Episode 566 Small Island Developing States

Tom Goreau talks about coral reefs and biorock, and James Baird shows a long power point presentation of his concept, Thermodynamic Geoengineering, which develops the differential in heat between the top and bottom of a stratified ocean to produce what physicists call “work.”


Thomas Goreau

James Baird


ocean, water, reefs, call, place, coral reefs, nutrients, happening, energy, years, areas, oxygen, grew, fish, heat, Jim, El Niño, floating, ecosystems, islands


Thomas Goreau, Metta Spencer, Jim Baird


In this conversation, Metta Spencer discusses ocean conservation, climate change, and sustainable development for small island states with Dr. Tom Goreau and Dr. James Baird. Dr. Goreau is a coral reef scientist and president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Dr. Baird’s expertise is in thermodynamic geoengineering.

Dr. Goreau discussed the challenges faced by small island states, and especially their reliance on coastal resources and vulnerability to coral reef degradation. Coral reefs are essential ecosystems that are highly productive and biodiverse despite the threat of pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Goreau emphasized the importance of coral reefs and the need for sustainable management to protect them.

Dr. Baird’s research revolves around thermodynamic engineering, that focuses on ocean-based solutions to address climate change. His concern is with dead zones in oceans caused by excess nutrient runoff, leading to the growth of harmful algae blooms and oxygen depletion. He touched on the potential risk of large emissions of hydrogen sulfide from ocean dead zones, which historically have been linked to extinction events.

The group discussed the impacts of climate change on ocean circulation and the potential consequences of disrupted heat distribution in the oceans. The experts stressed the urgency of addressing these issues to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure the sustainability of ocean resources. They advocate for responsible management of ocean resources, that emphasize the need to collaborate to successfully tackle these complex challenges.  They highlight the connections between ocean ecosystems, climate change, and the well-being of small island nations.

Goreau explained the impact of El Niño on the ocean ecosystem. El Niño can cause a shirt in ocean temperature and circulation patterns that lead to large-scale bleaching and mortality of coral reefs. The rising baseline of global warming is making El Niño events more severe and frequent, threatening marine biodiversity and coastal communities. He reiterated the urgent need for action to protect reefs and address climate change.

Goreau introduced the concept of Bio-rock, a technology he developed to regenerate coral reefs. Bio Rock involves growing limestone rock structures using low-voltage electricity applied to steel frames submerged in seawater. These structures provide habitat for marine life, protect the coastline, and can even be used for sustainable building materials. Solar power is an important renewable energy source that can support such initiatives.

Jim Baird discussed ocean thermal energy which is a method that can generate electricity by utilizing the temperature difference between the warm surface water and cold deep water. This technology was pioneered in the late 19th century but faced challenges due to hurricanes. Baird proposed a new approach using fluids to move head down into the ocean which could slow down global warming. He suggested that fleets of floating systems could be deployed in hot ocean areas to achieve this.

Both speakers emphasized the importance of large-scale solutions to address climate change and ocean warming. Baird’s thermodynamic geoengineering and Goreau’s Bio-Rock technology may mitigate the impacts of global warming on the ocean ecosystem. They also discussed the possibility of floating solar panels among other renewable energy technologies to support these efforts.

The conversation highlighted the need for further exploration and research into sustainable solutions. It was agreed that a follow-up session would be valuable to delve even deeper into the potential details and applications of thermodynamic geoengineering and other related technologies to safeguard marine ecosystems and coastal communities.


The following transcript has been machine-generated using “otter.ai.” Prior to using information from the transcript, please watch the video to catch any obvious errors.

Metta Spencer  00:00

Hi, I’m Metta Spencer. And today let’s go to some small island states, if you will, it sounds like a very pleasant excursion to make to some places that have a lot of coastal area. The thing about an island is pretty far from a lot of sources of important energy. And so they have some predicament set people in larger areas that are not islands don’t have to worry about getting getting energy, and but they do have one resource they have, they’re surrounded by a lot of water. So there are people in this world who are very concerned about how to help developing countries that are small islands, use the resources that are actually available to them for meeting their own needs. And of course, they have other problems that some of us don’t face. One of them is, islands are usually we’re often surrounded by coral reefs. And coral reefs, as we know now are dying because of the heating in the oceans. Well, what, what can be done about that there’s, there are very few things frankly, that that look as if they might be able to solve the problems of this poor, beautiful little critters in the ocean. And I’m going to interview two people today who have some experience in working with small islands and the problems are there I have. One of them is Dr. Tom Goreau, who is the president of the Global coral reef Alliance, which is a nonprofit organization for coral reef protection and sustainable management. And he’s the coordinator of the UN commission for Sustainable Development Partnership in new technologies for small island developing states. The thing about Tom Goreau is that he’s a real diver. He claims that he has lived longer and in work coral reefs around the world than any other coral scientist. His father was the world’s first diving marine scientist, and he grew up swimming in coral reefs as soon as he could walk. So good morning, Tom Goreau. How are you?

