Global warming dud predictions on the Great Barrier Reef

by Andrew Bolt

Andrew Bolt, left, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, right

THE ABC was among the first to fall for it, of course. In 2002, it reported the Great Barrier Reef was as good as dead already.

Host Kerry O’Brien groaned that our “once-spectacular” reef was “threatened by global warming” and “up to 10 per cent of the reef has been lost to bleaching since 1998”, turning it “bone white”.

Up popped Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a Queensland reef researcher with a natty patter, to warn us to “change our lifestyles” or the reef would go — killed by hotter seas.

My god, but journalists are suckers for warming scares.

It’s like they actually want to be fooled — or to fool you.


Hoegh-Guldberg is now arguably the world’s most influential reef scientist in global-warming circles, having got big government grants, chaired a $20 million World Bank study of warming, and worked as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author.

Last week, he bobbed up again, waving a report he’d just done for the WWF green group to help promote this month’s Earth Hour.

Again journalists lapped it up, not bothering to check how all Hoegh-Guldberg’s other warnings had panned out. (Answer: terrible, as you’ll see.)

(Read full article here.)

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March 10, 2014 12:35 am

You forget that, besides all his other achievements, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg also employs John Cook.

el gordo
March 10, 2014 12:37 am

Overcoming mass delusion is no easy task, but The Bolter has been unwavering in his efforts and as the hiatus continues on its merry way he must eventually receive accolades for his contribution.

March 10, 2014 12:45 am

He as found a good way to make easy money and get personal glory , by playing on the lazy and uninformed nature of journalists, why should he stop when it still works.

March 10, 2014 12:49 am

Is this the reef that has also survived 100m+ of sea level rise since the end of our last glaciation? Methinks its a tad more resilient than might be thought!

March 10, 2014 12:50 am

I prefer that nature proves them wrong even if they are robbing us blind than nature proving them right and game over for the planet. Strange choices we are left with.

March 10, 2014 1:02 am

What ACGW could not do to the Great Barrier Reef in a hundred years, the ADWD anthropogenic dredge waste dumping would surely finish the job in a decade.
At least we get the A right.

Jim Bo
March 10, 2014 1:06 am

KNR says: March 10, 2014 at 12:45 am

…the lazy and uninformed nature of journalists…

I’m afraid that you woefully understate the nature of this grotesque problem common to all warm-mongers…it fills their personal rice bowls. No alarm, no rice.
“Journalists” are as complicit in this wretched funding scam as are the “climate scientists” and politicians that instigated it.

March 10, 2014 1:19 am

As he can still pull down grants and commissions despite always being wrong the only conclusion is that his performance is meeting expectation, that is his predictions are those required even if wrong. On the other hand, all his predictions are consequent on global warming. As there hasn’t been any the outcome is consistent failure. So he is right after all!

Ursus Augustus
March 10, 2014 1:31 am

Richard Tol:- “Ove Hoegh-Guldberg also employs John Cook”
Thanks Richard, heard enough. ‘Hasso’ as theJapanese would say.
Resume normal programming folks, its just a passing Ove-Cook storm in a herbal teacup.

March 10, 2014 1:39 am

“Layman says:
March 10, 2014 at 1:02 am”
If you are trying to imply this is Abbotts fault, you fail right off the bat! All the environmental studies, contracts etc etc we all conductedand signed during the farcical last term of the ALP. The LNP made the final signed off on the project. But then it’s only Abbots Point, not the entire reef. Still never let facts get in the way of a scare story eh?

Peter Miller
March 10, 2014 1:55 am

‘Climate science’ = Repeatedly crying wolf when there is no wolf there.
Reason? Personal egos and financial gain.
Mechanism? Gullible journalists and government grants.

March 10, 2014 1:57 am

Some teacup, $20m what a travesty. Who apporved this c..p?

March 10, 2014 2:01 am

Is this the same O Hoegh-Guldberg mentioned above? [paywalled]
“Coral Reefs
September 2004, Volume 23, Issue 3, p 444
Low temperatures cause coral bleaching
O. Hoegh-Guldberg, M. Fine ”
Wake me up when corals can’t recover.

Abstract – 2009
Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery
……….Methodology/Principal Findings
In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated.
Abstract – 2008
Bikini Atoll coral biodiversity resilience five decades after nuclear testing
Five decades after a series of nuclear tests began, we provide evidence that 70% of the Bikini Atoll zooxanthellate coral assemblage is resilient to large-scale anthropogenic disturbance……

And what’s this?

