Guest post by Bob Fernley-Jones
The 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) was held in Cairns, Queensland, Australia last July. Not a bad venue for embracing subject field trips and the exotic and spectacular hinterland attractions. Yet they had time to reach a grand consensus statement endorsed reportedly by thousands of scientists.
Step 1) Back in June, three eminent scientists including the convener gathered at Stanford and drafted the consensus.
Step 2) They also launched an endorsement form on their websites at COS (Centre for Ocean Solutions) and ICRS which although aimed at scientists could be actioned by the unqualified without any affiliations other than their hometown name. (Click HERE in link in 1).)
Step 3) They also made the following request on the COS and ICRS websites:
“To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement (during the opening ceremony of the 12thInternational Coral Reef Symposium on July 9, in Cairns, Australia), please click HERE to join other scientists from around the world by adding your name to the list of endorsees.”
Step 4) The ICRS website published a list of almost 2,500 endorsees dated 6/July/2012 that being three days before the five-day symposium started.
Step 5) The consensus statement launched at the opening ceremony and various sympathetic press reports announced that over 2,000; 2,200; 2,400 or 2,500 scientists had endorsed the alarmism, depending on source.
Step 6) Convener announces success of the Symposium and the return home of 2,000 (two thousand) “of us” to 80 countries. Also a plea to continue endorsing the consensus statement….. more than 3,000 signatures so far and we would like to keep the momentum going. [signatures?]
Needless to say there were some rather controversial consensus claims originated at Stanford, but does anyone think it is a bit strange to reach a consensus before the five-day symposium started?
Oh but just for laughs, I would imagine that the loudest cheering of all probably went for this gem from Prof Jeremy Jackson of the Smithsonian:
…”reefs around the world have seen severe declines in coral cover over the last several decades. In the Caribbean, for example, 75-85 percent of the coral cover has been lost in the last 35 years. Even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the best-protected reef ecosystem on the planet, has witnessed a 50 percent decline in the last 50 years.”