Thomas Goreau  02:29

It’s a pleasure to be back with you on this program. And glad to Okay, well, the oceans Yes,

Metta Spencer  02:40

I’m gonna I’m gonna grill you in a bit. But first, let me introduce Dr. James Baird, or Mr. James Baird, who is the author of some very bold claim that he has his book published a book called thermodynamic geo engineering. And this is an important piece of work. But it’s based on a principle of physics that is way beyond my pay back pay grade, as they say, by the way, I do know that the oceans are stratifying in terms of temperatures so that the top layers are getting much warmer than the bottom layers. And there are some problems that arise from all kinds of stratification of the ocean. So I gathered that’s going to be a topic. So Jim Baird, say hello to our guests. And, and I want to greet you know, good morning. Okay, so now let’s get busy. I’m going to start with Tom Goreau. Is, Tom can explain what you’re all about, which is a little different from what he is all about. Although you’re both concerned about how to help small islands, is that right? So Tom, tell us about your own specialty, which is, I believe bio rock. I know a little bit about that. But I wanted to know a lot more. And then go on and and begin to give us an introduction to to Jim’s specialty, if you will.

Thomas Goreau  04:22

Okay, it’s a lot to cover. Well, I’m from Jamaica, in the Caribbean. And I’ve been diving all my life, since basically, since I could walk, I’ve been diving and swimming and in the reef, and my father and my grandfather were divers, and they began diving in the 1940s in the Marshall Islands of Bikini Atoll, to document the health of the coral reefs, and they were the first people to do that. So we’ve been doing that, you know, all over the world continuously since the 1940s. And so, they’ve long passed away but it’s what I do. okay to do because I have the largest and oldest collection of pictures of how things used to be and and you could quite quietly see any of these places now is basically what it boils down to. In most places the people who call, scientists have never seen a healthy reef, they have no idea what these two look like. They’re just single sort of the last dang remnants, a few handful places still left in good condition, but we’ve seen most of them disappear. In my lifetime, almost all have disappeared. And the handwriting is on the wall for almost all that’s left for a lot of reasons. And that’s because they are the most productive of all ecosystems in terms of the amount of biomass to produce the biodiversity per unit area, anything in the ocean. And they just excel in turn biomass, carbon storage, productivity, all those things. In a very tiny area less than 1/10 of 1% of the ocean. It’s not like rainforests that cover a large part of the Earth. This is like less than 1/10 of 1% of the ocean. So they’re only in shallow water because they need light. Corals need light, so they have to be shallow…

Metta Spencer  06:15

1/10 of 1% of the ocean?

Thomas Goreau  06:19

Less than 1/10 of 1% Yes, because you have to have water, the shallow and clear, it can’t be muddy, it can’t be too hot, it can’t be too cold. Because they’re the fussiest of organisms, about demanding perfect environmental conditions. That’s what they need. When they have that. Then they recycle everything. So they nothing gets wasted. You know, they pretty much yeah, this is extremely efficient. That’s how they live in the deserts of the ocean tropical waters are the clearest of all is because there’s no nutrients, there’s almost no phytoplankton in them. Okay, so and that’s what coral reefs live. And they do that by not not relying on a lot of garbage coming into them from outside or food. They do it by recycling what they have, but they are dependent on the outside, but a rate will watch them disappear.

Metta Spencer  07:07

I’m kind of so surprised that it’s such a small percentage of the ocean now, because what I had heard was that the rest of the ocean and we are often dependent on these, [inaudible].

Thomas Goreau  07:25

[inaudible] they are  hundreds of times richer than the rest of the ocean in terms of biodiversity per unit area, productivity per unit area, all of those things may have a quarter of all species of fish in the sea, or 25% in less than 0.1%. So it gives you an idea, but they’re off the scale in every regard. But they’re also the most vulnerable ball ecosystem because they require the cleanest waters. So if it gets too muddy, people cut down the rain forest and let the mud wash into the sea. The reefs die if they don’t treat their sewage and let this nutrients go into the sea. That becomes fertilizer for algae blooms, who we call eutrophication that smother and kill them. So that’s happening in every populated coastline of the world where you’re near people, as soon as fertilizer going to the scene where you used to have reeds. Now we’ve got big masses of weeds and slime and stuff that has no values replace not only the risks, but the whole ecosystem that was there in cold waters, we’ve lost the oyster reefs of the mussel reefs that used to be there. So So I mean, there’s there’s several issues there. But anyway, we’ve seen collapse of only ecosystems as we know. And so that’s one issue. Now, the blue economy is a big, sort of almost a mantra, or countries declared a good have a blue economy, you know, Canada, among them, and rightly so. But the thing is, is that we’re killing all our coastal ecosystems, that’s the place every place if you dive anywhere and knew how it was 50 years ago, you could cry, it doesn’t matter where in the world you go, you know. And so, there are a lot of reasons for that. And me as we know, you know, everyone is most aware of overfishing or over extraction, the collapse of the cod and you know, the the Grand Banks and all that you know, it’s this utter catastrophe has never come back even though you know, they pretty much wiped it out. It’s just not coming back as people would hope. So that’s an example that wiped out one of the which was which is fishing in the world. But we’re seeing that repeated every fisheries. That’s that’s what’s happening. So when I was a boy in Jamaica with huge groupers to 300 kilogram bloopers at the bottom of every week, and my father saw them, they were friendly would see them on every day. But as soon as he taught other people to die, they went back with spear guns, and we never saw them again. They were wiped out, gone forever. And that’s happened in every ecosystem, mostly because before people recorded what the big fear wore you know, the mostly by the time people were there making any measurements that had been fished out. And so like the big game online too, so, so definitely your overfishing has been out of control is causing the top down collapse of ecosystems, but at the same time, every global fish is collapsing from the bottom up for a lot of reasons. Okay, and that that is to say that they’re fueled by nutrients. And so in many cases out in the open ocean, where it’s clear blue water there, they’re no nutrients, that’s why the water is so transparent, you know. So those places could benefit from a bit more nutrients. But if you had too much, what happens is the weeds take over, and wipe out everything that was a volume, oyster, read some cold water or muscle is any place you you get basically a handful of worthless weeds have just smother everything else because they’re most able to soak up high levels of nutrients. So we’re seeing almost all coastal zones go that way. And it’s extending beyond that now, because a lot of people want to fertilize the ocean. But the thing is, what that will wind up doing is creating dead zones and deep water. Okay, now, dead zones didn’t used to be a problem. When I was a boy, I saw what was probably the first dead zone in the world was documented. in Kingston harbour, Jamaica, when I was a little boy, we had call recent side of Kingston harbour that I swam in, as a child. And in the space of about two years, the whole harbor went hand off the logo, except for the very surface area where oxygen could be mixed, as you know, hundreds of years of sewage and garbage and everything going into an enclosed body of water. from one year to another. It went from having live clams and worms of all kinds on the bottom of the harbor to be nothing at all, just all the oxygen disappeared. Mass mortality. And so the official nice swim in the surface where this you know, Sunny mixing from the air above. So we saw that happen to Jamaican marine biologist, Dr. Barry {inaudible].

