Monbiot: Global Warming Jellyfish Apocalypse – End of Vertebrate Life Is Nigh.

In another gem of a piece that exceeds even his infamous “2012 Meat Apocalypse” prediction, George Monbiot has warned that global warming Co2 is breeding an invasion of the jellyfish that spells the end of vertebrate life itself!

Monbiot starts his latest Jeremiad by observing that there used to be a lot more fish in the sea, citing two impeccable scientific sources: himself and old people who remember how many more mackerel there used to be. Apparently, you used to be able to just walk along the beach with a bucket and the fish would just about leap into it for you. Ah, the good old days!

Finding that there is no scientific explanation – or even data – on why things are no longer what they used to be in the world of mackerel, our hero jumps into a kayak and paddles three miles (!) out to sea. He doesn’t see any mackerel, but does spot something else. “Unimaginable numbers” of monster jellyfish!

But I could also see something else. Jellyfish. Unimaginable numbers of them. Not the transparent cocktail umbrellas I was used to, but solid, white rubbery creatures the size of footballs. They roiled in the surface or loomed, vast and pale, in the depths. There was scarcely a cubic metre of water without one.

Yikes! Could the arrival of these monster jellyfish spell a doom of Lovecraftian proportions and strangeness? Monbiot believes it could well do. This could be the end of vertebrate ecology itself we are witnessing:

Is this the moment? Have I just witnessed the beginning of the end of vertebrate ecology here? If so, the shift might not be confined to Cardigan Bay. In a perfect conjunction of two of my recent interests, last week a monstrous swarm of jellyfish succeeded where Greenpeace has failed, and shut down both reactors at the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland.

Damm those monster jellyfish! But why now? What is causing this terrifying invasion? Could it possibly be down to C02 and global warming? Why yes it could be:

A combination of overfishing and ocean acidification (caused by rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) has created the perfect conditions for this shift from a system dominated by fish to a system dominated by jellyfish.

If this is indeed what we’re seeing, the end of vertebrate ecology is a direct result of the end of vertebrate politics: the utter spinelessness of the people charged with protecting the life of the seas.

The jellyfish are coming, thanks to C02, and they’re shutting down the power stations as they move inexorably to a “system dominated by jellyfish”. This, surely, is proof of the unprecedented effects of global warming? We’ve never had jellyfish breeding in such numbers as to shut down power stations before, after all. Have we?

Well, of course, it’s nothing new – this has all happened before. Like in the Phillipines in 1999, where an “enormous concentration” of jellyfish was blamed for crippling the new power station. In Miami in 1984, where a “huge crowd of jellyfish” shut down the nuclear reactor at the St Lucie power station and again in 1993. In Tampa Bay in 1971, where massive “swarms” of jellyfish shut down the power plant.  In Tokyo in 1972, where they closed a power plant, in the Persian gulf in 1958 where they shut down an oil refinery, in the North Atlantic in 1924, when “myriads” of jellyfish “have begun to invade important fishing grounds, where they are devouring the eggs of a valuable food fish” (could that be mackerel, perhaps?). The list goes on and on and on.

As a zoologist, you would have thought Monbiot would be unperturbed by the fact that certain species go through population boom/bust cycles. Whilst there has (of course) been speculation about a link between global warming and jellyfish numbers, marine biologists have rejected this idea, noting that such population surges are perfectly normal and “have been going on for hundreds of years”. But I guess “global warming jellyfish apocalypse” was just too good a theme to let it go to waste.

Having backtracked on his “2012 Meat Apocalypse” prediction, Monbiot’s latest is even better – the end of vertebrate life and the imposition of “a system dominated by jellyfish” who apparently are starting by shutting down power stations. Run for the hills!

35 responses to “Monbiot: Global Warming Jellyfish Apocalypse – End of Vertebrate Life Is Nigh.

  1. Who knows, maybe the jellyfish are going to shut down wind turbines to save birds! You know, it wouldnt be the first time something like this could be said…oh wait, maybe I am just as imaginative as Mr. Monbiot is..

    That leaves me with a second question, what are they putting in the water over in the UK?

  2. (SarcOn) I’ll bet anything that The BigOne will develope soon along the Japanese Coast feeding off nuclear impregnated planction and mini-fauna, it will grow to enormous proportions and come ashore in Tokyo Bay and begin its worldwide trek by first consuming the Japanese megalopolis and slowly move on to devour the rest of the population. The Chinese will cheer, but their day is coming. Korea is next. The North Koreans will nuc it with everything they can in order to save their innocent, poor, huddled masses yerning for a bite to eat. China is next! More and more nucs will be aimed and detonated against the monster. Big mistake! Nuc energy only makes it grow BIGGER and STRONGER. The end of the world will come soon thereafter, when it divides into enormous replicas of itself and the beastly beings cross the Urals, the Alps, the Rockys, the… Then the Moon. Then Venus. Then Mercury. Then.. no! no! Then The Sun? (Music plays softly..) The Biggest Monster is said to say, “Slurp! Slurp! Fizz! Fizz! Oh what a RELIEF IT IS”(SarcOff)

    Will No.10 investigate Monbiot too?

