Great Barrier Reef Triage Panic

bg coral reef

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Having failed to stir interest in the Great Barrier Reef during the recent cliffhanger Australian Federal Election, reef scientists are now demanding that the government must choose which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they want to save.

Great Barrier Reef: government must choose which parts to save, says expert

Professor Hugh Possingham says authorities must confront prospect that some parts of reef are doomed and focus on what to preserve.

Governments must decide which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they most want to save and confront the prospect that some of it may be doomed, an expert on conservation modelling has warned.

University of Queensland professor Hugh Possingham said agencies, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, needed to make tough decisions about which parts of the natural wonder are most worth preserving “rather than trying to save everything”.

Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

“We should be identifying the most resilient places – the ones most likely to be able to deal with all these assaults from outside and focusing our attention on them rather than trying to save everything,” he said.

“We need to focus on the bits we can definitely save.”

Possingham, a former Rhodes scholar who is described by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as “the global leader in mathematical modelling and decision science for nature conservation”, conceded it could be “suicide” for politicians to talk of abandoning some parts of the reef over others.

Possingham said while he welcomed the presence of climate sceptics, it would be “catastrophic” to delay action until the full consequences of how global climate change will play out and coral reefs would evolve were known.

The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/09/great-barrier-reef-government-must-choose-which-parts-to-save-says-expert

Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle anthropogenic warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.

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130 thoughts on “Great Barrier Reef Triage Panic

  1. How do they save it?
    We walk on an old reef by us.
    It is now wooded grassy hills.
    Took a while to happen,BUT did.
    Probably no one around to protect it.

  2. Last nights news (ABC Australia) showed large areas of Mangrove – 10000 Ha dying back guess the cause?

    • Warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones? Only if you want a grant …
      One of the most effective anti-fouling paints for boat hulls, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributyltin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks.
      (But don’t mention the C word).

  3. Well since the GBR is the least equatorial in the world (much of it is sub-tropical, and it extends down to the NSW border) it should be fine. Winter water is positively cold outside our tropics. We will have the last surviving reef in the world if it’s a function of warming.
    That said, presented with the choice of “coal or Reef” in the election that’s a no brainer. The Reef brings about $1bn pa, coal about $90bn. And I can snorkel in Krabi where apparently the hot water doesn’t bother coral in the slightest.

  4. Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.
    Take a deep breath and really, really think.
    Warmer seas – yes, we can control that one. Bring up a few drill rigs, and use on board freezing machines to manufacture ice cubes, and spray them over the reef. Problem solved.
    More acidity – yes, we can control that too. Use tugs to bring out barges laden with caustic soda, and sprinkle that on the reef. Problem solved.
    More cyclones – we can ameliorate that as well. Windmills take energy from the wind, so we need to plant about 100 000 000 windmills on the reef to extract massive amounts of energy from the cyclones, so they become no more than tropical depressions. And we produce a massive amount of energy, so the rivers in Queensland and northern NSW can be pumped back over the Great Dividing Range, to irrigate the Inland (as well as powering all those ice cube making machines). Two problems solved in one blow – pun intended!
    What do you mean, we can’t see the reef for windmills and the noise has driven away all the fish and tourists? Doesn’t matter, we have saved the Reef. Hurray! 3 cheers for climate scientists.

    • To man, cyclones are bad. To nature, it has adapted and there are probably links of biological ecosystem response and even dependence on cyclones. The transference of what is bad for man is bad for nature is a typical response not based on science, but emotion.

      • I was long ago given to understand that hurricanes were necessary to the proper flushing out of the Everglades ecosystem.

      • Interesting point Climate Otter. The glue-green algae breakout in Florida might have something to do with the lack of hurricanes in that area.

    • The troubling downside to his alarmism is that cyclone numbers have dropped in the Australian region and there is no reason to think this will change.
      Not only are there fewer cyclones, they don’t travel as far south as they used to. Maryborough, Bowen, Brisbane, when was the last time the siren sounded? 1974? 1976?