Metta Spencer  12:09

Let’s be clear about one thing, and that is I want to, I’ve heard you’re talking about dead zones. And I’m familiar with the term but I, I do run across the concept of that there are areas of the ocean that are deserts. And those when they refer to that they usually say that they’re deserts in the sense that there’s not much life going on there because there’s an absence of iron. Now, are we talking about two different things here? What you’re calling?

Thomas Goreau  12:38

Yes, yeah, yes, because I mean, in a sense to see coral reefs occur in what we call the deserts of the ocean, the blue water that has so little nutrients, and it doesn’t have much productivity in large areas like that. And coral reefs are sort of adapted to those conditions, the low nutrient conditions. Now, when you get too much nutrients, so what happens is you get bursts of productivity, mostly small phytoplankton, and many of them aren’t allowed, come back to that a little later. But those bloom, and then they settled to the bottom and large amounts of rock. And when they rot, the bacteria use up all the oxygen in the water. And then when there’s no oxygen in the water, no other forms of life of bacteria complete, so they all die. And that’s what you call the Zeds. On the clams, the worms in the mud, the fish that are lying above all them just die, they go belly up, and the whole place stinks of hydrogen sulfide. So these deadzones used to be [inaudible]

Metta Spencer  13:37

Now hold on. Now you’re now you’re triggering smart questions for me. So I’m taking you off your, your line of thought, but I’ve got my own line of thought, because I got worried about something a couple of years ago when I interviewed Paul Werbos. And, and Peter Ward, who is the guy who wrote a book about the has written a lot about previous extinction events. Oh, yes. Yes, claim is their claim, as they discussed it was these extension of events had all been the result of large emissions of hydrogen sulfide, or what I guess we call swamp gas of the oceans, and that this occurred because the oceans became stratified. And because it was an absence of oxygen, oxygen in the bottom of the ocean, and that there are little critters called archaea. Maybe it is bouncing them who create who creates a hydrogen sulfide, and that we are in danger of of creating a new extinct extinction event by doing exactly what you’ve just been describing. And now am i Are you talking about the same kind of thing?

Thomas Goreau  14:58

Similar mechanism? Again, in the past, I mean, there were cases where the ocean went anoxic for other reasons, lack of circulation, lack of turnover. And meteorite strikes, volcanic explosions producing sulfur gas. So there’s a lot of causes. And some of those extinctions were in fact, linked to oceans that went anoxic, either as a cause or as a result, so that there’s a couple of issues there. But yeah, we’re doing that now on a large scale, essentially, our ocean had very few, what we call dead zones, these dead zones are not deserts of the ocean, these are songs that have no oxygen, so no higher life than them. And they smell of house and salt by the stink of rotten eggs. So that’s what’s distinctive about those habitat. So now, you know, we would have them under areas who were very productive, or lots of fight or pencil damaged, for exact, for example, the mouth of the Mississippi River, all that fertilizer running off through our cornfields fall out into the Mississippi, it causes huge blooms of algae. And then the algae when they rot and fall to the bottom, the oxygen disappears, all the fish and clams and shrimp die in the waters and no oxygen to breathe. And that’s spreading year by year. But it’s very worldwide, we’re seeing that in many coastal zones. Now, if that was stepping on a very large scale, then organic matter would accumulate there. And that would, you know, be removing co2 from the atmosphere in the long run. And that’s in fact, basically how these anoxic zones are how the earth got rid of excess co2, when there were mass extinctions caused by high co2, which is many of them caused by high co2. That that gradually got removed. Because the ocean went and asked God so hard, that they will surface water got to warm it wouldn’t mix down. The deep water didn’t circulate, it went and toxic. And at that point, organic matter rotted and piled up, it couldn’t decompose. And then eventually, over the course of hundreds of 1000s of years, that all the excess co2 was removed and buried in the sediments. And then, you know, a few million years later, new coral reefs could evolve. That’s happened several times in Earth’s history. So coral reefs are an indicator of those. I tell you,…

