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Ever since opening my own eyes by researching my book, I keep a
watching brief for egregious examples of pessimistic bias in the
media. Once your eyes adjust, the media's tendency to spot a cloud
in every silver lining is very striking.
But just as striking is its ability to ignore anything that
reaches optimistic conclusions.
As I have mentioned before, almost nobody has heard of the
CO2-fertilisation effect. There is a new book by the Idsos that is
well worth reading on this: there is a huge peer-reviewed
literature on the benefits of CO2 enrichment and it is skilfully summarised here.
Now comes a paper that reported a study of the future of
Australian marine fisheries under the most severe global warming
conditions. As World Climate Report takes up the tale,
With the 12 models fired up and ready to go,
the team had to make a decision regarding greenhouse gas emissions
in the future. In their own words they note "We used predictions
under the standard IPCC emission scenario A2. This scenario was
devised as a high emission scenario, although recent observations
suggest climate change is occurring more rapidly than this scenario
predicts. IPCC emissions scenarios have not yet been updated, so we
consider the A2 scenario as a mid-range scenario." Interesting.
Now for the devastating results-the authors
find "Under a plausible climate change scenario, primary production
will increase around Australia and generally this benefits
fisheries catch and value and leads to increased biomass of
threatened marine animals such as turtles and sharks." Stop the
presses!!! Are they kidding us-did they not get the memo or read
the million websites on the subject? Look at all the red in the
maps (Figure 1) below-the red areas have an increase in fishery
production, and the red areas are everywhere.
Ah yes, but surely the rare fauna will struggle? No, they find
that in their models the warmer seas
supported higher biomasses of animals such as
sharks, turtles and seabirds, which are currently threatened by
Now I am no great fan of model studies and I don't trust this
study any more than I trust a pessimistic model. I just draw
attention to its existence.
Here's another example, of a study of the Arctic that
concludes that because an unfrozen sea loses a lot of heat to the
atmosphere, the summer melting of sea ice in the Arctic is not
going to result in a tipping point. The sea ice can return quite
just published in Geophysical Research Letters ran climate
models of Arctic ice decline and found no tipping points. Whatever
the extent of the loss, it concludes; the ice can recover in just a
This is consistent with the fact that more and more evidence is
pointing to the Arctic ocean having been much warmer 7,000 years
ago. For example:
The combined sea ice data suggest that the
seasonal Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of
the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice
free summers in the central Arctic Ocean.