Charismatic Carbon

Charismatic Carbon title=
Charismatic Carbon
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Kelp Forest (Photo: Melissa Ward)

Source: Sonia Fernandez, UC Santa Barbara

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), addressing carbon emissions from our food sector is absolutely essential to combatting climate change. While land and agriculture took center stage in the panel’s most recent report, missing was how the oceans at large could help in that fight.

Seaweed, perceived by some as little more than marine debris on the beach, could be a new player in the effort to mitigate climate change. So say researchers at UC Santa Barbara, who investigated the carbon offsetting potential of seaweed aquaculture.

“It’s not a silver bullet, nor an industry that exists yet,” said Halley Froehlich, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. “But it has huge potential.” Froehlich is lead author of a first-ever global assessment of seaweed aquaculture’s carbon sequestration scaling potential, which appears in Current Biology.

Halley Froehlich (Photo: Courtesy Image)

According to Froehlich and co-authors Jamie Afferbach, Melanie Frazier and Benjamin Halpern from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, who synthesized diverse datasets from scientific literature, seaweed aquaculture could indeed be a powerful new way to sequester carbon. The process would involve cultivating seaweed and harvesting it for the purpose of sinking the algae in the deeper ocean, where the carbon stored in its tissues would remain ‘buried.’

Co-author Ben Halpern (Photo: Matt Perko)

“We really wanted to know if it could be beneficial, but also be realistic about its potential,” Froehlich said of the research, which they bounded with constraints including nutrients, temperature and geographic suitability, as well as assessed production growth and cost. The researchers also investigated the mitigation potential on various scales with a focus on the food sector — a major source of greenhouse gases and considerable hurdle to fight climate change.

There is substantial suitable area — roughly 48 million square kilometers — in which seaweed could be farmed, and a relatively small proportion (0.001%) would be enough to render the entire global aquaculture industry carbon neutral, according to the study.

However, the benefits don’t scale proportionally against the much higher greenhouse gas-emitting global agricultural sector, in part due to cost and growth constraints, Froehlich said. Farming seaweed alone won’t balance emissions from global food production, she added, but could be a useful new tool in a suite that includes other carbon reduction and offset measures such as cleaner sources of energy, reforestation and protection of carbon sinks.

Greenhouse gas-mitigating seaweed farming could have the most potential when it comes to achieving local and regional carbon neutrality goals, the study found. California is particularly well-primed to reap the mitigating benefits of seaweed aquaculture, given the state’s strong climate action policy and its long, nutrient-rich coast. An area of only 3.8% of the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone (a marine zone that extends no more than 200 miles from the coast) would be enough to offset the carbon produced by the state’s agriculture sector.

Relative to the rest of the world, U.S. seaweed aquaculture is still somewhat in its infancy.

“The vast majority of seaweed aquaculture occurs in Southeast Asia,” Froehlich said. While no measurable seaweed farming was occurring in the United States in 2016 — the most recent time period of the study — small seaweed farms are starting to emerge in the U.S., though primarily for food and other commercial purposes, and not for carbon sequestration.

The U.S., meanwhile, is the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, Froehlich pointed out, underscoring the need for solutions such as seaweed farming to mitigate the millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalents the country emits per year. Fortunately, seaweed farming has other appealing and beneficial environmental effects, she noted.

“We like to call it ‘charismatic carbon’ because it has additional benefits,” Froehlich said, “such as potentially providing habitat for fish and other marine life, reducing ocean acidification and oxygen depletion, and taking up excess nutrients in local areas.”

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a-1569508776 Sep 26, 2019 07:39 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Deniers have reason not to trust the information that the climate predictors have brought to the table over the past 40 years. So much of it has been waaaaay wrong. Of course, all of their wrong information has been the same climate predictors and "scientists." Polar caps.....still there.