    • Perhaps Hugh should stick to being a statistician, I can tell you that he is good at that, as he taught me statistics years ago.

    • NO, NO, and NO.
      Warmer seas: good for coral reefs, higher metabolism, more photosynthesis, less soluble calcium carbonate making coral strangers with more deposition, reefs growing farther north and south than previously.
      More acidity: CO2 make carbonic acid which is a weak acid and unable to alter the complex buffer system that is seawater. Coral reefs themselves actively acidify water as it passes by and through them, and it does not hurt a thing. Corals have what is called physiology which is perfectly able to handle these small changes in pH. Given time to adapt, they clearly can handle much higher concentrations of CO2, as CO2 has been much higher than now during the vast majority of the last 600 million years.
      More cyclones: There is no evidence of increased cyclonic activity. Actually the atmospheric cyclonic energy has been low for almost 10 years. This is no surprise since we have had no real warming for over 20 years.
      After examining all of the alarmist claims for 10 years, I realized why noe of their claims were true. It’s really quite simple: if there is no warming, nothing they point to can be because of warming.

      • Cyclones are actually good for corals just as forest fires are good for the forest. A mature forest is a dead forest.
        It is mans perception and understanding that needs to change.

      • @ higley7
        “Darn auto-correct!”
        No, you were right the first time. None of my friends are corals. All corals are strangers.

    • More cyclones – we can ameliorate that as well. Windmills take energy from the wind, so we need to plant about 100 000 000 windmills on the reef to extract massive amounts of energy from the cyclones, so they become no more than tropical depressions.

      I know you were being sarcastic, but wind turbines have to be shut down during high winds, so no energy at all would be generated during a cyclonic event.

    • And who is supposed to pay for the trillions of dollars worth of windmills for this project. Also, do you really want to mess with a natural cycle with no idea of what the worldwide consequences might be. It is way cheaper to develop building codes to limit the damage they cause. What would the loss of water these storms bring do to the areas they hit? Lots to consider here.

    • Ha! ha!
      Last time in UK, a breezy day, we stopped at a pub in a moorland village, overshadowed by a forest of windmills. THEY WERE ALL FEATHERED-OUT!!! Not one was running in the stiff breeze.
      The landlord replied: “When the wind gets to a certain strength, they have to feather ’em out, otherwise they’d get trashed!”
      And the wind wasn’t *that* strong.
      Forget mitigating cyclones!

    • More acidity – yes, we can control that too. Use tugs to bring out barges laden with caustic soda,…
      …no, will form a localized super concentrate and precipitate carbonate (buffer)
      Easier to just use Arm and Hammer

    • “””””….. Possingham, a former Rhodes scholar who is described by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as “the global leader in mathematical modelling and decision science for nature conservation”, …..”””””
      Well there you see what the problem is; the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.
      Hello, Earth to Australia; there are NO ” Mathematical Sciences “. Absolutely NOTHING to observe of experiment on, because Mathematics is a totally fictional Art form. We made it all up out of whole cloth in our heads; NONE of it actually exists.
      And if you don’t like the mathematics you already have available to you, then you can just make up some more to your own rules.
      Trying to observe any mathematical objects in the universe is even more difficult than looking for dark matter, or intelligent life elsewhere. We already know for certain that there are no mathematical objects to observe anywhere in the universe.
      But statistics is an interesting pastime, particularly if you have nothing better to do, or you don’t have any 100 mm square (4 inches) sheets of paper to fold.
      In a pinch when you just have to do some Origami, it just so happens that most ordinary toilet paper, also comes in 100 mm or 4 inch squares.
      It doesn’t make for good Origami though but it could come in handy to clean up after all that guff about the Great Barrier Reef.
      g

    • Warmer seas are a local or regional condition and transient. Additionally, coral bleaching associated with warm sea temps is usually aggravated by extremely low tides. There is no reason to think these events haven’t always taken place. They always recover.
      There is no ocean acidification nor is there likely to be
      Hurricanes are fewer recently
      There is a problem with agricultural runoff and perhaps with excessive harvest of reef fish. These issues could be addressed quite easily.

