Happy Winter Solstice! 2018 GCRA activities report


by Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance

BARONG & RANGDA, Biorock sculpture of the quintessential Balinese myth of the struggle between good and evil, installed December 14 2018 in honor of late Balinese ecotourism pioneer Agung Prana.


Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest areas and highest biodiversity of coral reefs, mangroves, and sea grass ecosystems, continued to be the major focus of GCRA activities in 2018, in collaboration with our local partner, Biorock Indonesia.


Sulawesi is the centre of global marine species diversity, the “heart of the heart” of the richest variety of species in the world’s oceans. The GCRA team, working with Take Action Films, a Toronto documentary group, filmed spectacular coral reefs in North Sulawesi. We found, and removed, Crown of Thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) eating corals in the finest reefs. Although these reefs have the highest live coral cover and diversity in the world, they are not invulnerable to stresses caused by humans, in particular global warming and new diseases. 10 Biorock reefs at Pulau Gangga Dive Resort, which had been off power for around 8 years, were put back under power and immediately began growing again, with spectacular corals and fishes. The severely eroded beach at southwestern Pulau Gangga, which Biorock shore protection reefs grew back naturally at record rates (at a fraction of the cost of a seawall that would have increased erosion in front of it), continued to grow wider, higher, and longer throughout 2018, throughout the monsoon season when it would previously erode.  Corals are settling on the Biorock structures and growing very rapidly, as are the surrounding seagrasses, while fishes, sea urchins, barnacles, oysters, and crabs have built up dense populations. A second severely eroded beach on another side of the same island was grown back in months during the erosion season with Biorock shore protection reefs built by Paulus Prong and a local team trained by GCRA. These projects were shown to the Mayor of the local fishing village, which is suffering severe beach erosion and flooding of land because of death of their shallow coral reefs, and community-managed Biorock shore protection, reef restoration, and sustainable mariculture projects were discussed.


Over a hundred Biorock reefs, each a different size and shape, continue to grow and provide fish habitat, creating an ecotourism attraction that has turned Pemuteran village from the poorest on the island to one of the most prosperous. The Biorock projects have received many international environmental awards, including the United Nations Equator Award for Community Based Development and the Special UNDP Award for Oceans and Coastal Management. Biorock reefs increased live coral cover from around 1-5% after the severe bleaching event of 1998, up to 95-99% in less than ten years, with spectacular coral settlement and growth, increasing the biodiversity of corals and fishes above what it had originally been before the bleaching event. Another severe bleaching event in 2016, coincident with severe damage from heavy waves, and severe infestations of coral-eating Crown of Thorns starfish and Drupella snails, decreased the live coral cover of nearby reefs below 5%. The Biorock projects showed an interesting pattern. Biorock reefs under continuous electrical trickle charge had almost no coral mortality during the bleaching event, while those under power only 6-8 hours a day suffered almost complete coral mortality, like surrounding reefs. Similar results were seen at around a hundred Biorock projects at Gili Trawangan run by our local partner, the Gili Eco Trust, headed by Delphine Robbe. Community-based Biorock projects in Pejarakan, Bali had almost complete survival through the severe bleaching event that caused nearly complete mortality on nearby reefs. These results reiterate what was found in the Maldives in 1998, and Thailand in 2010, that Biorock is the only method that saves entire reefs from dying from bleaching, if they are under continuous power. Biorock Coral Arks are helping save around half the world’s coral species from extinction from global warming. The Biorock Centre team in Pemuteran, led by Komang Astika, has been vigorously propagating corals, and there has been high natural settlement of new corals in the Biorock electrical fields, which is not seen further away. Young corals are growing vigorously and the Biorock team is growing back reef coral cover and diversity once again. The Pemuteran Sea Festival in mid-December drew crowds of thousands of people, and more than 50 divers joined in to install a stunning new Biorock reef, in the form of Barong and Rangda, the two characters of the quintessential Balinese myth. This new structure was dedicated to the memory of the late Agung Prana, owner of Taman Sari Resort in Pemuteran, a leader of Balinese ecotourism based on restoring beautiful gardens on both land and in the sea. Without him these projects would not have happened. Within a day most of the rust on the new steel structure had disappeared, limestone began growing on it, and new coral growth was visible.

Kalimantan (Borneo)

Last year Indonesia was for a few brief weeks the world’s largest CO2 emitter when drought conditions led to massive fires in peat soil that had been clear cut for oil palm plantations. GCRA and Biorock Indonesia assessed illegally cut mangroves in East Kalimantan (Borneo), with Willie Smits and the Arsari Enviro Industri team. We will work with them to use Biorock Technology to greatly increase rates of above and below ground growth of mangroves, ameliorate soil acidity, reverse peat oxidation, create huge carbon sinks, provide orangutan sanctuaries, and produce biofuels from the endemic swamp palm Nypa fruticans, which produces as much energy from sustainable tapping of flower stalks as sugar cane does, and without cutting down the plant. These projects are planned to start next year, as well as projects to grow corals 20 kilometers up-river, which enormous tides make salty enough for coral growth. These projects may allow Indonesia, which has the world’s largest and most diverse mangroves and sea grasses, to restore mangrove and sea grass peat soils and hopefully become the world’s largest and most cost-effective carbon sink.


The Biorock Ambon team held training workshops, installed new Biorock structures with local participants, and maintained the older projects in Halong, Ambon Bay. Ambon Bay was once famous for its clear waters and spectacular coral gardens. Corals were among the thousands of Ambon plants and animals described by the great blind naturalist Rumphius in the 1600s, and in the 1800s Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of Evolution, was astonished to look over the side of a boat at coral reefs that were just as magnificent and beautiful ecosystems as the Indonesian forests he studied, but he could not go into the water to see them. Since then, deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, sewage, garbage, and plastics have killed almost all the coral reefs in Ambon Bay, with the last remaining remnant in Halong. Biorock projects are now bringing them back.


The Biorock Indonesia team, led by Prawita Tasya Karissa and Ricky Soerapoetra, met with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the United Nations Development Program to plan future large-scale reef and fisheries restoration projects all across Indonesia. A collaborative research program was formally signed with the Institut Pertanian Bogor (Bogor Agricultural University), which will be led by two of Indonesia’s leading young coral researchers, Hawis Maduppa and Beginer Subhan, who both did their Master’s thesis on Biorock projects.


100 Biorock projects at Gili Trawangan were affected by the severe earthquake that hit Lombok. There was no electricity for months, and many power supplies were lost under collapsing buildings. While there was little damage to the Biorock reefs themselves, nearby reef blocks broke loose and slid downslope. Delphine Robbe of the Gili Eco Trust, the local GCRA partner, has led heroic efforts under difficult circumstances to repair the damage and get the Biorock projects back under power.





Six new Biorock coral reefs were built and installed in Cozumel, the world’s most popular dive site, in collaboration with the Cozumel Coral Reef Restoration Foundation, funded by Minecraft. These are illuminated at night with LED lights, attracting zooplankton, fishes, and squids.

Costa Maya

Sites along the Costa Maya, the east coast of Yucatan, from Cancun to Mahahual, were assessed for water quality problems, resulting from tourism over-development and failure to treat sewage, which are causing rapid death of the corals by smothering from harmful algae blooms and coral diseases.  Algae were collected for nutrient analysis to identify the sources of pollution causing their proliferation. This work was done with Mexican diving organizations, including Sea Shepherds Mexico, and Mexican algae experts, including Pamela Herrera.


Plans moved forward to develop some of the world’s largest tidal energy resources, in the Sea of Cortes territories of the Comca’ac people, Mexico’s smallest and most remarkable indigenous culture. Expected to start next year they will produce electricity, water from desalination, and Biorock building materials, and develop sustainable mariculture of endemic endangered marine species.



Meetings were held with Guna Indian representatives to plan Biorock coral reef shore protection projects to protect their islands from severe erosion. A quarter of the 50 inhabited islands are now being abandoned because they can no longer be protected from global sea level rise, making their people climate change refugees. Biorock will also be used to restore coral reef fisheries habitat, especially for the lobsters on which the Guna economy depends, and to develop sustainable ecotourism.  GCRA’s study of coral reefs in front of the Panama Canal was used by the Panamanian environmental law group Centro de Incidencia Ambiental to get a Panamanian Supreme Court order issued to halt the dredging for landfill 100 meters away that threatened these reefs. The developers have ignored the legal orders.


GCRA, the Grenada Coral Reef Foundation, and the Grenada Fisheries Department Marine Protected Area Programme held Biorock training workshops for local students and fishermen, in Gouyave, Grenada’s largest fishing village, and in Carriacou, the largest island of the Grenadines. At each site eight Biorock reefs were built and installed by workshop participants. It is planned to greatly expand these projects in the coming year.



GCRA assessed severe coastal erosion sites in Maui where beaches have washed away, cliffs are collapsing, and condominiums, houses, and roads are on the verge of collapsing into the sea. Traditional sea wall and breakwater strategies have proven repeatedly to be costly failures. GCRA is proposing use of Biorock shore protection reefs with local partners, and met with local regulatory agencies to evaluate the barriers to getting permission to use much lower cost and much more effective Biorock strategies to grow back beaches and restore coral reefs.



At the Amsterdam International Summit on Fisheries and Mariculture Tom Goreau gave an invited keynote talk on “Biorock Technology: A Novel Tool for Large-Scale Whole-Ecosystem Sustainable Mariculture Using Direct Biophysical Stimulation of Marine Organisms’ Biochemical Energy Metabolism”.



GCRA repaired storm damage to cables at the Biorock Elkhorn reef in Westmoreland, Jamaica, strengthening the structure and adding more corals. This is the first Biorock coral restoration project in 25 years in Jamaica, where the technology was originally invented and developed. Proposals were prepared with the Caribbean Maritime University, Portland Bight Marine Protected Area, Caribbean Coastal Areas Management Foundation, and the Half Moon Bay Fishermens’ Cooperative to use Biorock shore protection reefs to grow back Jamaica’s most important recreational beach at Hellshire, St. Catherine, which has entirely washed away, and to restore the dead reef that used to protect it.



At the SIDS DOCK Side Event “Blue Guardians: Building Partnerships for the SIDS Blue Economy” in Apia, at the United Nations Inter-Regional Meeting for Small Island Developing States Tom Goreau gave an invited keynote talk on “Recharging SIDS coral reefs, fisheries, sea grass, mangroves, beaches, low coasts and islands, and producing CO2-removing construction material”. He met with the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, looked at community-managed Giant Clam farms that could greatly benefit from Biorock Technology, and had meetings to develop sustainable mariculture, reef restoration, and shore protection projects in Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Niue, Tokelau, Tuvalu, and the Cook Islands.



At the Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference in Townsville Tom Goreau gave an invited keynote talk on “Ecotourism Can Help Save Indonesia’s Coral Reefs”, showing how devastated reefs, beaches, and fisheries have been restored by Biorock Indonesia in front of Indonesian hotels. He pointed out for every reef we save, thousands are being lost, but if every hotel were legally mandated to restore the dead reefs in front of their eroding beaches, tourism could be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. GCRA worked with Dr. Peter Bell of the University of Queensland (who discovered that land-based sources of nutrients from agricultural fertilizers, cattle farms, and sewage had killed around three quarters of the Great Barrier Reef’s corals even before coral bleaching killed most of the rest, as Tom Goreau had accurately predicted 20 years ago) to re-evaluate the changes to the coral reefs at Low Isle. Low Isle is unique in the history of coral reefs, because it was intensively studied in 1928-1929 by the Cambridge University Great Barrier Reef Expedition, led by Sir Maurice Yonge, who adopted the Goreau family as his scientific heirs. Low Isle, and many other reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, were first photographed underwater, and from the air, in 1950, by Fritz Goreau. They were photographed again in 1967 by his son Thomas F. Goreau, and again in 1998 by his son Thomas J. F. Goreau. These photographic records, unknown in Australia, show dramatic long-term changes in the coral reefs before any Australian coral reef scientists began to study them. The GCRA team also looked at coastal fringing coral reefs with local Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal communities, who had seen their reefs and sea grasses killed by mud and nutrients washed in from sugar cane farms, and with local organic farmer Andre Leu who has increased his soil carbon six-fold, greatly increasing soil water storage during recent record high temperatures and droughts, and greatly reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss onto the coral reefs. Meetings were held with Great Barrier Reef Heritage and local groups trying to protect the Great Barrier Reef’s last corals, to develop educational exhibits of changes in reef conditions over the last 90 years and to restore them.



GCRA’s Margaret Goreau has begun to scan the Goreau collection of coral reef photographs from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the world’s largest. They show a lost world that had largely vanished before any other diving scientists saw it. These will form part of full-length documentary film that shows the changes in reefs around the world since they were first documented, the causes of their deterioration, and how deterioration can be reversed. Take Action Films, a Toronto-based documentary film group directed by Andrew Nisker, was funded by the Canadian Government to film the long-term changes shown by this unique photograph collection. Take Action films recently released a documentary, Ground Wars, on the environmental and health impacts of golf course chemicals, featuring Tom Goreau and James Cervino of GCRA showing the impacts of golf course fertilizers and chemicals killing corals on Bahamas reefs by causing overgrowth by harmful algae blooms and coral disease epidemics.



Tom Goreau met with the Ahiarmiut Inuit community in Arviat, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic. They were the only inland Inuit people, known as the “Caribou Eskimo” or the “People of the Deer”. He brought photographs taken in 1954 by his grandfather, of the last year that the Ahiarmiut people lived on their ancestral tundra lands, just before they were starved out by the collapse of the caribou populations caused by over-hunting. Three of the oldest people in the community, shown in the photographs as young people or children, were still alive, remembered his grandfather well, and could identify all the people in the photographs. Plans were developed to seek funds to scan the entire photograph collection to be made available to the community, who were overjoyed to see them. Discussions were also held about their experiences of climate change, in one of the fastest warming parts of the world. The seasons have dramatically changed because of global warming, new plants, animals, birds, and insects are invading the tundra from the south. Despite global warming, this is one of the few places NOT experiencing global sea level rise. The land is rising rapidly, bouncing back up from the melting of 3 kilometers of ice at the end of the last Ice Age, so islands that were only reachable by boat are now part of the mainland, the rivers that they used to kayak up to hunt caribou are now too shallow, vast numbers of ponds are now drying up, the organic peat on their bottoms are oxidizing and feeding CO2 into the atmosphere, the period of snow cover is decreasing and the vegetation becoming taller, so the land absorbs much more heat. Their entire way of life is threatened by global warming.



The Biorock oyster and salt marsh restoration projects by James Cervino, Rand Weeks, and Tom Goreau successfully restored these ecosystems at the Superfund toxic waste dump at College Point, Queens, New York City and built up a new beach over 11 years that was not damaged by Hurricane Sandy, which caused tremendous erosion elsewhere. In 2018, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which had permitted the oyster and salt marsh restoration project, built a huge storm drain that flushed contaminated runoff straight onto the beach we had built up over 11 years, and washed it away with huge erosional gully in just a few months. We are trying to get them to mitigate the damages.



The Talanoa Dialog is a new mechanism to submit important new sources of independent information to the UNFCCC Negotiators. GCRA’s Tom Goreau, Ray Hayes, and Ernest Williams submitted a GCRA White Paper entitled: We Have Already Exceeded the Upper Temperature Limit for Coral Reef Ecosystems, Which are Dying at Today’s CO2 Levels.  Kevin Lister, Sev Clarke, Michael MacCracken, Alan Gadian, Tom Goreau, and Ray Hayes submitted  The essential role and form of integrated climate restoration strategy; the setting of targets and timescales; the methodologies and funding options. We can only hope that the world’s governments act immediately to reverse global warming by putting the dangerous excess CO2 back into the soil in time to prevent the extinction of coral reefs, and many other ecosystems. Political irresponsibility, willful ignorance, and greed are causing accelerated global warming and sea level rise, which will result in catastrophic melting of the polar ice caps, eventually causing 50 meters or more of global sea level rise, forcing billions of people from their homes, which will take millions of years for nature to undo. Politicians lying about global climate change to keep a few campaign donors filthy rich from fossil fuels are committing capital crimes against the environment.



Tom Goreau spoke at the Boston opening of “Symbiotic Earth”, a film about the late scientific genius Lynn Margulis, about his family’s personal ties to her since the 1940s. Tom Goreau interviewed famous linguistic theorist, social critic, and philosopher Noam Chomsky on the origins of the movement for social responsibility of scientists and engineers, based on the 1969-1970 MIT student strike against weapons research on campus. This was filmed by Werner Grundl and Julie O’Neill of Videosphere, a Cambridge documentary group, and is planned to be part of a documentary and book.

Biorock Oyster, Salt Marsh, and Sea Grass Restoration for Coastal Protection, Fisheries Habitat Regeneration, Submerged Breakwaters, and Artificial Islands

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance


Biorock technology, first invented in 1976 in Grand Isle, Louisiana by the late Wolf Hilbertz, architecture professor at the University of Texas at Austin (Hilbertz, 1979; Goreau & Hilbertz 2005), provides the highest settlement, growth, survival, and resistance to extreme environmental stresses such as temperature, mud, and pollution for all marine organisms investigated (Goreau, 2014), including corals, oysters, salt marsh grass, and seagrass, the very ecosystem builders whose loss has caused massive global coastal erosion. The method is completely safe and uses very little power. Biorock materials, which can be grown in any size or shape, are up to 3 or more times harder than concrete, and are the only marine construction materials that grow stronger with age and are self-repairing if physically damaged (Goreau 2012). Biorock technology saves whole coral reefs when they would die from extreme high temperature bleaching. Biorock methods have grown thriving oyster, salt marsh, and sea grass ecosystems in places where they had died completely and failed to regenerate naturally (Goreau & Trench, 2012). Biorock reefs have grown back severely eroded beaches naturally in just months (Goreau & Prong, 2017). It is therefore the most powerful tool for restoring essential but vanishing marine ecosystem services including protection of the coast from erosion, maintenance of biodiversity, and restoration of essential juvenile fish habitat. It is also the most cost-effective marine regeneration method, providing vastly superior results at much lower cost than the methods that have been used previously. This GCRA White Paper outlines the results of previous relevant work (apart from coral reefs which have been discussed elsewhere), and suggests specific applications to restore rapidly retreating coastal ecosystems.


The first Biorock projects, done at Grand Isle, Louisiana, aimed to produce building materials via seawater electrolysis, by precipitating hard limestone minerals from sea water on top of steel frames. The steel was entirely protected from corrosion and hard white minerals grew over it. The first projects were powered by photovoltaic panels, and when Wolf Hilbertz came back three months later the limestone was completely overgrown with adult sized oysters that had spontaneously settled and grown all over it (Hilbertz, 1979). Oyster covered material from Louisiana is the Biorock in the upper left of the image below.

Figure 1. Spontaneously oyster covered Biorock material after three months growth in Louisiana (upper left) contrasted with Biorock material grown in the Maldives. Photo by Wolf Hilbertz.

A wire mesh basket, 9 inches across, was wired up for growth of materials, a few months later it was packed completely full with oysters that had spontaneously settled and grown (Goreau, 2012). The basket was then taken out of the water, and sat outdoors for around 25 years exposed to rain in a backyard in British Columbia. When it was removed from the ocean there was no rust visible and the metal was shiny, all the rusting in the photo took place in this period of exposure on land.

Figure 2. Oysters that spontaneously settled in a metal basket and grew to adult size in months. Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo by Eric Vanderzee.

Similar intense spontaneous settlement of mussels was observed in an experiment in the Straits of Georgia, British Columbia (Goreau, 2012). The photo below shows a mesh wired up to a trickle charge in the center, on with a smaller charge on the left, and one with no charge on the right.

Figure 3. Spontaneous mussel settlement on steel mesh with very low (left), low (center), and zero trickle charge. Photo by Eric Vanderzee.

In a Superfund toxic waste site in New York City harbor where all the oysters had died from pollution, oysters (Crassostrea virginica) were grown with low, very low, and zero Biorock charges. The Biorock charges greatly increased growth rates over the entire growing season. Note that only length figures were measured, Biorock oysters also grew wider and thicker, so their volume increase was hundreds of times higher than controls (Shorr et al., 2012).

Figure 4. Growth in length of oysters with various trickle charges at a Superfund site in New York City over a summer growing season. Figure from Shorr et al., 2012.

At the same site oysters were measured over the winter dormant season. Biorock oysters continued to grow all winter long, without a dormant season, their shells were shiny and bright, and there was no mortality. Ninety-three per cent of control oysters died over the winter, and the surviving oyster shells had shrunk in size. The shells were chalky and crumbling, dissolving from high CO2 and acidity in water at freezing temperatures (Shorr et al., 2012).

Figure 5. Growth in length of oysters with various trickle charges at a Superfund site in New York City over a winter dormant season. Figure from Shorr et al., 2012.

Similar results of higher growth rate and survival of the Eastern Oyster with Biorock electrical currents were found in flow through tank experiments in downtown Manhattan (Berger et al., 2012), and other sites. Only Atlantic Oyster results are summarized here, but we have also found greatly accelerated settlement, growth, and survival of many species of wild tropical oysters on Biorock projects around the world, including mangrove oysters, coral reef oysters, and pearl oysters, as well as Giant Clams.


Salt Marsh Grass, Spartina alterniflora, was restored at a Superfund toxic waste site in New York City where it had been killed by pollution a century before. Salt marsh grass growth in the mid intertidal under low, very low, and zero trickle charge from a solar panel was measured. The growth rate, as measured by clump height, was proportional to electrical charge (Cervino et al., 2012). The electrically charged grass was also observed to have more plants per clump and darker green leaves as well as greater height when compared to controls, but biomass measurements were not made as they required sacrificing the grass.

Figure 6. Growth rate of Salt Marsh Grass under zero, very low, and low trickle charge. Solar panel charging project is seen in the background (Photograph by James Cervino).

Salt marsh grass was also planted with and without solar trickle charge in the low intertidal, lower than the lower limit of the seagrass naturally in the area. Salt marsh grass growth is limited in the low intertidal because they are mostly submerged, getting little light in the muddy water, and are more exposed to storm wave erosion than plants higher up. All controls died at the end of the year. Biorock salt marsh grass in this hostile site has grown vigorously, sprung up anew every spring with more plants, which have increased more than 20-fold over 10 years (Cervino et al., 2012).

Figure 7. Biorock Salt Marsh Grass growing vigorously below the local lower limit for this plant. (Photograph by Tom Goreau)

Most salt marsh planting projects fail because plants are washed away by waves before the roots can grow. These results show that with Biorock, root growth, and underground plant runner spreading is greatly accelerated, so salt marshes can be extended seawards in places where they are now retreating inland due to the erosion caused by global sea level rise and intensified storm waves caused by global warming (Goreau, 2012).


Seagrasses are being devastated worldwide by dredging and increased turbidity and pollution in coastal waters. Seagrasses (Posidonia oceanica) were grown in southern Italy with and without trickle charge from a solar panel. The wire mesh used for both was attached to hard bare limestone rock bottom. The Biorock seagrass grew vigorously, with the roots rapidly attaching to the rock bottom, and large numbers of mussels, clams, oysters, shrimps, crabs, and fish settled in the sea grass habitat. The controls all died (Vaccarella & Goreau, 2012). What is most astonishing about these results is that the sea grass was grown on bare rock, where it is normally impossible for seagrass to grow, as growth of roots requires about 5-10 centimeters of sandy or muddy sediment.

Figure 8. Excellent growth of seagrass on Biorock over three months in the Mediterranean. All control seagrass died. Photograph by Raffaele Vaccarella.

Figure 9. Dense root growth of seagrass on Biorock in the Mediterranean, colonized by a wide variety of invertebrates and fishes. Photograph by Raffaele Vaccarella.

Caribbean seagrasses, Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme, were observed to grow much taller under and next to Biorock projects in the Bahamas and Panama. Many species of Indo Pacific seagrasses were observed to do the same in Indonesia.

Figure 10. Vigorous sea grass growth around a Biorock project in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photograph by Paulus Prong.

Most seagrass, salt marsh, and mangrove planting projects fail because the plants are washed away by waves before the roots can grow. These results show that with Biorock, marine plant root growth and underground spread is greatly accelerated, so that sea grass can be grown even on bare rock. Restoring mangroves as well as sea grasses, salt marsh grasses, and coral and oyster reefs will provide the strongest natural shore protection against erosion from global climate change, and the most cost-effective carbon sinks.


Biorock coral reefs grown in front of severely eroding beaches with erosion cliffs, where the sand was mostly gone, trees were falling into the sea, and buildings being moved inland before they could collapse, grew back the beach sand naturally at record rates in just months, increasing beach height up to 1.5-2 meters, beach width by up to 20 meters, and beach length up to 150 meters. Rapid regeneration of severely eroded beaches was first done in the Maldives (Goreau and Hilbertz, 2005), Lombok, Indonesia (Goreau et al., 2012), and Sulawesi, Indonesia (Goreau & Prong, 2017). Concave eroding beaches became convex and growing in a few months, and have continued to steadily grow even under heavy wave and current conditions that should erode them. Biorock reefs cause sand growth by dissipating wave energy through refraction and diffraction without the reflection that causes scour and erosion, by driving wave fronts out of coherence, and by greatly increasing production of sand by calcareous algae and other organisms. Corals, beach sand-producing algae, seagrass, and all forms of reef life are attracted and grow rapidly.

Figure 11. Before: severely eroding Maldives beach. Photograph by Wolf Hilbertz

Figure 12. After, 15 meters (50 feet) of rapid new beach growth behind Biorock reef, in front of a building that had been about to collapse into the sea. Photograph by Azeez Hakeem.

Figure 13. Before, December 2015, Pulau Gangga, Sulawesi, Indonesia beach largely gone, erosion cliff, trees collapsing into the ocean and building about to fall into the sea. Photograph by Paulus Prong.

Figure 14. After, rapid growth of new beach in front of same collapsed tree and cabana that had been about to fall into the ocean. Most of this growth took place in just 3 months. Photograph by Paulus Prong.


Biorock reefs, if properly designed, have proven to withstand the most severe hurricane. The Biorock reefs cement themselves to hard ground, and cement sediment around their bases. Biorock reefs in Grand Turk, the Turks and Caicos Islands, withstood direct hits by the two worst hurricanes in their history, which occurred three days apart, and damaged or destroyed around 90% of the buildings. There was little damage to Biorock structures or thousands of corals growing on them, although electrical cables were sandblasted and ripped out. Sand accumulated under them, while at the same time concrete artificial reefs nearby caused so much scour around and under them that they sank beneath the surface (Wells et al, 2010).

Figure 15a. Biorock reef just before the two worst hurricanes in Grand Turk history.

Figure 15b. Biorock reef in Grand Turk shortly after the two worst hurricanes in their history. Sand built up under the structures while sand was scoured around the cement blocks in the center, and half of the blocks were washed away by the waves, while there was no damage to Biorock structure or corals. The structures were not welded, only hand wired together, nor were they attached to the bottom except through their own cementation. Photographs by Fernando Perez.