  3. Can we eat these Jellyfish, yeah no more starving millions.

    Jellyfish recipes anyone.

  4. Pingback: Today’s Prompt: 2012 Apocalypse Theory | bardicblogger

  5. Here’s a newspaper article from even further back (tinyurled for convenience):

    “And now these vermin of the sea have increased in numbers and have begun to invade important fishing grounds, where they are devouring the eggs of valuable food fish. This has become a matter of serious importance and the resources of science have been appealed to in the hope of ridding the ocean of this pest. But scientists have not yet found a remedy.”

    The Pittsburgh Press, July 27 – 1924.

  6. “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

    I did hear that the Moonbat’s ego was visible from space, though perhaps it was just an algal bloom being devoured by jellyfish before they program their GPS to the location of the nearest power station outfall. I may be wrong though, which is a phrase rarely heard from those on the other side of the climate debate.

  7. Good to see you back, HTL! Missed your posts!

    Re the Jellyfish: I Am Not A Zoologist… but i remember that in the early 70ies my parents dragged me (i must have been 6 or so) to vacation at the West German Baltic Sea coast near Travemünde if i recall correctly. I HATED it. Not only because the water was friggin cold but because it was full of… unimaginable numbers of football sized white jellyfish! It must have been the end of vertebrate life that i witnessed… Oh why didn’t i take this observation to the bank; i could have founded a doomsday cult like Greenpeace and be a multimillionaire by now…

    Maybe i wasn’t taking it seriously enough.

    • Hey Dirk, nice to see you again. won’t be posting that much, but as and when I can.

      Cheers for the comment, btw. Doesn’t surprise me. Typical alarmist tactic to take a perfectly normal even and try and manufacture the end of the world with it.

  8. The breeding of the jellyfish in high number should not be welcome by those who believe in CO2 warming, as it could turn out that these creatures do more on global warming than C02. See: „Jellyfish help mix the world’s oceans“; Published online 29 July 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.745 ;;
    (Roberta Kwok writes )
    __“Small sea creatures such as jellyfish may contribute to ocean mixing by pulling water along as they swim, according to a new study. The collective movement of animals could generate stirring of the same order as winds and tides, the authors suggest.”
    __” If swimming animals do affect ocean mixing substantially, climate modellers will face “a forbidding challenge”, says physical oceanographer Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.”
    (Image caption: Animals such as jellyfish could play a big role in ocean circulation.)

  9. This conclusion from an article in ‘Live Science’ by Wynne Parry dated 20th October 2010:

    ‘Jellyfish blooms are nothing new; these sudden proliferations of medusa are recorded in the fossil record more than 500 million years ago. “So it is hard to know if that is any different than it was a long time ago,” according to Haddock*.

    Haddock, also a member of the NCEAS working group, said he came across a 1925 study of jellyfish reproduction, which the author speculated would help explain the masses of jellyfish that had washed up onto the beach in Monterey Bay. “Even for him in 1925, it went without saying, yeah, we get these big jellyfish blooms all the time.” ‘

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…………

    (*ha ha! Apt or what?)

    • And another biologist notes that these swarms are nothing new. Thanks for that!

      Honestly, what WAS Monbiot doing during his undergraduate degree in Zoology???

      • It says in Monbiot’s profile:

        ‘During seven years of investigative journeys in Indonesia, Brazil and East Africa, he was shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked and stung into a poisoned coma by hornets. He came back to work in Britain after being pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar General Hospital in north-western Kenya, having contracted cerebral malaria.’

        Make of this what you will!

  10. Jean Demesure

    “Jellyfish recipes anyone.”
    Asians have plenties of recipes. Dried jellyfish is a huge international market and now, even the Mexicans are exporting it to Asia.
    Catastrophists are not only delusional, their worldview is desperately wrong!

  11. Sea water is acidic? Wait,… did I miss something happening where sea water is now acidic?

  12. Dot’s Crop! They produce like fleas, mosquitoes, flies, or others like them! It’s like saying plankton is going to have an Apocalypse . . . .

    “He’s pulling your leg” . . . “Jerking your chain” . . . Testing your gullibility!

  13. A few days ago on a WUWT thread some people said, hey this Monbiot guy, he can really talk sense – because he broke with Green tradition, pointing out advantages of nuclear power. They went so far as to say he could be a potential ally; to which i responded that in my opinion he’s mentally unstable.

    Did he read my comment and decided to prove me correct? Or was i clairvoyant? Probably neither. It’s just that i met mentally unstable persons in real life before.

  14. @ ArndB:

    I tend to surmise they “are catching the wave” or “riding the current” as opposed to “making the wave or the current”! Like air or waves it’s about heating mixing with the cooled. Like light mixing with dark on a night with a full moon, which is only reflection.