PitMix Sep 26, 2019 08:49 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Yes, they have been totally wrong about temperatures increasing and sea levels rising and extreme weather events occurring more frequently. All evidence to the contrary from all over the world. Why, just this summer we had pretty mild weather in SB, so that proves without a doubt that the deniers are right and the vast majority of scientists are wrong. Let's say that climate deniers are right- Would it be such a terrible thing for the next generations if you tried to minimize your current use of resources? I think that is generally how people tried to live in the old days before we became a culture of over-consumption.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 25, 2019 10:36 AM
Charismatic Carbon

If all you environmentalists truly believe in global warming, then it's time to start living up to your belief. Sell all your cell phones, lap tops and cars to start because they contribute to climate change because they contain plastic, oil and minerals which is the problem according to you.

Alexblue Sep 25, 2019 12:37 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Dude, those things already exist. The petrochemicals have already been used to create them. Selling them isn't going to unmake them.

Why do people like you insist on ridiculous also choices like that. Derp--if you believe in global warming and you exist and consume things then you oughtta kill yourselves, right? Derp.

No, man. How about doing things like striving for greater efficiency, consuming less disposable crap, eating food grown nearby that wasn't shipped on a container vessel, yeah, travel less. Eat less meat, or even stop eating meat, invest in global population reduction. Do these things really sound stupid and unattainable to you? What's your approach. Just do whatever the F you want and too bad for everyone else? Is that really how you live?

PitMix Sep 25, 2019 11:36 AM
Charismatic Carbon

So all of the people that support minimizing their carbon footprint have to live a 100% pure life in order to be taken seriously? It's not enough to reduce their usage of carbon by a bunch? That kind of all or nothing criticism cannot be taken seriously. But I can see why you do it because it lets you off the hook for doing anything while the rest of us have to be the adults in the room.

a-1569433778 Sep 25, 2019 10:49 AM
Charismatic Carbon

BODYBOARDER73 - how about this? All the gun owners will destroy their guns in exchange for all the environmentalists giving up their oil-based products? Deal?

macpuzl Sep 24, 2019 02:24 PM
Charismatic Carbon

OK, the denier crowd is starting to trot out the same old tired misinformation that has long been shown to be false. Here's a rundown of their repertoire of falsehoods:

Chip of SB Sep 24, 2019 12:18 PM
Charismatic Carbon

How can we help the wealthy and powerful extract more wealth from the poor and middle class and make them feel good about getting ripped off? Let's create a new religion playing on the natural insecurities and emotions of the populace! You were born in sin and you are a sinner! CO2 is evil, you are made from it, you live it, you breath it. Every joy and luxury you indulge in releases an inordinate amount of CO2, so you should feel guilt whenever you experience joy. But do not despair, we can help you achieve salvation! You must naturally make sacrifices because achieving salvation requires you to give. Your utility bills will go up. Your food will become more expensive. Your fuel will cost more. Your rent will increase. Why you ask? Only deniers ask questions. The new "science" cannot be challenged, it is "settled"! In order to save the world, you must accept a lower standard of living and you must condemn your children to an even lower standard of living in the future. Sorry, that's what it takes to save the planet. The freedoms you enjoy today must be curtailed in order to win the fight against global warming. But don't worry, as long as you do your part your guilt will be absolved and we can save the world. ---------It's a clever scheme isn't it. Take advantage of humanity's insecurities and desire to do good in the world in order to enrich the wealthy special interests at the expense of the poor.

a-1569504114 Sep 26, 2019 06:21 AM
Charismatic Carbon

CHIP OF SB. You've got a helluva imagination. Or were you being serious?

jqb Sep 24, 2019 02:43 PM
Charismatic Carbon

This grossly dishonest and ignorant nonsense bears no resemblance to the actual arguments or facts relating to anthrogenic global warming (now heating) and climate change.

PitMix Sep 24, 2019 02:03 PM
Charismatic Carbon

This seems like a very paranoid take on climate change. I wonder how they duped 99% of the scientists too?

Alexblue Sep 24, 2019 01:58 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Okay, this is pretty amusing.