Metta Spencer  17:22

just because I want hot on the trail of this thing. Now you’re not you’re not saying that these dead zones that you’re investigating are likely to become big enough or serious enough with this hydrogen sulfide emission to actually create an extinction event. Now

Thomas Goreau  17:45

no, we’re not we’re not no we’re not we’re basically at this point. They are patches in coastal areas that get a lot of sediment and organic matter and nutrients flowing from rivers from cities, every place big populations on the coast. So we’ve seen dead zones appear. So it’s in the shallow coastal zones, which are the most productive those are the areas being affected but in some places receded the deep sea. I’ll give you an example. There’s a lot of salmon farming most of the salmon people eat are grown in farms. Most of these are floating salmon farms. They have them in Canada, Nova Scotia in British Columbia, they have been Norway and Scotland and New Zealand. And Chile is the world’s largest now and I just did a project affording salmon farm and Chilean what’s happening under these things is all the rotting food that they dump in constant flow of food to these things you know, manufactured material was very expensive produce has high embedded co2 and all that they’re not eating well fish are eating pellets that are constantly fed to them in industrial process. Most of that falls to the bottom okay, I was watching video the sound sound eat only a tiny fraction and most of that stuff goes down and then there’s all the salmon excrement Okay, and all that goes to the bottom. And if you were to dive to the bottom, you would see a 40 foot black pile of rotting dead material. It’s overgrown with white material because those are the bacteria that are consuming the hydrogen sulfide come in from all this and non toxic mess. Now, as these things build up in the fjords in these places, what’s happening now is as creating dead zones and the surrounding water waters, you know, oxygen stripped out in the sediment consumed from the water and then that those dead zones and kill mussels, huge clam beds and chewy had been killed chiller, fjords have the only cold water shallow water coral reefs in the world. 20 kilometers of them have been killed by the salmon farm effluence first and then then they’re causing harmful algae blooms. The harmful algae blooms early toxic microscopic algae, but when there’s a lot of nutrients they eat Take off. And these things secrete toxins or those wind up killing everything in the water, shellfish, fish, everything that’s in that water can dab those types. So those are becoming more and more common, too. So so we’re really doing a number on our coastal zone, let’s put it this way. And the only point I want to make here is that to solve this problem, we’re not going to have a book on it, if we keep killing all our marine resources, we want to have them, we’ve got to be growing stuff back and using sustainable energy to do so. And with the ocean being 70% of the earth, that that’s a huge imperative. But right now, we’re mismanaging both the ocean and the earth. And a lot of the mismanagement of the ocean is caused by stuff coming from land. So you know, the stuff we’re dumping, we have the technology to reverse that, and I want to come back to them that does relate to sustainable energy, and in particular ocean energy. And we want to come back to that too. But let me let me say something about global warming, in a bit at this point, okay. And that, that that is that the co2 and other greenhouse gases will put into the atmosphere, who created this imbalance of heat is more than two watts per square meter meter every constantly, you know, energy rising, coming in and not going back out, the whole planet is warming up, because of that huge imbalance. And we haven’t felt it yet. We haven’t filled in yet, because about 93% of that heat is disappearing into the ocean, okay, some portion of that is melting the ice caps, that doesn’t raise the temperature, as long as ice is melting, the temperature doesn’t increase, it’s only when it’s all gone, that the temperature starts going back up. So so we’ve got the plant is heating up without the temperature increase as long as as as to melt at least in those areas. But But and then the lands warming up a little bit and the atmosphere a little bit, but you’d said that if all the heat that went into the ocean had gone into the atmosphere, instead, the temperature would have risen saying 38 decrease, see, okay, so what’s happening screen to the deep ocean, slowly. But what happens is fundamental, that you have to know about the ocean takes about 1500 years to mix, turning over. Okay? And that’s where this comes back to that issue that you raised. It’s changing with global warming, that is the temperature distribution. So what’s happening is that the surface waters warming up, the warmer water expands, it’s less dense, it floats on top, okay, and if it’s fresh water, the same thing happens. Okay, but to mix the ocean basically, you got to have a place where water gets dense enough to go down. That’s what’s driving the whole system. That’s what they would call the ocean made a couple of names with this new acronym was popular with the ocean charting over Atlantic Ocean [turning over], for instance, which people say is grinding to a halt. Okay, slowly reducing and people are saying that in another couple decades, and stop entirely without mixing that’s…

Metta Spencer  23:11

[Is that what] they called thermohaline currents?

