In a nutshell: a government funded group finds some bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef, and repackages the stats to come up with the apocalyptic statistic that only 7% of the reef is not bleached! The SMH reported that “93% of the corals” are damaged. The reef is 2,000 kilometers long. Did anyone really think about these headlines?
Then in a development that “no one” could see coming, local tourism is damaged, potentially costing a lot of jobs.
“And the loss of these tourists could cost our tourism industry a whopping $1 billion a year, a report out today by The Australia Institute warned.”
This inspires local dive operators (who possibly know what the reef looks like) to pay for a two week expedition to survey 28 sites. They find about 5% damage and describe the difference as phenomenal. Indeed, they say the reef is pretty much just like it was 20 years ago when they last did a survey.
We know that both sides have an interest finding a healthy or unhealthy reef. The problem starts with self-serving taxpayer funded scientists who are paid to find a crisis. But they would not get away with it [...]
The ABC uses photos of reef bleaching on Flowerpot Rock in American Samoa in stories about the Great Barrier Reef.
The chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt says that activist groups are distorting surveys, maps and data to exaggerate the coral bleaching on the reef. The bleaching affects 22% of the reef and is mostly localized to the far northern section, which has good prospects of recovery.
Two reef groups are in conflict. One is Reichelt’s GBR Authority, and the other is a special “National Coral Bleaching Taskforce” run by a guy called Terry Hughes. The Australian media was overrun with stories last week about how a report was censored to hide the damage. What was under-reported was the conflict and the propaganda.
The real problem appears to be that yet another agency was set up to find a crisis, and their existence depends on finding one. The Taskforce was set up in October last year.
ABC repeats all the Taskforce’s claims without question: “Great Barrier Reef: Only 7 per cent not bleached, survey finds”.
The Taskforce’s report was so bad the GBR authority had to withdraw from it:
Great Barrier Reef: scientists [...]
These people are not good with numbers.
In a paper published in Nature Climate Change today, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, together with Greg Rau of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, and Elizabeth McLeod of The Nature Conservancy, say new tactics are needed to save oceans from CO2 emissions.
“It’s unwise to assume we will be able to stabilise atmospheric CO2 at levels necessary to prevent ongoing damage to marine ecosystems,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.
“In lieu of dealing with the core problem – increasing emissions of greenhouse gases – these techniques and approaches could ultimately represent the last resort.”
In addition to using shade cloth over coral reefs, the paper suggests novel marine conservation options, including applying low-voltage electrical current to stimulate coral growth and mitigate mass bleaching; adding base minerals such as carbonates and silicates to the ocean to neutralize acidity; and converting CO2 from land-based waste into dissolved bicarbonates that could be added to the ocean to provide carbon sequestration.
Alistair Hobday Research Scientist – Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO said novel solutions are required. “We need to be mature enough to listen to [...]