"It's almost like the oceans are getting ready for a heart attack."
February 17, 2017 4:29 AM   Subscribe

A new study published in Nature says that the overall oxygen content of the ocean has declined by 2% over the past 50 years. Because oxygen is always unevenly distributed in the ocean, that 2% average represents a larger drop in some areas than others. Bacteria in areas of low oxygen tend to produce nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas that has risen in a way similar to CO2 over the decades since the industrial revolution. Low O2 leading to more N2O from the ocean is another likely global warming feedback loop. Projections indicate that we could lose 7% of the ocean's oxygen by 2100. posted by Sleeper (54 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's nothing more depressing than news which makes me feel guilty for having had a child to whom we will bequeath this mess.
posted by Slothrup at 5:24 AM on February 17 [17 favorites]


But if everyone stopped having children, there'd be no reason to fight.
posted by ragtag at 5:28 AM on February 17 [6 favorites]


.
posted by spitbull at 5:30 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


I do wonder how climate change deniers look their children in the eye. Not your average joe who has been lied to repeatedly and genuinely believes that it's made up - but the ones who are positioned to know better.

I am past the point of believing that they are all just deluding themselves.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:36 AM on February 17 [11 favorites]


You underestimate people's ability to delude themselves.

People are complicated. Everything we believe doesn't add up into a perfect rational picture. Present company excepted, of course.
posted by bitslayer at 5:47 AM on February 17 [4 favorites]


So judging from my father (who is 65), "the man" used to be the government, but now has somehow switched sides and has become any kind of group that questions the government/status quo. I don't know if he realizes how weird this is, but when I ask about how he expects his grandkids (my kids) to survive, he really seems to believe that there is nothing bad happening. I really don't know, because he is a well educated, retired professional, but it seems like he is pretty much par for the course with his generational cohort (which obviously is not universal). I really don't know.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:02 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


My understanding of what the "climate deniers" are actually denying now is not that some climate changes may be under way, so much as the theory that they are caused by humans and can, therefore, be reversed.

For me it all boils down to another issue: are there already enough humans on the planet or do we carry on multiplying our numbers?

Climate deniers seem to stand firmly on the "conservative", religion-driven bank of "we were given this earth and we bloody well do to it whatever we please".
posted by Laotic at 6:14 AM on February 17 [8 favorites]


Climate change denial is genocide and should be punished accordingly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:15 AM on February 17 [25 favorites]


when I ask about how he expects his grandkids (my kids) to survive, he really seems to believe that there is nothing bad happening

I chalked this up to a wierd observational bias. Basically "I've lived X years and I'm seeing no personal impacts from these changes people say are happening to the planet, ergo the same will be the case for my proginy. Now let's all go watch Fox news."

It's maddening and so depressing.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:17 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


> "I've lived X years and I'm seeing no personal impacts from these changes people say are happening to the planet, ergo the same will be the case for my proginy.

Years ago I read a satirical article on what I could have sworn was The Onion with the headline "Catastrophic Global Climate Change Results In Pleasant Fall Afternoon."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:24 AM on February 17 [6 favorites]


Climate deniers seem to stand firmly on the "conservative", religion-driven bank of "we were given this earth and we bloody well do to it whatever we please".

I'm not sure that "religion-driven" is really accurate here. It's a big leap from "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it" to "I made this planet, humans, now go recklessly destroy it." As with many things, the "conservative" position isn't rooted in religion, it's rooted in capitalism. Money is the real god at work, and worship of money spurs an untenable interpretation of religious texts.

Meanwhile liberal Christians and the evangelicals who actually do care what the Bible says are doing a lot of environmental work under the heading of "Creation Care."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:24 AM on February 17 [17 favorites]


"I've lived X years and I'm seeing no personal impacts ..."

This is basically nihilism, which I think has been a big part of religious conservatives tendency to deny climate change. "I'll die soon enough, and I don't care what happens after I die, so why change anything?" Religious nihilists think something similar: "There will be armageddon soon enough, and then God will get whatever he wants, so why change anything?"

People who think this way deserve their Floridian real estate.
posted by wormwood23 at 6:40 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure that "religion-driven" is really accurate here.


I don't want to start a flame-war and I probably did not put it in the most precise terms, but what I meant was that aversion to science and misunderstanding of (and distrust for) the scientific method correlates with religiosity or faith-based acquisition of knowledge.
posted by Laotic at 7:26 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


There's nothing more depressing than news which makes me feel guilty for having had a child to whom we will bequeath this mess.

Let's join hands on this: those of us who chose not to have children for the sake of the next generation, and those of us who chose to have children for the sake of the next generation.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:48 AM on February 17 [16 favorites]


Climate change denial is genocide and should be punished accordingly.