Biorock reefs in Saint Barthelemy withstood the eye wall waves of Category 5 Hurricane Irma without any damage to structure, corals, or the electrical cable. This site, about 2-3 feet deep on top of the reef crest, had waves at least 30 feet high breaking directly on it, and all the houses and hotels on the beach behind the reef were destroyed: http://www.globalcoral.org/biorock-electric-coral-reefs-survive-severe-hurricanes-little-no-damage/.


Biorock is ideal to grow:

Coral reefs in the subtidal
Seagrass in the subtidal
Salt marshes, in the intertidal
Oyster reefs in the intertidal
Offshore subtidal or intertidal Biorock porous shore protection reefs and fish habitat to grow back beaches
Offshore artificial islands above high tide
Floating reefs for open ocean fisheries

Specific designs require on-site assessment of many physical, chemical, biological, geological, oceanographic, meteorological, and infrastructural parameters to design for the specific needs and problems of each site.

Please contact info@globalcoral.org for more information on how Biorock is the most-cost effective solution to a vast range of marine resource management problems.

The Global Coral Reef Alliance is a non-profit environmental research organization that works with local partners around the globe to assess and reverse the causes killing their reefs.


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J. Cervino, D. Gjoza, C. Lin, R. Weeks, & T. J. Goreau, 2012, Electrical fields increase salt marsh survival and growth and speed restoration in adverse conditions, in T. J. Goreau & R. K. Trench (Editors), Innovative Technologies for Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press

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T. J. F. Goreau & P. Prong, 2017, Biorock reefs grow back severely eroded beaches in months, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Special Issue on Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts, and Adaptation, J. Mar. Sci. Eng., 5(4), 48; doi:10.3390/jmse5040048

W. Hilbertz, 1979, Electrodeposition of minerals in sea water: Experiments and Applications, IEEE Journal on Ocean Engineering, OE4: 1-19

J. Shorr, J. Cervino. C. Lin, R. Weeks, & T. J. Goreau, 2012, Electrical stimulation increases oyster growth and survival in restoration projects, in T. J. Goreau & R. K. Trench (Editors), Innovative Technologies for Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press

R. Vaccarella & T. J. Goreau, 2012, Restoration of seagrass mats (Posidonia oceanica) with electrical stimulation, in T. J. Goreau & R. K. Trench (Editors), Innovative Technologies for Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press

L. Wells, F. Perez, M. Hibbert, L. Clervaux, J. Johnson, & T. Goreau, 2010, Effect of severe hurricanes on Biorock coral reef restoration projects in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, Revista Biologia Tropical, 58: 141-149

Biorock Technology: A Novel Tool for Large-Scale Whole-Ecosystem Sustainable Mariculture using Direct Biophysical Stimulation of Marine Organism’s Biochemical Energy Metabolism

2018 International Summit on Fisheries & Aquaculture

Biorock Technology: A Novel Tool for Large-Scale Whole-Ecosystem Sustainable Mariculture using Direct Biophysical Stimulation of Marine Organism’s Biochemical Energy Metabolism

Biorock mariculture technology is a novel application of marine electrolysis, which grows solid limestone reefs of any size or shape in seawater, that get stronger with age and are self-repairing. Biorock reefs can be designed to provide habitat specific to needs of hard and soft corals, sponges, seagrass, fishes, lobsters, oysters, giant clams, sea cucumbers, mussels, and other marine organisms of economic value, or grow back severly eroded beaches at record rates. Biorock reefs, and surronding areas, have greatly increased settlement, growth rate, survival, and resistance to severe environmental stress from high temperatures, sedimentation, and pollution for all marine organisms observed. This allows marine ecosystems to survive otherwise lethal conditions and be regenerated at record rates even in places with no natural recovery. These remarkable findings seem to result from weak electrical fields poising the membrane voltage gradients all forms of life use to generate biochemical energy (ATP and NADP), causing enhanced growth of all species. Biorock technology provides a new paradigm for whole-ecosystem sustainable mariculture that generates its own food supplies, the antithesis of conventional mono-species mariculture dependent on external food inputs, whose wastes cause eutrophication that kills off surrounding subsistence fisheries. Potential applications include fish, crustacean, and bivalve mariculture, algae mariculture, pharmaceutical producing species, and floating reefs for pelagic fishes. The power requirements are small and can be provided by solar, wind, ocean current, and wave energy. The techniques are ideally suited for community—managed mariculture, if investment funding were available to subsistence fishing communities.


Thomas J.F Goreau was educated in Jamaican schools and hold degrees  from MIT, Caltech, and Harvard. President and founder of The Global Coral Reef Alliance, he has dived on coral reefs across the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean, and SouthEast Asia for more than 60 years. He has published more than 150 papers and written and edited books on scientific photography, marine ecosystem restoration, and soil fertility restoration. He is co-inventor of the HotSpot method for predicting coral bleaching from satellite data and of the Biorock method for regenerating marine ecoystems and eroding coastlines.

Submission to the UN Talanoa Dialogue: The essential role and form of integrated climate restoration strategy; the setting of targets and timescales; the methodologies and funding options



Expert Input to the Talanoa Dialogue
Submitted April 1st 2018


Based on Observations and Our Experience and focused on fully communicating the significance and implications of scientific understanding for the public now and into future generations, we scientists and experts in the field of climate change science, impacts, and solutions, submit this call to more aggressive action to limit climate change to the nations of the world through the Talanoa Dialogue. While supportive of the efforts and proposed commitments to date to reduce emissions of both long-and short-lived greenhouse gases as a means to limit the increase in the global average temperature to no more than 1.5 to 2ºC above preindustrial, the scientific and economic evidence that is available makes clear that:

(a) Greenhouse gas emissions are not on a pathway to accomplish the stated objective and, indeed, given economic realities, technological capabilities, and the world’s present reliance on fossil fuels for ~80% of its energy, there will be significant temperature overshoot;

(b) Significant impacts are already occurring at 1ºC warming, including increased occurrence of extreme weather and storms and an emerging commitment to rates of sea level rise that will quite likely exceed a meter per century for many centuries, making it clear that reducing risks back to levels that society and the environment can accommodate will require bringing the global average temperature back to no more than 0.5ºC above its preindustrial level as rapidly as possible;

(c) The current warming will further increase by about 50% by the end of the century due to the loss of the sulfate cooling influence and the ongoing response of the ocean, even without further emissions.

(d) Keeping global warming and associated impacts as small as possible for as short a time as possible will require both aggressive efforts to phase up removal of CO2 from the atmosphere/ocean/biosphere system and climate intervention to counteract the strong warming influence of elevated greenhouse gas concentrations until they are returned to near their preindustrial levels.

We call upon the participants in the Talanoa Dialog to:

Take Note of the Increasing Environmental and Societal Disruption and the risks to accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals that are already resulting from the 1ºC of human-induced global warming and associated changes in climate that are already evident. Specific concerns include:

Continuing increases in global average temperature evident by the lengthening of the warm season and shortening of the cold season that is contributing to more intense and frequent very hot and high-heat-index days and heat waves;

Amplified high-latitude warming and retreat of snow cover and mountain glaciers, increasing thawing of permafrost, and the rapid retreat and thinning of Arctic sea ice;

Increasing likelihood and occurrence of extreme and persistently unusual weather resulting from increased mid-latitude atmospheric wave magnitudes and slowed west to east movement;

Collective effects of climate change on human health, including disruption of ecosystems that expands the range of critical disease vectors upward and toward the poles as a result of warming; the century-long trends documenting an increasing fraction of very intense precipitation events and particularly the increased incidence of very intense tropical cyclones and hurricanes that impact human lives directly and can inundate critical infrastructure such as sewage systems, toxic waste disposal sites, and chemical plants; and increasing occurrences of heat stress and heat death especially in tropical areas;

Increasing rates of mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and creation of very substantial commitments to future mass loss are, along with thermal expansion, contributing to an acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise that is becoming especially evident along low-lying coastlines and around many low-lying island nations;

The increasing acidification of the oceans caused by increased uptake of CO2 by the oceans, which is particularly acute in the Arctic and restricts poleward shifts of fisheries seeking to adapt to warming marine temperatures in lower latitudes, is catastrophic to deep sea reefs and will dissolve the structures of tropical coral reefs;

The collapse of critical tropical coral ecosystems, which is overwhelmingly a function of increased ocean temperatures, with any surviving reefs facing further difficulty due to the rising rate of sea levels that unconstrained global warming will induce; and

Ocean de-oxygenation and associated expansion of “dead zones” caused by both eutrophication and ocean warming, which intensifies stratification and reduces dissolved oxygen concentrations at saturation

Reaffirm the International Commitment to Fully Meeting the UNFCCC Objective, which was unanimously agreed to in 1992 and calls for “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient [a] to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, [b] to ensure that food production is not threatened and [c] to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner;”

Recognize that Climate Restoration Will Be Required in order to ensure that prevailing climatic conditions will be compatible with: [a] sustaining natural ecosystems in the face of their vulnerability to rapid and persistent climate change and ocean acidification, [b] enabling the global agricultural system to meet the food and nutrition needs of the rising global population in the face of intensification of the hydrologic cycle and increasing variability, and [c] building sustainable economic opportunities and productivity in the face of projected sea level rise1, inundation of coastal cities and infrastructure, severe weather and storm intensification. This will require that:

Emissions of greenhouse gases are rapidly reduced sufficiently to ensure that, along with other actions, the maximum increase in global average temperature above preindustrial is limited to no more than the 1.5 to 2ºC increase as agreed in recent UNFCCC negotiations; AND

Additional complementary actions are taken to counter human-induced climate change beginning as soon as possible to ensure a temperature overshoot does not occur and human-induced increases in global average temperature will be reduced as rapidly as possible to no more than the level at which significant environmental impacts and commitments to future impacts began to emerge from natural variability (a temperature increase estimated to be no more than 0.5ºC above preindustrial);

Promote Aggressive GHG Emissions Reduction by encouraging, funding and mandating the fullest possible range of technologies and policies that will contribute to the lowest possible peak in greenhouse gas loading and a rapid return of atmospheric GHG concentrations to lower-than-present levels that would be compatible with ensuring achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Approaches with especially significant potential include intensified efforts on:

Efficiency, which offers opportunities to achieve cost-effective reductions in the short-term, including many actions that have financial payback times of a few years or less, especially relating to reducing energy use for buildings and lighting. Coupling with footprint analyses and conservation efforts is important so that the gains are not offset by increased consumption.

Solar, wind, ocean, geothermal and other natural sources of energy that are not ecologically disruptive, which can provide not only increasingly inexpensive clean energy that can be brought online over the near term, but also provide important co- benefits relating to reduction of air pollution and creation of good jobs. With economic incentives based on their environmental benefits, improved storage batteries and upgraded transmission lines, the intermittency problem of renewables can be cost effectively overcome and clean renewables can become the dominant source for national energy systems;

Short-lived Green House Gas Reduction can contribute significantly to counter-balancing the warming influence from reducing SO2 emissions as use of coal is ended. Capturing and utilizing methane emissions from untreated sewage, waste disposal sites and sewage treatment facilities, petrochemical facilities and pipelines, and agriculture can also provide major near-term benefits at quite modest cost. Cutting emissions of black carbon and precursors to tropospheric ozone will have substantial health, air quality, and climate benefits. Substituting alternatives for HFCs is also possible with significant benefits.

Ground Transport needs to be rapidly electrified, taking advantage of emerging technologies such as ultracapacitor-based/slow discharge batteries that can overcome the inherent problems of lithium and other chemical batteries. The co- benefits of eliminating fossil-fuel based air pollutants, especially as cities become larger, and from refining and transport of such fuels justify the change even before considering the contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. Promoting much more rapid shifts is essential.

Biofuels are likely the best near-term option for aircraft and ships and to replace natural gas heating in buildings. Ensuring that generation of biofuels does not lead to illegal land grabs, deforestation and disruption of food production will be critical.

Reforestation and Local Land Improvement can take up carbon as well as improve local weather conditions, moderate threats to biodiversity, improve water quality and retention, and enhance overall land productivity.

Develop and phase up Carbon Dioxide Removal to the scale needed to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration to the level needed to return the global average temperature to roughly its mid-20th century value as quickly as possible whilst protecting current environmental balances and taking cognizance of the natural rates of sequestration that can be achieved, while recognizing that failure to curtail anthropogenic emissions will overwhelm these efforts. The most promising techniques for increasing carbon removal and sequestration are geotherapy approaches that include afforestation and biochar on land to enhance carbon storage in soil, and ocean fertilization. Ultimately restoring the climate, sea level and ocean acidification to levels, compatible with achieving the UNFCCC objectives, will require nations to get significantly below zero emissions.

Research Near-term Climate Intervention methodologies to offset the warming influence of past and ongoing emissions to the extent that the essential efforts enumerated above cannot limit further warming and start to pull the increase in global average temperature (and particularly the amplified warming effects on the Arctic environment and frozen permafrost and methane clathrates) back down to an increase of no more than 0.5ºC above preindustrial. Compared to climate pathways moderated only by mitigation and carbon removal, pathways that also invoke climate intervention would seem likely to have net beneficial consequences at global and regional scales because:

Impacts will be primarily determined by the peak change in global average and regional temperatures: Global and regional environmental and societal impacts, including especially Arctic transformation, sea level rise2, biodiversity loss, and marine ecosystem disruption, are very likely to be primarily dependent on peak global warming rather than on the long-term temperature and CO2 levels returned to a century or more in the future. The upcoming IPCC 1.5ºC special report makes clear that there will be significant negative environmental and societal consequences even if peak warming is limited to 1.5 to 2ºC, much less the overshoot warming of over 3ºC that appears unavoidable unless present political, economic and energy-generation realities are completely overcome. Such consequences make clear the need for early initiation of climate intervention in the near-term to minimize further warming and rapidly pull the global average temperature increase back to no more than 0.5ºC;

The most effective types, intensities, and patterns of proposed cooling influences mimic natural and inadvertent cooling influences. Initial research suggests that augmenting overall emissions reduction and carbon removal by offsetting net future GHG forcing while learning and adjusting intervention implementation based on observations and analysis using improving modeling capabilities would be likely to significantly improve, and unlikely to worsen, the societal and environmental consequences in comparison to not doing so;

Initial intervention might focus on severe regional impacts: With several regional impacts of human-induced global warming already imposing severe consequences on society and the environment (e.g., amplified warming in the Arctic and in ocean regions that contribute to rapid intensification of tropical cyclones and heat induced failures of tropical coral), initial climate intervention research and implementation efforts might beneficially focus on approaches that would counteract at least some of the deleterious effects of GHG forcings in these particularly sensitive regions; such efforts would simultaneously contribute modestly to larger-scale cooling and could serve as a research testbed for later initiation of the globally focused intervention approaches likely to be needed to offset potential global warming overshoots above roughly 1.5ºC; and

Potential global intervention can be responsibly evaluated: Scientific understanding of the functioning of the Earth’s climate system is, because of all the observations and learning from weather forecast and historical period verification, much better for conditions of the recent past than for conditions with an elevated global average temperature, for which only theoretically plausible model simulations and reconstructions of distant paleoclimatic warm periods are available. As a result, assessment of the potential benefits and impacts of undertaking global climate intervention as a supplement to mitigation and adaptation aimed at limiting the increase in global average temperature to well less than 1.5ºC can likely be usefully and confidently undertaken with the current generation of climate models. While resorting to climate intervention would be an admission that mitigation and carbon removal have not yet proven adequate, limiting both the amount and duration of global warming, and so the need for the intervention-driven cooling, is critical as it is likely that the larger the cooling offset needs to be, the greater the likelihood that the unintended consequences of climate intervention might exceed the roughly plus or minus 0.5ºC range of natural variability that natural and societal systems have experienced and withstood in the past. With the likelihood of significant temperature overshoot based on current national commitments, evaluation, testing and development of capabilities has become an urgently needed step toward risk reduction.

This document represents the views of the Climate Institute, as indicated by the endorsement of its President, and has been further endorsed by the signers indicated below, who do so as individuals, with their affiliations shown only for purposes of identification.

For an elaboration of many of the points in our statement, we have appended a paper describing in more detail the situation and options that we face and that spurred our development of this submission.


John C Topping, Jr., President, Climate Institute
Dr. Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D. Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs, Climate Institute, Washington DC
Dr. Alan Gadian, Leeds University
Prof. Tom Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance, Prof. Emeritus Ray Hayes, Howard University
Prof. Eelco Rohling, Southampton University
Kevin Lister, Climate Restoration Foundation


1Especially noting that the equilibrium sensitivity of sea level to changes in global average temperature based on paleoclimatic evidence is roughly 15-20 meters per degree, with an equilibration time of perhaps 1-2 millennia.

2Paleoclimatic evidence makes very clear that glacial ice melts back much more rapidly in response to positive radiative forcing than it is created in response to negative forcing as compared to the baseline forcing values prevailing throughout the Holocene.

3Signers do so as individuals; affiliations are only shown for purposes of identification.



Submission to the UN Talanoa Dialogue:


The essential role and form of integrated climate restoration strategy; the setting of targets and timescales; the methodologies and funding options


Prepared by: 
Kevin Lister & Sev Clarke, Climate Restoration Foundation


Endorsed by
Dr. Michael C. MacCracken, Chief Scientist for Climate Change
Programs, Climate Institute, Washington DC USA
Dr. Alan Gadian, Leeds University
Prof. Tom Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance,
Prof. Emeritus Ray Hayes, Howard University
Submitted by: www.climate-restoration-foundation.com
Contact: kevin.lister2810@gmail.com  



“We are in a new era of chaotic change and approaching 1.5o C will represent an intolerable risk. Climate, economic and political policy must be aligned to reflect this reality and there is a moral imperative to do so.”

1. Situation Overview
This response to the UN Talanoa Dialogue has been prepared by a consortium of leading climate change scientists, academics and institutions that are focused on developing and encouraging realistic and practical technical and policy responses to stabilize the climate at a level that will fully meet the stated objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Our conclusion is that the risk of very serious environmental and societal impacts, including the potential for a near-term, nonlinear and irreversible step change in the planet’s climate is so great that an aggressive climate restoration program needs to be initiated to return the global average temperature to no more than 0.5ºC above its preindustrial level. This program must be comprehensive, pursuing a multi-pronged approach that includes greatly strengthening efforts based on efficiency and mitigation, building up of efforts to restore carbon levels in the soils and land cover, and researching and then likely needing to initiate climate intervention efforts in the near-term to not only ensure the global average temperature does not exceed 1.5ºC at any time (so no overshoot), but also will put the climate on a pathway to a global average temperature characteristic of the mid- to late 20th century when conditions were generally within the range of natural variability under which society and prevailing ecosystems were not facing severe threats (a global average temperate estimated to be no more than 0.5ºC above its preindustrial level).
2. Where are we?
∙At the time of writing, the 12-month running average of the atmospheric CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa is 406.7 ppm. The rate of increase is growing at a rate that is at least as fast as exponential. This is not commensurate with the target of restraining the increase in the global average temperature to below 2ºC, much less 1.5ºC.

∙Coral reef bleaching and sea ice loss were observed in 1980, which was before the atmospheric temperature started its significant rise to today’s level. Thus, aspirations to limit the temperature increase to 1.50C are ignoring the extreme risks of even a 0.5 to 1ºC increase that observational science has made clear.

∙With increasing geopolitical rivalries and the re-emergence of nuclear and conventional arms races between the main economic blocks, the theoretical probability of successfully agreeing to deep cuts in CO2 emissions within the current negotiating framework of the COP, which does not include security agreements, is too low to be relied upon as the sole solution. Moreover, population growth and aspirations for economic development in the less developed nations are likely to continue to exert upwards pressure on CO2 emissions.

∙Since accurate measurements began in 1958, the strong correlation between the observed CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa and cumulative fossil fuel use (r=0.99949) makes clear that, on a net basis of biospheric emissions and uptake, the planet’s ecosystems have been unable to sequester any measurable quantity of fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Thus, even in the hypothetical scenario of a zero-carbon economy, atmospheric CO2 levels seem very likely to remain dangerously high for the foreseeable future.

∙International policy has not focused on ocean acidification and sea level rise in a way that can be deemed comparable to the attention placed on the target setting for global average temperature. Paleoclimate data suggests a quite high sensitivity of sea level to the atmospheric CO2 concentration (as an indicator of global average temperature). At 400ppm, there is roughly a 2 out of 3 probability that sea level increases will be between 10m and 30m with a median of 23m1.

∙Whilst the focus of international policy on climate change has been on reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, there has been no equivalent focus on removing CO2 from the atmosphere or stabilising the planet’s radiative balance to prevent near term amplification of the initial warming effects through various positive feedback mechanisms. Even the lowest- extreme emissions scenario used in IPCC-AR5 (RCP2.6) assumes CO2 levels will peak at 440 ppm. Current observations suggest that a 440 ppm limit is not enough to avoid widespread activation of positive feedbacks, including carbon feedbacks associated with permafrost and soil carbon. Avoidance of undue activation of these feedbacks must be an immediate policy objective.

∙The scale of solar climate intervention necessary to counterbalance warming above the level which can be tolerated will increase exponentially with delays in the initiation of deployment. Furthermore, without a climate restoration programme, the resulting ecological, economic, humanitarian and political turmoil seems likely to make the organisation of the much larger intervention needed at a future time virtually impossible. Thus, we see no other responsible step than by committing now to protecting future generations by initiating an aggressive climate restoration programme.
3. Where do we want to go?
The following factors form the framework that our experience and scientific findings indicate will be needed to determine the optimal implementation strategy and associated targets for moving forward:

∙The ongoing loss of sea ice and snow cover and increasing releases of methane and carbon oxide from warming permafrost, clathrates, accompanied by the resulting increase in atmospheric water vapour from the increased forcings that are induced, have the potential to create the conditions for large-scale, step-like changes in the climate. The profile of the resulting atmospheric temperature change is not significantly dependent on the characteristics of the individual amplification mechanisms or on the correlations between them. Rather, it is an inherent emerging property that arises when applying a suitably large perturbation to the climate system by increasing atmospheric CO2. The resulting magnitude of the change is the simple aggregate of the natural maxima of each amplifying mechanism. After an initial spike in temperature, the final equilibrium temperature and the time to reach that higher value will depend on the rate at which heat is (or is not) transferred to the deep ocean, but once prompted, avoiding this much worse condition will become very difficult and many of the ecosystem and cryospheric damages will not be able to be reversed.

∙Because of the risk that an initial temperature change starts triggering multiple amplifying mechanisms that self-reinforce, no temperature rise can be considered ‘safe’, especially when factors such as sea ice loss and atmospheric methane levels are already observed to be rising concurrently. Thus, the mainly economically determined and politically motivated objective of limiting the increase in global average temperature to 2ºC (and even the aspirational goal of 1.5OC) introduces significant climatic risks, especially if these are viewed as tolerable long- term increases in the global average temperature, as the IPCC special report appears to be interpreting the international agreement. To fulfil the UNFCCC objective’s commitment to avoiding “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, the objective of the COP negotiating process needs to be to return the global average temperature to no more than 0.5ºC above the 1881-1910 average temperature baseline.

∙At the time of writing (March 2018), there has been a major failure in Arctic winter time ice formation with new low levels being recorded that are well below the predictions from global climate models. These low levels have been occurring simultaneously with elevated methane levels (and so presumably releases) to the west of Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic. Taken together, these events suggest that deteriorating conditions are appearing more rapidly than simulation models are projecting and that further warming may soon trigger a rapid and irreversible change in the climate, thereby closing the window for a climate restoration programme without taking extraordinary actions such as regional, and quite possibly, global climate intervention aimed at counteracting the warming and melting/thawing occurring during Northern Hemisphere summers.

∙The inherent irreversibility of many of the impacts associated with a warming climate on time scales that would benefit humanity, in particular biodiversity loss and the loss of mass from ice sheets accompanied by the consequent sea level rise, makes clear that mitigation alone, even accompanied by slow rebuilding of soil carbon and land cover, will not by themselves be able to ensure that the objective of the UNFCCC can be achieved.

∙Because of factors such as the diminishing reflectivity of the Arctic, increasing ocean heat content and activation of natural carbon feedbacks that have initiated increased emissions of CO2 and methane, then the CO2 level necessary for stabilizing the climate appears likely to be approaching its preindustrial level, thus in the region of 280ppm.

∙Paleoclimate data suggest that relying on natural processes alone for return of the CO2 level to this lowered value will take, at best, many hundreds of millennia, which is far beyond the time by which the negative consequences will have irreversibly altered even moderately elevated coastlines, destructively shifted landscapes, and greatly diminished biodiversity. The fundamental physics that determines the relationship between CO2 levels and radiative forcing precludes substantial cooling influences until CO2 levels have significantly reduced, thus delaying any effective natural recovery by many thousands of years.

∙Therefore, restoring the climate to conditions suitable for meeting the UNFCCC objective, we conclude that a suite of additional approaches and technologies will be needed. To achieve the needed removal of carbon from the atmosphere-ocean system and to sufficiently offset incoming solar radiation, these capabilities must be deployable at the scale needed and with the rapidity required to reduce global warming with the most immediate start being made. Equally, the selection of these technologies needs to ensure that they can be utilized on a continuing basis until the human-induced addition to global radiative forcing is substantially reduced and be carried out in ways that minimize demands on future society, which is unfortunately likely to be preoccupied with addressing the challenges of climate change and associated impacts that today’s society has bequeathed them.

4. How do we get there?
∙An essential action is to form a governing body, akin to the COP, to oversee a focused research programme to determine an optimal suite of technologies. It would be the responsibility of this group to conduct laboratory studies, field testing and model analyses to ensure efficacy, effectiveness and safety and to maintain an open and transparent interaction with the public and appropriate governance entities. Given the precarious state of the climate, the process of scaling up to an effective level will need to be done iteratively, especially in the case of approaches for solar climate intervention, taking advantage of what can and has been learned from studies of natural analogues that are similar in their actions as the proposed interventions. Taking too long to study and reduce supposed uncertainties in how to counter- balance the increasing warming will necessarily mean that the climate is moving further and further into states with which the world is unfamiliar and closer and closer to conditions that could lead to nonlinear growth of both climate change and its impacts.

∙The suite of interventions that will form a climate restoration programme must address three areas:

a.Counter-balancing the warming, often referred to as Solar Radiation Management (SRM), that aims to offset the human-induced warming by increasing the reflection of a small portion of solar radiation back into space, estimated in the region of 2W/m2 and considerably less than 1% of the total.

b.Removal of CO2 from the atmosphere-ocean system, often referred to as Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), and, if possible, reduction of the atmospheric methane concentration via conversion of methane to CO2.

c.Restoration of vital ecosystems, including soil, land cover, and wetland systems, especially in the tropics, the Arctic and along coastlines.

∙When done at sufficient scale, the interacting effects would likely be mutually supportive, such that the sum of the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

∙SRM is likely to be the only approach that can provide a sufficiently near-term counter- balancing of the warming to reduce the risk of an imminent step change in temperature (i.e., that is, to ensure the warming does not exceed roughly 1.5ºC, much less the 2ºC, 3ºC, or even greater warming that lies ahead unless nations substantially increase their mitigation
commitments. The most viable technical approaches are likely to be Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) and stratospheric SO2 injection. Initial deployment in the Arctic regions during the summer to counterbalance the region’s amplified warming merits special attention as this is the region and season with the potential for intercepting very high amounts of solar radiation and for taking advantage of albedo feedback to amplify the effect.

