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Pollution, Climate Change & other anthropogenic effects on Biosphere

India Rishi Offline
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This is just a brief summary. Read full details here:
https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sc13677.doc.htm

Massive Displacement, Greater Competition for Scarce Resources Cited as Major Risks in Security Council Debate on Climate-Related Threats

REPORT from UN Security Council
Published on 25 Jan 2019


Quote:Climate change poses risks to international peace and security through massive displacement of people and increased competition for scarce natural resources, speakers told the Security Council today while expressing divergent views on what the 15-member organ can do about it.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the risks associated with climate-related disasters do not represent a scenario of some distant future but are already “a reality today for millions of people around the globe”.

Briefing during an open debate in which more than 80 Member States participated, she explained that climate change has heightened competition for diminishing land, forage and water resources in certain countries, fuelling tensions between herders and farmers, compounding socioeconomic exclusion and raising the chances of youth being recruited into armed groups.

Looking ahead, the United Nations will invest in certain actions, she said, noting that the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with practitioners from across and beyond the Organization, are developing an integrated risk-assessment framework to analyse climate-related security risks.  The Organization is also working to ensure that such analysis is better reflected in mandated reports and seeks to strengthen the evidence base to support the development of climate risk prevention and management strategies in the field.

Briefing via audio teleconference from Davos, Switzerland, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner emphasized that climate-related disasters, conflict and insecurity all have catastrophic impacts on people and societies.  Noting that the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report has just been released in Davos, he said that it spotlights climate change mitigation measures as one of the world’s top priorities today.

Describing climate change as a risk multiplier that exacerbates already existing challenges, he warned that without swift action to address it, more than 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia will be forced to migrate within national borders by 2050.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a chance for countries to leverage actions leading to real change, he added.

Pavel Kabat, Chief Scientist of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), spoke on behalf of that body’s Secretary-General, highlighting findings from the newly published Global Risks Report 2019, which indicate that extreme weather, natural disasters, climate change and water crises are the top four existential threats to the planet, demonstrating significant links with other shocks and impacts on peace and security as well as sustainable development.  
Noting that it has been about 4 million years since the Earth last experienced a concentration of carbon dioxide comparable to the current record levels, he cited WMO findings that the previous four years have been the warmest, characterized by high-impact weather events bearing the hallmark of climate change, he said climate change affects security in a multitude of ways, rolling back gains in access to food, heightening the risks of wildfire and increasing the potential for water-related conflict.

Expressing hope for closer collaboration with the Security Council, he said WMO stands ready to provide authoritative information for decision-making, adding that the agency also supports the Council’s diplomatic business in areas appropriate to the understanding and analysis of peace and security threats.  As such, WMO is increasing its support to help the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre provide expert information and assist the leadership in making informed, strategic decisions, he said.

Lindsay Getschel, a research assistant with the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program, said the Security Council can take three concrete steps to reduce the security impacts of climate change.  First, it should adopt a resolution formally recognizing climate change as a threat to international peace and security.  Secondly, deployed United Nations missions should assess how climate change will impact local youth and how young people can be involved in building resilience and sustainability.  Third, missions must transition to using clean energy in the field.

Following the briefings, speakers exchanged views on the Council’s role in addressing climate-related security threats.  Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister said it is high time the Council considers climate change as part of its regular work programme, while also incorporating it into country-specific discussions and the renewal of peacekeeping mandates.  He went on to propose the creation of an institutional focal point, such as a clearing house, which could pull together expertise from across the United Nations system to provide information to the Council.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister said that the Council must consolidate efforts to better respond to the security impacts of climate change, including by equipping peacekeepers with a capacity to undertake military operations other than war, such as “climate peace missions”.  She added:  “Our homework in the Council is to better define what falls under the ambit of climate change itself and what constitutes security dimensions of climate-related effects.”

