On December 2019 on the International Monetary Fund website was published a research, which shows the importance of whales in the battle against the CO2’s increase.
Currently the number of whales has reached 1,3 million, a ¼ of the whales’ population in the first years of the previous century. Observing the data of this investigation (made by Ralph Chami, Thomas Cosimano, Connel Fullenkamp, and Sena Oztosun) it emerges that during its life one whale, with the normal life expectation of whales is 60 years, absorbs 33 tons of CO2, the equivalent of thousands of trees. The good thing is that the CO2, once absorbed, dies with the whale and lays down on the ocean bottom, where it stays for hundreds of years. If we multiply this figure for the total whales’ population, we discover that the whales only absorb the 40% of CO2 produced per year, it means 37 billion tons. The same quantity as absorbed by 1,700 billion of trees, in other words, 4 Amazonian rainforests.
Whales play a fundamental role not only in the CO2 elimination but also on the Oxygen production. More important than whales is their waste, reach in Iron and Nitrogen, vital elements for the birth of the Phytoplankton, the cause of Oxygen formation. The Phytoplankton is a small creature, which can photosynthesize the Oxygen. Currently they are the source of 50% of Oxygen production in the world, their work is more efficient when they are on the sea surface and when they are concentrated in the same area. They are a consequence of whales’ presence and the point the experts want to highlight is that if there are more whales are present in our seas then there will be more production of Phytoplankton. A 1% increase of Phytoplankton could capture hundred million of CO2 tons more, equivalent to the activity of 2 billion of trees.
The conclusion from this research is obvious, increasing the number of whales could improve the ecological without the use of expensive and complicated high-tech technologies.
But in this world, everything has an economical worth, including safeguarding the whales. Defending the whales has a cost and none seems ready to pay them, they are affected by the “tragedy of the commons”; a phenomenon where those who benefits from a shared good idea don’t feel the need to pay to support it. They are not motivated to invest it if they don’t know how the monetary value to the gained from each whale. The IMO’s vision is based on the whales’ role in the carbon absorption, in the variation of the oil price and the financial technique of discounting. The data suggest the lifetime worth of a single whale to be around 2 million dollars; which multiplied for the all whaled makes 1 trillion dollars, just 13 dollars a year per man on the planet.
Written by Nicolas Spirito.