∙Even in the event of a successful, large scale transition to zero carbon energy technologies, SRM would still be essential to replace the loss of aerosol cooling from sulphate particles that will occur as the use of coal is phased out. In this situation, SRM must be considered as complementary to attempts to decarbonise the global economy.

∙The decline in CO2 levels that were coincident with the Black Death and which has been related to the return of new forest growth, provides evidence of the carbon sequestration potential associated with returning denuded ground to new forest.

∙The focused use of biochar burial (i.e., burial of charred biological material) in marine wetland environments offers a promising approach to maximising carbon storage in soils. Further studies indicate that the potential of marine wetlands to sequester carbon can be signicantly enhanced by low level electrical stimulation of marine plants.

∙Observations that ocean phytoplankton growth increases after the nutrification-enhancing effects of volcanoes and that the effects are evident in the Mauna Loa CO2 trend provides the basis for an approach to large-scale removal of atmospheric CO2. While the potential for iron enrichment is limited to certain, generally remote deep-sea regions, evidence suggests that dispersing buoyant nutrient flakes on the ocean surface in these nutrient poor regions will enhance marine productivity. Quantification of the rate of sequestration of carbon to the ocean sediments remains to be determined along with mechanisms by which this most optimally can happen. In a world facing increasing land pressures, then the likely increase in the availability of high quality marine protein to address the world’s food needs is an equally critical outcome from this intervention. The resulting phytoplankton blooms also may slightly increase the albedo of the ocean surface and even contribute to cloud seeding through their emission of dimethyl sulphide (DMS), thus providing an additional SRM benefit. Much, however, remains to be determined.

∙The COP targets currently assume CDR is achieved through BECCS and Direct Air Capture (DAC). However, a basic thermodynamic analysis of BECCS power plants shows that the final thermal efficiency is likely to be less than 8% and this is far too low to be economically viable for large-scale sequestration. Based on demonstrations to date, Direct Air Capture (DAC) techniques appear to be economically limited by their energy demand to development of net zero-carbon products such as transportation fuel that can be sold rather than for contributing to any significant reduction in the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Also, it seems quite improbable that either BECCS or DAC could be scaled up sufficiently quickly to limit global warming to below 1.50C, much less help pull the global average temperature back towards no more than 0.50C. Over the long-term, BECCS biomass requirements will cause conflict with the needs to achieve food security and conservation of pristine habitats; for DAC, there will need to be long-term proven storage capability and transformations in energy generation for it to become viable and solutions to these are unlikely to be found.

∙The limitations of the current economic model that incentivises fossil fuel driven economic growth must be addressed and an alternative found that incentivises aggressive mitigation while simultaneously making long term funds available for SRM and CDR (for geotherapy and ocean therapy approaches). This requires a price on carbon.

∙Carbon pricing and taxation can be achieved through international agreements. However, so far this has proven impossible to progress and despite the worsening outlook on climate change, there is no evidence of breakthrough. An alternative to this impasse is to use the insurance and reinsurance industries to price the increasing risk situation being faced using normal actuarial methods and deriving funds by imposing charges on the extraction of fossil fuels and other non-sustainable practices. It is also possible that the funds raised can be extended to cover climate change liabilities. As well as acting as a financial disincentive to fossil fuel production, this approach places the burden of liabilities fairly on those organisations that cause risk, rather than iniquitously on its victims. Under the Solvency II insurance regulations, it can be argued that there is a legal requirement for such a mechanism to be implemented by insurance companies.

∙The proposals of this paper are in accordance with objective set out in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 of a, “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient [a] to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, [b] to ensure that food production is not threatened and [c] to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”

5. Expanded discussion of the three questions

5.1 Where are we?

5.1.1 The consequences of elevated CO2 and the challenges to reduction.

To achieve the goal set out in the 1992 UN Convention on climate change, requires atmospheric CO2 levels to be reduced to a far lower level than today. The ability to achieve this is dependent on three factors, these being:

1.the rate that anthropogenic emissions can be reduced,

2.the target level that atmospheric CO2 that must be set to achieve climate stability

3.the rate at which excess CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere and oceans by either sequestration or conversion to biomass.

Of these three factors, intergovernmental policy has focused primarily on the first. By contrast, there has been very little consideration given to (a) agreeing on the atmospheric CO2 concentration needed to meet the UNFCCC objective of avoiding “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” or (b) determining the rate at which excess CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere and ocean in order to accomplish a safe level and the limitations associated with this.

Despite the focus of climate change policy being almost exclusively on point 1 above, the global annual CO2 emission rate is now ∼60% higher than in 1992 when the COP process started. During this time, atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased from ∼350 ppm to over 405 ppm.

Whilst the global response to rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 has been mainly centered on attempts to reduce anthropogenic emissions in the highly industrialized nations, any resulting declines in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in these nations has been roughly balanced by the increases in emissions from nations with relatively low per capita emissions due to population growth and the need for more energy to raise the standard-of-living in these nations.

This balancing of emissions is evident by the trend of fossil fuel consumption shown in the BP statistical review [2017]2 in Figure 1. This shows that emissions have been relatively stable for the last three years, but the slight increase in 2016 suggests that even this stabilization may not be permanent. To have any realistic chance of maintaining the global temperature increase at less than the COP target of 1.5OC, global emissions of CO2 should already have been exhibiting a downwards trend; there is no indication that the world is on a path to accomplish this.

Furthermore, the penetration of renewables into the primary energy productivity remains low, still at only ~2% of total energy production. Whilst the renewables penetration trend was initially exponential, over the past three years this has slowed to a linear penetration. This transformation reflects the increasing difficulty of continual expansion of the renewable infrastructure that is required and the challenge of replacing all fossil fuel derived energy applications, such as in transport, manufacturing and military. At the rate that has been evident for the past three years, it will take in the order of three centuries to transition to a zero-carbon economy, indicating much greater effort and incentives are necessary to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy.

Figure 1 Data from BP Statistical Review showing penetration of renewables into primary energy productivity and overall anthropogenic emissions.

The consequences of the failure to reduce anthropogenic emissions is clear in the Mauna Loa trend; Figure 2 shows that the rate of increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration has consistently increased since detailed records began in 1958, rising by ~260% from approximately 0.7 ppm per annum in 1958 to 2.5 ppm per annum over the past decade. Increasing rates of loss of soil carbon from tropical forests, oxidation of thawing permafrost, and melting of methane clathrates in high latitudes strongly suggest that natural carbon feedbacks are being stimulated3, amplifying the existing warming influences of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Figure 2 Mauna Loa 12 month moving average CO2 trend

The only time that the upward trend line of atmospheric CO2 significantly halted was following the Mount Pinatubo eruption, thus indicating potential avenues of restoration. The exact mechanisms that could have led to this include increased ocean phytoplankton growth due to the dispersal of an estimated 40,000 tonnes of iron into the planet’s oceans4, cooling of the ocean surface allowing higher CO2 absorption and globally increased vegetation growth due to more diffused light.

Critical climatic and ecological measures are already evident in response to the nearly 50% increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the ~1ºC increase in the global average temperature. As just some examples, Arctic sea ice thickness and extent have sharply decreased, endangering high latitude ecosystems; occurrences of extreme storms and heavy precipitation are increasing; heat stress is killing coral ecosystems through bleaching; ocean acidification is already impacting cold water ecosystems; the ranges of many flora and fauna are shifting upward and poleward, with large vegetated areas subject to killing pests and more intense wildfires; and the rates of sea level rise and coastal inundation are accelerating. This is happening before the climate system has equilibrated to the present atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially given that the sulfate cooling offset will be quickly lost as emissions from use of coal are phased out.

Serious and very impactful responses of the climate system and its ecosystems to increases in the atmospheric CO2 concentration started well before the sharp and persistent increases in atmospheric temperatures that have characterized trends over the past 30 years. With the climate system, a critical 15% loss of Arctic sea ice thickness was observed between 1976 and 1987 by Wadhams5, indicating that Arctic amplification was already well underway. With the ecosystem, bleaching of the coral reefs due to heat related stress was observed as early as 1983 by Goreau6. In 1980, at the approximate time when these changes were happening, atmospheric CO2 was at 336 ppm.

The history of the intensification of climate change impacts makes clear that a sustained atmospheric temperature rise of even 1ºC, much less the 1.5 to 20C temperature rise (and quite likely overshoot) that the provisions of and commitments to the Paris Accord are envisioning, would be well beyond the “dangerous anthropogenic interference” provision in the UNFCCC.

Of extreme concern, is the near perfect correlation (r>0.99) between the cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions taken from the BP statistics review [edition, 2017 covering the period from 1965] and atmospheric CO2, see Figure 3. Such an extraordinary high correlation suggests that increased biospheric uptake due to the rising CO2 concentration has quite closely matched the emissions from deforestation, forest fires, oxidation of carbon in soils and reduced uptake by ocean phytoplankton reduction. These data provide no indication that the biosphere has been taking up any significant amount of fossil fuel emissions. Indeed, unless biospheric emissions can be cut sharply, the high correlation strongly supports the proposition that even in the hypothetical circumstance of a zero- carbon economy, substantial Carbon Dioxide Removal efforts will be needed to pull down the atmospheric CO2 concentration down to a safe level.7

Figure 3 Anthropogenic CO2 emissions – source BP Statistics review

Even the much less onerous carbon budget of 500 GtCO2 emissions set by the IPCC AR5 [2011] to give a 50% chance of avoiding a 1.50C temperature increase is unachievable against the current political background given that today’s annual emissions are 34GtCO2 and will lead to the budget being exceeded by approximately 2026.

The severity of these risks has been highlighted with the first three months of 2017 recording an average temperature increase of 1.480C above the pre-industrial base line of 1881-1910, which is the earliest date for which global temperature data are considered reliable8.

Whilst the focus of intergovernmental climate change targets has been on stabilizing temperature and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, there are no equivalent intergovernmental targets or aspirations on the equally dangerous change which is occurring with ocean acidification or sea level rises.

Because CO2 solubility is inversely proportional to temperature, the consequence of acidification is a far more serious problem in cold water and for deep ocean organisms. Thus, the consequences will be first seen in the Polar Regions with significant losses of the phytoplankton at the base of the marine food chain. Along with this will be the degradation of the ocean’s ability to sequester atmospheric CO2, see Figure 4.

Figure 4 Trends in Ocean Acidification

For sea level rise, the situation is even more threatening. Analyses of paleoclimate records from the most recent deglaciation and from much more distant periods that were 4–60C warmer than present, suggest that the sensitivity of sea level to changes in global average temperature must be roughly 10– 20 m per degree Celsius. While the response time for the ice loss to occur is not well understood, it is not implausible that the rate of future sea level rise could reach a few meters per century as ice sheets collapse rather than melt9 and similar rapid sea level rises have characterized paleoclimate records10. Such a situation could persist for many centuries, even in the hypothetical circumstance of anthropogenic CO2 emissions falling to zero before 2100.

The essence of the 2015 Paris Agreement [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 2015] was increasing international recognition that climate change has already started to have serious impacts, that substantial further impacts lie ahead, and that efforts to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions must be urgently undertaken. Indeed, the Paris Agreement committed the signatories ‘to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century’. Given the current dangerously high level of CO2, the rate of change of temperature and the minimal rate at which CO2 is being sequestered, then it is impossible to achieve this in a timeframe that can be deemed safe. To do so requires the fossil fuels which presently provide ∼80% of the world’s energy to be replaced in their entirety with renewable or nuclear sources against a background of increasing energy demand for services such as transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and military infrastructure in developing nations.

For this transformation to take place, unprecedented levels of international co-operation are needed at a time of heightening competitive rivalries which are exacerbated by climate change. This fundamental paradox of climate change makes the near complete transformation of the global energy system to a net zero carbon economy a virtual impossibility within the timeframes available. This is explored in detail in Appendix 3 which concludes that agreements of the type needed cannot be made unless far reaching security agreements are linked to progress with climate change.
In the absence of such far reaching agreements, the most optimistic analyses, based on the current national commitments and along with the untested assumption that a successful global roll-out of Bio Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECSS) can sequester significant atmospheric CO2, project a warming of roughly 3–3.50C by 210011. This indicates that considerably greater reductions in emissions, including achieving negative emissions of CO2 over prolonged periods of many decades and most likely many centuries, will be needed to bring long-term warming below the targeted ceiling of 1.5 to 20C above preindustrial temperatures.

Future planetary temperature increases, which are now locked in, will not be uniform and will be far more pronounced in the middle of the continents away from the moderating influence of oceans. This is where the main food producing regions for staple crops such as wheat, corn and maize are. Once temperatures in these regions reach a threshold of approximately 40OC, a temperature which many are now experiencing, photosynthesis stops and food production ceases. Simultaneous with this, is the loss of agricultural land from sea level rises, [King et al 2015]12. These direct effects on food supply, along with loss of critical infrastructure [Bank of England, PRA review]13, will cause crippling impacts to the global economy and fuel political instability. The subsequent disruption will increase the difficulty associated with agreeing to climate change action and will occur simultaneously with the rising carbon emissions associated with adaptation efforts, thus further stressing the remaining the carbon budgets.

5.1.2 The Moral case for a Global Climate Restoration strategy

Despite warming and disruption intensifying more rapidly than expected and the international community moving away from fossil fuels more slowly than needed, no significant change in policy has emerged in recognition of this.

The only response has been the most modest increase in research to understand the potential for undertaking global-scale climate intervention, and most of this remains largely exploratory with virtually no focus on practical implementation, no consideration of synergistic effects, no consideration of the time scales for intervention and no consideration of the economic and political models that are necessary to support deployment in the long term while simultaneously curtailing fossil fuel use.

Consequently, there has been no effective high-level interest among international decision-makers in organizing a mission-focused climate intervention research and deployment program aimed at preventing the global average temperature increase from exceeding the 1.5 to 2.00C, which will lead to severe consequences [e.g., Hansen et al., 2016]. Nor has there been any movement toward the even larger global intervention that would be needed to slow and then halt the rise in sea level, which may soon be on a path that will, over a longer term, inundate the world’s coastal cities, productive deltas and wetlands and vulnerable infrastructure such as ports and nuclear power facilities.

Instead, debates about global climate intervention are often silenced with contradictory and unfounded assertions, or they are used to relegate climate intervention to a potential emergency response that could be resorted to some decades in the future as a possible remedy after substantial impacts are widely evident and the consequences are becoming unacceptable.

These positions fail to acknowledge that unless global climate intervention is started in the near term and augmented with the intent of pushing the climate system back toward mid-20th century conditions at which a position of climatic stability can be found, there is the possibility that the research to better understand the potential for global climate intervention will ultimately go unused. This is despite the increasing evidence that a return to these relatively recent conditions is essential for the long-term survival for most of the world’s people and the continuance of society. The compounding problem is the scale of the intervention and the complexity of finding a viable economic model increases with the delay.

The risk assessment by King et al12 warns of a systemic collapse due to simultaneous climate change effects such as the loss of industrial and agricultural land due to sea level rises and increased storm intensity, crop failures and massive increases in environmentally driven migration. In domino fashion, the ecological collapse would trigger an economic collapse which would trigger a political collapse. In the ensuing chaos, with funding and organization absent, the kind of large scale climate stabilizing program needed would be beyond the economic reach of countries, and the situation would be exacerbated as countries would be forced to value short term survival and competitive advantage over long term co-operation for environmental protection.

In contrast to this scenario, research has indicated that increasingly planetary albedo through low risk, marine cloud brightening14 or the higher risk approach of augmenting the stratospheric aerosol concentration using stratospheric SO2 injection could substantially cancel out the increase in global heating caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from preindustrial levels. Furthermore, marine cloud brightening offers broad-scale changes in precipitation over many regions of the world [Tilmes et al., 2013; NRC, 2015b; Irvine et al., 2016; Latham et al, 201415], such that dry regions receive more rainfall and wet regions receive less rainfall. As well as no international debate on pursuing these critical programs, there is also no debate to establish how a delayed intervention will increase the likelihood that that the detrimental changes to the ecosystem will become irreversible.

Thus, while scientific and technological questions that merit additional research [MacMartin et al., 2016] languish, and while governmental efforts are needed to develop appropriate governance mechanisms for deciding how to optimally intervene, putting off initiation of climate intervention until there is a much greater perceived understanding risks the situation where the intervention needed to restore the planet’s milder conditions may be unacceptably disruptive and ineffective.

Recognizing that the most effective technical approaches to actual intervention generally mimic natural influences and processes that have been studied, it might well be that the uncertainties and consequences (both intended and unintended) associated with gradually intensifying global intervention, starting in the near term, would be less serious than the uncertainties and consequences associated with either not intervening at all or with waiting until impacts are substantial and intervention is viewed as the only remaining option for preventing global catastrophe, especially when the irreversibility of climate change is factored in.

Given that recent measurements indicate extremely rapid changes are already taking place in the climate system, then the luxury of time to confirm these assertions using the traditional scientific hypothesis-testing framework is not available. In addition, most of the ethical analyses against climate intervention have been primarily focused on evaluating the relative risks and benefits of climate intervention on its own, without inclusion of the existential risks associated with the projected changes to the climate without intervention.

Thus, conflating climate restoration with the hubristic ideas of the mid-20th century when unfounded geoengineering ideas were proposed as a means of improving the climate to enhance agriculture and living standards or by overstating the potential of renewable technologies to replace fossil fuels, transfers an unacceptable moral hazard to future generations by delaying the immediate start that is needed for a climate restoration program.

5.2 Where do we want to go?

5.2.1 A Potential Approach: An intervention strategy focusing intervention on points of climate amplification.

A largely unexplored avenue of action to achieve the Paris goals of limiting temperature to 1.5OC is to simultaneously target the critical points of change which, if left unaddressed, will lead to future amplification of climate change, but conversely if addressed systemically can lead to increased mitigation of climate change through the synergistic effects of their outcomes where each one reinforces the others.

The most critical points to be targeted are:

1.the heat build-up in the Arctic which is leading to warming amplification due to ice cap melting,

2.the failure of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) due to stratification of the ocean and the subsequent degradation of one of the world’s biggest carbon pumps16

3.the release of methane from the Arctic regions.

4.the loss of carbon in soils and wetlands and biomass in the ocean

The notion is that targeted interventions towards these critical points might be able to moderate the worst impacts, but this is on the proviso that they are implemented at industrial scale before points of irreversibility are past.

While such efforts might be viewed as providing a bit more time for global emissions reductions, delays in reducing emissions would lengthen the time needed for such interventions to be effective, increase the scale of these and potentially overwhelm their effectiveness. Thus, in no way can the proposals developed in this paper ever be considered as an alternative to cutting CO2 emissions.

Three types of intervention are needed, these being (1) solar radiation management which is aimed at cooling the planet and restoring the radiative balance; (2) sequestration which is aimed at removing CO2 and methane gases from the atmosphere and (3) restoration of ecosystems which are now facing fundamental, amplifying change, such as the Arctic and coral reef systems.

5.2.2 Setting science led targets and timescales for intervention

The starting point of a climate restoration strategy is to determine what the target must be to achieve a reasonable degree of confidence that successful stabilization of the climate change can be achieved. From this, order of magnitude estimates of the scale, cost and timeframe can be established along with the interactions of these; for example, if a climate intervention is delayed or started on an insufficient scale then the speed and scale of the final intervention must be correspondingly increased.

One of the most instructive data sources for determining an answer is Vostok Ice Core data which provides atmospheric CO2 and temperature values over a 600,000-year period17. This is plotted in Figure 5 and it shows the close coupling that exists between atmospheric CO2 and temperature. This coupling comes about through a rise in atmospheric CO2, such as through volcanic activity, causing temperature rises or alternatively an initial temperature rise, such as from Milankovitch cycles18 causing a subsequent rise in atmospheric CO2 through reduced CO2 uptake by the oceans which then acts to amplify the initial temperature increase. These amplifying mechanisms, and others, increase the sensitivity to change. To be able to overcome these, a strong stabilization forcing is required, and this is mostly provided by the action of biological homeostasis sequestering CO2 which consequently returns the environment from a hot condition to a stable, cool condition. This was conceptually illustrated by Lovelock et al 19 with the Daisy World model which offered an analogue of the stabilizing mechanisms that operate in the climate system by considering a hypothetical planet where the temperature was controlled by the resulting balance of albedo achieved from black and white daisies. With the survival advantage going to white daises in warm periods, the albedo of the planet increased as they spread and cooled it cooled it down, thus the offsetting of the additional heat from a warming sun.

The same effect is evident on the Vostok ice core data. During warm periods, plant life increases, and CO2 reduces which returns the planet’s temperature back to cooler conditions.

Figure 5 Vostok Ice Core data, show rate of stabilisation after CO2 increase

Crucially, Lovelock’s Daisy World model demonstrated that once global temperature starts to rise, it indicates that control has been lost and a nonlinear step change can occur with the temperature diverging uncontrollably from its previous equilibrium state that supported life to a new hot-house state that doesn’t. This instability is a typical characteristic of closed loop control systems, such as the planet, whereby if the planet heats up beyond a certain level then biomass dies, and instead of sequestering CO2 to reduce temperature, further CO2 is released to increase the temperature. Hence, while the Vostok ice core data shows that assumptions of controllability are valid up to 300ppm, in that the planet’s temperature can stabilize by returning to a lower temperature after an increase, the corollary of this is that there is no evidence to suggest that the same control mechanisms that provided stability in the past can operate at the significantly higher CO2 levels of today and at the higher rates of change of CO2. As a demonstration of how far the climate system has moved, and is moving, from the previous stable regions, a projection of a 500ppm atmosphere is superimposed on the Vostok data.

Critically, the Vostok ice core data shows a remarkably consistent saw tooth profile where CO2 can increase quickly, but the subsequent decrease and return to a stable condition takes place on a period that is orders of magnitude greater than the initial impulse, with a typical recovery rate over the past four cycles of ~0.00067ppm/year. Thus, in the hypothetical scenario that the planet was able to naturally recover from the current spike induced in the CO2 profile, it would take approximately 250,000 years for emissions to return to an upper pre-industrial level of 280ppm. Even at this level, it would still represent a warm condition for the planet and not a true recovery to stability. Paleoclimate data suggests that more rapid rates of recovery are only possible by killing the ocean, whereby high temperature and rotting marine life removes oxygen from the seas, turning the ocean into a dead zone and polluted with hydrogen sulfide. Organic matter then piles up in deep ocean sediments, eventually removing the excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

The extremely slow sequestration rate of CO2 compared to its rapid release is entirely consistent with the concept underpinned by the second law of thermodynamics, which is that all systems tend to move towards a state of maximum entropy and an atmosphere with high greenhouse gas levels is the high entropy state that the planet’s climate system will always be attracted towards. So, in the same way that energy is stored in a spring when it is compressed, the planet stores solar energy and reduces entropy by converting CO2 into fossil fuels and chalk. These processes require two steps. Firstly, plant life converts CO2 to carbohydrates within the biomass and secondly, CO2 is permanently sequestered by converting that biomass to chalks or fossil fuels. The secondary mechanisms, that provide the permanent sequestration, require additional energy input. So, with shell formation, this is provided by the energy stored in the biomass and this releases one mole of CO2 back to the environment for every mole of calcium carbonate deposited. It is this unavoidable inefficiency that provides an upper limit to the rate at which natural processes can sequester CO2 from the environment. By contrast the energy stored in fossil fuels can be released instantaneously through combustion which restores the planet back to a high entropy state.

In 2008, Hansen et al. proposed that an upper safe level of atmospheric CO2 was 350ppm, and this became widely accepted as an aspirational target to avoid the catastrophic climate change that would result through the slow feedback responses of ice loss and methane release. It came with the caution that the actual level could be lower20 and this concurs with the fact that 350ppm was still considerably higher than anything seen on the Vostok ice core. Their paper postulated that if the globe warms much further, then carbon cycle models21 and empirical data22 were revealing a positive GHG feedback on century to millennia time scales23. These warnings are now being realized.

Taking the optimistic assumption of no significant increases in methane emissions, then to achieve 350ppm by the end of the century would require a 6% year on year reduction in CO2 emissions and 153 PgC of carbon removal from the atmosphere.24

Figure 6 Carbon Extraction Scenarios [Hansen et al]

However, in 2008 when Hansen’s paper was published, atmospheric CO2 was as at 385ppm, the Arctic still had stable multi-year ice and atmospheric methane levels had stabilized after prolonged increases since the 1980s, thus conditions then had not moved too far from those necessary to ensure stability and reversibility might still have been possible with a modest climate intervention strategy.

Since then, each of these critical measurements have moved, lockstep together, towards worst case positions, or beyond them. The result is that the amplifying mechanisms that were once thought to be slow, such as sea ice melt, have been replaced fast ones such as ice collapse25 and all changes are now mutually reinforcing. A further example is that melting of offshore permafrost has removed the physical barriers that once prevented or slowed methane on Arctic shelves from escaping to the atmosphere and now allows arterial routes from the methane sources to the atmosphere which were not anticipated in Hansen’s earlier study. Now that the many caveats that were placed on the 350ppm target have been realized, the reasonable supposition is that a far lower CO2 target is needed with a corresponding far greater removal of CO2 from the atmosphere being necessary.

The result of the interacting changes is that Arctic sea ice extent and volume are now falling below their lowest ever levels while methane levels and Arctic temperatures are rising above their highest ever levels. The near total absence of multi-year ice26 as of this year (2018) presents the danger that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free during the critical May to July period when the sun is at its highest as soon as next year, 201925, or at best only a few years thereafter. Once this happens, the rate of heat absorption by the ocean increases considerably as the albedo changes from as high as 0.9 for snow covered ice to as low as 0.06 for open ocean27. Pistone’s analysis [2014] of the decrease in sea ice during 1979-2011 showed it caused a total global radiative forcing (i.e., a heating) that was 25% as large as the radiative forcing from CO2 emitted during 1979-201128. A crude extrapolation of this implies that the complete loss of the Arctic sea ice over the summer period would cause a radiative forcing that is 62.5% of the average radiative forcing from anthropogenic CO2 during the period 1979- 2011. Given the planet was already in an energy imbalance during this period, as evidenced by the melting sea ice, then this additional heat input is entirely unsustainable. Furthermore, Wadhams (2016) has noted that the radiative forcing effect is roughly double that calculated by Pistone et al. because there is also an albedo feedback with the rapidly retreating Northern Hemisphere snowline.

The extra heat that is being absorbed in this region due to the disappearance of sea ice releases more methane, which heats up the high Northern region further, which in turns leads to further amplification. Both the rate of release of methane and the rate of change of the Arctic sea ice area are proportional to the methane released and the Arctic sea ice lost, and both changes can be modelled by an exponential equation. However, as both are acting on each other then there exists the serious likelihood that the change in the Arctic region will proceed as a super exponential function, of the general form:

Should this be the case, the basic shape of output will be as in Figure 7 which shows a family of super exponential functions with different values of α and β. The vital characteristic of this type of function is that once the value starts changing, it rapidly gains speed and a step change happens where the profile of the change is largely the same, irrespective of the starting conditions or the values of α and β that are chosen. Thus, the temperature will increase until a new thermal equilibrium is found. With the climate system, there will of course be some moderation of the final temperature change due to thermal inertia in the ocean, but the tendency will always be towards very rapid change and this is more fully discussed in Appendix 2.

