A report released in August 20211 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions will likely worsen as global warming continues to spiral out of control.
One of the environmental effects is warming ocean waters, which in turn has affected cold water species. One of those species is crabs. For the first time in history, Alaska has canceled the fall and winter harvest of snow crab,2 which was triggered because the population has declined.
The UN climate panel writes that humans are “unequivocally”3 to blame for climate disruption and that rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may help limit some of the consequences, but many of those changes are irrevocable. The UN Secretary-General described the report as “a code red for humanity.”4
Global temperatures have risen 1.1 degrees Celsius from the average measured before the Industrial age. The report warned that unless rapid and large-scale action is taken temperatures will reach a 1.5 C threshold within 20 years. This increase is generally understood to be higher than most of humanity could withstand, as it would unleash enough disastrous weather that Reuters reports in some areas of the world, “people could die just from going outside.”
In the face of scientific data showing the crab environment is degrading, Mordor Intelligence estimates5 that the crab market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% from 2022 to 2027. In the report overview, the writers mention supply chain interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and labor disagreements, and delayed aquaculture stocking as having negative influences on the crab industry, but do not mention warming oceans.
Cold Adapted Species on the Decline
What was once an exceedingly lucrative industry is suddenly facing massive losses and potentially the extinction of the industry. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game canceled the fall and winter 2022 snow crab and king crab harvest for the first time in history after finding only 23% of the snow crab population remained and a significant loss of mature female king crabs.6
According to CBS news KREM,7 Alaska fisheries produce 60% of the nation’s seafood and the Alaskan crab industry is worth $200 million. In 2018, the snow crab population measured 8 billion but just three years later, the population showed a sharp decline to just 1 billion.8
In contrast, in 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2018 was a banner year in the seafood sector, including lobster, crab, salmon and scallops. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a NOAA press release:9
“America’s fishermen and seafood industries underpin our strong blue economy. Our fisheries are among the world’s most sustainable and support thousands of jobs, provide billions of dollars in revenue, and provide protein-rich options to dinner tables. Consumers can be confident that U.S. seafood represents the global gold standard in sustainability.”
Fishermen and scientists are struggling to understand why the population of crab declined so rapidly just a short time later, despite its “gold standard” sustainability moniker. As reported by CBS KREM News, researchers are looking into the potential that widespread disease impacted the population, while fishermen wonder if the crab moved further north, over the border to Russia, in search of colder water.
The continued toll that climate change has taken on the crabbing industry has led crabbers to fear an unprecedented collapse of the industry. NOAA Fisheries10 has stated that the likely decline of the king and snow crab was the result of climate change, but crabbers believe inaccurate data may have also influenced it.
Maggie Mooney-Seuss, communications program manager with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, defended the agency’s management process, saying that the dramatic decline in snow crab was likely related to the 2019 heat wave. “That heat wave, as well as earlier heat waves, have been attributed to climate change,” she said.11
Alaska Is the Fastest Warming State in the Country
The oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and have a large capacity to absorb heat.12 According to data from NOAA,13 the rising burden of greenhouse gas cannot escape into space as freely as it used to. Much of this heat is absorbed by the ocean, which has increased the upper ocean temperature measurements significantly.
Global ocean measurements have consistently been above average since the mid-1990s. Robert Foy, Ph.D., is the science and research director at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. The Seattle Times14 reports that NOAA is using his research to help develop a potential timeline to chart the collapse of the king crab population. However, Jeremy Mathis, an NOAA oceanographer spoke with a Seattle Times reporter saying:
“Bob [Foy] reared those crabs under conditions that we thought were some time off in the future. And what we actually found is that in certain times of the year, the conditions near the bottom in the Bering Sea were actually worse than the conditions that Bob was raising his crabs under.”
Another researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told CBS KREM News,15 “Environmental conditions are changing rapidly, we’ve seen some warm conditions in the Bering Sea in the last handful of years and we’re seeing a response in the cold-adapted species. So, it’s pretty obvious this is all connected.”
Alaska is losing billions of tons of ice each year, which is critical for cold-adapted species that need cold water to survive. Temperatures have warmed in Alaska more than any other place on Earth.16 This has affected the ocean and how people live on land.
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city and is built on permafrost, which is permanently frozen ground. However, rising temperatures have caused a degradation of the permafrost, risking public infrastructures, including the Trans-Alaska pipeline.17
Temperatures have changed so drastically that NOAA officially downgraded the city’s subarctic designation in 2021 to “warm summer continental.”18 Ancient ice that used to cover 85% of the state is thawing, leaving sinkholes and changing how and where people can live. The key message from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is that climate models project Arctic waters will be free of ice in late summer before 2050.19
Geoengineering Climate Control
Scientists are using large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s climate, also known as geoengineering, to alter the effect of global warming. Reuters reports20 the United Nations is now considering a controversial form of geoengineering that involves spraying sulfate aerosol into the stratosphere, which comes with unknown and potentially disastrous effects.
Sulfate aerosols are tiny reflective particles. They reflect sunlight back into space when sprayed 12 to 16 miles above the Earth’s surface. This can lead to lower global temperatures, and will also lower the average precipitation, which will have a significant impact on food production. Additionally, this geoengineering technique could affect different regions far more drastically than others.
The IPCC report mentions solar radiation management as a form of geoengineering. Report author Govindasamy Bala, from the Indian Institute of Science, said “the science is there” to use geoengineering, but it’s far from an exact one. “I think the next big question,” Bala told Reuters, “is do you want to do it? … That involves uncertainty, moral issues, ethical issues and governance.”
It should be noted, however, that some forms of geoengineering are already in use. Cloud seeding is an example that’s been used for decades21 and involves “seeding” clouds with silver iodide or solid carbon dioxide to promote rain and snow or weaken tropical storms.22 At least eight Western U.S. states and dozens of countries have used cloud seeding to enhance precipitation.
In 2022,23 it was revealed the Spanish government had authorized the military to spray chemicals in the sky as a part of the defense against COVID-19 in a population-wide medical experiment at the behest of the U.N. This is not the first time that Spain has sprayed chemtrails over the country.
In 2015, four whistleblowers from the country’s meteorological agency told the European Parliament the chemicals were regularly sprayed over the country to alter the climate.24
Cloud Seeding, Geoengineering and Social Control
Bill Gates is also heavily invested in geoengineering techniques. In 2010,25 he funded research to develop machines that would spray seawater into the clouds to reduce global warming. The move triggered a call for a global ban on geoengineering experiments. Gates has also funded climate scientists’ lobbying efforts to advance geoengineering to manipulate the global climate.
While scientists argue this is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change, critics point out the technology can also be used as a weapon or to advance wealthy societies at the expense of poor countries. In 2018,26 Gates again agreed to fund geoengineering experiments for Harvard scientists who proposed spraying the stratosphere with calcium chloride to slow the Earth’s warming by blocking out the sun.
Gates remains heavily invested in climate modification technologies that will not only destabilize the climate system but can also be weaponized against people by controlling rainfall and drought. One of Gates’ long-term goals appears to be mastering control of global agriculture and food production.27 Currently, he’s the largest owner of farmland in the U.S. and uniquely positioned to benefit heavily from the targeted use of geoengineering practices.
Writing in The Defender, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. noted,28 “For a man obsessed with monopoly control, the opportunity to also dominate food production must seem irresistible.”
The risks of geoengineering on a large scale are immense. Even Christopher Field, chairman of the National Academy’s solar geoengineering committee, who said he supports further research into solar radiation management, told Yale Climate Connections, “If you can’t tell whether or not a bomb works until you set it off, that’s a really good reason to not build the bomb.”29
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