Ocean Acidification: Your Chance To Help Kill This Dodgy Scam Once And For All!

coral-reef-fishOf all the climate “science” scams I’ve helped expose, about the worst has got to be Ocean Acidification.

The very name is a lie: no our oceans are not turning acid; still less are our corals and marine life under any threat of dissolving in what the New York Times once hysterically described as “our deadened, carbon-soaked seas”.

Yet still this junk-science scare story refuses to lie down and die because there are so many vested interests determined to prop it up.

Here is the latest egregious example. Published at The Marine Biologist (“the magazine of the marine biological community”) it purports to be a damning refutation of one of my many articles calling out the Ocean Acidification lie.

There was a time when I would have just ignored it: the guy who wrote it ‚Äì one Phil Williamson ‚Äì is the embodiment of Upton Sinclair’s dictum that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Not only is Williamson based at the “University” of East Anglia ‚Äì aka Climate Alarmism Central, heavily featured in the Climategate scandal ‚Äì but since 2010 he has been paid as Science Coordinator of the UK Ocean Acidification research programme. This project has received around ¬£12.5 million of UK government funding, most it provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (for which conveniently Williamson also works).

Also: who reads The Marine Biologist anyway? Many, many fewer people than will have read my original pieces at Breitbart (here and here ) and in the Spectator.

But to ignore articles like Williamson’s is, I have learned from experience, a grave mistake. Like an untreated wound they have a nasty habit of going septic. They need to be cauterised lest they turn gangrenous.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Do you see how these memes metastasize in the liberal-left echo-chamber?

I mean, you expect this kind of crap from DeSmog Blog ‚Äì a Soros-funded alarmist site; from Graham Readfern, a Guardianista hack on a life mission to prove that denialists are a bunch of evil deniers; and from Sunny Hundal, a painfully stupid left wing blogger. You also fully expect it to be shared by people involved in the climate change industry, as a kind of mutual self-esteem-boosting exercise.

Where we need to start worrying, though, is when this nonsense goes mainstream.

That last tweet from Greg Jenner, for example. Yes ‚Äì as a popular TV historian he probably qualifies as a member of what I’d call the Wankerati: the left-liberal media chattering classes. But for all that he’s a decent, reasonable guy ‚Äì not aggressively political, not a rabid environmentalist, not aboard the climate change gravy train or anything like that.

Yet on the basis of Williamson’s piece, this decent, reasonable guy has made up his mind that the science behind Ocean Acidification is solid and that the only people questioning it are ‚Äì to use his words ‚Äì “untrained opinionistas.”

And the problem is there will be many others like him. Which is why, of course, Williamson wrote his rebuttal in the first place and took so much trouble over its presentation, giving it the look and feel of a proper scientific paper. He knew exactly what he was doing by playing the “more science-y than thou” card, because he and his kind have been playing it very successfully for years.

“Scientists say…”. It’s amazing what powerful magic this formula can effect on otherwise well-educated, intelligent, skeptical people.

It never occurs to them that there as many chancers and charlatans with science degrees as there are with arts degrees. Nor that scientific research, being often dependent on the values and aims of those who are funding it, is prone to corruption and politicisation. Nor yet that science is more than capable of going down completely wrong alleys for any number of other reasons, from human error to the domineering arrogance of a few influential individuals.

Consider, for example, Noam Chomsky, the subject of Tom Wolfe’s latest book Kingdom of Speech. For fifty years ‚Äì his position assured by his fashionably left-wing politics ‚Äì Chomsky dominated the field of linguistics to such an extent that almost nobody dared question his theory that language is hard-wired into our brains.

Think about this: a half century in which one field of scientific study was entirely in thrall to the theory of one individual. How many tenured professors is that? How many PhDs? How many undergraduates? How much money in research grants? All of it ‚Äì it has since emerged ‚Äì to no useful purpose whatsoever. As Wolfe explains in his book, Chomsky had formulated behind his Harvard desk a theory which a researcher in the field ‚Äì one Daniel L Everett, formerly an acolyte of Chomsky’s ‚Äì was finally able to prove be fatally flawed.

