Fish in Hot Water

Funny how the climate change debate has moved from moral to economic arguments. Of course, the economic arguments were always there but the first groups of people to get excited about the data were the scientists and philosophers, to whom the factual and moral arguments massively outgunned the economic impacts. Now that the data is widely accepted by all but flat-earthers, the economic arguments are in play.

Yesterday’s report of 2-degree warming in the waters of SE Australia have had a bit of coverage here. The Banded Morwong fish have been studied by counting the rings in their ear-bones (similar to trees, this correlates with their growth rates) and prove that over 6o years, the sea in this area has warmed by 2 degrees. When David was working in the Antarctic for three years with the British Antarctic Survey, a couple of decades ago, much of his diving was to catch little fish so their ear-bones could be dissected for just that purpose. Funnily enough, it proved that fish in very cold waters grow incredibly slowly.

So what happens to the fish in the ABC report? Well, to start with they grew faster as the seas warmed. Then it became just too hot and their species became imperilled. Oh, but that’s just fish…

Now, if you’re in Europe you think that warmer seas sound just fine; after all, our European seas are largely unswimmable for much of the year! But unfortunately we can’t pick and choose which parts of the globe warm. It will differ per location and topography, but unfortunately the hot places are likely to be much hotter and the rest much wetter and more changeable.

A few years ago it was said that a 4 degree increase in average global temperatures would be catastrophic. Now that seems to be accepted, expected even. Bad luck residents of London, Amsterdam, Shanghai and Mumbai. At least you can move relatively easily. Not so good for the other 100+m poor people.

At the end of the day, does it matter what’s caused the change to date? It seems one has to be truly in denial to say that the massive carbon burning we’ve indulged in since the Industrial Revolution hasn’t had a part to play. Our current consumption of energy, still fuelled largely by oil and gas so releasing all that carbon stored for millenia, undoubtedly add to warming. Sure, there are other reasons too.

For my part, I know that “necessity is the Mother of invention” so have every faith in new tecs finding solutions. Many businesses are throwing huge sums of money at it. Some will succeed and some will fail, but I have more faith in business than government in finding solutions. What’s beyond doubt is that there are many future ways to both reduce carbon generation through clean energy generation and to store carbon being produced, to prevent release into the atmosphere. Exciting and profitable businesses. (Ssh, don’t mention they’re good for humanity too, or the extreme right- and left-wingers will stop listening – they’re so driven by fear that they think the rest of the world has to fail for them to succeed).

As David always says, “The sky isn’t falling”. We’ll be fine. Not so sure about the rest of the world, especially the 187 million who’ll be moving. Oh dear, I’ve gone back to that moral argument again…

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2 Responses
  1. Mairi Bell says:

    Hi Angela – Have heard you speaking in Scotland a few years ago and was interested to hear that you moved to Aus, my partner and I try to get there for a couple of months every couple of years. We cycled from Melbourne to Sydney over Christmas 2010 which was a fab adventure I am waiting to see what business move you are going to make in Australia … will it be an Adventure Park or something completely different?! Best wishes Mairi

    • Angela says:

      Dear Mairi, how wonderful to hear from you. I well remember the time in beautiful Scotland. We are loving living in Australia – apologies for slow reply but rather hectic in the last few weeks due to moving house, growing our new business, “Amuse Australia”, attending an amazing Conference, seeing His Holiness the Dalia Lama and of course spending time at the beach ­čÖé Do come and see us when you’re next “down under” – would love to show you around our gorgeous area here on the Sunshine Coast. Wishing you a lovely Scottish summer.

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