Exactly how can convincing people to consume less in the way of material goods and energy generate more wealth for the elites? Oh, you're saying this will all happen through a magical and hidden taxation scheme which will divert money into he private bank accounts of the ultra wealthy? Illuminati much?

sandpaper Sep 24, 2019 11:52 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Pitmix, kelp that is offshore does sink at a slow steady rate, it does not hang around on the surface.
That's why it's been proposed as a method for carbon sequestration.
Kelp that grows close to shore can get pulled up by waves and washed ashore. It's so close to shore that
it doesn't have much opportunity to sink.
Here's a video about one of the proposed mechanisms, (which has gone through several pilots that prove the basic concept)

sandpaper Sep 24, 2019 03:12 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Pitmix, they are all a form of algae, really, and there are many regional species. The giant kelp we know off our shore can grow about a foot and a half a day, or half a meter in science-speak.
Your impression is correct, kelp is mostly rooted in shallow waters. There is work being done
to grow it on submerged platforms at 75-foot depths, with wave-powered pumps to bring up cooler water with the nutrients needed to grow it. Think of it as a form of irrigation. The basic idea has worked in Indonesia and the Philippines, and more development is happening in Tasmania. And you are right, in that it is not a "natural" process. Neither is farming in a desert. Human ingenuity has long developed vast and ingenious waterworks to help humanity flourish.
And one can imagine some tribesman in the background in those days, muttering "more folly" ha ha. Some things never change. That's fine. We're all human.

PitMix Sep 24, 2019 02:06 PM
Charismatic Carbon

The story says they will grow it, harvest it, and then sink it. Doesn't seem like a natural process at all. I guess kelp is seaweed but the way they avoided that word made me think they were talking about a denser form of seaweed. I also was under the impression that kelp was mostly rooted in shallow waters. I've seen that commercial where the Anacapa School is trying to regrow the kelp forest at Goleta Beach by installing little concrete domes as an artificial reef and places where the kelp could attach.

macpuzl Sep 24, 2019 10:34 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Deniers don't care about the validity of their sources. From a Sourcewatch article on NAS, linked below: "In 2010 and 2011, its president was espousing climate contrarianism under the group's auspices, with no evident expertise in the climate science field.[2]

The Association's officers are not answerable to its membership: according to its 2009 IRS Form 990 (Part VI Section A), the Association doesn't have members (line 6), members don't elect the officers (line 7a), and the decisions of the governing body are not subject to members' approval (line 7b).[3] Mid-2000s IRS filings also indicate that the Association was controlled by 0 or 1 person.

The Association's major foundation donor is the Sarah Scaife Foundation. By 2009, the majority of the Association's revenue came from "educational partnerships", the funding for which is winding down. While the NAS continues to describe itself as "an independent membership association of academics..."[4], in late 2009 membership was opened to all.[5]

Anyone interested in a more thorough report on this organization should read the later parts of John Mashey's 34pp "Bottling Nonsense" pdf, in the Resources section below."

EastBeach Sep 24, 2019 10:17 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Hah, the "National Association of Scholars" is just another mouthpiece funded by the far-right to spew politically motivated noise instead of facts founded on science.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 24, 2019 10:15 AM
Charismatic Carbon

I'll try again later. I cant get the whole link in. In the meantime google "percentages of scientists that don't believe climate change is caused by man" and scroll down like three articles in....

Alexblue Sep 25, 2019 03:41 PM
Charismatic Carbon

So did you ever read it? Unlikely. Predictable.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 24, 2019 09:56 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Alexblue Sep 24, 2019 02:06 PM
Charismatic Carbon


DUDE! Do you even read what you cite to?! OMG. The article that you cite, which was published by a partisan "think tank", only EIGHT YEARS AGO, which allows you to ignore the last EIGHT YEARS of scientific research and consensus literally quotes one guy who says:

PRINCETON, NJ (January 3, 2011)—S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the National Association of Scholars (NAS) that “the number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily; I would guess it is about 40% now.”

HAHAHA!! Come on man!!! So one scientist says he "WOULD GUESS" at a 40% number of skeptics in the scientific community.