The Russian Federation’s representative was among several speakers arguing that the Security Council is not the appropriate forum in which to address climate change.  Reiterating his country’s long-standing opposition to the “securitization” of climate change, he emphasized that considering it in the Council is both excessive and counter-productive.  Such discussions also undercut the division of labour within the United Nations, he added.  Moreover, climate change is not a universal challenge and should not be considered as such, he stressed, cautioning that doing so might lead to the false assumption that climate change always leads to conflict.

India’s representative said that research findings on the generalized links between climate disasters and security remain ambiguous, recalling that the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states:  “The evidence on the effect of climate change and variability on violence is contested.”  A securitized approach to climate change risks pitting States in competition whereas cooperation is more productive in tackling the threat, he said, adding that thinking in security terms usually engenders overly militarized responses.  It is also questionable to shift climate law-making from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a structurally unrepresentative institution with an exclusionary approach decided in secretive deliberations.

Widely representing the views of small island developing States, the Foreign Minister of Maldives said climate change will eventually take his entire country.  “Climate change is not only an everyday fact for the Maldives, but an existential threat,” he emphasized, predicting that the man-made two-metre rise in sea levels will result in a situation whereby the entire nation is virtually submerged.  Deploring the fact that Maldivian lakes are drying up while the Council discusses which United Nations forum is best suited to address climate change, he demanded:  “What is a bigger security threat to us than this?”

Sudan’s delegate said that his country has suffered from climate change and the resulting outbreaks of conflict, including the violence in Darfur, which began in 2003.  He explained that tensions among Darfur’s largely agriculture-dependent population erupted because of competition for limited resources, fed by the spread of weapons from neighbouring countries.

The observer for the European Union said that further efforts are required to ensure that relevant climate and environmental risks are appropriately included in risk assessments that form the basis of the Council’s decisions.  They should take into account the greater risks, burdens and adverse impacts on women and girls during and following disasters, including the heightened risk of gender-based violence.

Speaking in his national capacity, the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, which holds the Council’s presidency for January, said it is time for the Security Council to reach a consensus on how it will integrate climate change into its work.  He suggested that all proposals raised today should be collected and provided to the Secretary-General.  The proposals included the appointment of a special representative on climate change and security, and representation of small island developing States on the Security Council.

Also speaking today were representatives of Kuwait, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, France, United States, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Guatemala, Hungary, Philippines, Haiti, Canada, Fiji, Nicaragua, Norway, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Japan, Greece, Latvia, Italy, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Barbados (for the Caribbean Community), Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Sweden, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kenya, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ireland, Chile, Nauru (for the Pacific Island Forum), Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Viet Nam, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Uruguay, Finland, Uzbekistan, Romania, Qatar, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, Belize (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Tuvalu, Algeria, United Arab Emirates and Mauritius.
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India Rishi Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-03-2019, 12:46 PM by Rishi )

Northern Hemisphere hit by freak climate anomaly!

As temperature in mid-West of North America & Central Russia to plummet upto -50°C at places, Alaska & North pole becomes abnormally warm, facing a heat wave with temperatures approaching the freezing point already; at 15°C above normal.

Predicted daily mean, near-surface temperature (°C) differences from normal (relative to 1979-2000 avg.) for January 28-30, 2019. 
Data from NOAA’s Global Forecast System model. Climate Reanalyzer, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine.


*This image is copyright of its original author

Polar Vortex, large area of low pressure & counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air near the Poles. It's normal that during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will weaken & expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream that contains it.

But as the poles got hit the worst, experiencing jacked up Greenhouse effect as thousands of years old ice sheets & permafrost are melting away for the first time, exposing darker ocean and land surfaces that absorb even more of the sun’s heat...



...rapid Arctic warming the north-south temperature difference has diminished, reducing pressure differences between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, in turn weakening jet stream winds.
And slower-flowing jet stream tends to meander like a slow-moving rivers, resulting in wide north-south undulations in its flow.

