[Coral-List] Copenhagen flop...the original question

Arlo Hemphill arlo at stanford.edu
Sun Aug 30 01:35:31 EDT 2009

Hi All,

As someone who does plan on being in Copenhagen, I can attest that the  
attendance looks like it will be quite high.  Most hotels have been  
fully booked since May, so anyone making lodging arrangements now is  
having to resort to apartment rentals and hotels as far away as Sweden  
(which apparently are actually being recommended on the COP15 site).

On the other strand of this conversation, I think is important to  
distinguish between alien/exotic species and invasive ones.  Our  
nurseries and pet stores carry thousands of exotic species, most of  
which present very little danger.  The good majority of these would  
simply die off without our attentive care.  Others are capable of  
persisting in the environment, establishing a permanent breeding  
colony, but other than possibly displacing a similar species (the  
brown anoles in Florida come to mind), do not present significant  
ecological threat.  However, there are a handful of species that, once  
introduced, thrive in their new home and lacking environmental  
controls wreak havoc on the environment, in turn presenting serious  
economic consequences.  Kudzu, zebra mussels, and melaleuca in the  
US., rabbits in Australia, and ctenophores in the Black Sea are all  
good examples of this.  Key limes (or any other type of citrus) are  
not a good comparison as they don't take over in this manner.   
However, and I'm no expert on bamboo - but my gut tells me that for  
many of the same reasons it is being promoted as a useful carbon  
sequester (fast growing, easily/self propagating, etc.), it has the  
potential to be an aggressive invader.  That said, if the intent is to  
manage it as a crop on agricultural or otherwise degraded lands, I'm  
all for it.  But to suggest using non-native bamboo species as either  
an alternative to native plant restoration or, even worse,  
"supplementing" natural systems with the good intent to help climate  
change, is a disaster in the making.  Kudzu and melaleuca both got  
their starts from exactly the same, well-meaning, "innovative" yet  
faulty thinking.

Similarly, the idea placing floating crops of algae over reefs as a  
means to ward off bleaching seems next to ridiculous to me.  You can  
shade an area, but warm water will have no problem flowing under such  
structures.   It would take a floating crop of algae of enormous  
dimensions to have any kind of significant cooling effect on the  
oceans.  Furthermore, the very zooxanthellae that are expelled during  
bleaching are photosynthetic.  Shading them out would seem more likely  
to cause bleaching then prevent it.  This is by no means meant to put  
down mariculture - I'm a firm believer in its value - but raising a  
crop over a coral reef would have to be one of the worst zoning  
decisions imaginable.

Best regards,


On Aug 29, 2009, at 3:26 PM, RainbowWarriorsInternational wrote:

> Having posted the original email with the link to the Copenhagen  
> post article about the 20,000 cancellations and the looming flop, I  
> would dare to venture that the reasons the Summit is going to be a  
> flop is all about money.
> The last BIG summit with a large across the board turnout was the  
> IUCN summit in Spain, from 5-14 October 2008 in Barcelona. This  
> being about a month and a half after the onset of the financlal  
> global meltdown. Most attending participants had registered and paid  
> months in advance, so the expected turnout was normal for an event  
> of this magnitude and in particular participants from the academia,  
> research and civil society sectors had not felt the pinch yet from  
> cutbacks from the grantmakers.
> This year the cutbacks in grant money has everyone prioritizing  
> event attendance and international programs.
> Even though the Copenhagen summit is important, financial  
> constraints are making a lot of civil society actors cut back and  
> even governmental delegations from a lot of attending countries are  
> being scaled back to the bare minimum.
> So the number of people attending will be a lot smaller than  
> predicted and projected last year and even this year.
> In addition the cumbersome accreditation process with the UN is also  
> proving to be a deterrent and obstacle for most NGOs and scientific,  
> research and other actors from the civil society to show up only as  
> observers.
> The problem seems to be now that only the die-hard proponents and  
> opponents of action to deal with climate change, governmental  
> delegations and civil society representatives hailing from  
> organizations with deep pockets will be making the journey, leaving  
> the 70 to 80 plus percent of the passionate AGW and GW activists  
> sitting in the sidelines at home.
> This is a war that wll not be fought and won at summits like the one  
> in Copenhagen but in the hearts and minds of the common man and in  
> the media.
> What we need is a convergence of the tens of thousands of NGOs,  
> scientists, researchers, celebrities dedicating great part of their  
> international programs to dealing with climate change issues to come  
> together in events and venues and get the message home.
> So if Copenhagen turns out to be a flop in terms of attendance will  
> be a mere indication of the fact that most people considered an  
> alternative allocation of resources to deal with climate change  
> issues.
> The outcomes of course are of the greatest importance, but here is  
> where the US contingent of NGOs, scientists and researchers will  
> have to push the US delegation to lead by example.
> The US delegation will be closely observed by a lot of countries who  
> will, if the US delivers on president Obama's promise on tackling  
> climate change, cast their swing votes in favor of action.
> Milton Ponson, President
> Rainbow Warriors Core Foundation
> (Rainbow Warriors International) Tel. +297 747 8280
> PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
> Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
> Email: southern_caribbean at yahoo.com Web Sites: http://www.southerncaribbean 
> ..org   http://www.rainbowwarriors.net (Global)
> http://www.projectparadigm.info
> To unite humanity in a global society dedicated to a sustainable way  
> of life
> --- On Sat, 8/29/09, Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:
> From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Copenhagen flop...the original question
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Date: Saturday, August 29, 2009, 9:27 AM
> Bruno, Thanks for the ad hominum attack. It clearly demonstrates the
> contentiousness of what is becoming an almost religious subject. The
> continental drift and plate tectonics argument of the late 1950s
> never quite reached this level, however, it did not involve the
> public and/or politicians or biologists. Clearly the AGWs like the
> skeptics have their own litany of  "well-worn" attack modes as well.
> Cherry picking  data and blogs is rampant on both sides. There are so
> many to pick from. Which to pick usually comes down to who pays the
> rent. I wish I was funded to do it. Like I said, I get blasted with
> blogs from both sides of the issue everyday and try to stay near the
> middle.
>     As I recall the original question was why is the Copenhagen
> meeting becoming a flop. Maybe we should stick to the original
> question.  Gene
> -- 
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------  
> -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> Marine Science Center (room 204)
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
> -----------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

Arlo H. Hemphill
Communications Specialist
Center for Ocean Solutions
99 Pacific Street, Suite 155A
Monterey, CA    93940

831.333.2093 (w)
202.746.3484 (m)
E-mail: arlo at stanford.edu
Skype: arlohemp
Twitter: oceansolutions


More information about the Coral-List mailing list