Thomas Goreau  23:17

Yeah, the Atlantic, overturning meridional circulation are marked I think, yes. People are concerned about that. Not not necessary, correct. But I mean, the key point is, is surface waters getting so warm, that the new concern the deep water, you understand the nutrients are removed by the phytoplankton, they fall to the bottom decomposed to the bottom waters full of nutrients, it’s very cold, it’s very cold, because of hole deep ocean has been chilled to the freezing temperature, it’s four degrees C is on the bottom waters, it’s and it’s been chilled by cold water coming down mostly in Greenland from the Arctic, but also from Antarctica, a couple places where the water normally gets so cold sinks to the bottom. And that drives that mixing of the whole sea. But now the water there is getting too fresh and too warm to sink. So it’s no longer able to do that mixing and that if that happens, I mean that then what will happen is the heat won’t be mixing down to see to me it’ll accumulate at the surface faster. And so because it only takes a small change in the rate at which has slowed down in the rate of heat mixing into the deep sea for the surface to start warming up very quickly. And that fluctuates from year to year because the mixing events are not not really predictable. A lot of it is driven by storms, okay? And a lot of especially around Antarctica, too. That’s another key area because the wind there the current spill right around the world, and they get squeezed between South America and Antarctica and they there they hit deep sea mounts that cause huge amounts of vertical mixing Those areas are also changing. So we’re seeing, you know, slow down at the ocean circulation. Now, that doesn’t mean the Gulf Stream will end, which a lot of people seem to think because the Gulf Stream is not driven by the density mixing of the ocean. It’s driven by the rotation of the earth. And as long as the Earth is rotating, there has to be a gold stream, you know that this is a different story. So, so there’s mixing for other reasons. But But what we’re seeing in many parts of the world now is that a lot of the fisheries depends on upwelling. It depends on seasonal events where the winds pour cold water up that’s rich in nutrients, deep water gets sucked up to the surface, the phytoplankton bloom, the fish get happy. All the productivity of Peru is famous for is based on that kind of upwelling. during an El Nino, the upwelling stops and suddenly the fish populations collapse. So

Metta Spencer  25:55

Hold on now, you said something interesting, that during El Nino El Nino, the this happens to explain that.

Thomas Goreau  26:05

Well, you know, normally, the waters of Peru, and Ecuador and Chile are cold. And that’s because the winds are blowing over South America pushing the surface water away from the coast, sucking up deep cold water. And that’s the end of the global pattern of ocean circulation. That’s where the highest nutrients the loss, oxygen is in the east pacific northeast Pacific from you know, Alaska, British Columbia, all the way down to QA that that both water the sort of the oldest deep waters in the world. So there’s the richness of nutrients. So when they get pulled up to the surface, you get these huge booms. Okay, so soak then the, the blooms are so big that they cause an oxygen deadzones in the sediments beneath them. Okay, now, when it gets very hot off chewy, which is an El Nino, then what happens is the water becomes so warm that the upwelling can’t reach the surface. Okay, this is a massive warm water sitting in the way. So the phytoplankton starve the fish starve the bird starve. The whole productivity collapses. Okay, now, we’re right now halfway until the new what happened is we got a very rare I follow it every day the temperatures? Yeah. No, no, no, we’re halfway internal near we’ve had a very prolonged land Nino that went on for about three years, which was really exceptional. And then suddenly, about about a month or two ago, it’s suddenly switched into El Nino mode warmed up very rapidly in these Pacific in these specific values, very warm, but it didn’t, then it stalled, and stalled halfway in. And it could go either way. At this point, no, no one is no good models to predict what will happen. So basically, it’s very hard off Ecuador now. And we’re halfway there. But we’re not sure yet what’s going to happen. So but but the thing is, what is happening is to remember, because of global warming, El Nino produces these irregular oscillations that are not very predictable, that affect climate worldwide. But they’re on a rising baseline. So on the average each El Nino is harder than the one before. And the last ones have all been records. I mean, they’ll cause catastrophic bleaching mortality in reefs around the world. I mean, right now Florida’s would lose most of the corals and Cuban The Bahamas in the next week or two from bleaching and most of the rest of the Caribbean probably but it’s it’s just beginning to bleach and most of the rest. A large areas of the Pacific could be affected. This does develop into for El Nino, which we don’t really know if it will or not, but is likely to then a lot of good lose most of the calls left in the places that are affected Bellini not not every place, by the way is affected in the same way. Some areas get hotter, some areas get cooler, you know, there’s a mixture, but a lot of areas are affected. And we’ve seen mass mortalities of calls it all the last Dominions that been in some cases, I’ve seen REITs in the Maldives, places like that, where 99% of the calls died in about a week or two, because water was too hot for them. So call wheeze can’t take any more temperature there at the limit. We’ve lost most of them already behind writing’s on the wall with the next LM Nino weather that that’s going to be next month or next year. And so there’s a lot that could have said not only the biodiversity, but also the people who live on with them. And that is to say the beaches, the ecosystems, the fishes and all that, then we have a lot to do. So. I don’t want to explain a bit. I don’t want to say it’s hopeless. We do have a technology to solve a problem. So maybe I  should jump into that.

Metta Spencer  30:02

Yeah, let’s talk about Bio rock and thermal whatever.