Yet if you’d expressed skepticism towards Chomsky in that fifty year period, how do you think you would have been received in all the linguistics faculties promoting Chomsky’s theories? What kind of a hearing do you think you would have had in broader intellectual circles if you tried to take on the reputation of a man everyone had come to accept unquestioningly as the cleverest thinker in his field?

This, unfortunately, is how bad scientific ideas get to survive long past their sell-by dates.

Not that Ocean Acidification is nor ever was really about “the science”. Partly it was dreamed up as a way of hoovering up some of the vast quantities of government research grant available for anything vaguely connected with “climate change”; partly, as a pals’ make-work scheme for otherwise unemployable environmental science and marine biology graduates from places like the “University” of East Anglia.

Mainly, though, Ocean Acidification was invented to serve the same purpose as the Siegfried Line did for the Germans in the Second World War: that is, as a fall-back position for when all the other plans failed.

Remember that “climate change” represents a global industry worth around $1.5 trillion ‚Äì all of this expenditure predicated on the notion that man-made carbon dioxide is a problem because it causes catastrophic global warming. Now clearly if ‚Äì as seems to be increasingly likely ‚Äì CO2 turns out to be just a harmless trace gas whose influence on climate is marginal, then an awful lot of vested interests are going to be heavily out of pocket. Hence the appeal to the vast climate alarmist conspiracy of Ocean Acidification: the handy theory which ensures that even if global warming doesn’t happen, there will still be plenty of snout-space at the trough for all those rent-seekers, crooks, greed-heads, scamsters and shills involved in the “decarbonisation” industry.

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Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    juan carlos mirre gavalda



    Ocean acidification is growing as profuse man-made emissions increases the CO2 levels in our atmosphere. Soon the acidity of world oceans will be so high that the waters’ will be unable to sustain life.

    It is indeed a dramatic situation as was recently recalled in a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC:
    “The oceans currently absorb about a third of human-created CO2 emissions, roughly 22 million tons a day. Projections based on these numbers show that by the end of this century, continued emissions could reduce ocean pH by another 0.5 units. SHELL-FORMING ANIMALS including corals, OYSTERS, shrimp, lobster, many planktonic organisms, and even some fish species could be gravely affected”. 

    A good number of scientists have been warning us about this terrible problem for more than a decade. In a paper published in 2003 in Nature by K. Caldeira and M.E. Wickett they warned: “Most carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels will eventually be absorbed by the ocean, with potentially adverse consequences for marine biota”.

    Later, professor O. Hoegh-Guldberg and his colleges at the University of Queensland in Australia published in a 2007 number of Science magazine the results of their insightful studies, concluding: “Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2°C by 2050 to 2100… global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems”.

    In a paper published in the Annals of the National Acedemiy of Sciences in 2008, J.M. Guinotte and V.J. Fabry consider that “Ocean acidification is rapidly changing the carbonate system of the world oceans”.
    Something that is endorsed by C. Pelejero, E. Calvo and O. Hoegh-Guldberg after further studies showing that “The anthropogenic rise in atmospheric CO2 is driving fundamental and unprecedented changes in the chemistry of the oceans. This has led to changes in the physiology of a wide variety of marine organisms and, consequently, the ecology of the ocean”, in a 2010 Trends in Ecology & Evolution paper.
    More specifically addressed was the paper published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Biological Sciences by S. Nienhuis, A.R. Palmer and C.D. Harley with the following title: “Elevated CO2 affects shell dissolution rate but not calcification rate in marine snail”.
    In 2010 an extensive study was steered by the prestigious Stony Brook University that concluded that: “Acidification Of Oceans May Contribute To Global Declines Of Shellfish”

    There is total scientific consensus on the subject of oceans’ acidification, an exemple being the title: “Food supply and seawater pCO2 impact calcification and internal shell dissolution in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis”. This paper was published by F. Melzner and his colleges published in the 2011 PLoS One magazine.
    The following Table 2.1 authored by the FAO clearly indicates that this tendency in the extermination of shelled bivalves has been growing exponentially with the rise of global temperatures and oceans acidification.

