BREATHING ENTITY!
On another branch - Just to remind beyond oxygenation of the planet’s waters, one of the GOALS of COP 21 is still to jigger a carbon market á la REDD+ . You cannot make this $#!t up!!! It is, always has been and always will be UTTERLY DEPENDENT on the usurpation of the traditional lands of indigenous peoples.
We need CARBON PRICING and Indigenous Environmental Network has a paper on that

Carbon Pricing: A Critical Perspective for Community Resistance


(snark alert) Wull, caint these red blooded Murican consumers just DEMAND more non oxygen breathin’ fish, then the Invisible hand of the Market will just spontaneously provide their desires?


Most important thing ever, and nothing to see here.


This is way over the heads of Quack Dynasty watchers… most Marekins. The most important thing is if my EBT card is reloaded before the end of the month while I bitch about big guvmint and the allful treatmint of Trump.


The new levels of “clusterfucked” we reach with the release of every new scientific study is staggering.

Collapse is inevitable.


At the risk of being serious and not just blaming America for everything every time, nevertheless the fact is that most people I’ve talked to do not realize that it is as bad as it is. It isn’t over their heads, it is under the radar of the mainstream media (until recently). People like us who’ll read CD and visit climate aware sites, are seeing the reality and have seen it for years but most people do not seek out news. They don’t seek out the facts for themselves but instead rely on their own specific recipe of media news sources, if even simply TV news. It isn’t ‘Murkins’ or some hypocritical crap (do you live here and do you use our phones and drive our ‘murikan’ cars too?). Murikans calling their fellow citizens and themselves murikans?

Americans in great number are in the fight to save our planet too. Most of our population support progressive views in general. Don’t call us and yourselves murikans or some other such infantile hypocrisy. I am proud to be among my fellow Americans in the fight to save our oceans. Give us some credit and don’t just talk as if we do not exist.


And collapse is going to come “much sooner than we thought.”


Sadly, I read in the Guardian, this morning, that US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise by 25% over the next decade and that the US is now the world’s leading producer of oil and gas. Keep in mind that this did not begin with Trump. It is in large part the result of Obama lifting the ban on US oil exports shortly after he signed the Paris accord.

Bless those folks that are protesting outside the current COP25, but it should be obvious, by now, that it is futile to expect COP talks to result in mandatory, legally binding agreements and sans that, there will be no action. Climate talks remain essentially just that, talks.

I would, however, like to see these alarming facts on US oil and gas production put to the candidates in one of the upcoming debates and then ask each candidate what, if anything, they propose to do about it. I suspect there will be a lot of onstage squirming and dancing. I doubt, though, that the DNC would allow such a question.


Well said Wereflea - and it needed to be said. Your whole post is dead accurate, on the money.

This topic - it’s the one most scientists don’t want to go near in public. An exception is Peter Ward, and I will post a link to his 2006 article in Scientific American. Interested parties can also read his follow up book from 2007, “Under a Green Sky”.

Most recently, the Oxford Very Short Introduction has “Extinction” (2019), by Paul Wignall, another expert in the field of mass extinctions, which is so good words fail me.

In the leadup to the end-Permian Mass Extinction, the biggest one we know of, carbon dioxide was extremely low, just like it has been in the lead up to The Anthropocene. Oxygen levels were high, like now. There is considerable academic debate about what the nearest deep-time analog to now is. Some favor the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum of ca 55 million years ago. (Lee Kump and Richard Alley have published on this line.

But when I look at the full Phanerozoic, the time since ~542 mya, that end-Permian event strikingly resembles our time most, though 252 million years have passes and much else has changed, the size of the supercontinet then, ocean circulation, position of the present day continents, even the types of life in the ocean especially.

But even with all that, it is that end-Permian likeness which scares me most.

Here are a few links, although I don’t expect many will be interested, but one never knows:


The clear intention of what is unfortunately called ‘business as usual’ is to burn every last drop of oil, and to mine every last coal seam, to burn all gas…

It is in no common sense way of thinking ‘business’ and it is crazy to add the adjective ‘as usual’.

This is a criminal gang who understand nothing at all of ‘business’ or ‘as usual’. The mob gone legit and now in control of even the mainstream presses.

No sane person or business would go on like this - and in the world of Nature - we will not go on like this.

What will happen is a change of state which will eliminate us and perhaps 40% of the life on Earth.

So we have got to somehow get rid of the mob, or at least drive them back into their underground world.


If you look at the oil and gas company websites, the projected development and production of various fossil fuels extend and increase decades into the future. I don’t think they plan to slow down, let alone stop. It’s insane.