Considering the uncertainty of the science involved and the sheer number of skeptics, this comment makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Here we have someone advocating for the mass slaughter of people by equivocating with genocide their skepticism over unfalsifiable hypotheses and statistical models generated through government-funded (NSF etc) research studies which use centuries' worth of data to guess at minute changes of the chemical makeup of our atmosphere.

e.g., we have someone saying we should commit genocide because disagreeing with them or even expressing doubt against the current modern scientific theory is basically genocide, and those people should be mass murdered.

It's too early in the morning for this shit.
posted by unknownmosquito at 7:51 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


Climate denial has two main branches, the rich, and the rest.

The rich have trillions invested in infrastructure for coal/oil/gas/industrial farming/etc. And when you pile up trillions of dollars it becomes sentient and works hard to protect itself.

The rest of the people have been systematically lied to by the rich, in an effort to manipulate them into keeping the rich, rich.

If you want to solve the problem of climate change, you have to also solve the problem of money in politics. Because without the ability to bribe politicians, the market, the government, and the populous will quickly move to the cheap, clean, and life sustaining options.

All economies are economies based on law(or the lack of a law). The law(or lack of) decides what you can and can not sell, how you can sell it, how it will be taxed, etc. The only thing keeping us from changing the laws that direct this economy is the large sum of money being paid to politicians every year.

If you really want to do something about global warming, work to get money out of politics as fast as you can...the clock is ticking.
posted by stilgar at 7:59 AM on February 17 [16 favorites]


ok I'll do it

This is fine.
posted by thelonius at 8:01 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Seriously, my dad is a boomer, and just like me he's seen the weather getting weird and having negative impacts on his life, and so he believes in climate change. If you're not seeing what's going on in front of you, that's where the ideology lies. The weather has been getting weird in a way that is visible and obvious to the layperson since, in my personal reckoning, 2010 - that was the year that I first really noticed weird hot spells in the winter. And it's only gotten stranger. That's happening, and if you've lived on this planet long enough to be a boomer, you had many years of normal weather as a basis for comparison, and really don't have an excuse for saying that there's nothing to see here.
posted by Frowner at 8:06 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


The rich have trillions invested in infrastructure for coal/oil/gas/industrial farming/etc. And when you pile up trillions of dollars it becomes sentient and works hard to protect itself.

The rest of the people have been systematically lied to by the rich, in an effort to manipulate them into keeping the rich, rich.

If you want to solve the problem of climate change, you have to also solve the problem of money in politics. Because without the ability to bribe politicians, the market, the government, and the populous will quickly move to the cheap, clean, and life sustaining options.


Solar and wind are in the "DEC and IBM are fighting" era where nobody knows jack shit about anything. But learning curves are like 40% p/a for solar and wind and more like 5% p/a for the nonrenewables, so this statement is something like saying, "music companies have incredible amounts invested in lobbying, this digital shit won't affect them", in the late 90's. Technically true, but only very contingently. The solar folks are getting some lobbyists together, it'll take some time, but energy is was and always will be a commodity. Replaceable, and replaced.

No money in unfucking the environment, tho, unfortunately
posted by hleehowon at 8:21 AM on February 17


"...it'll take some time,..."

That right there is the problem. We are already out of time, at this point we are no longer trying to stop climate change, we are trying to keep it from getting really really bad.

I agree with you that the market will eventually sort this out, but if you look around the country you will see state after state passing laws to prohibit, or inhibit renewable adaption. (Wyoming, and Florida being very bad but not alone in making these poor choices)

Every month we waste, tens of thousands of future humans will die. Or if that sounds hyperbolic, every month we waste is millions of dollars lost and thousands of jobs gone. China and Europe are going full steam ahead with renewables, and if America doesn't keep up, we will be an economic backwater.
posted by stilgar at 8:27 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


Considering the uncertainty of the science involved and the sheer number of skeptics,

But the science isn't uncertain, and there aren't many skeptics in the scientific community.

generated through government-funded (NSF etc) research studies

Do you see what you're doing here? Why does it matter if the studies were government-funded? What are you trying to imply with this? But we both know the answer to that is clear.

I don't know whether you're doing this intentionally or not, but this is a perfect illustration of the way in which deniers muddy the waters and spread FUD.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:33 AM on February 17 [28 favorites]


Skeeter, I, too, need an explanation for why government-funded research studies would have a bias toward finding anthropogenic climate change, given that we had eight years of Obama (D), eight years of W (R), eight years of Clinton (D), four years of HW (R), eight years of Reagan (R), and (modern) Republican politicians largely break out in hives if you talk about global warming around them.

