In Extinction!, ROBERT HUNZIKER "explores the possibility that an extinction event is on steroids, right now, threatening all humanity."

...Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change, Anticipating Surprises, National Research Council of the National Academies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., December 2013:… identifies three primary risk areas of abrupt climate change this century: (1) the ocean; (2) the Arctic; (3) Antarctica. Two of these are already out of the starting blocks, up and running.

an extinction event in the ocean is already under observation: “… nearly all marine life forms that build calcium carbonate shells and skeletons studied by scientists thus far have shown deterioration due to increasing carbon dioxide levels in seawater,” Dr. Richard Feely and Dr. Christopher Sabine, Oceanographers, Carbon Dioxide and Our Ocean Legacy, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, April 2006.
According to Alex Rogers, PhD, professor of Conservation Biology, University of Oxford and Scientific Director, International Programme on the State of the Ocean: “The change we’re seeing at the moment is taking place extremely rapidly… We’re seeing levels of pH [a measure of acidity] in the ocean that probably haven’t been experienced for 55 million years… I find it very difficult to tell people what a scary situation we’re in at the moment. The oceans are changing in a huge way,... The changes we thought would happen in the future… We’re actually seeing them now,” (International Programme on the State of the Ocean, OneWorld Video (UK), August 2011). [bold mine]

Dr. Rogers claims the ocean is in a critical state.

According to the National Academies’ report, abrupt climate change has already started in the Arctic. Whether a tipping point has been reached, or exceeded, time will tell, but it shouldn’t take too long to know, maybe a few years, maybe longer.

Dr. Rogers ocean extinction warning coincides with the immanent death of Caribbean Coral Reefs, along with those of Southeast Asia.

Caribbean Coral Reefs “On the Verge of Collapse”

A new report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that the Caribbean coral reef system is on the verge of collapse, “with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover.”

The new report is the most recent of several reports coming from marine and other conservation scientists which have predicted the imminent demise of the global coral reef system due to pollution, fertilizer run-off, over-fishing, and myriad consequences to sea health resulting from fossil-fuel-induced climate change.

Last year, the World Resources Institute estimated that 75% of the Caribbean’s coral reefs were in danger, along with 95% o....

With the ocean's which sustain us already cascading into a major extinction event, we're STILL increasing fossil fuel extraction. Check your pulse. This is what it feels like to be a member of a self-exterminating species, as we lunge over the edge into existential nothing.

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Replies to This Discussion

This is what it feels like to be a member of a self-exterminating species ...

... while many politicians and industrialists still insist that extracting, using, and exporting more and more fossil fuel is the path to prosperity and well-being....

The elephant in the room, driving our demand to continue the unsupportable "energy banquet" at our accustomed scale, is the planet's extremely high, and increasing, human population. Today I was shocked to hear on public radio that Russia offers stipends of about $10,000 to mothers having children after the first. (This was in an article about the quality of maternity care in Russia, and how many women decide not to go through with more pregnancies. The woman profiled said she and her husband want more children eventually, but that they'll adopt.)

Reviewing Dr. Rogers' quote, I wished scientists didn't have a taboo on emotional public statements. Long winded sentences, pronounced in a reserved emotionally neutral voice, just don't break through the wall-of-denial silence. It's as if instead of a fire alarm in a gym, a scientist walked over to the folks totally absorbed in strenuous exercise routines, and calmly started talking about the probability, at this moment, of rapidly changing temperature two floors above, based on some measurements. Nobody would get off of their cross-trainers and exit the building.

My fantasy is a large collection of scientists holding a press conference to scream, in unison, that we're all in danger now. Of course they'd all get fired.

Great Barrier Reef Faces ‘Irreversible’ Damage

In 16 years The Great Barrier Reef will be dead. Are you looking forward to a bacteria-dominated ocean?

Unless temperatures are kept below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C (3.6°F) warming on pre-industrial levels, the reef will cease to be a coral-dominated ecosystem, the report warns.

Co-author Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, told Guardian Australia that current climate trends signal “game over” for the Great Barrier Reef.

“Corals can exist in temperatures 1°C (1.8°F) higher than the current summer maximum, but beyond that you get coral bleaching and mass mortality,” he said. “Beyond 2°C (3.6°F), you don’t really have coral dominated reefs anymore and there’s evidence that 1.5°C (2.7°F) is beyond the limits too.”

Hoegh-Guldberg’s work has included testing the response of corals to various temperatures at a lab on Heron Island, situated on the Great Barrier Reef. The research has shown that a “business as usual” temperature increase of 4°C (7.2°F) will prove catastrophic for the reef.

“Even under the best-case scenario of 2°C (3.6°F), corals disappear,” he said. “But with business as usual, it’s game over. You look in the tank and the corals have died, bacteria have taken over, the sand has dissolved. [emphasis mine]




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