    This other Table 2.2 shows the annihilation of bivalves and oysters in particular due to the effects of global warming and oceans acidification.

    But what is more dramatic and can be clearly seen below is the production collapse of clams (Mytilus edulis) due to the terrific ocean acidification that is literally DISOLVING THE CLAM SHELLS.

    Some recent more scary data were published by Prof. Vladimir Vlad from the Russian Marine & Fisheries Research Institution in the magazine: Доклады Академии Наук СССР, Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR (DAN SSSR) of February 2015. In his paper the Russian academic advances that due to climate warming and ocean acidification clams (Mytilus edulis) production in 2015 was well below 200,000 tons and will be almost nil in 2016.

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    Juan… Put down the Kool Aid… It sounds like you’re guzzling it by the gallon! You’re a perfect example of of the “liberal-left echo chamber” that Delingpole cites.

    My degree is in medicine, and can honestly tell you that none of this politically driven and politically funded pseudoscience would ever satisfy even the most basic scientific methodology necessary for medical decision making. BTW, National Geographic is now nothing more than a tool of the climate change cartel – a popular journal of leftist doomsday predictions parading as legitimate science, and a far cry from NEJM or other reviewed and scrutinized medical journals.

    Ask yourself this: If all these “climate crises” are real, scientifically explainable phenomena, why are all the proposed remedies at their core purely political? The list of so-called climate change cures reads just like the 100 year wish list of world socialism… Coincidence?

    • Avatar

      juan carlos mirre gavalda


      Follow the savy AGW advice, buy pearls today, tomorrow (next year) oceans will be soooo acid that ancient pearls will be worth tons of gold.
      If u don’t believe me ask ammonites: they only survive for a few million years under a 5,000ppm CO2 atmosphere. Poor creatures!

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    Nice one, James

    You don’t have to be a marine scientist to know that acidification is measured on the pH scale. Regular water, being neither acidic or alkaline, has a pH value of 7. Anything below 7 is acidic; anything above is alkaline. Sea water averages around pH8.1. 8 may sound just a little bit more than 7, but the pH scale is LOGARITHMIC. 8 on the scale is TEN TIMES 7.

    The sea already contains 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere. It still has the capacity to absorb more CO2 than man could ever produce, even if we burned all the fossil fuels on the planet.

    And where do these alarmists think we get half (or more) of the oxygen we breathe? Why, from the gradual breakdown of CO2 in the oceans into its components carbon and oxygen.


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      Furthermore, CO2 comprises only 0.04% of the earth’s atmosphere and even the alarmists themselves only claim that this 0.04 number is rising by just a very tiny fraction itself. Given the incredible volume of the earth’s oceans, and the ocean system’s proven ability to maintain buffered homeostasis, it’s nearly impossible to believe that this tiny-tiny increase in atmospheric CO2 could have any significant effect on ocean acidification.

      This is simply more wishful thinking by the doomsday left, looking to control world power. It is amazing to see how pervasively science can be compromised when politicians with an agenda control trillions of dollars in public funds.

      Climate change agenda politicians now hold the controlling purse strings to major universities, guaranteeing virtually no opposition to their desired outcomes. Data is regularly biased or sometimes even fraudulently presented, and when even that fails to work, the entire hypothesis is changed on the fly to accommodate the political narrative. If that isn’t bad enough, scientists who would dare to contradict these agenda-driven outcomes are threatened, both professionally and legally.

      By definition, this corruption is NOT science, it is much more like some kind of religious inquisition driven by leftist politics. It will take a very long time to recover from this enormous compromise of fundamental scientific principle.

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    AIDO, Now there you go introducing facts into the oceans are turning to lead batteries scare . Science used to be one of the last things to fall to politician level credibility.
    Now when they cry wolf they carry their climate scare fraud with them .
    When the USA political system became a commodity everything including scientific principles went out the door with a price .
    The USA needs to BE RETURNED TO OWNER and it will be when the $Billionaires
    have broken it .

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