By contrast, I do not need an explanation for why fossil fuel-funded research studies would have a bias against finding anthropogenic climate change.
posted by radicalawyer at 8:41 AM on February 17 [12 favorites]


The idea I've seen on conservative sites/from conservative climate change deniers I know is that:

-Government is always bad and wants to regulate more
-Climate change leads to more regulations
-Therefore its a conspiracy to provide an excuse for the government controlling people more

Similarly I've seen conservatives declare that the "scientific consensus" is a conspiracy among scientists to falsify/overstate their findings to generate jobs and grants for themselves.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:47 AM on February 17


A Daughter Of Coal Country Battles Climate Change — And Her Father's Doubt (NPR, February 16, 2017)

Father says: I can't see it. I don't believe it - things rising up and eating our atmosphere.
And then his daughter explains it just like the name "greenhouse gas" implies
A. FUNK: ...They say it's like a greenhouse, and the greenhouse is keeping all the warmth and doesn't let the light go back out of the...

M. FUNK: I never knew that. Yeah, I know - you never explained that to me before.

A. FUNK: (Laughter) I never tried.

(LAUGHTER)

HERSHER: All of a sudden, Ashley relaxes. She looks sheepish - like, how could I not have succeeded at this before? And just like that, Mark Funk kind of believes in man-made climate change.
Don't give up. Don't write deniers and doubters off. Keep pushing.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:49 AM on February 17 [13 favorites]


I know I'm only a first-world-footprint pebble in the massive landslide that is man-made climate change, but I'm so sorry. Future generations will judge me and my demographic cohort as wanting, and I won't blame them. But for the most part, my actions will make no difference unless/until something on the order of 1000 people worldwide change their minds. So I encourage them to change their minds, and meanwhile I continue as a small piece of wood in the massive bonfire.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:00 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Similarly I've seen conservatives declare that the "scientific consensus" is a conspiracy among scientists to falsify/overstate their findings to generate jobs and grants for themselves.

I just - how do you even respond to people who are convinced there is some kind of conspiracy? They've been lied to so long, that they think the people who are telling the truth are the liars. What do you even say to that?

And they have no idea how science works. If I was a climate scientist and I had research that convincingly demonstrated there was a problem with the current consensus, I would be tripping over myself to get it published in the highest impact journal that would accept it. I mean, that's the ticket to the real money - saying something new and provocative and with good evidence. Not "uh-huh, what they said."
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:06 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


So, no discussion of the actual news, then? The paper itself does not seem to be easily available, so fair enough.

I wonder if the oxygen coming out of the ocean will be enough to halt the decline of oxygen in the atmosphere. Apparently there's a hundred times more oxygen in the air than in the water, but the rate of decline in the atmosphere is possibly slow enough it might be close.
posted by sfenders at 9:14 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


It's too early in the morning for this shit.

There's really no excuse for climate change denial whatever the time of day.
posted by ambrosen at 9:24 AM on February 17 [12 favorites]


When the shit hits the fan not one of the fuckers gets to suffer less than we do, we should make sure of that.
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


On the one hand, I tend to think that future historians (if there are enough resources left to sustain something as frivolous to everyday survival as history) will not look kindly on the period from about the year 1600--the West's philosophical approach to life has essentially destroyed our habitat. This research is just another data point in support of that.

On the other hand, I have wine.
posted by Automocar at 10:00 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Climate change was the first indication for me that the bonkers conservative mindset that led to Trump wasn’t just political machinations to subdue the ill-informed, but that a huge number of seemingly rational people 100% believe this is a conspiracy (and anything else Fox news tells them to believe or not believe).

I say this because rich, conservative people are still clamoring to live in waterfront properties, to pay obscene money for them, to retire in them, and to vote against any measures that might protect those investments based on the coming destruction. Every liberal I know who lives near the water at least has a timeline to move further inland, because it is only a matter of time. But conservatives don’t want to believe it, and so they don’t, the end. It is truly bizarre to see a major political party become so combatively Panglossian in the face of irrefutable evidence.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:02 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


My grandfather was a weird point on the anti-climate science scale in that he fully believed in climate change, fully believed it was disastrous, but still supported policies to minimize it because they were personally convenient and, as he'd remind us, he'd be dead before the really bad stuff happened and it would be up to us kids to deal with all that. I don't think that attitude is super rare among climate deniers/minimizers/their allies; those who are more well-informed but still on team Anti-Climate Science tend to feel their privilege or age insulates them from the more extreme effects of climate change and, depressingly, they're probably right. They'll be the last to get hit, and by then it's all over for our species, anyway, so hey, party on.
posted by byanyothername at 10:03 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


For me it all boils down to another issue: are there already enough humans on the planet or do we carry on multiplying our numbers?