Thomas Goreau  30:06

Right. So what what we do with bio rock is living rock we’ve installed so here’s a piece of rock, okay, this is as you can see as a metal bar here in the middle piece of reinforcing bar. And this is limestone rock with the pyramids are made out of, and this is this about two to three times harder than ordinary concrete. And this is we grew this in the Maldives, and this is about two years or so of growth, okay to get we get material like a lot harder than concrete. Only if we got less than one to two centimeters here, what we do is it makes structures on steel, ordinary construction steel, Now, everyone knows you put steel on the water’s going to rust, but what we do is we apply a trickle charge of about choosing what you would get from a six volt battery trickle charge about trustee to that direct current is not alternating current, it’s, you know, very low voltage, you can’t even feel it, okay in the water. But that prevents

Metta Spencer  31:08

How big the battery is that that, you need to use for that, is that like…

Thomas Goreau  31:13

It depends on bigger structure, we don’t use six volt batteries. We use other other power sources such as solar panels.

Metta Spencer  31:20

Six volt battery is compared to let’s say what’s in my car,

Thomas Goreau  31:24

Well that would be a 12 volt battery, a six volt battery would you’d have you know, I guess a small lawn lawn more maybe so. But the point is, is a direct current, not alternating current, it’s extremely safe at low but it prevents rusting of the steel. Then the next step is the old trusty electrical current actually breaks down water waters, hydrogen, oxygen, h2o, and so it the water itself with the little trickle of electricity breaks down to make hydrogen and oxygen. One of the terminals, it also grows limestone rock out of the sea. Okay, limestone is dissolved in the ocean. So it only works in the ocean because the ocean is salty, electrically conductive. It doesn’t work in freshwater. So but but there’s lots of dissolved limestone in the sea. And so like a coral, coral skeleton and there’s some up behind me, maybe you can see them behind me but I call skeleton or the snail shell is made out of dissolved calcium and carbon in the water that it takes up and uses its energy to make a shell of precise shape or form. And we could we can basically do the same thing with a little trickle of electricity. So we can make the structure of any size or shape in the sea and turn it into rock. So now the coral reef does call with absorbs about 97% up to 97% has been measured of all the wave energy being absorbed by Rip. It’s designed to absorb energy, extract food from the water and all that. That’s what coral reefs do. And so, but they don’t reflect the way because reflection causes erosion causes damage or full of holes. And so the water goes through the roof. It loses energy going through the read from the organism to extract and release stuff. And it’s a dynamic medium, but it’s not not an impact that reflects, we build sea walls that are solid, because reflection that erodes all the sand in front and then the sand underneath and then the sea wall collapses then you have to build another one. So that at all sea walls that have ever been built, that’s a story that’s a reflection that damage doesn’t cause the roads but it doesn’t do that a reef accumulate sediment and stores it because it creates beaches behind it, they’re protected. So what we do is we grow reefs shaped like a reef openFrameworks of steel. This is just a little piece where I had sought out a one that was two years old in the Maldives. But this this wreath here and several things it grew back a severely eroded beach and it washed away by itself because it took a place where the waves and you know trees and buildings are falling into the sea. We brew a reef in front of it. The wave slowed down the sand piled up underneath it and the beach grew back by itself no sand pumping, no dumping anything else so and and then the official moved into the reef because it had was lots of holes that they wanted. And then the next year, they had the worst coral bleaching they ever had in the Maldives and 99% of the corals on that reef died of high temperature and the calls were blowing on the sweets survived. Oh my goodness, they were stronger. They’re going faster and they were more resistant. So we do this to save reefs from global warming is the only method that does that to go back beaches that are washed away. And we could do this You know, in any place in cold waters, we go histories or muscle reads. So it’s not just quarries works with any marine ecos. We go seagrasses faster, we think will go a mangoes faster. So we think that this is a technology that can be used to make genuine poor economies based on regenerating the coastal ecosystems and their ecosystem services, shore protection make providing new sand being the base for fisheries and these researchers packed with fish, once we get them going here or lobsters or wherever we can feel the habitat for octopuses, we have a mechanism for regenerating visa, we began doing this in Jamaica with 1980s, we built about 700 or so of these reefs all around the world, in about 45 countries, mostly in Indonesia, we just had a lot of students who have been into it there, but it couldn’t be done every place. So we need electricity. And that’s where we come now to the issue of the fact that small island developing states for example, like Jamaica elecsys is extremely expensive, because we have no energy resources, all all the fuels imported at high costs is a small economies that no economies of scale, like there aren’t big countries. So you have to pay the maximum amount for everything to be shipped concrete cement, you know, shipped shipped to our in the Pacific is just incredibly expensive to ship halfway around the world. So, so people pay far more for electricity, and in small islands they do in the world as a whole. So I think that alpengirl would have been so there’s been a big push to try to develop sustainable energy and all Bisi for most small island states being tropical, the key issue is how to tap the sunshine and how to tap the ocean energy. Now we’ve worked for years with with pioneers in ocean energy, wave energy, tidal, turbines, and all of that. And all those technologies are very interesting. But they all have difficulties because they’re mechanically complex, you’ve got things are spinning, or rotating or pumping or moving. And when they break, they’re not simple to fix. They’re very technically difficult. And they do break in big waves, you know, the moving parts. And so the wonderful one, they work but they stop working a lot sooner than you would like. And they are very expensive. And we don’t see them being a solution in poor countries. Solar energy, on the other hand, now has become so cheap that we’re down to one cent a kilowatt hour for for, you know, operating solar power plants is coming down. So that that’s that’s causing something of a revolution now, so I want to mention that. But to that we

Metta Spencer  37:49

I have a question, if they can use equally well, the solar energy or the wave energy, or the wind for your electronic system, right? That’s…

Thomas Goreau  38:10

You can use any source, but we’ve used all of them. And you know, we’ve used in many cases, we’re forced to use fossil fuel energy too, because that’s what’s available. But but the thing is, is that solar energy has no moving parts. And it’s coming now to the fact that it costs far less than the other things and has no maintenance costs. So we’re gonna walk

Metta Spencer  38:30

So the future there is going to be solar, right?