This generates waves in the atmosphere that, if strong enough, disrupt the stratospheric polar vortex above. This upper vortex became so distorted that it split into 2 swirling eddies. 
These “daughter” vortices moved towards the warmer south, one over Canada & other Russia, bringing their (comperatively) cold polar air with them and leaving behind a dangerously warmer-than-normal Arctic!

*This image is copyright of its original author


Information sources for further details:
https://climatecrocks.com/2019/01/21/war...h-america/
https://theconversation.com/how-frigid-p...ing-110653
https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3136
https://climatereanalyzer.org
https://www.weather.gov/
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jennifer_Francis



PS: @Wolverine @Shadow @Pckts @Kingtheropod @GrizzlyClaws & any other forum member that may have been affected by it, stay safe & stay warm.
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parvez Offline
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@Rishi there is barely any rain here at nellore, ap. Urs is flooded i think.
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India Rishi Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-25-2019, 08:37 PM by Rishi )

(07-25-2019, 12:48 PM)parvez Wrote: @Rishi there is barely any rain here at nellore, ap. Urs is flooded i think.

North Bengal, yes. But here at Kolkata its been cloudy-sunny for last 15 days & not a drop, when it should've been drizzling 24×7.
You're not supposed to see the sun in July! Atleast it has been cloudy from yesterday.

Summer monsoon is to enter the subcontinent in a curved path...

*This image is copyright of its original author

...instead this year's have been straight from southwest to northeast. This is yesterday's.
*This image is copyright of its original author

The water it's picking up from Bay of Bengal is causing devastating floods in NE, with all of Kaziranga drowned.
But the plains & peninsular India beyond western ghats is bone dry.

It's late too, & the delay is steadily increasing almost every year.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Although we had rains all summer, as the excessively hot inlands drew in clouds that poured near the coast. While people farther inwards suffered, we did quite comfortably, so can't complain i guess.
The poor Europeans are having to endure through record shattering heat waves. Apprently it's hotter in places there, than it was here in peak summer! @peter?
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-25-2019, 06:08 PM by peter )

CLIMATE CHANGE IN EUROPE

In central and northwestern Europe, records are shattered just about every year. Finland also is very warm at the moment. This week, in the Netherlands, temperatures rose to just over 39 degrees Celcius. Another record, it was. In large cities, it takes a long time to get rid of the heat. This means you sweat at night as well.

As people over here are not used to severe heat waves, many suffer. People over 60 are vulnarable in particular. However. A few years ago heat waves resulted in thousands of extra deaths. Today, this no longer is the case. The measures taken had an effect, that is.    

As a result of more frequent heatwaves, international trade and, in particular, rising averages, tropical diseases entered most of southern and eastern Europe and large parts of central Europe. It is a problem that has been underestimated.

As a result of more, and longer, periods with high temperatures and little or no rain, water shortages have become more common. Although tropical downpours replaced long spells of moderate rain, water shortages are here to stay. Those who depend on a regular supply of water, like farmers, warn about the consequences.  

Over here, climate change wasn't a result of a slow process. It suddenly started with unusual phenomena and they're still here. Extremes, in just about every season, have become more or less common. The problem is most countries in northwestern and central Europe are not prepared for what's about to follow. 

It is to be expected that the consequences of climate change will hit the poor and the lower middle classes first and most. As they, at least in most of Europe, are no longer represented by Labour-like political parties, new parties came out of nowhere. Those running these parties, like 80 years ago, blame foreigners and the eternal enemy in times of peril, which was much appreciated by many voters. So much so, that they were willing to accept tax cuts for the wealthy and a complete dismissal of what is now known as climate change. It didn't help.