Figure 7 General output for a super exponential function

Rising methane emissions that are a key influenced of this amplification process have a lifetime in the atmosphere of only 12.4 years29 before oxidation into CO2. Consequently, most of the heating effect of a single pulse of methane is concentrated in the first years of release, as illustrated in Figure 8 which compares the Actual Global Warming Potential (AGWP) of methane with the long term, but lower intensity, AGWP of an equivalent volume of CO2. For a given time after a pulse release, the cumulative AGWP due to the methane is divided by the cumulative AGWP due to the equivalent volume of CO2 to give the Global Warming Potential (GWP). This process allows normalization of other greenhouse gases with CO2.

Figure 8 Comparison of AGWP between methane and CO230

For Kyoto I, the time selected for normalization was arbitrarily chosen to be 100 years which gave a GWP for methane of 2131. However, there was no scientific rationale for choosing 100 years and this factor would only be appropriate if it was envisioned that methane would be released as a single pulse and the climate was still relatively stable over a longer period, perhaps several hundred years. However, neither of these two assumptions pertain to today’s conditions. Firstly, the level of methane in the atmosphere is increasing, which approximates to increasing methane pulses being added each year and which introduces an annual perturbation to the planet’s radiative budget due to the immediate and extreme short-term heating effect of methane. Therefore, under the current condition of increasing methane levels, the GWP of methane should be considered over a timeframe as short as a single year, giving a value of 120 times that of CO2, as determined by the IPCC data extract Figure 9. Secondly, this higher GWP now is more able to support the super exponential change in the Arctic, thus negating the assumption of a relatively stable climate.

Figure 9 Global Warming Potential of Methane32

Now that the physical ice barriers are largely absent, then methane releases to the atmosphere will occur equally in the winter to the summer which leads to further amplifying mechanisms that increase the GWP of methane due to seasonal effects. Firstly, the lack of sunlight in the winter months prevents the methane that is released during this period oxidizing to CO2 which allows methane to accumulate in the atmosphere over the winter months. This delay to oxidation has the effect of translating the curve in Figure 9 to the right by at least three months, which significantly increases the area under the curve due to its exponential nature while also increasing its height due to higher equivalent concentrations in the atmosphere. Secondly, there is an additional effect due to the higher concentrations of methane persisting during the Arctic winter which is the time and place where the maximum heat flows from the planet to space as black body radiation over a 24-hour period. Finally, as the concentration of methane increases, it will stay in the atmosphere longer due to the hydroxyl molecules in the atmosphere that would normally reduce methane to CO2 becoming saturated. This has the effect of stretching the GWPCH4 curve of Figure 9 to the right.

Given the analysis of Appendix 2 which argues that the interactions between amplification mechanisms greatly accelerates the change and the result will be the simple aggregate of the maximas, then these factors that can combine to translate and stretch the methane GWP curve can act to bring forward the time when a sudden change in conditions occurs.

Thus, the fact that Arctic temperature, ice melt and methane levels are all simultaneously accelerating is an extremely worrisome observation and the only logical conclusion is the conditions that exist now are conducive to a super exponential step change, and that it is already underway. Furthermore, our lack of knowledge of the size of the methane reservoirs prevents us from knowing the final outcome conditions and equilibrium temperature.

The sizes of the methane reservoirs that are at risk due to activation by warming are essentially comprise biogenically produced methane, land-based permafrost trapped methane and subsea clathrates. Of these, the biogenically produced methane is the first source to be activated and the last to be activated will most likely be the subsea clathrates, for which there is a delay as heat diffuses through the seabed to release the frozen plugs of methane that sit at the top of the methane reservoirs. However, this last process is likely to be considerably speeded up as most of the at-risk subsea methane is in relatively shallow water which is where most of the ocean heat content accumulatres33.

A further piece of critical physics that determines the long-term transient response of the earth to the impulse of greenhouse gas releases is the uptake of heat in the oceans and the time constant for this (the time taken to achieve a 63% of the final stable temperature) has been long debated, with estimates ranging from 30 to 300 years. Glecker [2016] concludes, “Our model-based analysis suggests that nearly half of the industrial-era increases in global Ocean Heat Content (OHC) have occurred in recent decades, with over a third of the accumulated heat occurring below 700m and steadily rising.”34 By comparison with the estimates for the temperature time constant, is the reality that approximately half of the anthropogenic CO2 has been emitted since 1990 (BP statistics review2). Thus, even without the complicating effects of short-term tipping points, there is still significant heating already in the pipeline just from the legacy CO2 that has been injected into the atmosphere over the past 30 years, irrespective of a high or low estimate being used for the time constant.

Whilst the rise in atmospheric CO2 since preindustrial times has caused significant direct heating, subsequent emissions will cause less direct heating due to the logarithmic relationship between atmospheric CO2 and heat absorption. This is driven by the equation:  with C being the current level of CO2 (i.e. 405ppm) and C0 the preindustrial reference level (250ppm)35 and ∝ being a scaling constant. This fundamental relationship between heat absorption and CO2 concentration has formed the basis of every climate change model since it was established experimentally by John Tyndall in 185636.

However, this relationship is not immediately apparent in the outputs from climate change models or from observed temperature change.

The output from climate change models shows a mostly linear relationship between cumulative CO2 emissions and predicted temperature rises rather than a flattening logarithmic curve, see Figure 10 with the difference between the two being due to the enhancing effects such as albedo changes, vapor cycles, changes to the carbon cycle and cloud effects, all of which amplify the initial heating.

Figure 10 Predicted temperature against cumulative CO237

The difference between the theoretical logarithmic absorption curve and observed temperature changes is even worse. Since 2010, the observed temperature trend, see Figure 11, has substantially changed in form with the normal year to year variance being replaced by a smooth exponential trend indicating that climate forcing agents, rather that direct heating effects from CO2, are now dominating temperature changes. The uniqueness of the profile during this period is indicated by comparison with the past data trend which shows no single comparable period to have such a consistent unidirectional pattern of year-on-year temperature rises.

Figure 11 Observed Temperature changes with a 5-year moving average overlaid38.

While the spikes in temperature during 2015 and 2016 have been attributed to El Nino39, this overlooks that the frequency and intensity of El Nino events have dramatically increased since pre- industrial times when they were on a frequency measured in hundreds of years40, and thus the latter sharp rises in the temperatures are most likely signs of an underlying trend rather than a short term aberration.

Thus, in the immediate short term (circa 10 years), the future heating of the planet will be dominated by the amplifying effects of methane releases, loss of albedo and the heating that is already in the pipeline but delayed due to the heat sink effect of the oceans, rather than that caused by additional anthropogenic CO2 emissions and this is evident in the graphs of Appendix 2.

While the logarithmic relationship between temperature and atmospheric CO2 minimizes the future direct heat forcing due to further the cumulative build-up of CO2 that will result from current international commitments to climate change, the flipside is that even if anthropogenic emissions can be brought to zero at some future point and CO2 removed from the atmosphere, then the cooling effect will be unable to counter the amplifying effects that have already been unleashed by the initial warming. To put this in perspective, a 50ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 at the beginning of the industrial revolution which took levels from 250ppm to 300ppm creates a direct radiative forcing increase that is approximately 35% greater than the direct radiative forcing reduction due to a 50ppm reduction if atmospheric CO2 was reduced in the future from 450ppm (the level expected by 2030) to 400ppm. This means should there be a reduction in atmospheric levels in the future, it is most unlikely that it will be able to counter the heating effects of the amplifying processes that have been instigated. In this context, the initial change of atmospheric CO2 has acted like the trigger of a gun and has created a situation that is now effectively irreversible, unless there is direct and substantial climate intervention that must initially focus on cooling to restore the radiative balance. At best, given the rate of atmospheric CO2 reduction evident from the Vostok Ice Core, it will take hundreds of thousands of years for CO2 levels to fall sufficiently to cool the planet without human intervention.

Irreversibility is a general feature of all closed loop feedback systems as they move from one initial state to another and are then transitioned back to the initial state; it is commonly known as hysteresis. Its application to the planet’s system is conceptually illustrated in Figure 12 where the red line is the temperature profile resulting from cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions which causes the planet to transition from the pre-industrial stable state of low CO2 and high albedo (due to ice and snow cover) to a new, hot-house stable state of high CO2 and low albedo. The green line is the hypothetical temperature profile that would occur if atmospheric CO2 is reduced, forcing the planet from a hot- house state back to the pre-industrial state.

Figure 12. Hysteresis in the climate system

The width of the loop formed by the temperatures going in the opposite direction, is a measure of hysteresis in the system. Although studies have been conducted on the hysteresis loops associated with changes of individual components of the climate system, such as melting of Arctic Ice cap41 and reduction of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC),42 there is no comprehensive analysis of hysteresis on the planet’s climate system which considers the combined effects of all forms of irreversibility and discussion of this is absent in the IPCC reports. Consequently, its implications have been largely ignored from climate change policy and debate, despite its profundity.

The resulting area of the hysteresis loop will be a function of both the temperature increase and the time that the planet remains at a higher temperature. This raises the fundamental question of where the planet is placed on the upwards trajectory of this loop. Given that rapid temperature rises are already being observed, then it most likely that we are already on the fast up-slope, that hysteresis has already built up to significant levels in the climate system, and that the width of the loop is dangerously widening.

In summary, given the available information and current state of key climate change variables, reasonable conclusions can be made on the implications of hysteresis in the system and its fundamental impact on setting targets for intervention. These are:

1.Atmospheric CO2 must fall to well below pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm and remain at these levels for prolonged periods to offset the heating caused by the reduction of albedo and methane increases.

2.The best possible natural sequestration rate, which can be established from the Vostok Ice core data, would indicate that it will take in the order of 250,000 years for CO2 to return to pre- industrial levels and this is too slow to allow a recovery from the trend of elevating temperature.

3.As well as being driven by the changes to the ecosystem, the width of the hysteresis curve is driven by basic physics, such as the heat trapped in the ocean and the unique logarithmic relation between atmospheric CO2 and radiative forcing which exacerbates the problem further.

4.The final target temperature rise must be as close to zero as possible and certainly no more than 0.50C, which is the level at which serious changes to coral and sea ice were first observed. Thus, attempting to limit temperature rises to 1.50C, as per the COP21 agreement, represents an intolerable level of risk.

5.The only way that the hysteresis loop can be narrowed is through Solar Radiation Management, but there will be a point in time when attempts to cool the planet using SRM will be overwhelmed by the additional and mutually reinforcing amplifying processes.

These facts point towards an immutable timeframe that a climate restoration intervention strategy must adhere to and which is driven by the amplifying mechanisms that have been triggered in the climate system, the already elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 and continued future emissions of greenhouse gases. They also determine the overall priorities that a climate restoration strategy must adopt to enable climate stability to be achieved. These are:

Priority 1 is to reduce solar radiation on a sufficient scale to enable cooling of the planet using its relatively short time constant in the hope that it can reverse and stabilize the uncontrollable heating that is now manifesting itself in the Arctic and elsewhere in the planet. If the situation becomes more extreme, the scale of the intervention can be temporarily increased then subsequently scaled back to a long-term level of intervention. In effect, the scale of the intervention would be proportional to the error from the stable preindustrial era and the derivative of the temperature43.

Priority 2 is to pursue techniques for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and the removal of methane. These should be pursued in parallel to the solar radiation management but done in the expectation that their effects will take longer. The techniques adopted for CDR should be selected to give the fastest possible reduction in CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans, with the minimum risk of the sequestered carbon returning to the atmosphere. Return of atmospheric methane to preindustrial levels can probably only be achieved by the photocatalytic breakdown of methane into less harmful CO2.

Priority 3 is to restore the Arctic sea ice, potentially through a program of ice thickening whereby sea water is pumped onto the surface of the ice sheet causing it to thicken.

5.2.3 Essential characteristics needed to future proof a climate restoration strategy

The arguments presented in the preceding section preclude the expectation that an effective intervention can be made in a period that can be measured in just a few decades. Instead at best, any intervention will most likely have to be sustained for many centuries, most likely for millennia.

These interventions must also be capable of being sustained in the event of the large scale ecological, economic and political turmoil as described by King’s risk assessment12.

Thus, it is essential that a climate restoration approach meets the following requirements as far as possible:

1.It should be immediately scalable following validation and be economically viable to do so.

2.It should use the minimal amount of high technology and complex processes in both the field equipment and manufacturing.

3.It should require the minimal use of fossil fuels for energy.

4.It should be able to operate with the only a model level of logistic support.

5.It should have minimal adverse side effects and where there are side effects, these must be known, acceptable and controllable.

5.3 How do we get there?

The following sections gives a brief overview of climate restoration techniques. It is not to be considered as a comprehensive assessment, instead it focuses on those intervention techniques that can most feasibly comply with the objectives of the preceding section 5.2.3 or have been proposed as being necessary to meet the COP21 targets.

5.3.1 Approaches to Solar Radiation Management

The objective of SRM is to stabilize the planet’s energy imbalance by reducing heat flow to the surface of the planet either by increasing reflectivity (albedo) or reducing insulation to allow greater heat flow back to space. Prospective proposals to achieve these objectives are emerging. The focus of this paper is on those approaches that have the potential to cause notable cooling when deployed on a large scale, rather than the more small-scale, localized albedo enhancements, such as whitening of roof tops and road surfaces44, other than to note the cumulative effect of these can be significant and that the detractors of solar radiation management have been silent on these initiatives.

As 95% of the heat absorbed through the build of CO2 is trapped in the oceans, then returning the oceans to a thermally stable state that is compatible with the critical ecosystems such as corals and phytoplankton populations is the ultimate measure of success of any SRM program. Consequently, the scale of an SRM program and the time with which it must operate will be determined by the rate at which it allows heat to flow from the ocean, into the atmosphere and out into space.

The required cooling of the oceans is a human endeavor without precedence and little research has been conducted on this, yet detailed consideration of the resulting heat flow from the ocean to the atmosphere is critical to determining both the scale of an SRM program and timeframe for which it must remain operational.

The anticipated mechanisms that will contribute to the heat flow are micro level vertical turbulence, which is where cool surface water sinks and is replaced to by warmer water from below, largescale release where storms bring up warm water to the surface and finally macro scale release which is driven by mechanisms such as the AMOC. The contribution that each of these mechanisms makes to heat transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere will be dependent on many factors, not least of which is the current level of warming and the resulting stratification of the oceans it causes.

The most feasibly options to achieve this goal follow:

5.3.2 Marine Cloud Brightening

Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) involves the injection of seawater or brine aerosols with a diameter of approximately 0.8 microns into the lower levels of the troposphere. These aerosols are either released at cloud making altitude, or if released lower, rise into the clouds by turbulence and thermals and act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) particles. Global cooling comes principally from two mechanisms, the Twomey45 effect and the Albrecht effect46. Both are well established and verified from laboratory testing and physical observations.

A key aspect of this approach is that its use is limited to dispersing salt water which replicates natural processes, thus no additional chemicals are being introduced to the environment, making it politically and socially acceptable and potentially even more benign than attempts at roof and road whitening which require inputs of paint and other chemicals. There is little risk of salt contamination on land as most salt spray will be washed out in mid ocean before the air mass comes ashore, so it will not add much to the salt that is normally deposited inland from waves breaking on beaches. If salt falls anywhere else due to rainfall, it will be washed down rivers back to sea. If it falls in arid regions such as South Australia or Saudi Arabia where already large amounts of salt have deposited over hundreds of years the small addition from MCB will not make soil salinity appreciably worse.

With the Twomey effect, a large quantity of small drops of a substance reflect more light and energy than when the same mass is divided into a smaller number of large drops. This finding is replicated glass balls in Figure 1347. On a larger scale, this is visible with satellite photographs of cloud enhancement due to particles in the exhaust gases from ships as in Figure 14.

Figure 13 Demonstration of Twomey effect with 4mm and 40 micron glass balls (courtesy of Stephen Salter

Figure 14 Satellite image of cloud formation generated by ship exhausts

With the Albrecht effect, precipitation from clouds is delayed by the smaller droplet size that results from the increased number of CCN particles, thus increasing the cloud lifetime and its effective optical depth.

Although computer simulations show that effective deployment of MCB can offset the direct heat effect of a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 over preindustrial levels,14,15 it is not certain that it can offset the additional heat from the combined effects of albedo loss and methane release. These limitations will become more profound as Ocean Heat Content (OHC) increases with time, hence the importance of starting immediate development and early deployment tests.

Because of the Albrecht effect, large scale MCB offers the prospect of restoring precipitation patterns back towards pre-industrial conditions and even of bringing additional rainfall to deserts. The delayed precipitation results in less rainfall over ocean regions and prospectively more in areas such as the Horn of Africa48, see Figure 15. Parkes (2012)49 has also shown how carefully targeted MCB can deliver desirable precipitation changes on the other side of the world. As well as being critical to food production, the ability to manage rainfall through targeted MCB deployment is likely to be equally critical to land based methods of carbon dioxide removal such as afforestation which requires regular rainfall to prevent the risk of fire and to maintain optimal growing conditions.

Figure 15 Annually averaged changes in precipitation following MCB deployment

The final piece of physics is from Köhler50. He showed that getting a relative humidity of 100% is not sufficient for droplet formation. For this to happen, starting seeds are necessary along with a small excess of relative humidity above 100%. The levels of condensation nuclei in the air over land ranges from 1,000 to 5,000 in a cubic centimeter, but in the cleaner air over mid-ocean this can be as low as 1014. Consequently, without atmospheric seawater or brine injection, water vapor remains in the air longer which, being a greenhouse gas, whose concentration increases as temperature increases, causes further amplification of global warming.

Without field experiments, it is not possible to determine how long the effect of sea salt spraying will last nor the variables that will influence its effect, but it is a reasonable estimate that it will be in the order of 1 to 2 weeks51 and will be dependent on weather conditions before washout occurs. This means that should any detrimental effects become evident, the process can be switched off and a return to pre-spray conditions can quickly be achieved. The counter to this is that to sustain long term cooling, then seawater spraying must be done continuously which demands the most energy efficient methods of spray production, the most reliable methods and, where possible, power from renewable or low carbon sources such as wind.

Figure 16 Solar input to the top of the atmosphere as a function of latitude and season52

In the Arctic, MCB can be deployed in the May to July period to protect the ice sheet from direct solar heating if there is supersaturated air (though the salt aerosols will have some beneficial cooling effect on their own, without nucleation). During this time, MCB is enhanced by the heat flow over a 24-hour period averaging 550 Watts per square meter due to the 24-hour exposure to the sun compared with the average 440 Watts per square meter over a 24-hour period in the equatorial regions.

However, deployment of MCB in lower latitudes still reduces the heat flow that is transferred to the Polar Regions and can be continued year-round. Modelling demonstrates that deployment in these lower latitude regions provides sufficient cooling over a long time to help re-establish ice thickness at the North Pole and the cooling will also help stabilize permafrost. Also, of absolute criticality is the need to minimize heat flow into the ocean surface of the subtropics to prevent or minimize the formation of hurricanes.

Various methods have been proposed for generating and disseminating the aerosols53.

Salter has proposed pumping sea water through billions of submicron nozzles etched in silicon wafers which operate like the nozzles of an ink jet printer with regular back flushing to avoid contamination build up. These would be located on remotely controlled and autonomous vessels.

Armand Neukermans et al. have experimented with Electrohydrodynamic Spray techniques and have reportedly produced consistent spray droplets.

Clarke et al. have proposed using fluidic oscillators54 based on technologies developed by Perlemax55 which create high frequency pressure pulses in a gas stream and which are then directed through a diffuser plate into a thin film of salt water to create micro bubbles of consistent diameter. These burst to create nano-sized droplets. This method offers high energy efficiency, simplicity, immunity from contamination, and controllability of particle size.56 The spray devices can be located either at sea level or at altitude from an aerostat to which brine and gas are pumped. The technology can be installed on existing shipping going about their ordinary business, or on surplus ships to allow rapid deployment, or distributed globally at favorable fixed installations powered renewably by floating wind turbines.
Competitive evaluations of all methods should be immediately started to identify the optimum approaches, and this should be extended to field testing, given that the risks are understood, minimal and controllable. It is entirely conceivable that during this evaluation each different method may be discovered to have unique characteristics such that a combined approach of technologies could provide the optimal solution.

An extended application of MCB that should also be investigated through field trials is the addition of polyvalent salts to the brine solution which can capture atmospheric CO2 by turning it to carbonate in raindrops, thereby hastening its removal from atmosphere to sea and soil57. By using MCB techniques to achieve this, the contact surface area would be optimized to achieve maximum carbon dioxide capture efficiency with a view to substantially reducing residence time in the atmosphere.

5.3.3 Stratospheric SO2 injection

Robock et al. [2008], MacCracken et al. [2012], and Tilmes et al. [2014], among others, have performed global model simulations that provide some, not particularly surprising, insights. Robock et al. [2008] found that high-latitude injection of sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere not only cooled the Arctic, but also, due to their roughly 1-year half-life, spread to sub-Arctic latitudes and unfortunately depressed the summer monsoon58. MacCracken et al. [2012] found that, just as high-latitude warming was amplified by albedo feedback, so was high-latitude cooling, making an intervention, on a per mass basis, more effective at high latitudes than at low latitudes.

Conversely, Kleinschmitt59 analysis shows that the forcing efficiency may decrease more drastically for larger SO2 injections than previously estimated. As a result, the net instantaneous radiative forcing did not exceed –2Wm−2 for their simulations and they conclude that solar radiation management with stratospheric sulphate aerosols is still more complicated, probably less effective and may implicate stronger adverse side-effects than initially thought.

Stratospheric sulphate injection can also fall into the troposphere to alter and enhance the structure of cirrus clouds which acts to prevent the radiation of heat to space in ways that are not yet clearly understood60.

The rate of ozone depletion due to SO2 is not fully understood.61 Long-term reduction in ozone was observed following the Mount Pinatubo eruption which ejected an estimated 15-30Mt of sulphur into the atmosphere62. Though ozone reduction occurred during this event, disappearance akin to that experienced in the Antarctic did not. It is thus possible that in extremis a partial reduction in ozone may be an acceptable trade off when compared to the consequences of future temperature rises.

At present, though various methods of delivering SO2 to the stratosphere have been proposed63, no technologies are mature enough to allow the long-term pumping of SO2 into the stratosphere in a way that is sustainable for a long period and controllable in the event of adverse effects.

Any deployment would thus necessary involve the notion of starting slowly and building up to validate the technology and assess the impacts. This would be equivalent to imitating small volcanic eruptions and seeing how optimization can be achieved from the emerging data.

5.3.4 Ocean surface brightening

The same fluidic oscillator technology that was described for the MCB can also be used to create films of long lived nano-bubbles in the ocean surface waters at high energy efficiencies and thereby increase the albedo of the ocean surface. Due to the extremely small size of these bubbles and the corresponding high surface area to volume, then viscous effects overwhelm buoyancy effects ensuring that the bubbles remain in suspension for prolonged periods, measurable in weeks. The bubbles can also be generated in such a way as to simultaneously lubricate the hulls of ships, thereby increasing their speed and/or fuel efficiency.

This technology can be deployed on a regional basis to protect to coral reefs from bleaching and when done in conjunction with MCB can be used to control the temperature of the ocean surface waters in the path of oncoming tropical storms and perhaps even to steer them from dense conurbations.

Critical to cooling effectiveness is that the bubbles are concentrated in the upper millimeter layers of water, where heat is absorbed by the ocean. If the bubbles can be kept in this region, then the ratio between cooling effectiveness and opacity increased to algae will be optimized.

By strategically locating bubble generators in ocean currents, the suspended bubbles can cover large areas before their eventual dissolution to maximize the effectiveness of the technique. For example, one such location would be off Florida where the Gulf Stream would move the bubbles northwards and across the Atlantic, eventually cooling the Arctic. Fixed installations for these types of applications could be powered by renewable energy and be used for MCB.

5.4 Approaches to greenhouse gas removal/Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)

5.4.1 Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)

BECCS is the mainstay of the IPCC and COP methods for removing atmospheric CO211. The concept behind it is that biomass is burned in a power station, CO2 is captured and separated from the exhaust gases and then compressed and buried. In so doing, an inherent but unstated objective of this technology is to offer the prospect of a profitable, or at least a cost neutral, technical solution to the CO2 crisis through the sale of the generated electricity.

This concept suffers several critical flaws that make it impossible to imagine how it could ever profitably or cost effectively work on a scale that is sufficient return atmospheric CO2 to the pre- industrial levels for the following reasons.

1.The infrastructure could not be built in time and it is unlikely that sufficient reservoirs could be found economically and safely to store the volume of compressed CO2 that is needed to offset current atmospheric levels.

2.Growing the biomass would conflict with agricultural land and water requirements which will be in increasing demand due to population growth and the loss of agricultural land from rising sea levels and other climate change related loss.

3.What biofuel crops are grown will be at the mercy of climate change inflicted droughts, wildfire and heat waves.
4.Most critically of all, fuelling a power station with biomass reduces the thermal efficiency as the biomass does not burn as hot as conventional fossil fuels due to its high moisture content, so at best a thermal efficiency of ~40% can be achieved without carbon capture. Given that 1 kg of wood releases about 15mJ, and produces 41 moles of CO2, then it can be calculated that to compress the produced CO2 to the 150 bar for transport by pipelines, the overall thermal efficiency will reduce to 8%, which is about the same as steam engines from the Victorian era. However, this assumes no energy for the separation of CO2 from the exhaust gases. If this energy is included in the calculations, then it only takes a modest 3.2kj/mole of CO2 to reduce the efficiency to zero. If the pressure were to be raised to above 150 bar, which is typically expected for most CCS installations, then these figures become even worse, making BECCS completely non- viable as either an energy source for the future or as an effective method to sequester substantial CO2 from the atmosphere. Full calculations are included in Appendix 1.

5.4.2 Olivine

Enhanced weathering of olivine minerals has attracted recent attention as a method of halting rising atmospheric CO2 with Mg-rich (Mg2SiO4) and Fe-rich (Fe2SiO4) olivine occurring often in nature. Olivine is mostly comprised of the Mg-rich type which can weather effectively. However, the use of Fe-rich olivine may cause adverse effects thus necessitating separation of the material which is potentially difficult and energy intensive64. Furthermore, olivine must be ground down to 1–10 μm to be effective65, which further increases the energy requirements.

Once reacted, 1 mole of olivine sequesters approximately 1 mole of CO2. From this, it can be estimated that approximately 2,930 Gt of olivine are required to sequestrate 800 GtC from the atmosphere. To put this into perspective, iron ore is mined today at the rate of approximately 2Gt per annum. Thus, if the entire iron ore mining industry was transformed to mine olivine, it would take 1,500 years to mine sufficient material. This would then have to be processed with sufficient energy and then dispersed in shallow seas through the word while not causing catastrophic ecologic damage due to the fine particle size. It is inconceivable that this could be done on a time scale that is sufficiently quick to stabilize the environment.

