Jellyfish and Climate Change: Another Look

jellyfishIn an earlier blog post, Zintro experts discussed the connection between climate change and the proliferation of jellyfish in recent years. Jellyfish are again making national news, this time when a family found recently discovered a 1.5 meter jellyfish while walking on an Australian beach. During an interview with Australia’s ABC Local Radio, CSIRO scientist Lisa-ann Gershwin said the species is “technically unclassified and new to science.”

A billion people rely on fish for protein and half a billion rely on the fishing industry as a whole, yet jellyfish get sucked into engines and cooling vents, wreaking havoc on the water. During a review of Gershwin’s book in the New York Times, writer Tim Flannery reported that dead jellyfish have been responsible for the destruction of a nuclear aircraft carrier and a coal power plant, and capsized a Japanese trawler.

Zintro expert Dr. Guy McPherson is an environmental and natural resource consultant with over 10 years of professional experience working on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy policy development. “The rate of climate change clearly has gone beyond linear, as indicated by the presence of the 25 self-reinforcing feedback loops triggered by industrial civilization, and now threatens our species with extinction in the near term,” explains McPherson. “In the face of near-term human extinction, most Americans view the threat as distant and irrelevant, as illustrated in the Washington Post article How Americans See Global Warning, based on poll results that echo the long-held sentiment that elected officials should be focused on the industrial economy, not far-away minor nuisances such as climate change.”

McPherson continues, “If you think humans will adapt in time, think again. The rate of evolution trails the rate of climate change by a factor of 10,000, according to a paper in the August 2013 issue of Ecology Letters. And it’s not as if extinction events haven’t happened on this planet, as explained in the BBC program, The Day the Earth Nearly Died.”

Senior Climate Policy Expert Manuel Cocco shares his opinion. “Jellyfish population is just one example of the many impacts that climate change and human-induced increase of GHG emissions are bringing to the World’s meteorological, biological and socio-economic systems,” Cocco states. “Animal and vegetal species are adapting, migrating, and in some cases, facing extinction (including humans); oceans, glaciers and emerged lands are already experiencing changes, in some case irreversible; and socio-economic systems like cities and economies are being affected. Of course, finding ways to increase, accelerate, and direct better and more effectively climate funding so we can further analyze, but -more importantly- so we can tackle some of the more pressing issues (for which we have more than enough scientific proof and understanding) will be one if not the main challenges at hand.”

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