Thomas Goreau  38:34

Yes, I mean, that’s that’s a key thing. I think that basically, no other technology is going to be able to compete. They’re all wonderful. We want to see those promoted in their own way. But the thing is right now, for instance, we’re working with the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank is developing floating solar panel projects for Atoll countries of the Pacific. So for instance, we’re helping the Asian Development Bank, develop growing bio rock riffs in order to protect these huge multi megawatt floating arrays are going to power entire islands. These islands have no energy resources when I lived in these islands, or Tarawa in Kiribati, and Funafuti in Tuvalu. It was no electricity because the power plant had broken down. And so now all of a sudden, they’re suddenly going to have electricity where they didn’t have that before. Okay, these are the first countries that are going to be flooded. So now they’re going to have electricity, we’re going to start by trying to go by rock reefs partly for fisheries habitat partly for mericulty, partly to protect these things, but the thing with this is they can keep up with sea level rise.

Metta Spencer  39:44

One other thought is does that stuff have any value in itself? In other words, you’re limestone there. Could you use it for cement or something?

Thomas Goreau  39:54

Yeah, yes. So originally, this was invented by an architect he wasn’t trying to regenerate color It’s a tall he was trying to grow blocks, building materials, then used to make houses and land. Okay, then

Metta Spencer  40:08

So you would use a whole block of it, you wouldn’t crush it and re reuse.

Thomas Goreau  40:13

Well, that’s right. Yeah, the thing is, though, that you have to go no more than two centimeters a year. So if you want a wall that’s 20 centimeters thick, people don’t want to wait 10 years. That’s why it didn’t take off. But the thing is, what’s cheap, the cost of it depends on the cost of electricity. So cheap solar power, it becomes far cheaper than concrete in a lot of places, and harder, okay, so so there is a real possibility, if they have excess solar energy, for instance, in these countries, they never had enough energy at all. But now they may be about to be in a situation we have that. And then in addition, if we’ve got very quickly, instead of making hard material that’s slow, we’ve got quickly, we make a powder, okay, and that we make a cement from that absorbs co2 from the atmosphere, it turns into magnesium carbonate, which is even harder than calcium carbonate, and is more than half co2 by way, but that would remove co2 directly from the air itself, not from the water would go out in the ocean. So it has a lot of possibilities. He’s islands, in other words that are being drowned by sea level rise, could be producing enough material to keep up with sea level rise, which is now about three to four millimeters a year, but it’s going to accelerate because the warming we’re seeing, especially in the Arctic, and Antarctic is accelerating the melt, and it’s getting close to irreversible. That means we’ve got meters of the stuff coming. I mean, I don’t think people understand how critical it is. And I mentioned also that, you know, It’s life and death for small islands, but Canada has the largest coastline in the world.

Metta Spencer  41:55

Well, let’s talk about the thermo thing dynamic thing. I want to know,

Thomas Goreau  42:01

Yes, let me let me mention just before we get to that as a personal I mean, by way of introduction for Jim is that this ocean thermal energy is a way of taking that difference between that cold deep water [that was] chilled and the warm surface water. So that allows you in effect, if you can exchange heat, to that you can set up a thermal cycle with you can make our crystal with at a low level of efficiency, but there’s a lot of water out there. And this was understood by French engineer Arsene d’Arsonval and he set up the first ocean thermal energy power plant in Havana, Cuba, in the 1890s. Okay, and it worked perfectly, were able to generate electricity from that thermal difference between the cold deep water and the warm surface water. And fortunately, as soon as they got it working was destroyed by a hurricane. And they then they lost all their investment, they got investors to get the new one, they built a second one on the same spot. And another hurricane took it out at that point they gave up. So this was proven in Cuba, you know, 100, you know, more than 120 years ago. So that that that method now, there was a gentleman who who were hoping could join us our finger who’s my friend who has been a big promoter of ocean thermal energy for small island states, and Dan Gretchen, they’re about to set up the first such plant in the island of Sao Tome, which is in the [Bignt of Benin] in the corner of Africa, just east of Nigeria, and north of Cameroon does the east south of Cameroon is not put the Congo. So it’s a small island that isn’t a place where they’ve got cold deep water and shallow water nearby. So that’s going to be the first it’s going to be technically difficult because they need large pipes, they need to be pumping cold water up above. Now, what Jim is promoting is something that’s really very different than that. And that is, I think his video will show that but this is basically a way of not pumping the water up and pumping the heat down. By using another fluid to transport the heat, it takes a lot of energy to pump water because it’s bulky. Okay, so that that creates an efficient review’s another fluid, you can actually pump the heat down. Now, his idea is to do it on such a scale, that you slow down global warming by preventing the heat building up on the surface if you do it on a big enough scale. And that’s the only really effective way we have for slowing down global warming at this point I mentioned but the ocean is what’s driving the system. This is not a permanent solution because because it’s slowing it down by putting the heat down to the board eventually that’s going to come back up. So we still need to balance the car carbon cycle that co2 at safe levels in the long run, it doesn’t avoid the need to get off of fossil fuel economy and really start regenerating ecosystems where they store carbon, which we know how to do bare rock being one example of those those many regenerative technologies, but Jim’s ideas to do the ocean heat pumping to what he calls thermodynamic geoengineering. And his videos could explain it. I don’t know, Jim, if you want to expand a bit more, but let me just say that geoengineering has gotten a bad name because it’s been associated with spring sulfuric acid is a space which has all sorts of heal, we went through the acid rain in the 70s. And in Europe and North America, hope we never go through that again, it seems madness to promote that. So unfortunately, that became the image of geoengineering. But we’re now at the point of we’re about to lose rates, we’re about to lose many other ecosystems, which are going to be the first to go if we don’t start doing something to affect heat directly. Now, we know how to stabilize the co2 cycle, but it’s not quick. We can plant trees we can store grow mangoes, venerate blue carbon on a large scale with biochar, but just not quick enough to avoid what we would call catastrophic overshoot and dangerous overshoot is what we’re headed for right now. And so that means dealing with the heat itself directly rather than you’ve got to do the co2 stuff and let it do its magic. But somehow you’ve got to deal with the heat at first, if you don’t want to have [over] that that’s [inaudible] geoengineering aims to do. I think that Jim is that maybe you can say more?