5.4.3 Direct Air Capture

Direct air capture has been proposed as way of the extracting CO2 from sources such as transportation, small home furnaces, manufacturing processes and now, natural sources of CO2 from the atmosphere. These are the emissions that can never be captured by CCS being applied to the exhausts of power stations.

A leading developer of this technology is Carbon Engineering66 which has been partly funded by the Virgin Challenge.67 The basis of their system is to use sodium hydroxide, most commonly recognized as caustic soda, to absorb CO2 from the air. The resulting solution is reacted with the calcium oxide to form calcium carbonate. This is finally heated to release a pure stream of CO2 and to allow the calcium to be recycled back into the process.

In the prototype plants, the energy intensive parts of the process have been powered by natural gas, but the proposition is that these can be replaced by renewable or nuclear power in the future68. The main motivator of this technology is to use the output stream of pure CO2 as a feedstock into a renewable fuel process to create, using renewable energy sources, synthetic fuel that can replace fossil fuel derived products such as petrol, diesel and aviation fuel.

Used in this way, and if the heating processes can indeed be substituted by renewables, then direct air capture falls into the category of low carbon and renewable technologies rather than a climate restoration technology. In this context, it offers a valuable and unique solution to enable continued operation of critical transport infrastructure in a zero-carbon economy without the difficulties associated with bioenergy fuels such as encroachment on agricultural or forest land.

However, its scope to enable significant reductions of atmosphere CO2 is much more limited as the process will be constrained by the second law of thermodynamics due to it being improbable that the heat input needed to power its operations could be provided in any way other than fossil fuels on the scale needed and, in the time, available. Order of magnitude calculations can be made taking the assumptions of Carbon Engineering that industrial scale plants will have an output of 1MtCO2/year, with each one having its own power supply. When this output is compared with the current anthropogenic emissions of 33GtCO2 per year, (see Figure 3 and BP Statistics review2), then approximately 33,000 plants are needed. Currently there are 62,500 power plants operating around the world today with a capacity of 30 megawatts or greater69, thus given that in infrastructure terms each direct air capture unit is crudely equivalent to two power plants due the power supply needed and the direct air capture units, then the scale of new infrastructure just to negate current emissions from existing power plants would be equivalent to the entire global power producing infrastructure. To go further and sequester the legacy CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere, the ocean and the ecosystem since the start of the industrial revolution and to sequester non-power plant related emissions would increase the infrastructure requirements further, perhaps by at least twice.

Figure 17 Global Power Plant Fleet by Technology

The complications of direct air capture are further compounded by the storage of the resulting gas and provision of energy at the scale needed. As renewable energy still only provides 2.2% of primary energy productivity, then all the renewable power output in the world would theoretically have to be directed in its entirety to power DAC leaving the deficit to be made up with fossil fuels. Furthermore,
as Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI)70 is reducing globally, the energy needed for either running DAC or for providing the fossil fuels that would replace the displaced renewable power would seriously increase demand for fossil fuels along with the infrastructure needed to support this. The alternative would be to power this with nuclear but, on the scale needed, all the normal risks associated with nuclear such as time delays, cost over runs, public backlash, increased risk of radioactive contamination and supply of uranium would be intensified.

5.4.4 Carbon storage in biomass and soil through afforestation on land and in the sea.

In 1977 Dyson71 first suggested augmenting the storage of carbon in organic matter by calling on solar energy and the photosynthesis process to extract carbon from the atmosphere. It has been estimated that the global biomass currently stores some 1500±200GtC and another 1500±200GtC are stored as organic matter in soils72 and by comparison approximately 150GtC must be removed from the atmosphere.

The technical potential to sequester carbon in the soil of terrestrial ecosystems as well as restored peatlands has been estimated at around 3GtC per year, equivalent to 50ppm of atmospheric CO2 by 2100. This would be achieved by increasing the soil carbon pool by about 1 ton/ha/year and could be accomplished through a variety of means: no-till farming, cover crops, nutrient management, manuring and sludge application, soil restoration and woodland regeneration, improved grazing, water conservation and harvesting, efficient irrigation and agroforestry73. Thus, soil carbon and terrestrial ecosystem sequestration is a truly win–win strategy. It restores degraded soils, enhances biomass production, enhances food production, reduces the need for artificial fertilizer and irrigation, and purifies surface and ground waters while reducing atmospheric CO274.

The critical issue associated with carbon sequestration by soils and terrestrial ecosystems is the rate which the terrestrial ecosystem can respond to change, as well as the stability of any stored carbon in a hotter world. A benchmark for the rate of sequestration is the strong circumstantial evidence of a rapid fall in atmospheric CO2 as a response to the Black Death in the middle ages when over one third of the population of Europe was wiped out causing agricultural land to return to new growth forest and which is postulated to have caused the “Little Ice Age”75, see Figure 18

Figure 18 Reconstructed CO2 changes showing a drop at 1200 due to the Black Death

If this response of CO2 to the Black Death is genuine, it would have been greatly assisted by a more pristine ecosystem than exists today without areas that are paved, drained, polluted or denuded. Efforts are now being made to return as much of the terrestrial ecosystem as possible to a condition capable of maximizing carbon sequestration such as with the New York Declaration of Forests76. Since its inception in 2014, 415 companies have committed to its no deforestation pledges and it offers a partial counter to the pressures exerted by market demands for palm, soy, cattle and wood products.

This parallels impressive efforts at re-forestation around the world. In 2016, volunteers in India smashed a world record by planting 49.3 million tree saplings in a single day and volunteers in Ecuador planted 647,250 trees from 200 species in one day. In 2014, Men of the Trees planted 100,450 trees in Perth, Australia in a single hour77.

Furthermore, Myers and Goreu have proposed that there is enough land that has been deforested and abandoned in Brazil after it was over-run with useless weeds to stabilize CO2 through the establishment of natural forests and conversion of the weeds to biochar.

With the new growth forests that result from these tree planting schemes, CO2 is absorbed and stored long term in the fiber of the trees. The challenge is to ensure that this doesn’t return to the atmosphere and so the resulting forests need to be protected in perpetuity, such that as trees subsequently die and decay they are replaced naturally with new trees and thus the same quantity of carbon remains fixed in biomass.

Re-forestation has compromises to overcome that can limit its effectiveness. For example, in the immediate short term, dark boreal forests in the northern latitudes may decrease albedo and cause additional warming, China’s attempts to reforest the Gobi Desert to minimize dust storms have been hindered by extremely arid conditions and US forests are already under threat due to Pine Bark beetle infestations and wildfire.

As climate change progresses further, it will impact on the sequestration ability of biomass, both in the soil and in forests due the increased risk of wildfires and the effective collapse in photosynthetic ability when temperatures are sustained above 400C78 and these conditions will become increasingly common in continental interiors, especially in the absence of SRM methods.

In recognition of these limitations, then it is vital that soil enhancement focuses on the critical leverage points that can enhance carbon sequestration, the two most effective of which are biochar and enhancement of wetlands. The Terra Preta biochar that was created by the Indigenous Amazonian communities led to some of the most fertile soils in the world, and recent experiments have replicated the same fertility enhancement especially when additional nutrients have been added. Restoration of wetlands is particularly effective as these areas store carbon in the absence of oxygen, ensuring its long-term stability. It is estimated that half of all soil organic carbon is in wetlands, and half of this is in marine wetlands, but marine wet lands are being destroyed by draining and development.

Restoration of coastal wetlands thus represents one of the most cost-effective areas of carbon sequestration. By enhancing these areas with biochar, carbon can be most rapidly sequestrated while at the same time improving the fertility of the soil and subsequent vegetation growth. Critically, the risk of heat wave induced fires and drought that are prevalent in continental interiors is largely eliminated. It has been proposed that that successful restoration of these marine wetland areas could provide sufficient carbon capture potential to stabilize global CO2 levels79 and initial experiments are planned in the mangrove swamps of Indonesia to allow quantification of this.

5.4.5 Buoyant flakes to nutriate and brighten the oceans

In the same way that stratospheric SO2 injection takes its motivation from the observed cooling effect from volcanoes, then nutrification of the oceans to increase CO2 sequestration through phytoplankton growth has similar roots in observing natural processes. The most analogous is the temporary stabilization of the Mauna Loa CO2 trend following the Mount Pinatubo eruption which deposited an estimated 40,000 tonnes of iron rich dust in the world’s oceans with no adverse effects on marine life80 and further analysis of phytoplankton growth in the North Pacific following volcanic activity81. The Shamal winds perform a similar role in the Persian Gulf by maintaining an ecosystem against the odds through the regular deposition of iron rich dust across the sea surface82.

So far, 12 international ocean fertilization experiments have been conducted83 with all demonstrating the ability to create phytoplankton blooms which convert CO2 dissolved in the ocean into biomass and with none reporting deleterious effects. The objective of this approach will be to bring to life the large swathes of the ocean surfaces that are currently mostly devoid of life and thus are not contributing to the planet’s ecological balance or carbon pumps.

Important secondary effects will also follow. The albedo of the ocean surface may increase, see Figure 19, along with ocean’s ability to create clouds through emissions of dimethyl sulphide (DMS), both of which will create significant planetary cooling, especially when nutrification is done in the sub-tropical regions. As phytoplankton growth responds to sunlight, then the albedo increase will happen in the areas of the planet with highest heat flow to maximize the effectiveness of the resulting albedo increase.

When done in conjunction with MCB, the cooler ocean then prevents stratification and allows greater transport of CO2 to the depths by re-establishing the AMOC.

Figure 19 Coccolithophorid blooms in the Celtic Sea 84.

Of critical importance is that the conversion of CO2 in the ocean to biomass reduces acidification which is undermining the food chain throughout the ocean system. Of all methods of CDR, buoyant flake dispersal is the one most suited to directly address this.

As colder waters absorb greater amounts of CO2 than warm water, then the problem of acidification is especially acute in the Polar Regions. If left unaddressed, the increasingly acidic polar waters will lead to highly diminished phytoplankton blooms. As shown in Figure 16, the solar radiation in the Polar Regions during summer averages 550 Watts/m2 over a 24-hour period. This high input would ordinarily occur with phytoplankton blooms; thus, their diminution due to high polar ocean acidification is likely to add considerably to the albedo positive feedback that is already happening in the Arctic region due to sea ice melt.

An area of contention relates to how much CO2 is permanently sequestered by ocean fertilization, with detractors arguing that too much of the phytoplankton or faecal matter from higher organisms gets consumed before sinking to the sea bed. However, a two-stage process is necessary for carbon sequestration. The first stage is to convert CO2 into biomass using solar energy through photosynthesis. Some of this biomass will sink to the sea bed with the assistance of ocean overturning currents where it will remain stored for hundreds of years which is effectively sequestered, some will decompose back to CO2, but to enable better and more permanent sequestration, it needs to form the basis of other food chains. This enables the second stage of the process when CO2 is subsequently converted into calcium carbonate in the bones and shells for near permanent sequestration.

Ocean fertilization experiments have revealed two key problems. Firstly, much of dispersed nutriating material sinks to depths beyond the reach of sunlight and is thereby unable to support photosynthesis. Secondly, the phytoplankton blooms are transitory and do not last sufficiently long for the ecosystem to respond and allow long term sequestration by the secondary life forms, such as shell fish. Because of these issues, ocean nutrification by the traditional means of using commercial, soluble fertilizers would have to be a continuous, energy intensive process that would be unsustainable in the long term. To overcome these problems, and to minimize the risk of toxic blooms, then a slow and steady release of the nutrients is necessary. This can be done with the dispersal of buoyant nutrient flakes which are made from silica rich rice husks to which lignin is applied to produce a surface coating of the necessary nutrients to optimize phytoplankton growth. These flakes then provide all the missing nutrients which are normally phosphorus, silica, iron and some other key trace elements. The resulting buoyant flakes are typically formed from mining wastes, non-commercial ore deposits, and low-cost renewable resources.

It is anticipated that the flakes will provide micro habitats for small marine life for approximately a year before they disintegrate and sink, taking with them the intransigent carbon contained in their lignin and remaining husk component. In the regions of methane hydrate emissions, special nutrient supplementation can be provided to methanotrophs to help them convert methane directly into biomass.

The high growth rate of phytoplankton allows sequestration rates that will exceed by far that which is achievable through land-based approaches, as well as being easier to scale due to the elimination of conflicts with land, water or fertilizer use. As Russ George’s experiment demonstrated, significant improvement in fish catches can result. In turn, this can reduce pressure for land-based crop production and free greater land mass for carbon sequestration. Thus, ocean fertilization can become an integral part of enhancing land-based CDR techniques

Initial lab-based experiments have now been conducted which have validated the concept of buoyant nutrient flakes and their manufacturing processes, with further trials planned.

Despite no adverse effects being observed, calls to ban further ocean fertilization experimentation continue. These calls come from scientific, ethical and legal positions that are easily disputed.

The scientific positions of the antagonists are typically twofold. The first is to claim that ocean fertilization detracts from other efforts to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, ocean fertilization, or CDR of any type, cannot be used as a substitute to anthropogenic CO2 reductions for the many reasons outlined in section 5.2.2 of this paper. The second is exemplified with statements such as, “The intended effect of ocean iron fertilization for geoengineering is to significantly disrupt marine ecosystems. The explicit goal is to stimulate blooms of relatively large phytoplankton that are not usually abundant.”85 However, it is not the intent to disrupt marine ecosystems. Instead it is to the intent to recognize that the marine ecosystem is already seriously disrupted by climate change and to return it to as near to pre-industrialization conditions as possible, where abundant phytoplankton growth sustains food chains and sequesters CO2. Indeed, experiments so far have demonstrated positive outcomes from ocean fertilization, most notably Russ George’s iron fertilization experiment which led to bumper harvests of Canadian salmon86.

The legal objection is to claim that ocean fertilization is illegal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This is the principal legal instrument governing countries use of the oceans. UNCLOS Art 194(1) provides that:

“States shall take, individually or jointly as appropriate, all measures … necessary to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from any source … “

UNCLOS Art. 1(4) defines ‘pollution of the marine environment’ in broad terms:

“pollution of the marine environment” means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment … which results or is likely to result in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing …

The definition, which refers specifically to the ‘indirect’ introduction of ‘substances or energy’, is sufficiently broad to encompass emissions of greenhouse gases.

UNCLOS, in other words, imposes on states a legal obligation to ‘prevent, reduce and control’ pollution of the marine environment through the emission of GHGs and to remediate the damage that has already been done. Thus, with the emerging catastrophes of acidification, deoxygenation, warming, stratification and de-nutrification there is a stronger legal argument to intervene than to not, especially when if the balance of probability can be demonstrated as being in favor of a positive outcome87. Without tackling these, it is inconceivable that the ocean ecology can survive in anything other than the most diminished state.

5.4.6 Break down of methane

The rapid rate of accumulation of methane in the atmosphere and its extreme short-term GWP dictate that an immediate response must be to remove the methane from the atmosphere. This can be done with a mixture of seawater and the iron salt, FeCl3, which, in sunlight, creates the radicals that oxidize methane into CO2 at a rate that is three orders of magnitude faster than with natural processes88.

FeCl3 salts can be dispersed at very low concentrations simultaneously with the MCB efforts in the Arctic and elsewhere. Furthermore, on raining out, the iron would nutriate many more phytoplankton, with iron being the limiting nutrient in most ocean surface waters that are remote from land.
These methods will require the presence of sunlight and thus will only be effective in the sun lit times, thus the problem of dark, long lasting, winter time methane may be impossible to solve.

5. Sea Ice thickening

Arctic sea ice extent has already decreased drastically and virtually no secure multi-year ice remains, making it likely that the late summer will be ice free and of low albedo before the end of this decade25 so restoring sea ice artificially is an imperative to restoring the planet’s radiative budget, preventing subsea methane releases reaching the surface and preserving the ecosystem.

A simple mechanical method for increasing winter ice, suggested by Flannery et al. [1997]89 is the mechanical pumping or spraying of seawater to the top surface of ice where it subsequently freezes. This principle of ice thickening by seawater pumping has been proven by the construction of ice highways and, since 1974, by the oil industry with the construction of ice islands and ice platforms for drilling operations90,91. The difference being that the oil industry required very thick ice in a localized area to be built very quickly at the beginning of the ice freezing season, whereas climate restoration generally requires the maximum possible area of ice and the process used should be capable of being continued over the entire freezing period to create ice of sufficient thickness to survive the summer melt period and form the basis of multiyear ice.

Thickening ice attempts to enable three objectives:

1.The thicker ice that results at the end of the freezing season will survive through the critical May to July Arctic period when the sun is at its highest and the high albedo allows restoration of the planet’s radiative budget. Calculations show that the increased albedo can arrest melting sufficiently to enable enough ice to survive to form a base for the following season, thus allowing cumulative multi-year ice formation and even stable, permanent grounded ice.

2.As the seawater freezes, salt is displaced from the forming ice and brine is formed which will flow off or migrate through the ice. The brine will tend to accumulate around the edge of the freezing zone where it will flow back to the sea via cracks in the sea ice or ice dissolution. This results in a flow of high density saline water that will be significantly cooler than the surrounding ocean. The resulting increase in density, salinity and coldness of the brine causes it to sink and in so doing would contribute to restoration of the AMOC when done in specific areas, such as the Greenland Sea. A further critical advantage is that when the colder sinking water reaches the sea bed it removes heat from the methane clathrate plugs that exist within the fissures on the sea bed and so will tend to preserve them and prevent methane releases into the ocean.

3.Pumping of sea water onto the ice also pumps heat from the ocean to the colder atmosphere which is released to the atmosphere through the latent heat of fusion. The heat will initially be dissipated through both convection and radiation. As the heat is transferred though convection it will lead to updrafts due to the large temperature differential (30-400C) between the water and the air. These resulting thermal updrafts will assist in transporting heat to the upper atmosphere where it can be radiated out to space.92

It is estimated that it is possible to increase ice thickness above natural levels, from one to many tens of meters over the course of a winter. The eventual thickness will depend on atmospheric conditions and what is most required at the location. Should 1m of ice thickness be obtained, then this is equivalent to putting the clock back 17 years93. Thus, over a couple of years of continued pumping ice conditions comparable to the mid-20th century can be achieved. Focused deployment would maximize the effectiveness of the intervention by targeting the first 10% of marginal ice cover and this would be more than adequate to reverse current trends of ice loss in the Arctic.

The rate of heat transfer to the atmosphere is the main limiting factor that determines the rate at which ice can form. As latent heat released in the freezing process raises the surface temperature experienced by the ice sheet, then pumping must be temporarily stopped, or its lateral direction changed, to allow the temperature to equilibrate, resulting in an intermittent or variable direction pumping regime. This was the general mode of operation that was pursued when ice road makers or oil industry operators constructed ice platforms. Secondly, as the ice sheet thickens from above, it makes it more difficult for the heat released by ice freezing at the ice–ocean interface to reach the surface and this is a natural consequence of thicker ice, hence the only way ice can be thickened quickly is by pumping seawater onto the surface of the ice.

A minimum intervention would be to restore the ice lost due to current rate of melting which from 2016 to 2017 was approximately 1,000 km2. To pump sufficient water onto the winter ice to equate to this volume through the creation of a 2-metre-thick layer of ice that could last the summer period would require approximately 1GW of pumping power to be available over the freezing period. This assumes an efficiency of 75% due to brine flow back to the sea. However, the eventual power consumption would be highly dependent on many interacting factors, these being the albedo increase that is achieved by the ice, the ice thickness that is generated, the shape of the ice formed, the wind conditions and the melt rate due to the accumulated ocean heat content and methane concentration. Understanding the sensitivity of ice formation to each of these is essential and can only be established robustly with field testing. Critically, the scale of deployment will also be highly dependent on the cooling effect of other proposed technologies such as MCB and buoyant flakes and without these being deployed on scale to reduce the heat flow into the Arctic, then the power consumption to maintain a steady ice state will increase with time. Already, the high heat flow into the Arctic, combined with the already high ocean heat content, is reducing the feasibility of an ice thickening program without substantial intervention elsewhere in the climate system.

Though the estimated 1GW is extremely small in terms of global power output, being on the scale of a single nuclear power station, the challenges of distributing this power reliably across the Arctic and over shifting ice will be enormous. Most likely, it will be it need local energy sources and distributed power production, which in the Arctic winter means using the fortuitously plentiful wind. While the other basic components of a pumping device are simple and would include a large buoy or floating platform, a wind turbine, an energy storage device such as a gas accumulator, a subsea pump and a pump nozzle, getting these to work reliably in the harsh Arctic environment will complicate the engineering challenge and take time to perfect as well as possibly needing regular intervention throughout the year.

The resulting system of wind powered pumping devices would have to be manufactured and delivered to the Arctic Ocean, they would need tracking and repositioned each season, they would need ongoing maintenance and possibly recovery if they had not been stabilized by grounding or had flowed out of the Arctic through natural movement of the ice flows. All this will require the development of a complex logistic network and this will be a critical activity that must be completed before full scale deployment can commence.
While the scale of this undertaking is considerable, and given that 1GW of power is needed, then 100,000 pumping units would be needed if each is powered by a 10kW rated wind turbine. Whilst the scale of this is large, it is considerably less than the scope of the U.S. automotive industry which manufactures approximately 8.5 million cars per year, or the execution of the Iraq War. Thus, it is economically achievable93.

5.6 Termination problems

The termination problem is frequently cited as a reason not to pursue climate intervention, with general the position being put forward that should a Solar Radiation Management intervention stop, then a catastrophic step change in temperature will occur on its termination which will be beyond the adaptive capabilities of the ecosystem94 and be caused by the full effect of the cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions that would have continued during its deployment.

While the termination problem is a valid concern, it is not sufficiently strong to warrant a delay in starting an integrated climate restoration program that involves both CDR and SRM. There are two main counter positions against the termination concern, which follow:

1.A climate intervention programme must be implemented in conjunction with continuing efforts to reduce atmospheric CO2 through emissions reductions and CDR and it has already been established in this paper that without these, the effectiveness of a SRM programme would either be limited or, in extremis, be overwhelmed. Whilst good efforts are being made in renewable energy generation, a more fundamental change to the current economic model must be considered which ensures funding of a climate restoration programme while simultaneously curtailing the financial incentives to continue with fossil fuel consumption. This requires a carbon tax or analogous system. We propose a market-based approach in Section 5.8to enable this.

2.Conventional thinking on the termination problem does not consider the implication of hysteresis and nonlinear change as discussed in section 5.2.2. If climate intervention was pursued to a sufficient scale to push the climate back to its previous level of stability, such that albedo had increased through increased ice cover, methane emissions had been brought under control by reducing the heat flow in the Arctic, ocean acidification had been reversed and ocean heat content reduced, then the scale of climate intervention could be safely reduced as the planet’s own feedback process would now operate to keep temperatures stable.

5.7 Which options are optimal?

Section 5.2.3 discussed the essential characteristics of a climate restoration program and emphasized the necessity of providing a future proof solution that could be deployed for a prolonged period and be largely sustainable during times of economic and political chaos.

Of the solutions discussed, solar radiation management through marine cloud brightening and carbon dioxide removal through buoyant flakes and soil restoration in marine wetlands are the main solutions that meet these requirements, and which can be safely and quickly implemented at a sufficiently large scale, subject to satisfactory testing. Commensurate with this, is that these interventions derive their
effectiveness by working with natural processes and not against them and that the synergies between them enhance and amplify the outcome.

While the proposals for ice cap thickening remain theoretically possible, in practice an effective deployment would require a suitable logistic network to be developed before critical climatic and political tipping points are past. Given the extremely low rate of ice formation this winter (2017/18), then the concept of ice cap thickening is fast approaching the point in time when it will not be viable without the support of an extensive prior SRM intervention. The evident closing of this window for intervention should be taken as a warning that delay will render the other prospective climate interventions ineffective.

Given the stakes, no solution should be taken off the table prematurely and it is prudent that research and field testing starts on the most prospective and viable options, subject to them meeting basic scientific and environmental checks.

5.8 Development of sustainable economic models.

5.8.1 A prospective insurance industry led model.

With climate change following its current trajectory, it will cause costs far greater than the total value of the global economy with the potential exposure just from methane releases having been estimated at 60 trillion dollars95. These costs will come about through the simultaneous events of large scale death due to heat stress, extreme weather events, lack of water, famine, disease and pandemics, mass migration, civil unrest, war and the destruction of critical infrastructure at sea level, such as cities, ports, utilities, agricultural land and nuclear power plants.

The irreversible (if unaddressed) nature of climate change makes it clear that an essential part of mitigating against these costs is to fund a climate restoration program in a manner that is sustainable, equitable and largely independent of political changes.

To date, the assumption has been that funding for such a program should be a government driven initiative. However, this quickly runs into fundamental questions of equity that would appear to be impossible to quickly overcome and would likely cause a rerun of the difficulties that have already been experienced since the Kyoto I round of climate change talks. For example, should China, which now emits the highest level of emissions shoulder the biggest burden of costs, or should it be the beneficiaries of its consumer goods such as Europe and the USA, or should it be the biggest producers of fossil fuels such as Russia, the Middle East and Australia?

For almost any set of rules that are chosen, the conflicts and potentials for failure are far easier to imagine than the potential for success, especially as many of the nations involved in this equation have intense and growing geo-political rivalries. The complication is compounded by the fact that this must be done whilst simultaneously driving down fossil fuel emissions to as near to zero as possible.

Avoiding this deadlock whilst simultaneously incentivizing a shift towards a net-zero-carbon global economy is of intense interest to the insurance industry. The insurance industry plays a critical role in the global economy by allowing the management of risk from the smallest investments to the largest. Without the ability to manage risk that insurers provide, much of the global economy will cease to
function. In this context, the insurance industry is as vital to the smooth operation of the global economy as the energy industry is.

However, because of climate change, the insurance industry is facing a bleak future. It is already experiencing exponential growth in liabilities whilst returns on investments are stagnating as the global economy is starting to struggle with the economic overheads from climate change. This combination represents a foretaste of worsening future economic conditions and there is widespread acknowledgment that long term investments, such as life policies and pensions, are already at such risk96 that the industry could be liable for mis-selling claims on their sale of long-term investments.

So far, the insurance industry’s response to this is to increase premiums and amortize the risk through further reinsurance. The recent initiation of FloodRe97 in the UK is a case in point, whereby the financial risk of climate change driven damage to households is amortized through an additional premium on all household policies, irrespective of the climate change related risk exposure they face. While this will provide funding to cover damage on a par with that experienced in recent years, it is ultimately a short-term measure that will be overtaken by events.

It further illustrates the separate dilemmas facing the insurance companies and the central banks that regulate their operations. The first dilemma that the insurance industry faces is because climate change is a common mode effect that simultaneously impacts all areas of operation, then the normal principles of reinsurance to amortize risk cannot work in the long term. The second dilemma for the Central Banks and regulatory authorities is that their principle role is to ensure that the insurance and financial markets operate with fair competition between companies to the benefit of customers, governments and the public is counter to the need to force insurance companies to co-operate to tackle a common threat.