Abstract – 1983
A dead Central American coral reef tract: Possible link with the Little Ice Age
…..Coral growth in the Gulf of Papagayo consisted mainly of dead reefs that died from 150–300 years B.P. The 18O records revealed that most of the dead reefs were exposed to relatively cool water immediately preceding death. We propose that during the latter part of the Little Ice Age there was probably an equatorward shift of the Northern Trade Wind system, which caused an intensification of upwelling at lower latitudes. This increased upwelling was the likely cause of the demise of coral reefs in the Gulf of Papagayo.

Brian H
March 10, 2014 2:02 am

He seems to be one of those dudes who can’t learn.* Bleached reefs are rapidly recolonized by opportunistic algae adapted to the new conditions, everywhere.
*You can’t learn what you think you already know.

March 10, 2014 2:02 am

I have read that a major hazard for a coral reef ecosystem is a rapid local relative fall of sea-level of >10 metres or so in a matter of years. This can leave the whole ecosystem high and dry. However reef organisms can generally recolonise from elsewhere at the new lower sea level. Aharon and Chappell, 1986, Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology vol 56, p 337.

March 10, 2014 2:03 am
March 10, 2014 2:59 am

Hoegh-Guldberg tells us about the resilience or corals. He must have been surprised.

Phase Shifts, Herbivory, and the Resilience of Coral Reefs to Climate Change

Jan 03, 2013
“Deep-sea corals discovered at Great Barrier Reef”
“What’s really cool is that these corals still have photosynthetic symibionts that supposedly still harvest the light,” Hoegh-Guldberg told AFP.
“It’s interesting to know how they can handle such low light conditions—it’s very deep dusk, you can barely make out much at the bottom.”

No doubt nature will continue to surprise him as he continues to predict doooooom

David L
March 10, 2014 3:00 am

Love this quote “And see the journalists trailing behind their messiah, questioning nothing, repeating everything.”

March 10, 2014 3:14 am

Got to say I’m uneasy about accusing them of “crying wolf”. The moral of that story was that nobody listened when the wolf did arrive.
Given that it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the wolf of AGW doesn’t exist, using that phrase lends the doom-mongers unwarranted legitimacy and a basis to continue their claims of “ahh, but one day soon….”

March 10, 2014 3:17 am

By far the biggest threat to the barrier reef is the starfish called The Crown of Thorns. Warmer/higher water levels not so much (If at all).

March 10, 2014 3:21 am


“Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters”
“Evidence of very rapid reef accretion and reef growth under high turbidity and terrigenous” sedimentation. Geology, 2012

March 10, 2014 3:28 am


New Scientist – 1 January 2014
Pacific coral happy as acidity of the ocean rises
“This suggests that the corals have a way to calcify in more acidic waters, says Philip Munday at James Cook University in Brisbane, Australia, or that they have adapted to low carbonate levels.”
Abstract – 16 JAN 2014
“Diverse coral communities in naturally acidified waters of a Western Pacific reef”
“Here we report the existence of highly diverse, coral-dominated reef communities under chronically low pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar). Biological and hydrographic processes change the chemistry of the seawater moving across the barrier reefs and into Palau’s Rock Island bays, where levels of acidification approach those projected for the western tropical Pacific open ocean by 2100. Nevertheless, coral diversity, cover, and calcification rates are maintained across this natural acidification gradient.”

March 10, 2014 3:37 am

Surprise, surprise!

Abstract –
Coral bleaching — capacity for acclimatization and adaptation
…. There is information that corals and their symbionts may be capable of acclimatization and selective adaptation to elevated temperatures that have already resulted in bleaching resistant coral populations, both locally and regionally, in various areas of the world. There are possible mechanisms that might provide resistance and protection to increased temperature and light. These include inducible heat shock proteins that act in refolding denatured cellular and structural proteins, production of oxidative enzymes that inactivate harmful oxygen radicals, fluorescent coral pigments that both reflect and dissipate light energy, and phenotypic adaptations of zooxanthellae and adaptive shifts in their populations at higher temperatures…..
Brief Communications
Coral reefs: Corals’ adaptive response to climate change
The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a ‘nugget of hope’ for coral reefs in an era of climate change

March 10, 2014 4:04 am

Given the fact that half of the Great Barrier Reef has died off in the last 27 years it is difficult to see how the change in climate, warmer seas, more intense tropical storms, acidfification; has not had some, even minor influence on its continued shrinking.