Finding an adequate answer to climate change all over the planet will be a, ehhh, challenge. My guess for now is the road to a new balance will be long, rough and rocky. It will be a costly affair and those supporting these new parties will, unfortunately, suffer most, no matter what. Nothing new there.
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India Rishi Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-25-2019, 08:44 PM by Rishi )

(07-25-2019, 06:05 PM)peter Wrote: CLIMATE CHANGE IN EUROPE

In central and northwestern Europe, records are shattered just about every year. Finland also is very warm at the moment. This week, in the Netherlands, temperatures rose to just over 39 degrees Celcius. Another record, it was. In large cities, it takes a long time to get rid of the heat. This means you sweat at night as well.

As people over here are not used to severe heat waves, many suffer. People over 60 are vulnarable in particular. However. A few years ago heat waves resulted in thousands of extra deaths. Today, this no longer is the case. The measures taken had an effect, that is.    

As a result of more frequent heatwaves, international trade and, in particular, rising averages, tropical diseases entered most of southern and eastern Europe and large parts of central Europe. It is a problem that has been underestimated.

As a result of more, and longer, periods with high temperatures and little or no rain, water shortages have become more common. Although tropical downpours replaced long spells of moderate rain, water shortages are here to stay. Those who depend on a regular supply of water, like farmers, warn about the consequences.  

Over here, climate change wasn't a result of a slow process. It suddenly started with unusual phenomena and they're still here. Extremes, in just about every season, have become more or less common. The problem is most countries in northwestern and central Europe are not prepared for what's about to follow. 

It is to be expected that the consequences of climate change will hit the poor and the lower middle classes first and most. As they, at least in most of Europe, are no longer represented by Labour-like political parties, new parties came out of nowhere. Those running these parties, like 80 years ago, blame foreigners and the eternal enemy in times of peril, which was much appreciated by many voters. So much so, that they were willing to accept tax cuts for the wealthy and a complete dismissal of what is now known as climate change. It didn't help.

Finding an adequate answer to climate change all over the planet will be a, ehhh, challenge. My guess for now is the road to a new balance will be long, rough and rocky. It will be a costly affair and those supporting these new parties will, unfortunately, suffer most, no matter what. Nothing new there.

Sweating is better than sickness.

For those who aren't used to 35°+ temperatures, much more important factor to note would be the humidity. It can be the difference between mere irritation & illness.
People there all have ceiling-fans? Circulating hot, dry air or wind can both cause one to lose fluids very quickly. Who aren't used to such heat may even fall sick, especially kids. In my city is it rarely falls below 75% & I've travelled northwest with 50% humidity in summer to know the dreadful contrast.

In such cases you might even want to wet the drapes on your windows if you're keeping them open.

And your right about tropical diseases being Europe's big problem in foreseeable future. With the populace likely less resistant to their strains it could be free real estate for them, especially if mosquitoes manage to gain a foothold.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-26-2019, 10:35 AM by peter )

(07-25-2019, 08:30 PM)Rishi Wrote:
(07-25-2019, 06:05 PM)peter Wrote: CLIMATE CHANGE IN EUROPE

In central and northwestern Europe, records are shattered just about every year. Finland also is very warm at the moment. This week, in the Netherlands, temperatures rose to just over 39 degrees Celcius. Another record, it was. In large cities, it takes a long time to get rid of the heat. This means you sweat at night as well.

As people over here are not used to severe heat waves, many suffer. People over 60 are vulnarable in particular. However. A few years ago heat waves resulted in thousands of extra deaths. Today, this no longer is the case. The measures taken had an effect, that is.    

As a result of more frequent heatwaves, international trade and, in particular, rising averages, tropical diseases entered most of southern and eastern Europe and large parts of central Europe. It is a problem that has been underestimated.

As a result of more, and longer, periods with high temperatures and little or no rain, water shortages have become more common. Although tropical downpours replaced long spells of moderate rain, water shortages are here to stay. Those who depend on a regular supply of water, like farmers, warn about the consequences.  

Over here, climate change wasn't a result of a slow process. It suddenly started with unusual phenomena and they're still here. Extremes, in just about every season, have become more or less common. The problem is most countries in northwestern and central Europe are not prepared for what's about to follow. 