Metta Spencer  46:43

Okay, what can we do about that?

Jim Baird  46:45

Can I share my screen? **powerpoint presentation**to

Thomas Goreau  1:12:21

Jim, did you have any more you wanted to say or present on the larger scale applications of this concept?

Jim Baird  1:12:28

You say you say it’s a temporary solution. I, I think that’s totally wrong. I mean, the heated global warming is is is is, is a 408 is 408 terawatts. And all we’re all working, all we’re going to produce is 31%, the heat we send into the into the deep is there is going to return in 226 years. And then that heat, again can be recycled 13 times until all of the heat of global warming is consumed.

Thomas Goreau  1:13:10

That’s what’s really important about this method is it’s a way of moving the heat down. I mean, that that’s really the key thing that that slows down surface warming, which is out of control, and which is accelerating sea level rise. And that’s we have meters of sea level rise ahead of us people don’t realize how serious that is. So so all of the other forms of sustainable energy do not help cool with the ocean itself. I mean, I think that’s that’s the key thing about this technology. But it would have to be applied, as Jim says on a large scale. Now, so he’s envisioning, I think fleets of floating systems like floating solar panels could also be part of that, for example, because we know we know now that there’s a big investment in folding solar panels. I mean, I said I’m involved with politics and Carabosse and Tuvalu. But the Maldives I’m also involved with projects their Asian Development Bank is planning to do them in 11 Pacific countries, so there’s going to be serious investment in that but now these are mostly they’re looking for areas and protected lagoons. But now with Jim’s thinking about is more out there in the open sea because you’re trying to get above the deep water. One issue with the small island states is that they have vastly greater areas of ocean and they have of land vastly greater and so the small island developing states are now recall casting themselves was large ocean states. And the fact is that they’re not getting very much out of those large areas of ocean at this point, because what they’re doing is leasing it to foreign tuna fleets are simply taking everything they can take. I mean, so it’s it’s, you know, it’s the usual destructive overfishing mode that they countries get up per se of what’s reported, but it’s grossly under report. And so so they’re really running their own coastal ecosystems down. But if they’re making energy in those areas, they have large areas of ocean that they could be using to have floating reefs. Whereas with bar rock, we can make floating reefs in a sense upside down, that would attract fish, tuna, Mahi Mahi, all these fish loves shade. Now, the thing is, you know, call resources are limited to very small area, shallow water, but we can now grow them out over deep blue water if they’re floating and like to something like, Oh, yes, yes. So that’s one thing we’re looking at with the atoll countries because of find a way to enhance the quality of their tuna habitat in their populations by making floating habitats in their territorial waters. So that’s definitely one of the things we’re looking at. So I think that that could be linked to, to thermal damage engineering, I think, Jim, your view was that these things would not be fixed at a given location that you would move around.

Jim Baird  1:16:05

They have to you want to move to where the waters are hottest, which is seasonal so you, you you’re you’re grazing the oceans to find the the hot hottest waters.

Metta Spencer  1:16:22

I think we’re gonna need another session to to explore this. So if you’re, if you’re willing, I’ll set up another time. And we’ll, we’ll have another go at it. Thank you so much, both of you. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Now. I’ll watch it two or three times over, make sure I get it. Okay. Thanks. Have a good day. Bye bye. Project Save the World possesses these forums. This is episode number 566. You can watch them or listen to them as audio podcasts on our website tosavetheworld.ca people share information there to about six global issues. To find a particularly talk show, enter its title or episode number in the search bar with the name of one of the guest speakers. Project save the world also produces a quarterly online publication Peace magazine. You could subscribe for $20 Canadian per year, go to pressreader.com on your browser, and in the search bar enter the word peace. You will find buttons to click to subscribe.




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