Because of these dilemmas, in the face of rapid temperature changes, it is most likely that insurance companies are already in violation of clause 64 of the Solvency II directive98 which states:

“The Solvency Capital Requirement should be determined as the economic capital to be held by insurance and reinsurance undertakings in order to ensure that ruin occurs no more often than once in every 200 cases or, alternatively, that those undertakings will still be in a position, with a probability of at least 99,5 %, to meet their obligations to policy holders and beneficiaries over the following 12 months. That economic capital should be calculated on the basis of the true risk profile of those undertakings, taking account of the impact of possible risk-mitigation techniques, as well as diversification effects.”

This directive makes no exemption for climate change which increases the risk that the exposure to a single severe incident (such as Hurricane Harvey which flooded Houston) breaches the 1 in 200 threshold or that continuous exposure to events at this scale depletes economic capital due to the consistently higher claims elsewhere within an insurance company’s portfolio.

The requirement to ensure competition between the insurance companies has also led to paradoxical and inequitable sharing of risk. Thus, a hypothetical household on a hill and powered entirely by solar and which has no climate change exposure at all must contribute to climate change risk through the Flood Re mechanism, whereas the [high carbon] energy sector which is directly responsible for climate change risk only accounts for 4% of total UK premiums13 and thus can contributes little to the overall future risk profile that they are creating. While this iniquitous apportionment of risk is specific to the UK, it will be largely analogous to other developed economies.
Thus, we propose that a third-party insurance premium be added to the insurance contracts of the fossil fuel companies with the intent of raising the funds for a climate restoration program. This is analogous to the third-party insurance premiums that drivers pay on car insurance to cover the risk they cause to other road users. In the same way that this prices young drivers out of high performance cars to the benefit of all road users, then pricing in future climate change liabilities onto the insurance premiums of the fossil fuel companies will incentivize the transition to a low carbon economy for the benefit of all. Within this mechanism, the liabilities to climate change loss can also be incorporated as an alternative to the FloodRe reinsurance model, thus providing a mechanism for a more equitable risk management strategy.

Once the costs of the climate restoration program are established, the additional third-party insurance premiums can be set by actuaries, most likely within the reinsurance industry, in the normal way that they would price any risk and without there being any need for probably contentious and long drawn out negotiations amongst nation states or industries.

This objective of this approach is thus to raise the funds in a sustainable and equitable way while ensuring carbon emissions are driven down to a level that is compatible with long term habitability of the planet.

5.8.2 The Self-policing nature of the insurance market

A climate change insurance levy is inherently self-policing as any company that attempts to not pay will be unable to secure insurance for normal operations. Without this they will not be able to operate, raise funds from their shareholders or borrow on the markets. By the integrated nature of the insurance industry where insurance companies are multinationals and risks are amortized by selling it across borders through the re-insurance industry, then it becomes virtually impossible for any single country or grouping to take a unilateral approach of not playing by the rules

Because of the risk exposure that the insurance markets face through climate change, it is in their direct interest to ensure that this works. In effect by engaging the insurance markets in this way, they become a de facto enforcement agency for climate change policy.

The alternative is to attempt to introduce a carbon tax by getting all nations to agree on its imposition. However, many of the nations that must collectively impose a similar punitive carbon tax also have direct and intense competing interests which make short term survival more of an issue than long term co-operation. These competing interests which will intensify because of climate change make the trust necessary to agree to the mutual sacrifice inherent with the imposition of a significantly onerous carbon tax impossible to imagine. In the parlance of game theory, nations are stuck in the Nash equilibrium position where they collectively choose the worst-case long-term outcome to maintain short term competitive advantage against competitors. An assessment of the low probability of succeeding with a conventional carbon tax approach can be judged by the failure of this to make any progress despite years of recognition that a price on carbon must be imposed despite the increasing evidence of climate change. Even if a carbon tax could be introduced, then there is no guarantee that the funds raised by it would be directed towards to a climate restoration program.

5.8.3 Independence from political decisions
This approach of empowering the instance markets to raise restoration funds through insurance premiums takes lessons from the banking collapse of 2008 when the collapse of the insurance giant AIG pushed the financial markets into freefall and forced politicians around the world to develop bailout packages to the tune of trillions. This event was the financial market’s signal to the politicians that the economic situation of high debt and high oil prices was unsustainable and that politicians had to take painful action to stabilize the economy. In effect, the financial markets had demonstrated their ultimate power over politicians.

Climate change now poses a bigger long-term threat to the insurance markets than those factors that combined to lead to the 2008 crisis. It is now incumbent on politicians to proactively acknowledge the immense change to the economic landscape this will create and to effectively and responsibly enable the power of the markets to drive change by empowering the central banks to oversee the introduction of climate change insurance levies on fossil fuel extraction. This must be done before climate change reaches critical points of irreversibility which will expose the inherent inequities within the insurance market and impose crippling losses of such magnitude to the insurance industry that an unrecoverable economic collapse becomes unavoidable.

5.9 Issues for global governance

To pursue an integrated climate restoration program a governing body will be needed, and it is logical that this is done under the auspices of the COP. The shape and form of this body will have to be developed in conjunction with stake holders, as will the remit. The essential remit of a body such as this would be (but not be limited to):

1.To provide the expertise to independently evaluate laboratory and field trials and ensure that proposed solutions will be effective, scalable, controllable and without unacceptable adverse effects.

2.Ensure that the pace of development and deployment is fast enough to be commensurate with the scientifically predicted rate of change to the environment. Subject to satisfactory resolution of 1, this is likely to be of more importance than ensuring that adverse effects are avoided.

3.Confirm and define the climate stability targets and scenarios that a climate restoration programme would seek to achieve and to provide expert and independent assessment on the proximity to irreversible climatic tipping points.

4.Provide full transparency of the research, the costs, the progress made towards climate stabilisation and associated risks or unforeseen circumstances that arise such that preventative action can be taken.

5.Provide independent advice and guidance to politicians and assist in the drafting of agreements, legal or otherwise.

6.Ensure that there are opportunities for representation of all parties, such as governments, industry, expert bodies, NGOs and indigenous populations.

7.Ensure that economic and political structures are in place to ensure that long-term financial stability of a climate restoration programme can be assured while simultaneously providing incentives to cut fossil fuel production. This challenge will have to be met as demand for fossil fuel production increases due to population growth, increased aspirations of the developing world, reduced EROEI and the introduction of adaptive measures to climate change.

Appendices and References can be read in the PDF document.

We Have Already Exceeded the Upper Temperature Limit for Coral Reef Ecosystems, Which are Dying at Today’s CO2 Levels

April 2, 2018

Talanoa White Paper, GCRA 2018

2018 Talanoa Dialogue Platform

We Have Already Exceeded the Upper Temperature Limit for Coral Reef Ecosystems, Which are Dying at Today’s CO2 Levels

Thomas J. F. Goreau, Raymond L. Hayes, & Ernest Williams

We are already beyond the upper temperature tolerance for coral reef ecosystems, and they can stand no further warming. Coral reef ecosystems will soon vanish unless atmospheric CO2 concentrations are rapidly reduced to pre-industrial levels.

Most corals in the world died from heat shock after the 1980s, when the world passed the tipping point temperature threshold for mass coral bleaching. Global warming heat waves are now killing corals so rapidly that 95-99% of corals (some thousands of years old) in pristine reefs can die in just days or weeks. Further warming will be a death sentence for coral reefs, the most biodiverse and productive of marine ecosystems. The press widely reports “scientists agree that 2º C, or 1.5º C warming is acceptable”, ignoring the ecological disaster that has already happened, and tacitly condemning coral reefs to death as the first ecosystem to be driven to extinction from fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) caused global warming. This will severely damage marine biodiversity, fisheries, tourism, shore protection, and beach sand supply of over 100 countries, and sentence billions of people to lose their homes from future coastal flooding.

Coral reef bleaching is long known to be a general response to environmental stresses, but almost all coral bleaching is caused by high temperature heat shock. Temperatures above normal body temperature (37˚C) trigger human heat stress responses. Muscle cramps and excessive sweating are symptoms. If not relieved, heat exhaustion, and then heat stroke follow. Untreated heat stroke leads to failure of physiological mechanisms and death. Similarly, heat-shocked bleached coral (typically in water temperatures above 29.4˚C), is unable to defend itself against thermal stress. Coral reef bleaching, when symbiotic algae and host tissues dissociate, can be reversed if stress is quickly relieved. But any further rise in temperature or prolonged heat exposure leads irreversibly to death.

Coral bleaching has been known for a hundred years, but until the 1980s, it was only seen on small scales in tide pools cut off from water circulation at low tide, or in response to hurricane sediment and fresh water flooding. In 1918, and again in 1928, it was found that only around 1o C warming caused coral bleaching, and a little more killed them. These limits have not changed. When the first mass regional bleaching events took place in 1982-1983, almost all corals in the East Pacific (Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Galapagos) died. Peter Glynn, who that year published the first book on Galapagos and East Pacific corals, studied every possible potential cause, and found only high temperature could explain it. Many thought that this was simply some peculiar regional coral sensitivity, because if all corals were really so close to their upper limit, why hadn’t it happened before due to natural fluctuations? Within a few years mass coral reef bleaching across the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian Oceans made it clear that the global temperature tipping point world-wide had been suddenly passed in the 1980s.

Goreau and Hayes proposed the HotSpot method for predicting mass coral reef bleaching events from satellite sea surface temperature data (SST) in the late 1980s. They, Ernest Williams, Lucy Bunkley- Williams, and Peter Glynn pointed out that there had been NO regional mass coral bleaching events ever seen anywhere before 1982, but mass bleaching suddenly began and happened worldwide nearly every year since. They emphasized that continued warming would destroy coral reef ecosystems. Unfortunately, their predictions, widely ridiculed as alarmist at the time, have come true. Governments ignored scientific evidence of global warming, claiming that reefs were “resilient” and would “bounce right back”, funding research to blame anything else and those telling them what they wanted to hear.

The temperature thresholds for mass coral bleaching determined in the 1980s have not changed since. Bleaching events have gotten worse and more frequent, so dive shops now regard them as “normal” and no longer report bleaching, because it is “bad for business”. There has been no sign of thermal adaptation, corals still bleach at the same temperatures, but every year there are less left to bleach. Reef ecosystem function, structure, and biodiversity are collapsing, resulting in reefs with only a few species of “weedy” corals left. These can stand slightly higher temperatures, but even their limits are now being exceeded, and more frequently with further global warming, so they too will vanish. Even corals that have luckily survived bleaching events have been badly weakened by worldwide outbreaks of new coral diseases, which intensify during high temperature events, and often follow beaching events. For coral reefs to survive global warming must be rapidly reversed.

In 1992, before the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in Rio de Janeiro, the Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA) warned Ambassadors of the Association of Small Island States that agreeing to further increases in temperature was a suicide pact, that if prompt and deliberate measures were not taken to stop global warming right away most of the corals in the world would die from high temperature in the next 20 years. That is exactly what has happened. Yet governments and funding agencies continue to ignore that coral reefs are the most sensitive and vulnerable of all ecosystems to high temperature and pollution, wasting millions on propaganda about “managing” “resilient” reefs, instead of dealing with the root causes: GHGs from fossil fuels and land degradation.

Ocean acidification was understood long before the 1970s. Acidification is already a problem for cold and deep-water life, but NOT yet for tropical marine ecosystems. Because of the inverse relation between CO2 solubility and temperature, polar water holds three times more CO2 than equatorial water. Acidification is not a factor in death of corals, which recover from it. Corals are already dying worldwide at current temperatures but every press article about ocean acidification shows photographs of corals bleached by high temperatures, even though acidification neither kills corals nor does it bleach them! Skeletons of living corals can be completely dissolved in acid, but the coral tissue retains its color, and will survive and grow a new skeleton when put in normal seawater. Corals will need to use more energy to grow skeletons in acidic seawater, but acidification is not the existential threat to tropical coral survival widely and incorrectly claimed, although it is a real threat to deep sea cold water reefs. Ignoring the fact that coral reefs are already at their upper-temperature limit, and focusing on acidification problems for tropical coral reefs is a dangerously irresponsible and politically-motivated red herring. If CO2 is reduced in time to stop global warming from killing corals all global acidification problems are automatically solved. But focusing only on stopping acidification impacts on reefs guarantees corals will die sooner from heat stroke, and decades to centuries later the reefs made of their long-dead skeletons will eventually dissolve!

An author of this paper (TG) was Senior Scientific Affairs Officer for Global Climate Change and Biodiversity at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development in 1989 when the first draft of the UNFCCC was being prepared, prior to its distribution to governments. He inserted into the draft that one of the purposes of the Convention was to protect Earth’s most climatically-sensitive ecosystems, that these should be monitored for signs of dangerous climate change impacts, that there should be a trigger mechanism to reduce GHG emissions if climate damage was found, and that ALL GHG sources and sinks should be monitored. To force a politically acceptable compromise, all wording making these points were removed and replaced with vague subjective phrases like “acceptable warming.” The result of this fudged compromise is the perilous deterioration that ice caps and coral reefs have now reached. Governments who made this compromise failed their basic duty to protect their people, with the small island nations being the first and worst victims. This failure must not be repeated.

Governments are fooling themselves about how severe runaway climate change will be and how long it will last. IPCC projections focus on short-term responses over decades to centuries, ignoring long-term effects. The consequences are well known to climate scientists, but were not included because IPCC’s mandate from Governments reflects political needs, not scientific priorities. The inertia of the climate system inevitably caused by the fact that it takes 1500 years for the ocean to mix is ignored. Since deep ocean waters has been chilled by polar ice caps and are now just above freezing, until the deep sea warms up the full warming will not be felt at Earth’s surface. Heat is flowing down into the deep cold ocean, but surface temperatures have a built-in time lag response of thousands of years after atmosphere GHGs increase. Sea level has even longer time lags due to slow melting of the polar ice caps, which will continue for thousands of years, but there could be sudden increases under extreme warming when whole glaciers, lubricated underneath by meltwater, slide into the sea. Three rapid increases of 6.5, 7.5, and 13.5 meters are documented in fossil coral reefs during rapid ice melting at the end of the last Ice Age.

Nearly a million years of climate data from Antarctic ice cores clearly show that present atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 ppm could lead to ultimate steady-state response of global temperatures around 17 C higher than now, and sea levels around 23 meters higher, many times more than IPCCC’s projections (see the data figures below). These effects will persist for hundreds of thousands of years unless GHG concentrations are rapidly reduced to pre-industrial levels. Eventually high temperatures and rotting marine life will remove oxygen from the water, turning the ocean into a dead zone, stinking with the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. Organic matter will then pile up in deep ocean sediments, eventually removing the excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Every time this happened in the geological past, coral reef ecosystems went extinct for millions of years until new reef-building corals could evolve. To avoid the inevitable long-term impacts of runaway climate change we must urgently take scientifically-sound action to reduce GHGs to pre-industrial levels now.

2018 Talanoa Dialogue Platform, GCRA White Paper
CO2, temperature, and sea level over the last 800,000 years from Antarctic Ice cores suggest the steady state temperature and sea level for today’s CO2 is 17 Celsius and 23 meters higher. Data from Rohling (2008), annotated by Goreau (2014).
2018 Talanoa Dialogue Platform, GCRA White Paper
The last time temperature was 1-2º C warmer, sea level was 7 meters higher, crocodiles and hippopotamuses lived in London, England, yet CO2 was 270 ppm, one third lower than today (Goreau 2014)

Scientifically-sound solutions to save coral reefs are well established but are not being used on the scale needed, due to lack of funding. It has been known for more than 200 years that corals can be propagated by fragmentation, and that these methods only work when water quality is excellent. All the corals die when the water becomes too hot, muddy, or polluted. The only methods that will work in the future to maintain coral populations, while temperature and pollution are accelerating globally, are new methods that greatly increase coral settlement, growth, survival, and resistance to stress.

Because it directly stimulates the natural energy-generating mechanisms of all forms of life, GCRA’s Biorock electrical reef regeneration technology is the only method known that can grow Coral Arks to save species from extinction. Other coral restoration methods work only as long as it never gets too hot, muddy, or polluted, but the corals die from heat stroke when their temperature limits are exceeded, while most Biorock reef corals survive. The Biorock method keeps entire reefs alive when they would die, providing high coral survival when 95-99% of surrounding reef corals bleach and die from heat shock. It also grows back dead reefs and severely eroded beaches at record rates in places where there has been no natural recovery. Since there is no funding for serious reef restoration or shore protection anywhere in the world it is now being used only on a symbolic scale. The method uses Safe Extremely Low Voltage (SELV) direct current (DC) trickle charges that can be provided by energy of the sun, winds, waves, and ocean currents. It works for all marine ecosystems, coral reefs, oyster and mussel reefs, fisheries habitat, seagrasses, salt marshes, and mangroves. Severely eroded beaches recovered naturally just months after wave-resistant limestone reefs were grown in front of them. Because these reefs can be grown in any size or shape, increase growth and survival of all marine organisms, and since habitat can be designed for specific needs of different fish and shellfish, they provide a new paradigm for highly productive and sustainable multi-species mariculture of entire complex ecosystems that produce their own food.

Further human-caused warming tragically means that coral reefs may only survive in the long run on electrical life-support systems until GHGs and temperatures are reduced to near pre-industrial levels, but this is the only interim alternative remaining to preserve the world’s most valuable economic and environmental ecosystem services until pre-industrial GHG levels can be achieved. Nearly 60% of all global ecosystem service economic losses are from coral reef degradation. Reefs occupy less than 0.1% of the ocean so they suffer natural ecosystem service economic losses around a thousand times the global average. This is largely borne by small island nations, the first and worst victims of a crisis they did not create. Unfortunately, only reefs that can be powered can be saved, but if we don’t save all we can, these may be all we have left, so Biorock Coral Arks need to be greatly expanded to save species. Around 80% of all genera and nearly half the species of tropical reef corals are growing on around 500 Biorock reefs in some 40 countries, around 400 reefs in Indonesia, with the world’s largest and most biodiverse coral reefs.

The long-term solutions are also known. Humanity must regenerate the natural biological mechanisms that regulate atmospheric GHGs and climate by storing excess atmospheric carbon in soils and vegetation. Humans have destroyed about half the world’s biomass and lost about half the soil carbon wherever forests have been converted to agriculture, pastures, and cities. Regenerating soil carbon is the most cost-effective way to stabilize climate at safe levels, avoid dangerous long-term temperature overshoot, and regenerate food supplies and freshwater resources. This could be done in decades if Geotherapy methods already developed to regenerate ecosystems and soil fertility were more widely applied. Soils have around five times more carbon than the atmosphere, and soil carbon can be rapidly increased through regenerative carbon recycling management, including use of biochar, an ancient technology invented by Indigenous Amazonian peoples thousands of years ago to create the world’s most fertile soils in the middle of the most infertile soils on Earth. Properly made biochar lasts holds carbon for thousands of years. Charcoal from forest fires 65 million years ago after the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs, and even as far back as 350 million years ago, are still so perfectly preserved that the plant cells can be clearly seen. Biochar is best made from invasive weedy plants that have made large areas unproductive, converting wasted lands back into biodiverse, highly productive systems that hold far more carbon.

About half of soil carbon is stored in wetlands, and half that in coastal wetlands; mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses, whose soils hold more carbon than the atmosphere, and are responsible for about half the carbon burial in the oceans. These ecosystems, the most carbon-rich, occupy less than a percent of the Earth’s surface, and have been about half destroyed by humans. Restoring mangroves will be the fastest and cheapest way to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Most mangrove, seagrass, and salt marsh restoration projects fail as plants wash away before the roots can grow, because of increasing waves due to global sea level rise and global warming. Biorock electrical ecosystem restoration technology grows marine plant roots at much faster rates, and stores more carbon in marine soils, so it regenerates carbon-rich marine coastal ecosystems where other methods fail, protecting coasts from erosion, and regenerating critical juvenile fisheries habitat. GCRA, Biorock Indonesia, and Arsari Enviro Industri will apply these methods to restore destroyed mangroves in Kalimantan (Borneo) in order to turn intense carbon sources into sinks, and for orangutan sanctuaries. Last year, El Niño- caused forest fires burned organic peat soils in deforested and drained wetlands, briefly making Indonesia the world’s largest CO2 source, larger than China or the United States. Indonesia has the world’s largest mangrove and coral reef areas, but more than half the mangroves have been destroyed, and more than 90% of the reefs are damaged or degraded. By regenerating mangroves, coral reefs, fisheries, seagrasses, and beaches with Biorock technology Indonesia could become the world’s largest Carbon sink.

Geotherapy must be clearly distinguished from Geoengineering. Geotherapy is regenerative development to reverse climate change by restoring the natural carbon recycling mechanisms that regulate our planetary life support systems. Many Geoengineering proposals are expensive, unproven, high tech “solutions” that might provide temporary relief at best, but may cause worse problems and side-effects than the problems they claim to solve. Geotherapy has nothing in common with proposals masquerading as “green” solutions to climate change like Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECCS). BECCS proposes to grow huge plantations of mono-species forests on industrial scales (competing with food production), burn them for energy, and pump the CO2 into holes in the ground, which could cause earthquakes by over-pressuring faults. BECCS irresponsibly treats carbon as waste to be concealed rather than as a valuable natural resource. BECCS will prevent natural carbon and biological nutrient recycling and storage, along with all the long-term Geotherapy benefits that increased soil carbon provides for food and fresh water supplies. Urgent worldwide application of methods to regenerate natural soil carbon and soil fertility are our best hope to reduce GHGs, stabilize them at safe pre-industrial levels, prevent temperature overshoot, and reverse climate change. Immediate global action to apply these methods on a large scale is essential to do this in time to prevent coral reef extinction. Governments must rapidly change course for this to happen.

The authors are coral scientists with roots in Jamaica, Panama, Cuba, Martinique, and Puerto Rico who have worked on reefs worldwide for more than 5 decades. They thank the pioneers of coral bleaching research, Maurice Yonge, Thomas F. Goreau, Nora Goreau, Robert Trench, and Peter Glynn for their long guidance, and Kevin Lister and Michael MacCracken for helpful suggestions on the draft.

Historical overview of impacts from land-based pollution on CBNRM as it applies to marine fisheries & coral reefs in the tropics

An historical overview of impacts from land-based pollution on
community based natural resource management (CBNRM) as it applies to marine fisheries & coral reefs in the tropics.

Paul Andre DeGeorges1,2*

1Tshwane University of Technology, Nature Conservation, Pretoria, South Africa
2Mayflower Drive, Greenbackville, Virginia 23356, USA


The purpose of this review is to provide an historic record of the author’s experience from the 1960s through the 1990s with coral reefs and the impacts of land-based pollution and other actions by man on this important ecosystem, from the islands of the Caribbean and Central America to the West/East Coasts of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. This is tied into the concept of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), its origins in Southern Africa tied to Africa’s mega-fauna and how it can apply to fisher communities in the tropics. It concludes that unless human population pressures and the current forms of “development and conservation” both linked to pollution and habitat degradation are addressed, the future for both man and these unique ecosystems are in jeopardy. A key to this solution is how the Developed World relates to the Developing World. It is hoped that this review will provide insight to future generations of ecologists, researchers, resource managers, politicians, donors and NGOs (non- governmental organizations) as to the issues they will confront if both mankind and nature are to have a viable future, living in harmony. Currently, they appear to be in conflict with each other and only man can resolve these issues based upon how he interacts with Mother Nature.

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Review Article: http://www.alliedacademies.org/journal-fisheries-research/

Electrical Stimulation Greatly Increases Settlement, Growth, Survival, and Stress Resistance of Marine Organisms

Thomas J. Goreau
Global Coral Reef Alliance, Cambridge, USA Email: goreau@bestweb.net
Received 23 May 2014; revised 26 June 2014; accepted 5 July 2014
Copyright © 2014 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Increasing stress from global warming, sea level rise, acidification, sedimentation, pollution, and unsustainable practices have degraded the most critical coastal ecosystems including coral reefs, oyster reefs, and salt marshes. Conventional restoration methods work only under perfect conditions but fail nearly completely when the water becomes too hot or water quality deteriorates. New methods are needed to greatly increase settlement, growth, survival, and resistance to environmental stress of keystone marine organisms in order to maintain critical coastal ecosystem functions including shore protection, fisheries, and biodiversity. Electrolysis methods have been applied to marine ecosystem restoration since 1976, with spectacular results (Figures 1(a)-(c)). This paper provides the first overall review of the data. Low-voltage direct current trickle charges are found to increase the settlement of corals 25.86 times higher than uncharged control sites, to increase the mean growth rates of reef-building corals, soft corals, oysters, and salt marsh grass— an average of 3.17 times faster than controls (ranging from 2 to 10 times depending on species and conditions), and to increase the survival of electrically charged marine organisms—an average of 3.47 times greater than controls, with the biggest increases under the most severe environmental stresses. These results are caused by the fundamental biophysical stimulation of natural biochemical energy production pathways, used by all organisms, provided by electrical stimulation under the right conditions. This paper reviews for the first time all published results from properly designed, installed, and maintained projects, and contrasts them with those that do not meet these criteria.

How to cite this paper: Goreau, T.J. (2014) Electrical Stimulation Greatly Increases Settlement, Growth, Survival, and Stress Resistance of Marine Organisms. Natural Resources, 5, 527-537. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/nr.2014.510048

1. Introduction
Low-voltage direct current trickle charges using Biorock electrolytic technology [1] [2] grow limestone structures
of any size or shape in the sea and produce the only self-repairing marine construction material that gets
stronger with age [3], and grows breakwaters capable of rapidly growing back severely eroded beaches [4]. But
in addition to physical benefits the process also has profound stimulatory effects on all forms of marine life.
Biorock structures have been repeatedly shown to greatly increase the settlement, healing, growth, survival, and
resistance to stresses such as extreme high temperatures, sedimentation, and eutrophication in stony corals [5]-[9], soft corals [10], oysters [11]-[13], sea grasses [14], and intertidal salt marsh grasses [15]. Many other organisms, including clams, tunicates, sponges, and fishes have also been observed to greatly increase their populations in electrical fields, but few measurements have been made on them to date. This review summarizes the available data on the effects of low-voltage direct current electrical stimulation on growth rates, survival, stress resistance, and physiology, which suggest the mechanism is a completely general one that benefits all organisms [16]. Results from projects that were properly designed, installed, and maintained are included in the main part of this paper. Because understanding the causes of negative results play an important role in the scientific method, projects that do not meet those criteria of proper design, installation, and maintenance are discussed separately.