It is to be expected that the consequences of climate change will hit the poor and the lower middle classes first and most. As they, at least in most of Europe, are no longer represented by Labour-like political parties, new parties came out of nowhere. Those running these parties, like 80 years ago, blame foreigners and the eternal enemy in times of peril, which was much appreciated by many voters. So much so, that they were willing to accept tax cuts for the wealthy and a complete dismissal of what is now known as climate change. It didn't help.

Finding an adequate answer to climate change all over the planet will be a, ehhh, challenge. My guess for now is the road to a new balance will be long, rough and rocky. It will be a costly affair and those supporting these new parties will, unfortunately, suffer most, no matter what. Nothing new there.

Sweating is better than sickness.

For those who aren't used to 35°+ temperatures, much more important factor to note would be the humidity. It can be the difference between mere irritation & illness.
People there all have ceiling-fans? Circulating hot, dry air or wind can both cause one to lose fluids very quickly. Who aren't used to such heat may even fall sick, especially kids. In my city is it rarely falls below 75% & I've travelled northwest with 50% humidity in summer to know the dreadful contrast.

In such cases you might even want to wet the drapes on your windows if you're keeping them open.

And your right about tropical diseases being Europe's big problem in foreseeable future. With the populace likely less resistant to their strains it could be free real estate for them, especially if mosquitoes manage to gain a foothold.

The western and northern part of the Netherlands is surrounded by water. We also have a large inland lake. Furthermore, a few large rivers run through most of the country. With the North Sea and the Atlantic as close neighbours and low-lying 'polders' in the western part of the country, water is 'in the air' all the time just about everywhere. Compared to most other countries, humidity is high over here. 

I don't have a ceiling-fan for the reason you mentioned. The best way to keep the heat out is to close the curtains and the windows. In spite of that, the temperature is well over 30 degrees inside. In the evening, I bike to a largish city lake for a swim. I also have a kayak over there. After dark, I often sit outside with neighbours. Most of them are connected to tropical countries in some way or another. We do plenty of picnics in summer. 

As we speak, a new record was set in the southeastern of the country part today: 40,7 degrees Celcius. In Germany and France, it was even warmer (42 degrees). 

The best way to deal with heat is to stay out of the sun and take it easy. Most people decide for cool drinks, but they affect your body temperature. Same for a cold shower. Furthermore, you have to adapt, meaning you rise early and take a longish break in the early afternoon. In summer, 8-hour comas are substituted by shortish wolf sleeps. 

As to tropical diseases. I recently read an article about an experiment conducted on an island. Chinese researchers infected male mosquitos with a deadly disease. The males were released on an island. Within a few months, all mosquitos known to spread dangerous diseases perished. A very effective and cheap method. And a blow for professionals.
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Lycaon Offline
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Another thing I would like to add, is that buildings and other infrastructure turn into ovens here in Europe. As long as one doesn't do too much activity one can manage the heat.
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Got to 40° here in England today. The heat is more oppressive than generally hotter places I've been to in north Africa and the UAE. It's a different kind of struggle, exacerbated by the fact we're on an island. Lycaon makes a great point too. Buildings and houses in Europe aren't built for the heat, no AC, lots of insulation, as traditionally the continent is fairly cool. Therefore heat is actually retained in houses a lot of the time, but it's still better than being exposed to the raw sun. All of this combined makes it a very uncomfortable thing to experience, and not one to be celebrated at all as I've seen even some news do today. I think to many, climate change has been an invisible threat, they are aware but dont interinternalise its impacts. At least here, the effects of climate change are playing out in front of our eyes, and it is without doubt the biggest issue facing humanity today.
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I read your posts... Here Genf, only 36-38° today. I say "only" because I see it was hoter for you. Nevertheless, we are constantly clammy. When you're writing or sketching somebody, immediately the sheet of paper becomes wet. I don't like it, we are living in slow-motion. Now a violent thunderstorm is falling. The atmosphere is going to be washed. A good point !