I don't think this is correct. The climate change that is poised to cause human extinction has little to do with increasing population sizes in the developing world and enormous amounts to do with profligate energy consumption in the developed world, where populations are largely stable. Conflating these issues places the responsibility for preventing climate change on those who are least able to do anything about it and most likely to suffer as a result. Population growth may well be a long-term problem if we can survive the climate change we already have, but it's almost completely irrelevant to that current issue.
posted by howfar at 10:18 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


They are climate change deniers because they are anti-abortion, think their taxes should be lower and the system gives too many handouts to those people. They think that "all lives matter" and public schools are anti-religious. They deny because they must.
posted by amanda at 10:28 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I often find myself thinking that global warming denial and heedless destruction of the environment in general is just another manifestation of misogyny.

It's Mother Earth, right? The Earth is a woman, and you will by God get control of her and make her do what you want, regardless.
posted by jamjam at 10:31 AM on February 17 [9 favorites]


The climate change that is poised to cause human extinction has little to do with increasing population sizes in the developing world and enormous amounts to do with profligate energy consumption in the developed world

howfar, of course you have to factor in the effect of western lifestyle multiplied by the aspiring multitudes in Africa and Asia. I've just returned from South-East Asia where sorting waste is almost non-existent, and we are talking about a very advanced country (Thailand).

I mean, we are still very underpopulated in Europe compared to Asia, but if we could give environment the hard time we did, I cannot even begin to imagine what China or India will cause unless they take the environment-friendly path soon. Which they seem to be doing (at least in China), but still - sheer numbers.
posted by Laotic at 10:33 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


energy is was and always will be a commodity

This is not true. It may be true in a Star Trek future. It is not true in a world where 'rare earth metals' plays a part in the production of energy.
posted by Strange_Robinson at 10:55 AM on February 17


Naomi Klein had it nailed a decade ago. The disaster capitalists will retreat to their underground bunkers in New Zealand to live off the blood of nubile young servants.
posted by Yowser at 11:32 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


A relative firmly believes Climate Change Is A Hoax, and also that a pizza place connected to a presidential candidate was running a child-abuse ring, and that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and also has been a gay prostitute. Stuff like "CO2 traps heat and that makes water warm up and rise" is lost on a lot of people.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:51 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile liberal Christians and the evangelicals who actually do care what the Bible says are doing a lot of environmental work under the heading of "Creation Care."
No less than Francis Schaeffer, the theological father of the Christian Right, wrote Pollution And The Death Of Man, making the case for an environmental activism rooted in holistic Christian faith. Unsurprisingly, that's not the book that most folks in the movement remember now.
posted by verb at 12:58 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


we are still very underpopulated in Europe compared to Asia

Ha! I've seen Europe, you can't fool me. Running the numbers, Asia is more densely populated by 38%, but don't underestimate Europe when it comes to sheer numbers. It's hard to compare though, since any sensible measure of overpopulation needs to take account of resources available in the area considered. India was amazingly able to feed itself without net food imports until quite recently. Incidentally, China already has higher carbon dioxide emissions per capita than Europe.

More people doesn't just mean more pollution though, it also means less ability for civilization to deal with stresses such as shortages of fish. If we weren't running right at, or beyond, the limit of taking more from the world's ecosystems than they can cope with, less oxygen in the ocean would not be such a big deal for land-based mammals.
posted by sfenders at 1:31 PM on February 17 [3 favorites]


My understanding of what the "climate deniers" are actually denying now is not that some climate changes may be under way, so much as the theory that they are caused by humans and can, therefore, be reversed.

This does seem to be the majority of it, based off my non-scientifc collection of internet comments. (self-link to All Extinct Animals comment collection)
posted by agregoli at 2:08 PM on February 17


When I tell people that I'm really excited about advances in hydroponics and the possibilities of vat-grown meat, I assume they think that I'm a crazy hippy lefty. What I don't tell them is that I'm excited because we can sink those facilities under sixteen feet of dirt when surface temperatures are no longer conducive, nor weather conditions stable enough, to grow crops in sufficient enough quantities to feed all of us. I try not to let my mind dwell on the parameters of who gets fed what and when, at the point that the rule of the empty belly becomes the law of the land.
posted by eclectist at 3:52 PM on February 17 [5 favorites]


I want to thank Sleeper for the post. Don't know when this result would have been seen by me without Sleeper and The Blue existing for Sleeper to make the post.

Now, onto the post.

Climate change denial is genocide and should be punished accordingly.

Really?