March 10, 2014 4:16 am

Went diving in the Great Barrier Reef in 2005 – it looked great to me.
Lovely country Australia – best I’ve ever been to.
Really nice people and the country is so much warmer than Canada.
This has been a very long and cold winter across North America – we are all tired of it and we pray for Spring.
Most intelligent people rejected the hypo of Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming long ago. Now even the dummies* are getting it.
* You know how stupid the average person is, right? Well half of them are dumber than that!
– George Carlin
Regards to all, Allan 🙂

March 10, 2014 4:22 am

“izen says:
March 10, 2014 at 4:04 am”
Unless you can back that post up with actual evidence, your claim is complete garbage!

Daniel G.
March 10, 2014 5:00 am

Joe writes:

Got to say I’m uneasy about accusing them of “crying wolf”. The moral of that story was that nobody listened when the wolf did arrive.
Given that it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the wolf of AGW doesn’t exist, using that phrase lends the doom-mongers unwarranted legitimacy and a basis to continue their claims of “ahh, but one day soon….”

That is the risk the alarmists are taking. If they want to be heard, they better say things straight and do less bad science.
But anyway, that phrase has become increasingly separated from the original story, so it doesn’t matter that much.

March 10, 2014 5:24 am

Here we see the failure of the peer review system, yet again.
Think of this: Paul Ehrlich has been proven flat out wrong repeatedly over decades.
Yet his work was peer reviewed.
He has suffered not one bit at all. His sock puppet, Holdren, is busy ruining America’s scientific standing and harming Americans. his pal Schneider encouraged scientists to lie.
Now this clown is doing the same to Australia, writing demonstrably disproven papers, all of which were peer reviewed. The point of these papers are to deceive people.
And his peers do nothing about it.

Jim Bo
March 10, 2014 5:56 am

All this, of course, suggests that “journalism” must be returned to its indispensable function within any purportedly democratic society as a finder of fact as opposed to an instrument of propaganda. This disastrous transition became institutionally established in the 50’s/60’s with the wholesale embrace of “advocacy journalism” within “journalism’s” academia and has, in turn, all but corrupted the once noble discipline (eg. AP, Reuters, NY Times, LA Times, BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC) to its very core, with a too small minority still “fact-finding” to wherever “truth” might lead.
The most potent and immediate corrective action, as I see it, is the identification, ridicule and attendant shame (as is eloquently demonstrated in Mr. Bolt’s commentary) of CAGW high priests, acolytes and their enablers within journalism’s corrupted minions…eg some type of “Wall of Shame” to be artfully composed, sourced, authoritative, credible, widely disseminated and easily referenced…a veritable who, what, when, where, why, how (if I might steal a phrase from journalism as we once knew it) of the CAGW cabal.

March 10, 2014 6:37 am

I’ve read in various places that 11%, 19% and ‘over 50%’ of the GBR has ‘already gone’, but I suggest the figure is closer to 0%, and possibly even less than 0% (that is, the reef area has actually increased), with all the predominantly natural warming that has occurred during the last few hundred years, promoting reef growth.
It’s amazing that academic fields can exist which have no relation at all to reality. The whole ‘reef is disappearing’ thing is one of the best, possibly partly because it is underwater and difficult for people to notice what is going on.

March 10, 2014 6:54 am

“How much of the warming scare is built on such “reporting”?”
Uh, dare I say it:
97% !

March 10, 2014 6:59 am

My wife and I are divers. We began diving in Cozumel just after Hurricane Wilma went through there. The devastation to the reef was enormous and heartwrenching. That was about 8 years ago. Since that time the reef has rebounded in an amazing way. Today you can barely see any remnants of the devastation. Based on my observations, not just of Cozumel but all my dive experience, reefs are much more resilient than are given credit for. Cozumel just happens to be an extreme example.

March 10, 2014 7:04 am

He (Hoegh-Guldberg), does not seem to learn from his mistakes.
You would think he would now be using “may” and “could”, rather than “will”. He leaves himself open to the well-deserved ridicule.

