By James Taylor
Climate change is benefiting life in the oceans so much that ocean color is becoming noticeably greener as a result, scientists reported this week. Bodies of water with little life tend to be bluer, the scientists observed, while bodies of water rich in life tend to be greener. Responding to the wonderful news about the recent burst of ocean life, the media have instead sounded a breathless alarm leading people to believe that climate change making the oceans greener is bad.
On July 13, the media acted in concert to inundate people with fear that climate change “is literally changing the ocean’s color.” A sample of article titles include:
“Climate Change Is Literally Changing the Ocean’s Color” – The Daily Beast.
“World’s oceans changing color due to climate breakdown, study suggests” – The Guardian
“Climate change is making our oceans change color, new research finds” – CNN
“Oceans are changing color, likely due to climate change, researchers find” – CBN News
“Climate Change Is Getting So Bad that the Ocean Is Changing Color” – The Byte
Searching dozens of media articles reporting on the new study, Climate Realism could not find a single article with a title mentioning green oceans mean more life.
The lead sentence of the CNN article reads, “The color of the ocean has changed significantly over the last 20 years and human-caused climate change is likely responsible, according to a new study.” Only later in the article – for people who bother to read that far down – is the explanation: “The color of the ocean is derived from the materials found in its upper layers. For example, a deep blue sea will have very little life in it, whereas a green color means there are ecosystems there, based on phytoplankton, plant-like microbes which contain chlorophyll. The phytoplankton form the basis of a food web which supports larger organisms such as krill, fish, seabirds and marine mammals.”
So, scientists report in a peer-reviewed study that oceans are becoming noticeably greener. Science tells us that greener oceans are the result of much more oceanic life. The media respond by writing article titles and lead sentences designed to make believe more life in the oceans is a bad thing and a “climate breakdown.” In reality, the latest scientific evidence confirms – yet again – that our modestly warming planet and more atmospheric carbon dioxide are clearly beneficial to life on Earth.
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland’s Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.