Because that's how you science! You GUESS! Come on, man, I don't want you to feel too badly here but this is literally laughable.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 24, 2019 09:52 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Here you go...

jqb Sep 24, 2019 02:49 PM
Charismatic Carbon

So you have one link from an explicitly partisan organization that quotes one explicitly partisan person who is famous for taking fossil fuel industry money, "guessing" a number that flies in the face of numerous studies. In addition to denying climate science, Fred Singer denies the science regarding second hand smoke. He is a corrupt bad person, and so is anyone who cites him or NAS.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 24, 2019 06:03 AM
Charismatic Carbon

40% of scientists are not swayed by money and believe that climate change is not caused by man. Look it up. No name guy.

Eggs Ackley Sep 26, 2019 06:25 AM
Charismatic Carbon

@BODYBOARDER73 Your intellectual curiosity is amazing. More "research" like this please!

jqb Sep 24, 2019 02:53 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Your claim is false as your own link makes clear ... Nothing that S. Fred Singer says is true:

PitMix Sep 24, 2019 08:36 AM
Charismatic Carbon

At least post a link for this spurious assertion. Nature will have the last laugh on you science deniers. And the rest of us too.

Channelfog Sep 24, 2019 03:00 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Perhaps the seaweed could be used as mulch/fertilizer on crops. Many local soils actually benefit from some Sodium Chloride.
There IS a climate change scam, and that is carbon credit trading. Al Gore et al made billions from this scam. I planted 100 trees last year and I will be planting more.

PitMix Sep 24, 2019 08:40 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Cannot find any stories on Al Gore making Billions. Seems like fake news. Most stories on this are at least 10 years old. Extremists like to attack liberals for being successful but never attack extremists for the same behavior. Seems hypocritical.

a-1569304375 Sep 23, 2019 10:52 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Maybe growing more seaweed will have an impact on climate, who knows? There certainly are no useful data in this article. It would be interesting to read the actual published work, but it is not worth $30 to buy it.

Eggs Ackley Sep 26, 2019 06:33 AM
Charismatic Carbon

The research is out there and not behind a paywall. Do a little digging. Giant kelp not only sequesters carbon, it reduces acidification in the immediate vicinity by uptaking carbon dioxide from the water.

macpuzl Sep 23, 2019 06:51 PM
Charismatic Carbon

For those who want to know what the actual data says, and not trust guts:
Take a gander at the "per capita" figures, too.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 23, 2019 06:43 PM
Charismatic Carbon

and yes they do contribute more. I knew that without looking it up btw. Sweet dreams.

macpuzl Sep 23, 2019 06:45 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Ah yes, following the example of your "think with your gut" leader.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 23, 2019 06:33 PM
Charismatic Carbon

What do you think fossil fuels do when burned? They release carbon dioxide.

macpuzl Sep 23, 2019 06:42 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Hey, you got one right! And, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Follow?

yacht rocked Sep 23, 2019 06:23 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Carbon makes up about 18.5% of a human body. Just sayin'.

jqb Sep 24, 2019 03:22 PM
Charismatic Carbon

Just saying what? How is that at all relevant? Burning organic matter releases carbon that joins with oxygen to form CO2. CO2 in the atmosphere is transparent to incoming solar radiation which is reradiated by the Earth' surface as infrared radiation. CO2 is not transparent to infrared; it scatters it, slowing its escape from the atmosphere. There's enough CO2 to slow the outgoing radiation to the point where the incoming radiation from the sun is greater than the escaping radiation. The result is slow but steady warming of the atmosphere and the oceans. What does the fact that human bodies contain carbon have to do with this?

macpuzl Sep 23, 2019 06:25 PM
Charismatic Carbon

We're talking carbon dioxide, since you don't seem to be following along very well.

Bodyboarder73 Sep 23, 2019 06:08 PM
Charismatic Carbon

^stop contributing^mistype^

Bodyboarder73 Sep 23, 2019 05:55 PM
Charismatic Carbon

I think the green house gases are a problem that we need to solve. We can plant more trees, and eventually get off fossil fuels. But how are you going to tell China and India to contributing to climate change? I think they are bigger problems now than the U.S.

a-1569503398 Sep 26, 2019 06:09 AM
Charismatic Carbon

Yeah they're a$$holes. Are you arguing that makes it okay for you to be one too?


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