Yes, the climate is changing everywhere. But it's only one consequence of the human action. The demographic is changing everywhere too. European people are getting older and oder, whereas African people are getting younger and younger. The wild life is disappearing I don't know more the exact figure that was recently announced: at least 60% of the wild free has been disappearing for the last 40 past years. Did you also hear this ?

At least the climatic change is easyly perceptible by all of us...
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India sanjay Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-26-2019, 07:09 AM by sanjay )

@Rishi
Not good in Lucknow this year. We got total 3-4 rainy days, Extreme humid environment. Last 2-3 days were better, but rainfall is very less compared to last year.

I think developed cities, specially in north and north-west belt in India likely to see less and less rain in upcoming years.

Only extreme south (Kerala) and East will continue to get good rainfall.
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Nature’s Solution to Climate Change

When it comes to saving the planet, one whale is worth thousands of trees.
Scientific research now indicates more clearly than ever that our carbon footprint—the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming through the so-called greenhouse effect—now   threatens our ecosystems and our way of life.  But efforts to mitigate climate change face two significant challenges.  The first is to find effective ways to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere or its impact on average global temperature.  The second is to raise sufficient funds to put these technologies into practice.
Many proposed solutions to global warming, such as capturing carbon directly from the air and burying it deep in the earth, are complex, untested, and expensive. What if there were a low-tech solution to this problem that not only is effective and economical, but also has a successful funding model?
An example of such an opportunity comes from a surprisingly simple and essentially “no-tech” strategy to capture more carbon from the atmosphere: increase global whale populations. Marine biologists have recently discovered that whales—especially the great whales—play a significant role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere (Roman and others 2014).  And international organizations have implemented programs such as Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) that fund the preservation of carbon-capturing ecosystems.
Adapting these initiatives to support international efforts to restore whale populations could lead to a breakthrough in the fight against climate change.
The carbon capture potential of whales is truly startling.  Whales accumulate carbon in their bodies during their long lives. When they die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean; each great whale sequesters 33 tons of CO2 on average, taking that carbon out of the atmosphere for centuries. A tree, meanwhile, absorbs only up to 48 pounds of CO2 a year.
Protecting whales could add significantly to carbon capture because the current population of the largest great whales is only a small fraction of what it once was. Sadly, after decades of industrialized whaling, biologists estimate that overall whale populations are now to less than one fourth what they once were. Some species, like the blue whales, have been reduced to only 3 percent of their previous abundance. Thus, the benefits from whales’ ecosystem services to us and to our survival are much less than they could be.
But this is only the beginning of the story.
The whale pump
Wherever whales, the largest living things on earth, are found, so are populations of some of the smallest, phytoplankton. These microscopic creatures not only contribute at least 50 percent of all oxygen to our atmosphere, they do so by capturing about 37 billion metric tons of CO2, an estimated 40 percent of all CO2 produced. To put things in perspective, we calculate that this is equivalent to the amount of CO2 captured by 1.70 trillion trees—four Amazon forests’ worth—or 70 times the amount absorbed by all the trees in the US Redwood National and State Parks each year. More phytoplankton means more carbon capture.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that whales have a multiplier effect of increasing phytoplankton production wherever they go. How? It turns out that whales’ waste products contain exactly the substances—notably iron and nitrogen—phytoplankton need to grow. Whales bring minerals up to the ocean surface through their vertical movement, called the “whale pump,” and through their migration across oceans, called the “whale conveyor belt.” Preliminary modeling and estimates indicate that this fertilizing activity adds significantly to phytoplankton growth in the areas whales frequent.