March 10, 2014 7:11 am

‘Scientists shocked to find coral reef in murky waters off Iraq’
9 March 2014 Gulf News
Seems like the science isn’t settled……..
“These conditions were thought to make the waters inhospitable to coral. But it appears marine biologists had underestimated the adaptability of these invertebrate underwater creatures”
“We were entirely surprised to find living coral reef under such harsh conditions,” the research team reported on Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. “Extensive coral reefs do not typically develop under conditions where nutrient and suspended sediment concentrations are acutely or chronically very high.”
The reef they found covers an area of nearly 28 square kilometres and is seven to 20 metres beneath the surface, according to the study. The temperature and salinity of the waters there change rapidly, and visibility is low.

March 10, 2014 7:17 am

Maybe such dud predictions should be called “claimet change” for all the failed claims? – Anth*ny

Kudos for the great neologism! Hope you don’t mind if we all steal it.
/Mr Lynn

March 10, 2014 7:37 am

izen says:
March 10, 2014 at 4:04 am
Given the fact that half of the Great Barrier Reef has died off in the last 27 years it is difficult to see how the change in climate, warmer seas, more intense tropical storms, acidfification; has not had some, even minor influence on its continued shrinking.

ROTFLO. Comedic! Brilliant!
Here are a couple of Great Barrier Reef WEB CAMS!/b>.

March 10, 2014 7:38 am

Ooops! Sory for my tag error.

March 10, 2014 8:08 am

The theme for CAGW is always that every creation of nature is in unstable equilibrium; easily disturbed because it is always at a “tipping point”.

March 10, 2014 8:09 am

I first dove the Great Barrier reef in 1987. The locals called it the Great Barren reef. Guess a little warming since then has improved things.

March 10, 2014 8:19 am

Acquainted personally with a real face of both Australian worldwide-heralded multiculturalism and Melbourne University (MU) Masters’ Course finds a petition seeking “a public apology from Timothy Lynch, Professor-the Head of the MU School of Humanities and Social Science, and a newspaper his opus appeared in for calling Russians barbarians and invaders of Germany in 1944-1945”, still a brave deed in the Australia of the third millennium.
Please, read this petition (URL following) and consider to support this action

DD More
March 10, 2014 8:19 am

Jimbo says: March 10, 2014 at 2:01 am
Abstract – 2008
Bikini Atoll coral biodiversity resilience five decades after nuclear testing

Jimbo you should note what those tough little corals went thru.
I believe coral may be a little tougher and these worries are idiotic.
In the northern atolls of the Marshall Islands, 23 nuclear tests with a total yield of 76.3 megatons (TNT equivalent) were conducted across seven test sites located either on the reef, on the sea, in the air and underwater between 1946 and 1958. Five craters were created, the deepest being the Bravo crater at 73 m depth (Noshkin et al., 1997a) (Figs. 2, 3). Post-test descriptions of environmental impacts include: surface seawater temperatures raised by 55,000 C after air-borne tests; blast waves with speeds of up to 8 m/s; and shock and surface waves up to 30 m high with blast columns reaching the floor of the lagoon (approximately 70 m depth)
The results of our nuclear war on coral.
A total of 183 scleractinian coral species was recorded, compared to 126 species recorded in the previous study
There are more species now than then.

March 10, 2014 8:51 am

Judging by the behavior of the troll reporters at the Monkton debate, I’m not surprised these so-called journalists lapped it up. It’s the dark ages for climate science integrity.

john robertson
March 10, 2014 8:54 am

Tiny Tim was ahead of his time and in the wrong business.
He would be a natural for Climatology, even the slightly creepy persona.
Shills like this “Reefer expert” will milk the act for all its worth.
Pays better than welfare, requires about the same effort.
Perhaps an Australian could tell this git, that according to his own prattling, there are no coral reefs.
They went extinct last time the planet; Warmed, Cooled, had more atmospheric CO2…

Mike Tremblay
March 10, 2014 9:51 am

Joe says:
March 10, 2014 at 3:14 am
Got to say I’m uneasy about accusing them of “crying wolf”. The moral of that story was that nobody listened when the wolf did arrive.
The ‘crying wolf’ meme is indeed inappropriate, it is better to call them ‘Chicken Little’ – The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the name Chicken Little being applied to ‘one who warns of or predicts calamity, especially without justification’.

March 10, 2014 9:56 am

I read somewhere that coral reefs can grow 2cm per annum and all over the world, their expansion has been recorded in modern times. The idea that ‘climate change’ will destroy these animal/plant forms is not based on science or observation but fearmongering hopes. How many hundreds of predictions must be wrong before this cult of warm is simply tossed away as the trash that it is.

