Eco Alarmism? So Long, Farewell – Adieu!

Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser

The award-winning song of the Von Trapp Family in the musical The Sound of Music is getting a new lease on life from an unexpected corner – the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or CSIRO for short, in Australia. There, at CSIRO, emphasis is shifting from climate modelling to mitigation and adaption. 

Further afield, things don’t look much better for the anti-carbon crowd that is recommending “decarbonisation” with battle cries like “Leave it in the Ground” and related ideas. One of the most recent findings is that coral reef bleaching (i.e., coral death) may just be a result of viral infections. Up till now, most studies claimed the bleaching to be the result of “climate change.”

Coral Reef Bleaching

According to a recent report in the Marshalltown, “Last year, NOAA declared that the world was now experiencing its third global coral bleaching event, the last two being in 1998 and again in 2010. The current event began in the northern Pacific Ocean in 2014, moved south during 2015, and may continue into this year, NOAA officials said.”

In other words, coral bleaching events have occurred in the past and can be expected to happen in the future. In the intervening periods, the corals are recuperating and doing fine – despite the steadily rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere over both that time period and much longer ones. Obviously, that observation alone ought to make you suspicious of the widely-touted claims in the recent past that such events were largely due to “climate change” as made by many NGOs, like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

But you don’t need to be a seawater aquarium enthusiast to know that. Corals are very sensitive critters that are prone to “bleaching.” Just looking at them with a menacing grimace may do them in!  Research by the U.S. Geological Service showed that dust and associated fungi carried by the winds from Africa caused coral diseases as far away as the Caribbean islands. 

Despite all that sensitivity though, corals have been around for billions of years and still seem to be thriving overall. And there is one substance that virtually guarantees their wellbeing: sufficient carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

Coral Wellbeing

The corals’ wellbeing relies on sufficient carbon dioxide (CO2), aka “evil extraordinaire du jour” in the air. From the air, the CO2 readily gets soaked up by the ALKALINE ocean water and, via some intermediate steps, converted to coral-manufactured calcium carbonate. For example, the many atolls in the western Pacific would not have been possible without the corals’ steady construction of more “coral housing.”

Of course, apart from the corals’ newly discovered natural enemies of the virus variety, the corals also have other enemies to deal with, like the parrot fish. These fish, with their sharp parrot-like beaks, like to nibble on the corals (preferably live ones) to sustain their own metabolism. It really is part of all of nature’s species struggle to survive and procreate. Why should it be any different for the corals? But are the parrotfish really just there to destroy the corals?

In fact, the parrotfish keep the coral reefs and atolls growing, in the same way other predators keep their prey population in check and healthy. Without such natural enemies, the (very dynamic) balance of predatory and prey species would quickly lead to extremes of one sort or another. There are some well -known examples of that kind, where human influence brought about such effects. Of course, the long-term consequences of such actions were not foreseen at the time. If anything, man thought to “help” nature – not to upset it. 

Improvements

Apart from intended “improvements” of the natural landscape with species from other continents, there are even more unintended introductions of organisms into other lands. North America alone has in the order of 300 such newcomers, some of which are finding little competition from native species. I’m excluding such things as viruses and bacteria and am just talking about plants and animals. For example, the Asian bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) has been working its way up the Mississippi River system to the gates of Chicago. Despite a series of electric barriers they seem to have arrived in the Great Lakes (GL) where they are unwanted (picture nearby, credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada).
  
Other previously introduced species that have wrought both economic costs and ecological problems in the GL system are, for example the small clam called zebra mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha) and the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). The latter has caused a severe decline of salmonid fish stocks in the GLs that led to the joint Canadian / U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission in the 1950s and to regular treatment of all GL tributaries to control the lamprey abundance. The earlier hopes of being able to eradicate that parasitic eel-like fish from the GL are yet to happen. In fact, coming to grips with reality has been their primary modus operandi for quite some time now.    

Reality is Setting In

Reality is slowly setting in, all around. To begin with eradicating any species from a large land mass, like a whole continent or a large water body like the GLs is next to impossible. On a relatively small land mass like the Big South Cape Island (1,000 ha) of New Zealand, the elimination of rats may have succeeded.  But on a larger scale, (introduced) species eradication is vastly more difficult—by orders of magnitude. Let me give you another example, the Asian Long-horned Beetle (picture nearby, credit: Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
 
The Asian Long-horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), also known as starry sky beetle,  roughly one half inch long (excluding its long antennae) was inadvertently introduced to southern Ontario approximately two decades ago. Originally, only some maple trees in the Toronto metropolis were affected then but with maple trees making up much of southern Ontario’s forests, that beetle certainly was a major threat. The government quickly responded by cutting down affected trees and prohibiting movements of wood from the affected area to farther inland. Despite all efforts to contain and eradicate it “at source” the insect has spread since then.
My main reason for mentioning the example of the beetle is to show how difficult it is to “only” contain such a newly introduced species. It should not be surprising that any eradication attempts require even much greater efforts. In fact, the gap between hopes and achievements continues to widen.

The Gap: Expectations vs. Achievements 

In other words, the gap between exuberant expectations and harsh realities is sinking into the wider conscience. You can see it every day. From highly overvalued prices for some equities to all the promises of “free” energy from the sun and wind, the facts are becoming more inconsistent with the claims. The newest “invention” by the power brokers of the day, i.e. negative interest rates are just another example. 

After decades of “careful stewardship” of the financial systems, some central bank operators feel the need to do away with cash, charge you for “storing” your savings in the bank and tell you that it’s for your own good. In the meantime, the same characters are living high on the hog like some “anti-carbon” activists, climate hucksters, and other invasive species – on your money and resources.

Wouldn’t you want to bid them Farewell and Adieu?

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser — Bio and Archives