2. The Impact of Electrical Stimulation on Marine Organisms


2.1. Published Results from Properly Designed, Installed, and Maintained Projects
The very first Biorock project, built at Grand Isle, Louisiana in 1976, was completely covered by multiple layers of spontaneously settling oysters that grew to adult size in about 3 months [17]. Recent Biorock projects in New York City show dense spontaneous settlement of oysters on rocks near Biorock structures. Nevertheless, no controlled studies of oyster settlement have yet been conducted. By the late 1980s it was found that electrically stimulated corals grew 3 – 5 times record rates for their species, even under conditions of severe stress. Since then hundreds of projects have been built all across the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia, with most projects being in Indonesia, the global center of marine biodiversity. While slowly growing Biorock structures have been densely covered with hundreds of spontaneously recruiting corals [5] [16], only two studies have documented coral settlement on them [5] [6]. When these are compared to spontaneous recruitment of corals in natural habitats in the same units (recruits per square meter per month) the rates of settlement on electrically charged Biorock are found to be 1 to 4 orders of magnitude greater (Figure 2(a)), with a mean of 25.86 times higher than those reported from field settling experiments.

Growth rates of reef building hard corals [5]-[9], gorgonian soft coral [10], oysters [11]-[13], and salt marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora) [15] have been quantitatively compared on Biorock with identical clones off Biorock
in the same habitat. The results show that the electrically stimulated organisms grow typically 2 to 10 times faster (Figure 2(b)), with a mean of 3.17 times greater than controls. In addition hard and soft corals that have
been collected naturally broken and badly damaged are observed to heal completely, release little or no mucus, and regain bright color and polyp extension within a day, while controls remain pale and continue to look injured
and release mucus for two weeks [16]. Corals in electrical fields are observed to bud and branch more densely [8] [18]. This is reminiscent of the well known role of DC electrical fields in healing ruptured cellular membranes and cuts in the skin of organisms: if the polarity is correct the cut rapidly heals and closes, while if it is reversed the cut opens up [19]. Survival of hard corals [6]-[9], soft corals [10], oysters [11]-[13], and salt marsh grass [15] in electrical fields compared to un-electrified controls also show many times higher survival (Figure 2(c)), with a mean of 3.47 times higher than controls. This is especially the case in extreme stress conditions from excessively high temperatures, sedimentation, or eutrophication, when almost all the controls die, but most of the electrically charged organisms survive. For example in the severe 1998 Maldives bleaching event Biorock reefs had 16 to 50 times higher coral survival than surrounding reefs, and every single control coral transplanted onto cement structures died [20]. In the 2010 Thailand bleaching events corals bleached less (in some cases not at all), recovered faster, and had much higher survival than the same species of corals on surrounding reefs [21]. Similar results have been seen with oysters [13], salt marsh grass [15], and seagrass [14]. Control oysters in New York City nearly all died over a severe winter, and the shells of the survivors shrank in size because they were etched and dissolved from acidity caused by increased CO2 solubility in cold water. In contrast Biorock oysters continued to

biorock, goreau, pemuteran, bali, indonesia

Biorock, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, mineral accretion, Goreau, Taman Sari
Figure 1. (a) Five-year-old Biorock electrical reef grown on formerly barren sand in Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia, showing prolific coral growth and fish populations (photograph by EunJae Im); (b) Site at Pemuteran, Bali in 2001 at start of project (photograph by Rani Morrow-Wuigk); (c) Same location 10 years later in 2001 (photograph by Rani Morrow-Wuigk).

Electrical stimulation, Biorock, Goreau, figure 2
Figure 2. (a) Coral recruitment rates on Biorock limestone substrates [5] [6] versus natural limestone rock and artificial substrates (full list of citations given in [16]). Biorock coral settlement rates range from around 1 to 4 orders of magnitude higher when compared in the same units, spontaneously settling juvenile corals per square meter per month. The mean settlement rate on Biorock was 25.86 times higher than controls; (b) Linear growth rates of electrically stimulated corals [5]-[9], gorgonians [10], oysters [11]-[13], and salt marsh grass [15] versus controls. Each dot represents the average value of times series on populations of treated and control organisms. Mean growth rates of electrically stimulated organisms over the same time interval were 3.165 times higher than identical controls without electrical fields, ranging between 2 – 10 times higher. All points above the 1:1 line indicate electrical stimulation, to an extent indicated by the slope to the origin; (c) Survival of electrically stimulated corals [6]-[9] [20], oysters [11]-[13], gorgonians [10], and salt marsh grass [15] versus controls. Mean survival of electrically stimulated organisms was 3.47 times higher than controls, especially under severe stress conditions resulting in nearly total mortality of controls.
grow throughout the normally dormant period, and their shells were shiny with no signs of dissolution from acidity [13]. This is in part because the Biorock electrolytic process generates net alkalinity, and so counteracts acidification [3]. A comparison of 6 genera of corals grown on Biorock with genetically identical clones in the same habitat [22] showed that electrically stimulated corals had higher densities of the symbiotic alga Symbiodinium sp. (Figure 3(a)), even higher Symbiodinium cell division rates as measured by mitotic indices (Figure 3(b)), but had generally lower chlorophyll per Symbiodinium cell (Figure 3(c)). This is analogous to the lowered chlorophyll content of corals exposed to high light, which is interpreted as a mechanism to prevent excessive photosynthetic production and symbiotic alga growth [23]-[25]. The greatly increased growth rate of corals with electrical stimulation appears to occur despite less dependence on the symbiotic algae, and therefore is a direct effect of the electrical field itself.

Figure 3. (a) Density of Symbiodinium sp. in corals grown on Biorock versus the genetically identical mother colony from which they were transplanted in the same environment nearby [22]. Electrically stimulated corals had on an average 1.25 times higher symbiotic alga densities than controls; (b) Cell division rate of Symbiodinium sp. as measured by mitotic indices (percentage of dividing alga cells) in Biorock corals versus controls [22]. Electrically stimulated corals have an average of 1.74 times higher cell division rates, and presumably growth; (c) Chlorophyll content per Symbiodinium cell in Biorock corals versus controls. Birock corals have an average of 0.69 times less chlorophyll per symbiotic alga cell as controls [22]. This suggests that their productivity is being suppressed, as happens in high light [23]-[25]. Since coral calcification is normally proportional to photosynthesis of Symbiodinium sp. [26], this implies that the higher growth rate of Biorock corals is not due to higher photosynthesis, but due to greater energy availability provided by the electrical field.
All of these phenomena indicate that electrical fields in the right range greatly stimulate the health of marine organisms. These effects are not residual, they occur only when the electrical field is on (Figure 4(a)). These results are no surprise, since all forms of life from bacteria on up maintain a roughly tenth of a volt potential difference between the outside of the cell and the inside, and use electron and proton flow along this voltage gradient to make ATP and NADP, the fundamental energy and reducing currencies of all life. ATP production and protein synthesis are both directly stimulated by DC electrical currents over a very broad range spanning orders of magnitude [27], increasing with current to a maximum and then decreasing at excessive levels (Figure 4(b)). 2.2. Results from Improperly Designed Experiments This section discusses published results from projects that do not meet the criteria of proper training, materials, design, installation, and maintenance according to the inventors of the electrical stimulation method. All have failed to get the results achieved by those with proper training and materials, for several different reasons. As

Figure 4. (a) Control corals grown in extremely poor water quality habitat steadily lost weight while electrified corals grew very fast over 16 weeks. When the power was cut they started to decline like the controls, but immediately resumed growth when power was restored. This shows that coral growth stimulation is a property of the actively applied field, and does not have residual effects. Data from [28] plotted in [16]; (b) ATP concentration in micromoles per gram of tissue is shown as a function of electrical current. A five times increase in ATP is seen at the peak. Data from [27], plotted in [16].
there are several different causes for their failure to achieve prime results, these inappropriate projects are reviewed below by major categories of the flaws in their design or execution.

2.2.1. Mistake -1: Current Reversed

In these projects the power leads are connected backwards. Instead of the cathode being protected from corrosion, it rusts very rapidly instead, and the anode, instead of being clean, is instead heavily overgrown by rapid growth of soft minerals. Sometimes it takes months before they realize their mistake, and often the error was only recognized much too late when the author visited and pointed it out. These mistakes can easily be prevented by promptly sending photos for advice. In some cases reports based on this mistake have been published claiming that the method is a total failure. A report by the Texas A&M University Galveston Coastal Geology Laboratory was paid for the State of Texas General Lands Office (GLO), in order to see if electrical methods could protect steel with mineral coatings, as had been shown by Hilbertz in the 1970s. Texas A&M found instead that the charged structures rusted even faster than the controls! They never realized their mistake, nor apparently did Texas GLO.

2.2.2. Mistake 0: No Current

This can result from power supply failure or from cable breakage.

In some of these cases the project was properly designed and installed, but those running the project failed to realize that it was not under power and send photos to the author for confirmation and advice on how to fix it. Some of these continued making measurements for up to year not realizing that the project was not under power, and the mistake was only realized afterwards when they finally sent the first photographs to the author, who immediately recognized they were not receiving electrical current. That is why even trained groups are advised to send frequent photos for advice.

Other cases were by untrained imitators using incorrect design and materials. These failures were largely caused by power supplies burning out, electrical cables breaking, or bad contacts. Most such failures were caused by extreme storm events, such as hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones, and were not properly diagnosed or repaired. In other cases they resulted from deliberate destruction by people running boats over the cables, breaking cables by dragging anchors over cables, by people dumping anchors on top of projects accidentally or deliberately, or saboteurs who cut cables for bizarre reasons of their own, usually involving a personal grudge against a local partner rather than the project itself. Unfortunately several projects that received no current resulted in published theses and papers.

One example is a thesis project by Zaidy Khan at the University of the South Pacific, which found no difference in growth rates of corals on structures which were thought to be under power but which in fact were not, and control structures known to receive no power.

The same error occurred in a thesis project by Andrew Taylor of James Cook University, supervised by Bette Willis, who sought to compare coral growth on structures with and without power. Taylor did not build any electrified structures, he simply used one of our field sites without permission, which his thesis advisor did not seem to realize was fundamentally unethical. The structure he thought was under power was in fact not, due to a burned out power supply that had not been repaired or replaced. In addition Taylor’s control corals died from disease, but a poster was presented anyway at the International Coral Reef Symposium claiming that Biorock corals did not grow faster than controls.

Another experiment done by Bogor University at Pramuka Island in the Seribu Islands north of Jakarta was victim of deliberate turning off of the power. The local power supply was in a commercial restaurant that was paid for supplying power, but which in fact turned the power off except during short visits by students making measurements. The interpretation of several Master’s theses was compromised by failure to realize what had happened until later.

In several cases groups in places like Thailand, the Philippines, Germany, Japan, the United States, and other places, who falsely claim to be trained in Biorock methods have been making unauthorized projects that have been complete failures. Their pitiful results are an obvious failure to all visitors, and an embarrassment because the imitators then say the method doesn’t work, not that they aren’t trained to do it properly.

2.2.3. Mistake 1: Current Too Low

This mistake results from powering too large an area with too small a power source, or failure to recognize that cables are broken or inadequate. One example comes from Terlouw [29], who reports measurements made on a project in Ko Tao, Thailand that was partially installed, but whose installation was never completed to standards. As a result of inadequate and broken cables the project received only a little power in the first year. In the second year new cables were installed and a failed power supply replaced so the project received power, but in the third year the cables broke and or the power supply failed, so only a small trickle or no power reached the project. These conditions were identified by the author from photographs sent from the project, but were not recognized by Terlouw, who reported that corals on Biorock grew faster than control corals by a factor of 1.54 in Year One, by a factor of 5.04 in Year Two, and by a factor of 1.33 in Year Three. Terlouw, not recognizing the cause of the variations, suggested that benefits are mixed, but our interpretation is that the higher results in Year 2 are due to that being the only year with adequate power, while Year 1 and Year 3 were underpowered, resulting in lower rates.

A similar mistake was made with oysters by Piazza et al. [30]. In this particular case the oysters thought to be getting electrical current were in fact getting almost none at all, because flawed experimental design concentrated the current onto fresh pieces of bare steel. Piazza et al. found that the oysters that they incorrectly thought to be under power grew only 1.15 times faster than controls.

2.2.4. Mistake 2: Current Too High

Over-charging has been known to cause negative effects from the very start, but most groups that set up experiments without proper training or materials use high power to get quick results. As shown in Figure 4(b) of this paper, excessive current causes negligible benefits, and if too high, causes negative effects, killing corals. Unfortunately most of those who get negative results due to overcharging do not realize their error, and many of them have published their results anyway. This mistake is the cause of the very poor results reported by Schuhmacher, Schillak, Van Treeck, Sabater, Yap, Eggeling, and their colleagues [31]-[39]. Since these authors did not realize their mistakes and published negative or minor results, it has been widely claimed that the method does not work, but in fact their poor results were entirely due to lack of proper training, experimental design, materials, etc. Such mistakes are even worse when done in a closed system tank. As a result of their overcharging the corals had only very small increases in growth rates, or they bleached and failed to grow entirely, or died.

2.2.5. Mistake 3: Ethical

Borrell et al. [40] [41] reported that one coral species grows a bit faster with electricity but that another species had its growth reduced and inhibited by the electrical field [40] [41]. In fact, the alleged reduction of one species’ growth was for a completely different reason: terminal phase male parrotfish established their breeding territories on the Biorock project, and marked them by biting off all the growing tips of that one species only, while ignoring them in the control site. The author of this paper personally set that project up, and documented the cause, but this was completely and knowingly ignored by the authors of the report, causing deceptive and false conclusions.

3. Conclusions

These results all point in the same direction: low-voltage trickle charges can greatly enhance the health of marine organisms. Voltage gradients in the right range appear to create the ideal biophysical conditions for the creation of biochemical energy, stimulating healing, growth, survival, and resistance to stress. The external field maintains the cell membrane gradient and greatly reduces the need for cells to spend a large part of their energy pumping electrons, protons, and ions to maintain the gradient, freeing this energy for metabolism, growth, and resisting environmental stress.

Unfortunately many people copying the Biorock method think they can do so without training. The results of improperly designed, installed, and maintained projects set up by people without training using improper materials always fail to replicate the results of projects by trained people using approved methods and materials, for several obvious reasons. These people inevitably blame the technology itself and not their lack of training. Almost every data point in these graphs represents populations of different species grown in the field under different electrical conditions, most of which are likely to be suboptimal. For example oyster growth rates next to a former toxic waste dump in New York City increased with current, up to 10 fold (NB, length increase only, the volume increase is a thousand fold), even though they were getting power less than a quarter of the time, and probably would have grown even faster with more power [13]. Much more work is needed to find out the optimal conditions, which are likely to be subtly different for each species. It has not escaped our attention that because membrane electro-chemical gradient-driven energy production is universal among all cellular life, going back to the last common ancestor, the method will apply to all organisms, although the effects and best conditions will depend on the electrical conductivity of their medium.

Maintaining ecosystem services in the face of accelerating global climate change will require methods that increase growth, survival, and resistance to escalating stress. These results indicate that the Biorock process is unique in accelerating settlement, growth, healing, branching, survival, and resistance to environmental stress. This allows marine organisms to be kept alive under conditions that would otherwise kill them, and enables entire complex ecosystems to be restored in a short period of time in places where there is no natural recovery (Figure 1). The Biorock electrolysis method, by stimulating the natural energy production mechanism, is the only ecological restoration method known that can maintain and restore marine ecosystems under conditions of accelerating global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, sedimentation, and excessive nutrient inputs, especially under severe stress where all other methods fail. It is urgent that the method should be optimized and applied on a large scale as soon as possible, especially in coral reefs, the ecosystem most threatened by global warming [42] [43], and in extending oyster reefs and salt marshes seaward to reduce coastal damage caused by global sea level rise.


[1] Hilbertz, W. (1979) Electrodeposition of Minerals in Sea Water: Experiments and Applications. IEEE Journal on Oceanic Engineering, 4, 1-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JOE.1979.1145428 [2] Hilbertz, W. and Goreau, T.J. (1996) Method of Enhancing the Growth of Aquatic Organisms and Structures Created Thereby. Patent 5543034. United States Patent Office. [3] Goreau, T.J. (2012) Marine Electrolysis for Building Materials and Environmental Restoration. In: Kleperis, J. and Linkov, V., Eds., Electrolysis, InTech Publishing, Rijeka, 273-290. http://www.intechopen.com/books/show/title/electrolysis [4] Goreau, T.J., Hilbertz, W., Hakeem, A.A.A., Sarkisian, T., Gutzeit, F. and Spenhoff, A. (2012) Restoring Reefs to Grow Back Beaches and Protect Coasts from Erosion and Sea Level Rise. In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 11-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-4 [5] Goreau, T.J. and Hilbertz, W. 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In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 151-159. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-14 [14] Vaccarella, R. and Goreau, T.J. (2012) Restoration of Seagrass Mats (Posidonia oceanica) with Electrical Stimulation. In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 161-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-15 [15] Cervino, J., Gjoza, D., Lin, C., Weeks, R. and Goreau, T.J. (2012) Electrical Fields Increase Salt Marsh Survival and Growth and Speed Restoration in Adverse Conditions. In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 169-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-16 [16] Goreau, T.J. (2012) Marine Ecosystem Electrotherapy: Practice and Theory. In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 263-290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-20 [17] Goreau, T.J. (2012) Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration: An Introduction. In: Goreau, T.J. and Trench, R.K., Eds., Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 5-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/b14314-3 [18] Stromberg, S.M., Lundalv, T. and Goreau, T.J. (2010) Suitability of Mineral Accretion as a Rehabilitation Method for Cold-Water Coral Reefs. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 395, 153-161. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2010.08.028 [19] Zhao, M., Song, B., Pu, J., Wada, T., Reid, B., Tai, G., Wang, F., Guo, A., Walczysko, P., Gu, Y., Sasaki, T., Suzuki, A., Forrester, J.V., Bourne, H.R., Devreotes, P.N., McCaig, C.D. and Penninger, J.M. (2006) Electrical Signals Control Wound Healing through Phosphatidylinositol-3-OH Kinase-􀈖 and PTEN. Nature, 442, 457-460. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature04925 [20] Goreau, T.J. and Hilbertz, W. (2005) Marine Ecosystem Restoration: Costs and Benefits for Coral Reefs. World Resource Review, 17, 375-409. [21] Goreau, T.J. and Sarkisian, T. (2010) Electric Coral Reef Restoration in Thailand. Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium, 2, 100. [22] Goreau, T.J., Cervino, J. and Pollina, R. (2004) Increased Zooxanthellae Numbers and Mitotic Indices in Electrically Stimulated Corals. Symbiosis, 37, 107-120. [23] Wethey, D.S. and Porter, J.W. (1976) Sun and Shade Differences in Productivity of Reef Corals. Nature, 262, 281-282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/262281a0 [24] Porter, J.W., Muscatine, L., Dubinsky, Z. and Falkowski, P.G. (1984) Primary Production and Adaptation in Light- and Shade-Adapted Corals of the Symbiotic Coral Stylophora pistillata. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 222, 161-180. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1984.0057 [25] Hennige, S.J., Suggett, D.J., Warner, M.E., McDougall, K.E. and Smith, D.J. (2009) Photobiology of Symbiodinium Revisited: Bio-Physical and Bio-Optical Signatures. Coral Reefs, 28, 179-195. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00338-008-0444-x [26] Goreau, T.F. and Goreau, N.I. (1959) The Physiology of Skeleton Formation in Corals. II. Calcium Deposition by Hermatypic Corals under Various Conditions in the Reef. Biological Bulletin, 117, 239-250. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1538903 [27] Cheng, N., Van Hoof, H., Bockx, E., Hoogmartens, M.J., Mulier, J.C., De Ducker, F.J., Sansen, W.J. and De Loecker, W. (1982) The Effects of Electric Currents on ATP Generation, Protein Synthesis, and Membrane Transport in Rat Skin. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 171, 264-272. [28] Beddoe, L., Goreau, T.J., Agard, J.B.R., George, M. and Phillip, D.A.T. (2010) Electrical Enhancement of Coral Growth: A Pilot Study. In: Lawrence, A. and Nelson, H.P., Eds., Proceedings of the 1st Research Symposium on Biodiversity in Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies, 116-122. [29] Terlouw, G. (2012) Coral Reef Rehabilitation on Koh Tao, Thailand: Assessing the Success of a Biorock Coral Reef. Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 31. [30] Piazza, B.P., Piehler, M.K., Grossman, B.P., La Peyre, M.K. and La Peyre, J.L. (2009) Oyster Recruitment and Growth on an Electrified Structure in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Bulletin of Marine Science, 84, 59-66. [31] Schuhmacher, H. (2002) Use of Artificial Reefs with Special Reference to the Rehabilitation of Coral Reefs. Bonner Zoologische Monographien, 50, 81-108. [32] Schuhmacher, H. and Schillak, L. (1994) Integrated Electrochemical and Biogenic Deposition of Hard Material—A Nature-Like Colonisation Substrate. Bulletin of Marine Science, 55, 672-679. [33] Schuhmacher, H., Van Treeck, P., Eisinger, M. and Paster, M. (2000) Transplantation of Coral Fragments from Ship Groundings on Electro-Chemically Formed Reef Structures. Proceedings of the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium, Bali, 2, 23-27. [34] Van Treeck, P. and Schuhmacher, H. (1997) Initial Survival of Coral Nubbins Transplanted by a New Coral Transplantation Technology-Options for Reef Rehabilitation. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 150, 287-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps150287 [35] Van Treeck, P. and Schuhmacher H. (1998) Mass Diving Tourism—A New Dimension Calls for New Management Approaches. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 37, 499-504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0025-326X(99)00077-6 [36] Van Treeck, P. and Schuhmacher, H. (1999) Artificial Reefs Created by Electrolysis and Coral Transplantation: An Approach Ensuring the Compatibility of Environmental Protection and Diving Tourism. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 49, 75-81. [37] Sabater, M.G. and Yap, H.T. (2002) Growth and Survival of Coral Transplants with and without Electrochemical Deposition of CaCoB3B. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 272, 131-146. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-0981(02)00051-5 [38] Sabater, M.G. and Yap, H.T. (2004) Long-Term Effects of Mineral Accretion on Growth, Survival and Corallite Properties of Porites cylindrica Dana. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 311, 355-374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2004.05.013 [39] Eggeling, D. (2006) Electro-Mineral Accretion Assisted Coral Growth: An Aquarium Environment. Townsville Aquarium, Queensland, 21. [40] Borell, E.M. (2008) Coral Photophysiology in Response to Thermal Stress, Nutritional Status and Seawater Electrolysis. Centre for Tropical Biology, University of Bremen, Bremen, 134. [41] Borell, E.M., Romatzki, S.B.C. and Ferse, S.C.A. (2009) Differential Physiological Responses of Two Congeneric Scleractinian Corals to Mineral Accretion and an Electrical Field. Coral Reefs, 29, 191-200. [42] Goreau, T.J. and Hayes, R.L. (2005) Global Coral Reef Bleaching and Sea Surface Temperature Trends from Satellite- Derived Hotspot Analysis. World Resource Review, 17, 254-293. [43] Goreau, T.J., Hayes, R.L. and McAllister, D. (2005) Regional Patterns of Sea Surface Temperature Rise: Implications for Global Ocean Circulation Change and the Future of Coral Reefs and Fisheries. World Resource Review, 17, 350- 374.


2017 GCRA Activities


GCRA Wishes a

Happy New Year 2018

Please support the GCRA Year-End
Fund Raising Campaign

2017 GCRA Yearly Report

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance

Corals continued dying around the world in 2017 from global warming, pollution, and disease, and GCRA continued to show policymakers and the public the severity of the damage and to pioneer regenerative solutions. GCRA will accelerate its efforts in 2018.

GCRA’s Indonesia coral reef restoration projects continued to lead the world in 2017. Our Balinese partner, Yayasan Karang Lestari, recipient of the 2012 United Nations Equator Award for Community-Based Development, was selected for special honors at the 2017 World Ocean Day Event at the UN Oceans Conference for turning their village from the poorest in Bali to one of the most prosperous by restoring their coral reef. Last year, corals on Biorock reefs in Indonesia survived when severe bleaching killed almost all the corals around them, and Biorock reefs grew back a severely eroded Sulawesi beach in just a few months by growing corals and seagrasses in front of Pulau Gangga Dive Resort. Biorock Indonesia teams continued to manage around 300 Biorock reefs, start many new ones, and train new teams to start projects all across Indonesia. See 2017 Biorock Indonesia training workshop clips below:

Biorock coral restoration projects were maintained at several locations in the Panama Caribbean. One of the finest coral reefs left in the Caribbean, with exceptionally large ancient corals, was studied in the Guna Comarca (Indigenous Territories). Another reef with high live coral cover was found right in front of the Panama Canal breakwaters, and efforts are underway with local environmental groups to save this reef from being killed soon by dredging for a container port.

The first new Biorock reef restoration projects in Jamaica in 25 years were started near the last ones. A coral nursery growing elkhorn coral was established. This coral used to form huge forests at this site, but all vanished decades ago. The project is very small because of the tiny amount of coral now available to propagate, but will expand quickly as it grows rapidly. The best reef left in Jamaica was filmed, and efforts re-started with the local community to get it protected and managed locally.

New coral reef restoration projects were developed for early 2018 with local partners in Grenada, Mexico, Indonesia, Panama, Bahamas, and Vanuatu. These will incorporate new advances in Biorock Technology, and feature use of CCell wave energy devices to protect eroding shores and grow beaches back. See announcement

GCRA researchers published a paper in the Journal of Animal Behavior showing electrical fields around Biorock structures inhibit sharks from biting but have no effect on other fishes. Available here. The tiny electrical field confuses sharks so they don’t bite. Biorock coral reef restoration projects can help protect people and sharks from harming each other.

Biorock oyster and saltmarsh restoration projects in cold waters continued at our toxic waste sites in New York City, and a short experiment was done to test applicability in San Francisco Bay.

Research projects were started with the University of Aalborg in Denmark, and the University of the Basque Country in Spain focusing on the chemistry, physics, and engineering properties of the materials produced by the Biorock process.

Tom Goreau spoke on large-scale community-managed marine ecosystem restoration at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York, and at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn. His paper on the factors controlling the rate of CO2 drawdown to reverse climate change was published in the Proceedings of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Global Conference on Soil Organic Carbon in Rome. He also participated in international conferences on agricultural regeneration in Mexico, on regenerative development to reverse climate change in London, and on re-greening of the Sinai Desert in the Netherlands.

GCRA filmed an interview by Tom Goreau with Professor Robert Kent Trench, the world’s top expert on coral symbiosis, looking at the oldest coral reef photographs from Belize and discussing the changes. Tom Goreau featured in two full-length documentary films that are now in final production stages for release in 2018. One film directed by Marcy Cravat will be on soil carbon and reversing climate change, the other by Andrew Nisker will be on environmental impacts of golf course chemicals. A new documentary was funded to start filming in 2018 on the historic GCRA Coral Reef Photograph Collection, the world’s largest from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and the long-term changes they document.

GCRA researchers looked at a major collection of nearly a thousand corals from the Great Barrier Reef, made 50 years ago in 1967, but packed away in a museum without ever being identified or studied, and is assisting getting the corals documented and identified, along with the major taxonomic collections of Caribbean corals.