*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author

Despite the fact that nutrients are carried into the ocean through dust storms, river sediments, and upwelling from wind and waves, nitrogen and phosphorus remain scarce and limit the amount of phytoplankton that can bloom in warmer parts of the oceans. In colder regions, such as in the Southern Ocean, the limiting mineral tends to be iron. If more of these missing minerals became available in parts of the ocean where they are scarce, more phytoplankton could grow, potentially absorbing much more carbon than otherwise possible.
Letting whales live
This is where the whales come in. If whales were allowed to return to their pre-whaling number of 4 to 5 million—from slightly more than 1.3 million today—it could add significantly to the amount of phytoplankton in the oceans and to the carbon they capture each year. At a minimum, even a 1 percent increase in phytoplankton productivity thanks to whale activity would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of 2 billion mature trees. Imagine the impact over the average lifespan of a whale, more than 60 years.
Despite the drastic reduction in commercial whaling, whales still face significant life-threatening hazards, including ship strikes, entanglement in fishing nets, waterborne plastic waste, and noise pollution. While some species of whales are recovering—slowly—many are not.
Enhancing protection of whales from human-made dangers would deliver benefits to ourselves, the planet, and of course, the whales themselves. This “earth-tech” approach to carbon sequestration also avoids the risk of unanticipated harm from suggested untested high-tech fixes. Nature has had millions of years to perfect her whale-based carbon sink technology. All we need to do is let the whales live. 
Now we turn to the economic side of the solution. Protecting whales has a cost. Mitigating the many threats to whales involves compensating those causing the threats, a group that includes countries, businesses, and individuals. Ensuring that this approach is practical involves determining whales’ monetary value.
International public good
Whales produce climate benefits that are dispersed all over the globe. And because people’s benefits from the existence of whales do not diminish the benefits that others receive from them, they are a textbook public good. This means that whales are affected by the classic “tragedy of the commons” that afflicts public goods: no individual who benefits from them is sufficiently motivated to pay their fair share to support them. Just think of the importance of earth’s atmosphere to our survival. Even though all nations acknowledge that everyone has an interest in preserving this common resource for the future, global coordination remains a problem.

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To solve this international public goods problem, we must first ask, What is the monetary value of a whale? Proper valuation is warranted if we are to galvanize businesses and other stakeholders to save the whales by showing that the benefits of protecting them far exceed the cost. We estimate the value of an average great whale by determining today’s value of the carbon sequestered by a whale over its lifetime, using scientific estimates of the amount whales contribute to carbon sequestration, the market price of carbon dioxide, and the financial technique of discounting. To this, we also add today’s value of the whale’s other economic contributions, such as fishery enhancement and ecotourism, over its lifetime.  Our conservative estimates put the value of the average great whale, based on its various activities, at more than $2 million, and easily over $1 trillion for the current stock of great whales.     

