“The climate change brainwash needs to end!” says Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser. “If you really want to help subsistence fishermen families in the Bay of Bengal, then don’t brainwash them into believing that their diminished fish catches are due to climate change.”
Climate and the Oceans
By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
The August issue of Water 21, the official magazine of the International Water Association has an article by Lis Stedman on “Reports warn of climate change impact on oceans” that is highly misleading. 
Stedman provides a summary of an UN Development Programme (UNDP) report issued around the time of the Rio+20 conference earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro.
To boost the message visually, the article is accompanied by a picturesque photo of three quaint-looking fishing boats with the caption:
“Fishing boats on the Bay of Bengal, where sea level rise is causing seawater intrusion into freshwater resources.”
Cause and Effect
As is well known from many locations (for example, atolls in the Pacific) with low elevation above seawater, any intrusion of seawater into freshwater aquifers raises (not lowers) the freshwater water table. That’s a simple consequence of the physics, i.e. higher density of saltwater compared to freshwater. Therefore, any such freshwater reservoir will not diminish in size or volume by any seawater intrusion, it will just become raised. Of course, if the withdrawal of freshwater from that aquifer is larger than the natural rate of replenishment, that freshwater resource may indeed become depleted. But that has absolutely nothing to do with any warming or cooling of the oceans.
Stedman next relates that the UNDP report found that “warming ocean waters are causing major shifts in fish distribution and severe degradation of coastal habitats” and that “climate change is threatening the livelihoods of billions [of people] who depend on the $12 TRILLION these systems generate each year. Well, isn’t that interesting. These (ocean) systems are very productive and generate an enormous amount of resources whose current exploitation may already be well beyond its re-generation capacity.
But, instead of blaming over-exploitation as the culprit, no, it’s got to be climate change, what else. As if there were not numerous examples of fish stock depletion due to over-fishing, destruction of spawning grounds and habitat by all kinds of means. I recommend the book “Out of Fishermen’s Hands…”  and my brief chapters on “The Cod Story” and related subjects in “Convenient Myths.” 
Further down in the article, the true facts are slowly coming out more clearly. “There are many causes of habitat degradation…” including shoreline construction, mangrove cutting, sedimentation and siltation. Of course, once again, such things are claimed to be consequences of climate change, not a result of local/area changes resulting from human activities. Increased sediment loadings by rivers must be due to climate change, not to any dyke-ing of river banks in their flood plains, or to dredging of river channels, and so forth.
Climate Change Brainwash
The UNDP report and Stedman’s summary would benefit tremendously by not trying to blame every conceivable problem on “climate change” and stating upfront and outright that it is the alteration of river flows, over-exploitation of natural resources and general habitat destruction which are the true causes of any problems.
Climate change (supposedly caused by carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption) and a myriad of effects claimed to result from it are nothing but lame excuses for the true cause.
The UN and all the climate-change-doom-and-gloom harbingers are actually doing a great disservice to the people most affected. By shifting the blame from local/country mismanagement to their cause celebre of climate change, they only encourage further mismanagement and prevent true corrective management actions.
If you really want to help subsistence fishermen families in the Bay of Bengal, then don’t brainwash them into believing that their diminished fish catches are due to climate change.
Short of earthquakes (even some of those can be the result of large man-made reservoirs) and volcanic eruptions, it is nearly universal fact that human alteration of the natural system is causing unforeseen consequences. Sea level rise (bunkum), melting Himalayan glaciers (bunkum), declining fish stocks (true in many areas – but not because of climate change), increased siltation (true in many areas – but not because of climate change) and numerous other changes are among them.
For example, the annual floods of the Nile River previously added large amounts of new, nutrient-laden sediments to the river delta. After construction of the Aswan dam (1970), the fertility of the delta area declined substantially and it also experienced a loss of size due to the lack of the (previous) annual sediment addition and natural erosion . That decline had nothing to do with climate change.
The climate change brainwash needs to end!