GCRA proudly announces the GCRA Coral Classics Series, with the first volume to be posted in early 2018 being A STUDY OF THE BIOLOGY AND HISTOCHEMISTRY OF CORALS, the foundational work of coral biology and coral reef ecology. This masterpiece by Thomas F. Goreau, the world’s first diving marine scientist and founder of modern coral reef science, was his 1956 Yale University Ph.D. thesis. Although it is the essential starting point for all serious students of corals and coral reefs, it has long been unavailable. The GCRA publication includes all the original figures and photographic plates from the classic study of coral anatomy, ecology, and physiology available, newly re-edited individually for clarity.

The Original 1991 Geotherapy Proposal to Reverse Global Climate Change

To: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the parent of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)

From: R. Grantham, H. Faure, T. J. Goreau, T. Greenland, N. A. Morner, J. Pernetta, B. Salvat, & V. R. Potter

Date: October 16 1991

This paper is the first outline of the global program of Geotherapy needed to regenerate the earth’s natural biological climate regulatory systems and reverse climate change.

It was intended as a guide to negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed at UNCED in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

It was the work of an international team of leading climate change and environmental scientists, at the First Conference on Geotherapy, held in Lyon, France, 14–17 May 1991.

The Geotherapy program lays the basis for global sustainable strategies of regenerative development needed to reverse climate change.

It corrects the fundamental accounting errors in UNFCCC, which make it intrinsically unable to reach its own goal unless it is strengthened to be scientifically-sound.

Sadly, it seems we have made no progress getting governments to understand the fundamental issues and solutions since 1991!

As posted on the Soil Carbon Alliance website:

The Original 1991 Geotherapy Proposal to Reverse Global Climate Change


Biorock™ Electric Reefs Grow Back Severely Eroded Beaches in Months

marine science and engineering

Biorock Electric Reefs Grow Back Severely Eroded Beaches in Months

Thomas J. F. Goreau 1,2  and  Paulus Prong 2,3

Global Coral Reef Alliance, 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Biorock Indonesia, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Pulau Gangga Dive Resort, Sulawesi 95253, Indonesia
Severely eroded beaches on low lying islands in Indonesia were grown back in a few months—believed to be a record—using an innovative method of shore protection, Biorock electric reef technology. Biorock shore protection reefs are growing limestone structures that get stronger with age and repair themselves, are cheaper than concrete or rock sea walls and breakwaters, and are much more effective at shore protection and beach growth. Biorock reefs are permeable, porous, growing, self-repairing structures of any size or shape, which dissipate wave energy by internal refraction, diffraction, and frictional dissipation. They do not cause reflection of waves like hard sea walls and breakwaters, which erodes the sand in front of, and then underneath, such structures, until they collapse. Biorock reefs stimulate settlement, growth, survival, and resistance to the environmental stress of all forms of marine life, restoring coral reefs, sea grasses, biological sand production, and fisheries habitat. Biorock reefs can grow back eroded beaches and islands faster than the rate of sea level rise, and are the most cost-effective method of shore protection and adaptation to global sea level rise for low lying islands and coasts.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)

1. Introduction
Accelerating global sea level rise is now causing almost all beaches worldwide to erode [1]. The current rate of sea level rise, now 3 mm/year [2], will accelerate greatly in the future as the melting of ice caps increases, masked by shorter term regional fluctuations driven by local weather [3]. IPCC projections of sea level rise are often thought by the public to represent the end point of sea level rise response to fossil fuel CO2, but in fact they are merely points along the first 5, 10, 20— or at most 100—years, of the initial rise of a curve that will continue to increase for thousands of years. The time horizons for IPCCC climate change projections were chosen for political purposes, not for scientific ones, and therefore miss the vast bulk of the real world long-term sea level and temperature responses to increased greenhouse gases [4].
Since the ocean holds nearly 93% of the heat in the Earth ocean-atmosphere-soil-vegetation-rock-ice system [5] and it takes around 1500 years for the ocean to mix and turn over [6], Earth’s surface will not fully warm up until after the deep ocean waters, now about 4 degrees above freezing, heat up. Global temperatures and sea levels lag thousands of years behind CO2 increases because of ocean mixing, so we have not yet really begun to feel the inevitable temperature and sea level responses. Because of these politically chosen time horizons, IPCC projections do NOT include more than 90% of the long-term climate response to changing CO2 [4,7-9]. By greatly underestimating the all too real long-term responses of temperature and sea level, they have lulled political decision makers into a false sense of complacency about the magnitude and duration of human-caused climate change or the urgency of reversing them before the really serious impacts hit future generations [4].
Improved estimates of long-term global climate impacts are made from actual paleoclimate records of changes in global CO2, temperature, and sea levels from the Antarctic ice cores, deep sea sediments, and fossil coral reefs over the last few million years [7,9]. The last time that global temperatures were 1-2 °C above today’s level, sea levels were about 8 m higher, crocodiles and hippopotamuses lived in swamps where London, England, now stands (Rhodes Fairbridge, 1987, personal communication) [10,11], and CO2 levels were around 270 ppm, around 40% lower than today [7,9]. Comparison of long-term global climate change records suggests that the steady state climate for the present (2017) CO2 concentration of 400 ppm, once the climate system has fully responded, are about 17 °C and 23 m above today’s levels [9]. We are committed to such changes even if there is no further CO2 increase starting right now because of the excess already in the atmosphere, unless that is reduced. No amount of emissions reduction can reduce excess atmospheric CO2, only increased natural carbon sinks with storage in soil and biomass carbon can draw down the dangerous excess in time to avert extreme long term changes [4,8,12], which would last for hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Perhaps the largest cost of adaptation to climate change will be the cost of protecting low lying islands and coasts from being flooded by global sea level rise.
Beach erosion is largely controlled by refraction of offshore waves by bottom topography [13]. The reflection of waves by steep cliffs prevents any accumulation of sand at their bases. In contrast, shallow sandy beach fore-shores are almost always protected from waves by reefs, Waves are refracted as water passes through porous and permeable reef structures, without being reflected.
Conventional methods of shore protection rely on “hard” solid structures like sea walls and breakwaters that are designed to reflect waves, like rock cliffs. This concentrates all the energy of the wave at the hard, reflecting surface, and the force on the structure itself is twice the momentum of the wave due to the reversal of the wave direction vector [14,15]. The inevitable result of this energy focusing is that first all the sand is washed away in front of the structure, and then is scoured away underneath it until the structure settles, cracks, falls apart, and needs to be rebuilt. These structures protect what is behind them until they fall down, but they cause erosion in front of them and guarantee loss of sediment. All such structures are consequently ephemeral and will fall down sooner or later, depending on how large and strong they are.
This is well known to coastal engineers but most feel there is no alternative to impermeable solid walls, even though so called “porous” or “permeable” breakwaters, made of small distributed modules shaped like coral reefs, with holes within structures and passages between them, seem to protect shores with much less material and with greatly reduced reflection. But we could find no experimental or theoretical modeling literature on porous permeable structures like natural coral reef structures found by searching on Google Scholar. Most search results for porous breakwaters were for solid rock walls with crevices between stones rather than reef-like structures with a much greater range of pore and spacing sizes, capable of interacting with waves over larger wavelength ranges.
Coral reefs provide the most perfect natural shore protection, dissipating around 97% of incident wave energy by frictional dissipation [16]. Healthy reefs produce sand as well as protect it, and rapidly build beaches behind them. They are sand factories, generating vast amounts of new sand, largely remains of calcareous green and red algae. Every grain of white limestone sand on a tropical beach is the skeletal remains of a living coral reef organism. Once corals die from high temperatures, pollution, or disease, the previously growing and self-repairing reef framework starts to deteriorate and crumble from boring organisms that excavate the rock [17]. Because of the mass mortality of corals around the world caused by global warming [18-23], tropical beaches that were growing until recently have begun rapid erosion, and islands are washing away because of global sea level rise. 
Here we describe the results of a novel method of beach restoration—Biorock electric reef shore protection—which avoids the intrinsic physical flaws of hard reflective structures, and which grows beaches back at record rates at a lower cost, with less materials, and with much greater environmental benefits than seawalls. Biorock electric reefs are grown by low voltage electrolysis of sea water, which causes growth of limestone rock minerals dissolved in sea water over steel surfaces, which are completely protected from corrosion [24,25]. Biorock reef structures can be any size or shape, and are the only marine construction material that gets stronger with age and is self-repairing [26]. When grown slowly, less than 1-2 cm/year, this material is several times harder than Portland Cement concrete [25].
Biorock shore protection reefs are open mesh frameworks designed to permit water to flow through them, like coral reefs. The size and shape of the structures, and of the holes in them, determine their performance dissipating wave energy. The electricity needed for electrolysis is safe extremely low voltage (ELV) direct current provided by transformers, chargers, batteries, solar panels, wind mills, ocean current generators, or wave energy generators, depending on which source is most cost effective at the site [27].
Biorock reefs in Grand Turk survived the two worst hurricanes in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which occurred three days apart and damaged or destroyed 80% of the buildings on the island [28]. Sand was observed to build up around the bases of Biorock reef structures. In contrast, concrete reef balls nearby caused such severe sand scour around and under them that they buried themselves into the sand, digging their own graves. Solid objects, by forcing bottom currents to accelerate as they diverge around them, cause erosion to a depth of about half the height of the structure, and about as wide as the structure height [29]. Biorock reefs, being permeable and porous to waves, had the opposite effect than reef balls, baffling waves, lowering their velocity, and causing sand deposition instead of erosion [30].
The first Biorock shore protection reef was built in front of a beach that had washed away at Ihuru Island, North Male Atoll, the Maldives, in 1997. Sand bags were being piled in front of trees and buildings that were falling into the sea, which the hotel thought they had no chance of saving. The Biorock reef was a linear structure parallel to the shore, 50 m long, about 5 m wide, and about 1.5 m high, built on eroded reef bedrock. The structure cemented itself solidly to the limestone bedrock with mineral growth. Waves were observed to slow down as they were refracted through the structure, dissipating energy by surface friction. Sand immediately began to accumulate on the shore line and under and around the reef, and the beach grew back naturally and rapidly in a few years, and stabilized with no further erosion, even though the 2004 Tsunami passed right over it [30]. Corals growing on the Biorock reef had 50 times (5000%) higher coral survival than the adjacent natural coral reef after the 1998 coral bleaching event [25]. For a decade after the bleaching event this resort had the only healthy reef full of corals and fishes in front of their beach in the Maldives. The hotel whose reef and beach were saved by the Biorock project turned the power off, with the result that the corals, no longer protected from bleaching by the Biorock process [31,32], suffered severe mortality in the 2016 bleaching event.
The second group of Biorock shore protection reefs were built at three eroding beach locations at Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia around 2010. These consisted of 4 to 6 separate reef modules designed to break waves up by slowing down separate portions of the wave front and driving the incoming wave front out of coherence, using less structural materials. The Biorock structures are shaped like an upside-down wave, which is optimal for dissipating wave energy, with no vertical surfaces to cause reflections, and so are called Biorock Anti-Wave structures (BAW). Although these structures were small, new beach growth was clearly visible at all sites within 8 months on Google Earth images [30]. One set of structures was of, and creation of a gap underneath it, so that it was on the way to falling down. One year later the gap underneath had completely filled in, and the sand had risen by about a meter to cover half the vertical wall height. The seawall on the neighboring property, built at the same time, but not protected by Bioorck, completely collapsed within a year [30]. The hotels whose beaches had been restored by the projects then turned the power off. Because the structures, no longer maintained, growing, or protected from rusting, are now collapsing, beach erosion has now resumed, with new sea walls being constantly built and falling down.
2. Materials and Methods
Pulau Gangga, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, has suffered progressive beach erosion. The index maps show its location on various scales (Figure 1a-d), and Google Earth images show the rapid erosion of the beach between 2013 and 2014 (Figure 2a,b). The site is outside the typhoon belt because it is close to the Equator, but it is affected by both the Australian and Indo-China Monsoons. From around December through May the winds and waves are usually from the southeast. A strong southward tidally-modulated current normally sweeps sand from north to south at the site.
The formerly wide sand beach had largely washed away by late 2015, leaving an erosion cliff about 1.36 m high along the shore, with trees falling into the sea, and beach pavilion buildings have had to be repeatedly torn down and moved inland. In front of the 200 m of severely eroded beach we built 48 Biorock Anti Wave reefs in a staggered design to dissipate wave energy before it hits the beach. The time of installation, January 2016, was just before the monsoon season when erosion takes place on this beach, and was done as fast as possible before waves made installation difficult.
48 Biorock Anti Wave reefs were deployed in the sea grass beds in front of the eroding beach in January 2016. They were arrayed in twelve groups of four, each group powered by a single power supply located 100 m away on land, connected by electrical cables dug into the sand (Figures 3 and 4a-d). They grow thickest at the bottom, and thinnest on top. The bottom 10-20 cm of the structures were always submerged at low tide, but above this they were exposed to the air for various periods, depending on the tidal cycle. Since structures grow only when and where submerged in salt water, the bottoms are always growing, while the top grows only when submerged, about half of the time. The gabion baskets were deployed in a grid pattern (visible from aerial images below) at low tide in shallow sand, seagrass, and coral rubble.
The resort had previously purchased gabion wire baskets for stones to make a breakwater, not knowing that these would quickly rust and fall apart. Because these were already available, they were incorporated into the core of the Biorock Anti Wave structures, because the Biorock electrolysis process prevents any rusting of the steel. The rocks are bound in place by growth of minerals over the mesh and by prolific growth of barnacles, oysters, and mussels, preventing rock shifting in heavy surge from breaking the gabion. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the use of rock gabions in Biorock shore protection structures, as they can cause scour by acting as a near solid wall, but they cause more rapid initial results slowing wave erosion than a more open structure that does not incorporate them. Gabions are not an essential part of the design, in fact not using them makes BAW units much faster and cheaper to construct and deploy. In this study gabions were used only for convenience as they had been previously bought and were already on site. Not to include rocks at all relies purely on the growth of a biological reef to provide long-term growing shore protection, instead of that provided by the rocks.
The core of each structure was a double gabion basket, 1 m × 1 m × 2 m with the long dimension parallel to the shore. These were placed on the shallow sea floor at predetermined sites, with the long axis parallel to the shore, and filled in with rounded river stones (largely in the 20-50 cm size range). At the start, the rocks had clean surfaces with nothing growing on them. The gabion baskets were overlain with standard welded steel mesh bars used in local construction, spacing 15 cm, dimensions about 2.1 m by 5.4 m. These sheets were curved into an arc to fit over the top of the gabion basket, with the long dimensions at right angles, so that the long axis of the arc was perpendicular to the shore, oriented into the waves coming over the shelf edge coral reef. They were welded across at the base with support rebars and vertical bars to strengthen them. Each unit was carried by four people at low tide, placed over a gabion basket and wired to it with hose clamps and binding wire. The growth of minerals over the steel cement it firmly to any hard rock bottom, and cement sediment around the bases on sand or mud, firmly attaching the structure to the bottom. The structures sit on the bottom under their own weight and that of the rocks they contain.
Beach profiles were measured using the U-tube water level measuring method [32]. They are estimated to be accurate vertically to about a millimeter, and horizontally to about a centimeter, by repeated measurements. The beach profile before the start of the experiment was estimated from photographs taken before and after from the same positions with common objects of known size in the images for scale. The accuracy of the pre-project beach profile estimate is thought to be about 10 cm vertically and one meter horizontally. Unfortunately, the apparatus for making rapid and accurate beach profiles was not built until September 2016, eight months after the start of the project. A second set of measurements was made in January 2017, a year after the start of the project, after a severe storm and at several more intervals since then. Initial beach profiles were estimated by measuring the height of the erosion cliff at the start of the project using the measured height of concrete foundations as a scale.


Figure 1. The site shown on Google Earth Images of the location of the project (red star) on decreasing scales: (a) Indonesia, (b) North Sulawesi, (c) Pulau Gangga
(a) 23 May 2013
(b) 4 January 2014
(c) 15 December 2014
(d) 4 August 2017
Figure 2. Erosion of the beach prior to the project. Google Earth images from 2013 (a) and 2014 (bshowing short term changes in the beach before the project, the last available image taken near low tide a year before the project began in early 2016 (c), and the first image after the project, taken near high tide 1.5 years after (d). Notice the cores of the Biorock Anti Wave modules as white spots in the seagrass off the regenerated beach. Beach erosion beyond the project near the pier at the south was caused by storm waves from the southeast and longshore drift sand blockage by the solid rock pier. Waves from the northwest shown in (c) are typical during erosion of this westward facing beach. Note the row of pavilions (dark spots) on the edge of the beach erosion scarp and brown dying trees with roots exposed in (c) and how in (d) the roofs are now hidden by new leaf canopies due to prolific tree leaf regrowth after sand buildup around their roots.
Figure 3. Soon after start of the project, at low tide (wide angle image). The tops of the reef restoration structures are clearly visible. The eroded curve is the area where the beach grew back.
Figure 4. Aerial views, oblique at low tide (a) and vertical at high tide (b) on 12 March 2017, fourteen months after the installation, showing the Biorock Anti Wave structures (dark spots in sea grass beds). The northern edge of the project, on the same day at high (c) and low (d) tides. The Red spot in the last image two images is the northern limit of the project.
3. Results
The speed of beach regrowth astonished local residents. The formerly concave beach, ending in an eroding cliff, is now convex in its profile and growing. Large trees that had been dying after sand washed away, exposing their roots to sea water, have leafed out new canopies since the sand built up around their roots.
By the time of the first beach profile measurements the eroded beach had almost completely grown back and the erosion scarp, 1.36 m tall, was reduced to about 10 cm. About 80% of the beach grew back in less than 3 months and has continued to grow ever since, even during strong storm conditions that in the past caused severe erosion. Over the course of a year the beach has increased in height by more than a meter, and in width by more than 15 m, over a two hundred meter length, a conservative estimate of an increase of beach sand volume of 3000 cubic meters. Most of the gains occurred in the first two months, but have continued since (Figure 5a-g).
The beach growth in the first year was wider at the south than at the north. But there were interesting differences after a severe storm in early January, which caused some erosion of the southern end of the beach, while there was substantial growth of the central and northern sections. Since then the center and north have continued to grow, while the south has continued to erode slowly (Figure 6a-c).
(a) November 2015
(b) December 2015
(c) December 2015
(d) May 2016
(e) August 016
(f) November 2016
(g) January 2017
Figure 5. Before & after photos of beach taken at various times: (a) November 2015, beach looking north two months before start of project, tree falling into the sea and roots exposed at beach erosion scarp, (b) December 2015, one month before project, 1.36 m high erosion scarp and foundations of beach pavilions about to collapse near center of beach, (c) December 2015, one month before project, large old tree collapsing into the sea, leaves dying, roots exposed, (d) May 2016, 4 months after project installation, lower branches of fallen tree buried in new beach sand growth, roots buried, new growth, (e) August 2016, seven months after, (f) November 2016, ten months after, (g) January 2017, Twelve months after, soon after a severe storm, looking south. Most of the beach grew after the storm, even though this was the sort of event that had caused heavy erosion in the past. The south end, shown here, was worst affected.
Figure 6. Beach profiles, measured at different times for the north (a), center (b), and south (c). The Zero reference datum for the central profile is the top of the concrete pillar foundation at the left of the December 2015 photograph. A 1.36 m vertical cliff stood at what is now the zero distance, based on measurements from photographs. Dates of measurements: X and dashed line estimate from January 2016; KEY to symbols: B upward triangle, 21 September 2016; C square, 11 January 2017; D downward triangle, 11 March 2017, E circle, 10 July 2017.
There has been prolific growth of hard and soft corals all over the bases of the structures and in intervening areas (Figure 7a-e), prolific growth of sea grasses all around them, dense settlement and growth of barnacles, mussels, and clams on the rocks in the core of the BAW structures, and a rapid increase in juvenile fish and echinoderm populations. In addition, there has been prolific growth of sand-producing calcareous green and red algae around and between the structures.
Figure 7. Underwater images: One end of a Biorock Anti Wave structures at high tide soon after installation (a), growth of barnacles over smooth river stones inside the gabions (b), examples of rapid growth of corals, sea grasses, and other organisms under, over, and around their bases (ce).
Wave fronts are dissipated as they pass through the structures, breaking up the coherence of incoming wave fronts (Figure 8a-c). This dissipation behaves as refraction through permeable structures. But the wave interaction can include a reflective component once structures have grown to be solid with all pores filled in, or if the rock fill is too impermeable to transmit wave pressure through intervening spaces. In that case, sand-eroding scour will be caused, while purely refractive dissipation increases sand accumulation underneath and behind the structure. There is also a diffractive component caused by wave interaction with the metal structure spacing and lattice spacing, which appeared to damp waves at spatial scales that range from the spacing of the metal grid used (0.1 m), the size of the modules (1-5 m), and the spacing of the modules (roughly 10 m).
Figure 8. Diffraction of energy. Incoming wave energy dissipated by interaction with structure these photographs were taken in rapid succession, the middle picture appears brighter because of break in the clouds, and the photographer moved between the first two images. (a) approaching wave, (bwave starting to interact with mesh, (c) wave energy dissipated by friction.
4. Discussion
We are not aware of any other case in which a badly eroded beach has been grown back so uickly and naturally. In addition, the Biorock reefs have caused prolific growth of corals, barnacles, oysters, mussels, and seagrass, and created a juvenile fish habitat [30]. 
Biorock reefs can be any size or shape. Mineral growth extends up to the high tide mark. They can be built entirely subtidal, as at Ihuru, entirely exposed at low tide as at Gili Trawangan, or have only the tops exposed at low tide, as at Pulau Gangga. Since the structures grow only when submerged, those in the intertidal grow most on the bottom, and least on the top. The structures attach themselves solidly to bedrock, and cement loose sand around their bases. Whether the structures are entirely submerged or partially exposed affects their wave mitigating performance. Those that are fully submerged are never visible from shore and generate real coral reef communities or oyster and mussel reefs in muddier or colder waters. Those reefs located in the intertidal zone are visible at low tide, which may be aesthetically objectionable to those who want a clear ocean view from the beach, but they are more effective in protecting the shore if there is a storm during high tide, which would pass over deeper reef structures.
The size, shape, and spacing of the modules affect their performance, and cost. What is astonishing is that record beach growth was achieved with far less material and far lower cost than sea wall or a breakwater. Conventional reinforced concrete structures are made by first building a reinforcing bar frame, and the steel is a very small part of the total cost compared to cement, stone, wooden forms, and labor. Since steel in reinforced concrete structures invariably rusts, expands, and cracks the concrete, such structures have finite lifetimes, especially in salty coastal air. 
Biorock structural steel is completely protected from rusting, and the continuous growth of hard minerals makes it constantly stronger, and able to grow back first in areas that are physically damaged. The cost is far less than a reinforced concrete structure of the same size and shape, because instead of cement, rocks, labor, and wooden forms we simply provide an electrical supply instead. Estimates of Biorock reef costs range from $20-1290/m of shoreline depending on the size of the reef grown, while other methods range from $60-155,000/m, or 3-120 times more expensive [16]. The amount of electricity used is small, the entire Pulau Gangga beach restoration project uses about one air conditioner worth of electricity.
Shore protection provided by Biorock includes both production of new sand by prolific growth of calcareous algae around them, and physical protection from sand erosion by wave energy dissipation. The results of beach growth after the project was installed indicate that beach sand accumulation is a very dynamic function of wave and current interactions with reef structures. Biorock reef structures physically dissipate wave energy and reduce erosion at the shoreline, while also generating new sand. They should slow down transport of sand by north to south tidal currents at the site. That, and the interplay of the structures with waves coming from different directions, may explain why the unusual January 2017 storm seems to have transported sand in the reverse of the usual direction. Further measurements will reveal if this trend continues, or is reversed by sand production from increased calcareous algae growth around the structures.
Wave energy dissipation due to friction at the surface of the growing limestone minerals produced by the Biorock process is very quickly exceeded by the much larger, and rougher, surfaces provided by the prolific growth of corals, barnacles, sea grass, and all other living marine organisms as the structure becomes rapidly overgrown. The size, shape, and spacing of the structures, as well as the reef organisms growing on them, affect their performance as wave absorbers, and their designs can be readily changed by adding, or removing, sections as needed. Such structures can be designed to be oyster, mussel, clam, lobster, or fish habitat for highly productive and sustainable mariculture.
Biorock structures interact with waves over a very broad range of wavelengths, and are expected to produce wave diffraction on wavelength scales similar to the spacing of the structures—about 10 m—and over the spacing of the mesh—about 10 cm. Since the growing, self-repairing Biorock structures cannot be modelled by conventional hydrodynamic modeling schemes, it will be important to make physical measurements of wave energy around such structures to evaluate actual performance, and to optimize them for beach growth purposes.
The initial results of this project resulted in extraordinary beach growth, which could be improved with further experimentation under a wider range of conditions, and should be much more widely applied as a cost-effective beach restoration solution that uniquely restores marine ecosystem  services.
5. Conclusions
We have grown back severely eroded beaches naturally in months by growing Biorock electric reefs in front of them. These structures cost far less than sea walls or breakwaters and work on entirely different physical principles. They restore marine ecosystems as well as beaches. The exceptionally rapid growth of corals on them [31,33] provides additional shore protection, and the rapid growth of sand-producing calcareous algae on and around them produces new biological sand supplies. These structures can easily keep pace with global sea level rise because solid hard electrochemical minerals can be grown upwards at rates up to 2 cm/year—around 5 times faster than sea level rise—and grow still much faster when corals, oysters, mussels, and other calcareous organisms cover them. As a result, Biorock shore protection reefs quickly turn eroding beaches into growing ones, can protect entire islands and even grow new ones. Biorock is the most cost-effective technology for protecting eroding coasts, for restoring fisheries habitat, and is critically needed to save the low-lying islands and coasts now threatened by global sea level rise, and the billions of coastal people who will become climate refugees if global warming is not rapidly reversed [4,12].
6. Dedication
This paper is dedicated to the memory of the late Wolf Hilbertz, who first invented the Biorockprocess of growing minerals in the ocean in 1976, and who foresaw all its applications, including shore protection.
Acknowledgments: We thank the entire management and staff of Pulau Gangga Dive Resort and its parent company, Lotus Resorts, for their willingness to try new, better, more natural and effective approaches to shore protection. Lotus Resorts paid for all materials, equipment, domestic travel, and time. The authors thank them deeply for their willingness to pioneer innovative methods of shore protection. We also thank Lori Grace for providing funds for a round trip ticket to Indonesia for Thomas J. F. Goreau to construct the device to measure beach profiles. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions that have improved the original draft.
Author Contributions: T.J.F.G. and P.P. conceived, designed, built, and installed the first four Biorock Anti Wave modules and connected them to power; P.P. then built and installed the rest. T.J.F.G. analyzed the data; contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools; and wrote the paper. Although they are not listed as authors, because they did not work on the projects in the water, the entire management and staff of Lotus Resorts, operators of Pulau Gangga Dive Resort, played absolutely crucial roles in the design, logistics, funding, advice, information, and support for the work described. T.J.F.G. is a co-inventor of the Biorock electric technology of marine ecosystem restoration.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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