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But there is still the question of how to reduce the myriad dangers to whales, such as ship strikes and other hazards. Luckily, economists know how these types of problems can be solved. In fact, a potential model for such solutions is the United Nations (UN) REDD program. Recognizing that deforestation accounts for 17 percent of carbon emissions, REDD provides incentives for countries to preserve their forests as a means of keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere. In a similar way, we can create financial mechanisms to promote the restoration of the world’s whale populations. Incentives in the form of subsidies or other compensation could help those who incur significant costs as a result of whale protection. For example, shipping companies could be compensated for the cost of altered shipping routes to reduce the risk of collisions.
This solution, however, raises questions that are tricky to answer. To begin with, a financial facility for protecting whales and other natural assets must be set up and funded.  Exactly how much should we be willing to spend on protecting the whales? We estimate that, if whales were allowed to return to their pre-whaling numbers—capturing 1.7 billion tons of CO2 annually—it would be worth about $13 per person a year to subsidize these whales’ CO2 sequestration efforts. If we agree to pay this cost, how should it be allocated across countries, individuals, and businesses?  How much should each individual, company, and country that must bear some of the cost of protecting whales be compensated? And who will oversee the compensation, and monitor compliance with the new rules?
International financial institutions, in partnership with other UN and multilateral organizations, are ideally suited to advise, monitor, and coordinate the actions of countries in protecting whales. Whales are commonly found in the waters around low-income and fragile states, countries that may be unable to deal with the needed mitigation measures. Support for these countries could come, for example, from the Global Environment Facility, which typically provides support to such countries to meet international environmental agreements. The IMF is also well placed to help governments integrate the macroeconomic benefit that whales provide in mitigating climate change, as well as the cost of measures to protect the whales, into their macro-fiscal frameworks.  The World Bank has the expertise to design and implement specific programs to compensate private sector actors for their efforts to protect whales.  Other UN and multilateral organizations can oversee compliance and collect data to measure the progress of these efforts.
A new mindset
Coordinating the economics of whale protection must rise to the top of the global community’s climate agenda. Since the role of whales is irreplaceable in mitigating and building resilience to climate change, their survival should be integrated into the objectives of the 190 countries that in 2015 signed the Paris Agreement for combating climate risk.
International institutions and governments, however, must also exert their influence to bring about a new mindset—an approach that recognizes and implements a holistic approach toward our own survival, which involves living within the bounds of the natural world. Whales are not a human solution—these great creatures having inherent value of their own and the right to live—but this new mindset recognizes and values their integral place in a sustainable ocean and planet. Healthy whale populations imply healthy marine life including fish, seabirds, and an overall vibrant system that recycles nutrients between oceans and land, improving life in both places. The “earth-tech” strategy of supporting whales’ return to their previous abundance in the oceans would significantly benefit not only life in the oceans but also life on land, including our own.
With the consequences of climate change here and now, there is no time to lose in identifying and implementing new methods to prevent or reverse harm to the global ecosystem.  This is especially true when it comes to improving the protection of whales so that their populations can grow more quickly. Unless new steps are taken, we estimate it would take over 30 years just to double the number of current whales, and several generations to return them to their pre-whaling numbers. Society and our own survival can’t afford to wait this long.

References:
Lavery, T., B. Roudnew, P. Gill, J. Seymour, L. Seuront, G. Johnson, J. Mitchell, and V. Smetacek. 2010. “Iron Defecation by Sperm Whales Stimulates Carbon Export in the Southern Ocean.” Proceedings of the Royal Academy 127:3527–31.
Lutz, S., and A. Martin. 2014. “Fish Carbon: Exploring Marine Vertebrate Carbon Services.” Blue Climate Solutions report, The Ocean Foundation, Washington, DC.
Pershing, A., L. Christensen, N. Record, G. Sherwood, and P. Stetson. 2010. “The Impact of Whaling on the Ocean Carbon Cycle: Why Bigger Was Better.” PLoS One 5 (10): 1–9.
Roman, J., J. Estes, L. Morissette, C. Smith, D. Costa, J. McCarthy, J. B. Nation, S. Nicol, A. Pershing, and V. Smetacek. 2014. “Whales as Marine Ecosystem Engineers” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12 (2): 377–85.
Smith, C., J. Roman, and J. B. Nation. 2019. “A Metapopulation Model for Whale-Fall Specialists: The Largest Whales Are Essential to Prevent Species Extinctions—The Sea.” Under review.


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#13
( This post was last modified: 10-16-2019, 08:49 AM by Rishi )

The US Govt announced plans today to gut long-standing protections against logging & roadbuilding in the Tongass National Forest



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Czech Republic Spalea Offline
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@Sully :

About #12: frankly, your topic is a revelation ! Quite revolutionnary as concerns our way of thinking "preservation of our environments" ! Thank you for all the people whom I will ty to convince...
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Czech Republic Spalea Offline
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This is just a wave... A wave during a stormy day. Blocks such like this one have been accumulating on the distorted coasts for several decades, but there is nothing between them and the sea. The sea, the nature which remains powerful.

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