Corporate exploitation of ignorance on climate change has made it nearly impossible for half the population in the United States to face the reality that man-made activity has made the earth dangerously warmer. Politicians, controlled by carbon polluting extractive industries, have successfully sold climate change as a lie cooked up by scheming liberals. Demonizing science combined with a media weakened to the point of complete ineffectiveness has allowed a set of curious alliances to threaten the future of life on Earth.
The alliances are not all on the junk science crazy side of the fence.
Some environmentalists, rightfully fearful of climate change, quietly dropped their opposition to nuclear power hoping that this imperfect power production method is a better alternative than burning coal and other carbon based fuels. The problem is the waste stream from nuclear power production has no scientific solution and, if things go wrong, as they did in Japan, the effects of climate change will seem minor compared to what simultaneous nuclear meltdowns dumped into the sea can produce.
The fifty-year-old secret alliance between Japan’s power companies and that nation’s highly classified nuclear weapons program has now been polluting the Pacific Ocean for months with massive amounts of radiation.
In the United States, urged on by President Obama, the agency that produces and maintains our nuclear weapons, the National Nuclear Security Administration, has assured the proponents of peace that surplus weapons material can be safely processed into a high octane reactor fuel called MOX. Based on that assurance, many of the world’s governments and organizations support this conversion of weapons grade plutonium into civilian reactor fuel. A less powerful form of MOX was in Reactor Number Three at Fukushima when the earthquake and tidal wave came. That reactor melted down.
In response to Fukushima, President Obama has decided to double down on nuclear power.
On June 21, scientists brought us more news that corporate interests will try to obfuscate. Newspapers like The Sydney Moring Herald reported that the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), examined the combined effects of pollution, acidification, ocean warming, over-fishing and depleting levels of oxygen in the water and concluded conditions in the earth’s oceans are close to the conditions of “previous major extinctions of species in Earth’s history.”
What does this mean?
Unless humankind takes global action the world’s remaining coral reefs will be gone by 2050. We face the threat of ocean dead zones spreading, and we may see entire marine ecosystems and species gone by the next generation.
This interim report, produced in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was presented to the U.N. on Tuesday. CNN reported last Tuesday the study also said that the speed of decline of marine ecosystems is faster than predicted. They quoted Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director: “The oceans are a common heritage of mankind. The extinction threat we believe is real.”
Rogers, professor of Conservation Biology at the Department Of Zoology, University of Oxford, told CNN: “The rate of change we are seeing in the quantities of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and then being absorbed into the oceans is so great that it is difficult to compare what is happening now with what has happened in the past but we do know that past disturbances in the carbon cycle have been a feature of mass extinction events.”
According to the panel – which consisted of 27 marine experts from 18 organizations – most if not all the five “global mass extinctions” in Earth’s history were probably caused by the “deadly trio” of global warming, ocean acidification and lack of water oxygen or hypoxia.
The report states that these three factors are present in the ocean today and gives examples of marine ecosystems suffering severe disturbance, such as the mass “coral bleaching” in 1998 that killed 16% of all the world’s tropical coral reefs. According to the report, over-fishing has reduced some commercial fish stocks and populations of by-catch species by more than 90%.
Dan Laffoley, senior advisor on Marine Science and Conservation for IUCN, and co-author of the report, said: “The challenges for the future of the ocean are vast, but unlike previous generations we know what now needs to happen. The time to protect the blue heart of our planet is now, today and urgent.”
For the last few years we at DC Bureau have produced several comprehensive series on pollution in our oceans from bunker fuel, the cruise ship industry and our own Navy. We urge our colleagues at other news sites and organizations to join us in this reporting effort.