    But, I am open to evidence . . . . of your assertion!

    • Kindly take as RE my comment to the NATURE article by Roberta Kwok (reference at my pervious comment ArndB | July 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm)
      _____(2009-08-02 05:46:17) “No wonder that Carl Wunsch of MIT expects a “formidable challenge” to model the swimming animals affect on ocean mixing, and other mixing source would quickly come into focus as well, e.g. local and world wide shipping. The problem is that jellyfish, other ocean creatures, and shipping are already included in the average of weather and climate statistics. It would be difficulty to detect “noise”. But if jellyfish could be linked to ocean mixing why not such a sudden event as a brief but a devastating naval war. Only few month after World War II started in September 1939 Northern Europe was dragged into the coldest winter for 100 years and a global cooling started which lasted until the mid 1970s. From 1942 to 1945 the North Pacific and North Atlantic had been battle fields for naval warfare. A further significant climatic trend occurred in the Arctic at the end of the Great War in 1918. Suddenly the Arctic warmed up at Spitsbergen at 80 degrees North, which is connected with the naval battle field around Great Britain by the Norwegian and West Spitsbergen Current, carrying the sea water from Western Europe (Atlantic and North Sea) within a couple of weeks and months to Spitsbergen and the Arctic Basin.(See: ) An exceptional warming was observed since 1918 which lasted until the Second World War started. Could the jelly-fish thesis be used for better understanding of the impact of naval war, or vice versa?”
      Further material concerning WWII at:

  15. Ulrich Elkmann

    Well, 2012 is just around the corner – can’t have a proper apocalypse without Cthulhu, can we?
    “Soon from the sea a noxious growth began;
    Forgotten lands with weedy spires of gold;
    The ground was cleft, and mad auroras rolled
    Down on the quaking citadels of man.” (Fungi from Yuggoth, XXI)
    And the zombie apocalpyse, of course.

  16. Pingback: Monbiot on Jellyfish |

  17. Pingback: What the doom mongers and hand wringers are saying | JunkScience Sidebar

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  19. Wow, and what about the squid invasion we had on the northern California Coast a few years ago? They were leaping from the water to grab bait hooks. It was calamari heaven for squid lovers. Sure it happens every 60-70 years , but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t caused by global warming…..this time!


    “Monbiot starts his latest Jeremiad by observing that there used to be a lot more fish in the sea, citing two impeccable scientific sources: himself and old people who remember how many more mackerel there used to be.”

    That’s the funniest thing I read all day.

  21. Pingback: Thermageddon Jellyfish Wisdom | Nazi Surf Kittens Must Die

  22. Reading that column was like watching Monbiot perform oral sex on a jellyfish. Disgusting and it leaves you feeling sorry for the jellyfish.

  23. Last I tried then, jellyfish were about as exciting (and tasty) as diced cellophane. No idea of nutritional values. Moonbat needa a proof reader.

  24. Pingback: A reply to the Monbiot pro nuclear stance |

  25. Your comment is crap. You are boasting around because you are still able to buy fish at the supermarket, but Monbiot is right, that won’t last very long.

    I am a dedicated fisherman. I have been spearfishing for 19 years and rod fishing for even longer… And I have overlapped data from my father who was one of the first to spear fish in my home region and which catch i still remember because i have eaten them whan i was a kid.

    I am more efficient than my father because I have a neoprene suit when he could barely stay an hour, i can fish for four hours, have a better spear gun and i am more athletic. I fish a lot but this is nothing compare to what fished my father in shallower water and in a much shorter time. Besides there are many fishes he caught I have never even seen in the area he taught me.

    I see the bottomm of the sea, every year it is getting more dead. Big Algae are receding, attacked by this small filandrous brown ones. Rocks become bare like monk skull. The green algae, signs of organic pollution are nearly everywhere on the shore, and where they are setting, fish go away.

    I also fish in sweden where i now live. This is a disaster. In 20 years cod have disappeared on the west coast. Every summer we now have these jelly fish invasion. This is not a normal thing because they used to be cycle, there are none anymore. It is sea of jelly every year.

    And the shallow water are also getting more and more anoxious and i can myself, in six year trace the change: good spot where i fished the two fisrt year nice sea trout are empty because they fill with green algae in spring and stay in a soup state till late september. Sea trout are not able to make raid in such oxygen depleted water, though they used to be the richest mel providing spots…and by far.

    Fishery in bretagne, where i come from also collapse, all the people i know who live there tell me that and i see it when i go at the fish retailers, choice is much less, price are really up and quality is low showing that fishing time is longer to get this small amount.. The collapse is still not obvious in supermarket because they have invested in larger boats, but their catch is also decreasing fast.
    The trend is clear, in a few years we will all eat tofu and beans.

    And acidification is already here: oyster are really sick in france, prices are up, read the news !
    In the US, they have similar problem, and found that this was due to lower PH (see website yale 360).

    Forget about fish, forget about oyster. Tofu for all and cannibalism for the fittest.

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