Ok. I'm game. Where does this idea stop? Just at what was written?

What about the use of firms like Goldman Sachs to not only set up a carbon exchange for them to profit from but then ask "the law" to be changed to mandate? Where do people/firms who'd trade off of and become enriched from a carbon tax fit in this worldview?
(Remember folks - a report about wind turbines in the UK claimed only 30% of the money went to actual wind turbines. The rest was 'loan servicing' and other "overhead". Is being "overhead" VS 'lets pull together as humans to save humanity' the difference between genocide VS giving a damn about the human race?)

What about the consumers of that ancient stored sunlight? Are they not to blame for the planet genocide? Or, if that Goldman Sachs employee finds some person in Bangalore to make Terra Perta that's all good, but an American who want $15 an hour to make charcoal to then bury it just unreasonable? Where are the consumers of the stored carbon on this genocide scale?

What about 'experts who've lied'? Plenty of people/firms/public officials have lied to put a jingle in a pocket or inflate an ego. If someone questions climate change based on being lied to in the past the reaction should be 'you support genocide' VS taking the past liars out to the woodshed and beating them while screaming "When you do this shit it creates a situation where civilization won't be responsive to an actual emergency!" Telling the fable of the boy who cries wolf isn't keeping these people from lying and therefore poisoning the well for the actual case of the dissolved gases in the ocean being a major issue.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 PM on February 17


Solar and wind are in the "DEC and IBM are fighting" era

Bullshit.

Solar has won. And it WAS going to win and got backing to win.

Go pay for a subscription to Home Power magazine. Find the articles by the Bergey Wind CEO where he points out the lack of tax credits for small wind.

He speaks about wind at $5 a watt. Solar is at less than $0.50 a watt.

The mindshift needing to next happen is in consumers of energy and understanding that 24X7 all-you-can-eat as long as you make the next monthly payment is a historical anomaly. The living in the energy flows via photons in the now will be hard.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:52 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


I just - how do you even respond to people who are convinced there is some kind of conspiracy? They've been lied to so long, that they think the people who are telling the truth are the liars. What do you even say to that?

You start actually holding liars accountable. Mark Curriden has a DA point out that lying in a Court has no effective punishment . A Court. The place where American society has agreed is to be a place of truth.

A bunch of The Blue is upset about lies that started almost a month ago. What's the plan to have that outage be more than a flash in the pan? What's the plan to move the idea of 'done with lying' to the bottom of the pyramid?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:04 PM on February 17


"I've lived X years and I'm seeing no personal impacts ..."

Such bullshit. I'm 50 and I have seen tangible impacts of our polluting tendencies change in my brief time here. I've seen acid rain kill lakes and I've seen environmental laws bring them back. I've lived through smog alerts that used to happen all the time and are now reduced thanks to environmental laws. I've seen buildings washed clean of particulate pollution and completely transformed. I've seen how much nicer parks and boulevards are now they are not completely covered in dog shit.

You can't be even just middle aged without having seen tangible effects of pollution unless you deliberately keep your head up your ass.
posted by srboisvert at 4:53 AM on February 18 [10 favorites]


Solar has won. And it WAS going to win and got backing to win.

What? No. Utility scale, wind is cheaper than PV.

The mindshift needing to next happen is in consumers of energy and understanding that 24X7 all-you-can-eat as long as you make the next monthly payment is a historical anomaly. The living in the energy flows via photons in the now will be hard.

Dispersed wind is as good as a base load plant and dirt cheap. Only geothermal and hydro are cheaper. There will still be round the clock electric service in a fully renewable future.
posted by Talez at 5:06 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Turns out market correction and apocalypse can be the same thing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:44 AM on February 18


Meanwhile liberal Christians and the evangelicals who actually do care what the Bible says are doing a lot of environmental work under the heading of "Creation Care."

Pater Athelias and verb, I'm glad to hear about these folks. Unfortunately there are groups of conservative Christians and their friends who are working hard to resist change, especially where environmental issues and climate are concerned. The Cornwall Declaration, for example. "Forget ‘Climate Change!’ Energy Empowers the Poor!"
posted by sneebler at 6:47 PM on February 18


What? No. Utility scale, wind is cheaper than PV.

If one asks google to show the cost of utility wind VS utility solar Wind clocks in $3-4 million and $1.5 mil or $1.88 mil for PV as installed per megawatt.

Where is your data from?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:18 AM on February 19


Where is your data from?

NREL.

Keep in mind a solar megawatt has only 20% capacity factor at best while wind starts at 20% and goes up to 40% depending on the location. This is why the LCOE is much better than cost per installed megawatt.
posted by Talez at 9:29 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]






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