March 10, 2014 10:00 am

The pristine coral at bikini atoll gives a good indication that all is well with the climate.
But the real reasons for the destruction of coral makes you wonder how it survives at all –

March 10, 2014 10:05 am

Interesting that Wikipedia has drank the coolaid on this one. Quoting expters of course.

March 10, 2014 10:05 am

If this does not belong in the “Climate Fail Files”, what does?
I suggest that a “Climate Fail” tag be used on this post.

March 10, 2014 10:13 am

I thin the term “bleaching” is a little missleading. There is clearly no bleach involved. Seems to me that “lower point of the life cycle” may be a better term.

Chip Javert
March 10, 2014 10:31 am

Peter Miller says:
March 10, 2014 at 1:55 am
‘Climate science’ = Repeatedly crying wolf when there is no wolf there.
Reason? Personal egos and financial gain.
Mechanism? Gullible journalists and government grants.
I submit the above is accurate but incomplete.
The science academy (including “peer review”) deserves substantial credit for squandering it’s intellectual and ethical credibility by not choking the AGW baby in it’s infancy. Once upon a time, journalists could generally accept what scientists said because scientists were actually credible. At least in “climate science”, those days are gone, and journalism has morphed into advocacy.

Walter Allensworth
March 10, 2014 10:58 am

Is this the same reef that survived the heat of the “Holocene Optimum,” about 8000 years ago, which was much hotter than it is today?

March 10, 2014 11:30 am

Below are various other reasons for coral destruction / bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Warm water caused by man’s greenhouse gases is a small time player.

Abstract – 2003
Effects of hypo-osmosis on the coral Stylophora pistillata: nature and cause of ‘low-salinity bleaching’
Abstract – 2004
Exposure to solar radiation increases damage to both host tissues and algal symbionts of corals during thermal stress
Abstract – 2012
Predator Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) Outbreak, Mass Mortality of Corals, and Cascading Effects on Reef Fish and Benthic Communities
Abstract – 2011
Catastrophic mortality on inshore coral reefs of the Florida Keys due to severe low-temperature
Abstract – 2012
Unique nucleocytoplasmic dsDNA and +ssRNA viruses are associated with the dinoflagellate endosymbionts of corals

March 10, 2014 11:31 am

Good old water pollution also plays a role

March 10, 2014 11:35 am

I hear hurricanes are gonna blast them there corals to pieces. It’s worse than we thought.

Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate climate change impacts. We provide evidence that hurricane-induced cooling was responsible for the documented differences in the extent and recovery time of coral bleaching between the Florida Reef Tract and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the Caribbean-wide 2005 bleaching event. These results are the only known scenario where the effects of a hurricane can benefit a stressed marine community.
Hurricanes benefit bleached corals

March 10, 2014 11:39 am

Shouldn’t we ask the IPCC to reduce tropical cyclones and the Star of Thorns?

Abstract – 2012
G. De’ath et al
The 27-year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes
“…Tropical cyclones, coral predation by crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), and coral bleaching accounted for 48%, 42%, and 10% of the respective estimated losses, amounting to 3.38% y-1 mortality rate….”

March 10, 2014 11:40 am

Enough of this garbage, I’m moving onto another thread till maybe later.

March 10, 2014 11:54 am

“He (Hoegh-Guldberg), does not seem to learn from his mistakes.”
Why would he learn from his mistakes when there are no consequences for being wrong? In fact, the more mistaken he is, the more rewards and fame he receives. If you reward failure, you will get more of it. if you punish good science, you will get less of it. The sad thing is that after 17 years of no warming and failed predictions, many governments want to double down on rewarding failed science.
If warming resumes anytime soon, even if it’s just natural variation, we will have to fight this battle for decades to come. These people have made it their life’s mission to save the world, and I don’t meant the people in the world. I mean they wish to save the world FROM mankind. They will jump at any excuse to do so. They don’t care if the reason is fake, only that it is useful, and that people in power can be made to believe it.

Eamon Butler
March 10, 2014 5:02 pm

Love the ”Claimet Change” term. Whatever happens, Claimit.

Alan Wilkinson
March 10, 2014 8:48 pm

Flew over the reef about 10 years ago with a pilot out of Cairns who had been flying over the reef daily for decades. He was also a keen swimmer on the reef. He said then the claims of the reef dying were b.s.

March 10, 2014 9:59 pm

There’s no lack of comedic material for Bolty to work with and add another to the list-
Beware the creatures from the ooze folks.

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