‘The “ultimate wake-up call” to take bold action to rein in planet-warming emissions and save the world’s "suffocating seas’

This is not the ultimate wake up call. Its not when the cities are being wiped out in floods, it’s not when crops are being destroyed by drought, it’s not when people are dying in the street, it’s not when nations are killing hundreds of thousands over resources, its not a gigantic global mass extinction, Its not when huge tracts of land are subject to forest fires year around, it’s not when the fisheries are empty, or when the Atlantic aquatic life suddenly radically shifts and relocate from their normal habitat, It’s not when massive 100,000 year old shelves of ice disappear forever into the ocean. The ultimate wake up call is when millions of politicians and globalist industrialist billionaires worldwide are having their heads lopped off in the streets, then - and only then - will policy suddenly shift toward protecting the habitat. All the other stuff is already happening without any noticeable effect on policy.

I’ll repeat that last: “without any noticeable effect on policy”. That is not to suggest that policy changes are inadequate, they are non-existent.


There’s some interesting discussion in IUCN’s exec summary for this report. For instance:

The future intensification and expansion of low oxygen zones can have further ecosystem consequences as oxygen dependent cycling of elements by microbes alter the supply of nutrients or in extreme cases, lead to increased production of toxic hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S).

That poison gas scenario has been near the core of Peter D. Ward’s projection in books like Under a Green Sky. Hoo-boy. But wait, there’s more:

Further climate-driven warming of bottom waters may also result in enhanced destabilization of methane gas hydrates, leading to enhanced release of methane from sediments, and subsequent aerobic respiration of methane to carbon dioxide. There is, however, little observational evidence for a warming-induced acceleration of methane release taking place already.


The oil and gas industry has only slowed down when there has been a slump in prices, but, correct, there has never been an intention on their part to slow down. The greater crime is the way the industry has tried to cover up the toxic effects of their actions and, of course, you can’t indict the industry without also handing out indictments to willingly complicit and bought off politicians at every level of government.

All of this, of course, presupposes some alternate, other-world political/economic system that doesn’t equate high oil and gas and coal production and consumption with a “healthy” economy. Not in my lifetime and probably not in my grandchildren’s, either.

Singling out the fossil fuel industry, though, is simplistic thinking. Our entire infrastructure is built around the consumption of fossil fuels. Indeed, our way of life is built around consumption fossil fuels. We’ve all been born and raised in this culture and have never known anything different. Witness the panic that ensues when there is the least disruption in the availability of gasoline at our local pumps or if the prices we pay starts to get a little spooky.

Wereflea’s point is well taken. Can’t emphasize that enough. Americans are not a bunch of ignorant, uncaring louts. Far from it. Polls continuously show that climate change is a huge concern with the American public, but the reality remains that we all have to get up and go to work in the morning, we all depend on the lights to work, the furnace or AC to come on when we need it and so much more. It’s the only life we know.

The grim reality is that to avert a climate induced catastrophe, now that the hour is so late, will require massive and abrupt changes to our lifestyle. We don’t have another 30 years to gradually transition to renewables and even if we did, we certainly can’t depend on the government and markets to get us there. Am I scared? Damn right I am and so are a great many Americans. Beating each other up, though, is pointless and will only hasten our demise. Thank-you, Wereflea.


As usual, I ignore the billionaires who caused most of the trouble with their two hands, and their political friends, and the ad agency that regularly posts on this forum under made-up names.

Our job is to form different engineering divisions within the climate new deal movement, and yes they need to talk to each other and share limited resources. One division displaces and turns off fossil fuels, obviously. Another division works on all the non-fossil sources of greenhouse gases. A third division has two parallel charges: worldwide agricultural sequestration of carbon and partial remediation of unnatural ecological changes to various biomes.

I recommend that we experiment with simple wind-powered piston air pumps (turbines would be more complicated) to bubble air (oxygen) up through dead rivers and through dead sections of ocean such as the dead ocean near the mouth of the Mississippi River or in the Black Sea. This will somewhat restore the original ecology of those patches of water. If accumulated ocean heat is unnaturally driving the dissolved oxygen out of the water column on extremely hot days, perhaps we should put some oxygen back in.

The first result should be more fish to harvest in a world where agriculture has gone crazy, and second we could see a natural ecology where one celled algae eat the carbon dioxide, the krill eventually eat the algae and plankton and the krill eventually take their stored carbon down to the bottom of the ocean after they eventually die and sink (because of the weight of their calcium carbonate shells). Also, we see a bit less mass extinction if we create small biome refuges or large biome refuges.

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Your right, there is little observational evidence, little evidence in comparison with the gargantuan amount of methane that is actually being released that is. Too bad methane has 25 times as much impact on global warming as carbon dioxide.


A strong argument could be made that systems collapse has already begun. I suppose the last domino doesn’t know when the first or second has fallen.


The fact that the extraction folks are planning to invest $1 trillion dollars in additional drilling, digging, piping, and processing over the next two decade tells you all you need to know about the true direction of those in power. Electing Bernie or Tulsi will be changing drivers in a car with a blown engine and four flat tires.


I was just reading parts of that report online - thanks for the link.

It looks like a very good summary, and right up to date.

I am finding it difficult to keep up with the flood of new information, so summaries like this are welcome.