  5. Interestingly I heard it pointed out that the reefs down the West Australian coast with similar land, mining and shipping seem to be squeaky clean?
    No link to hand

    • Well, how does the water temperature there compare to the east coast reefs in question? And similar land? Spend much time in WA?

      • Apparently their “model” doesn’t use current data as input.
        It seems all based on the supposition that there will be “warmer seas, more acidity, more cyclones”. This “made up data” is what their model works off of. Then the conclusion is reached — if such happens the reefs will die. This is converted to — such WILL happen and therefore the reefs will die.
        If you are a true believer in global warming and evil carbon — such WILL happen — “warmer seas, more acidity, more cyclones” Their current dire predictions are justified by what will become “future current data”.
        They can see into the future and from the future they pluck their data and use it in their models.
        These people are not scientists — they are seers. Belief in global warming and evil carbon makes the future an open book to them.
        Its all just a religious guy making another dumb “end of the world” prediction.
        Eugene WR Gallun

    • Wouldn’t work. Very limited range of species, all adapted to higher than normal salinities.

    • Chris
      More than enough
      As the saying has it
      A statician will (under protest) fit a curve through three points
      An engineer through two
      And an ecofadist through one

      • Statistical trend lines don’t actually have to go through any known points, and seldom do. Nobody knows what to do about all the new points on the trend line; none of which have ever actually been observed or measured.
        G

    • I was taught as an engineer not to extrapolate beyond the data. I recall an illustration on curve fitting someone put together from order 1 to 5. The behavior of the curves was eye-opening to say the least.
      Is was instructed that one might, under duress, extend a graph at one end or the other to the tune of 5 – 10% but only if the need was time critical and everyone had agreed to the risks. I’ve never actually had to do it myself.

    • What are you going to believe, a multi-million dollar climate model, or your own eyes?
      Apart from the million tourists, most people believe the models.

  6. “Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle anthropogenic warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.”
    ______________________________
    And then there is still the question why marine scientists are snorkeling on the sea surface for coral reefs, count whales in the tropics on diesel powered rubber dinghies and count Adelaide penguins in the arctic summer
    instead of doing marine science.

  7. He lost all respect when it turned out he was a modeller. Ground truthing is everything. No ground truth, no science.

  8. I wonder how he intends to be able to change the climate on the parts of the reef they decide to save, while the rest of the reef is left with its natural climate. Drop in ice blocks over it? He appears to have assumed that climate is having some effect but if he had taken 5 minutes of trouble like I just did and look up the BOMs temperatures for say AYR Research Station 70kms from Townsville which opened in 1951. he would have found the following. Annual Mean Maximium temperature for 1952 was 29.9 DegC. For 2014 it was 30.1 DegC. and for 2015 29.1. So the average of the last two full years ( 2014-15) of records was 29.6 degC. which is 0.3 Deg.C cooler than the Annual Mean Max in 1952. So why do they say the reef is dying due to the extra Mann made heat. It makes no sense. BTW it is only about 22% of the reef has bleached, and it will recover as it has done before.

  9. It seems obvious there’s no choice; they can’t save both.
    And they can’t save either.
    The truth is no one has the power to “save” the kelp forests, or the coral reefs; nor do they have the power to destroy them. It’s hubris; an overwhelming sense of perverted duty to “do something”.
    It’s unique to the modern human; the idea they’re so important, the things they do are so significant? They change the entire ecosystem! Hubris writ large? Yes of course, but what does it tell us about the people who live next door?
    You aren’t that important. What you do in life is insignificant. If you win a Nobel Prize, they send you a letter. Otherwise, sit down, shut up and watch the movie.

    • I be a whole bunch of Australian dollars could be saved by eliminating his position and research center. That is about the only saving I see coming out of this. Of course since I am not an Australian citizen, it is my tax dollars being wasted. We could use to eliminate a few clock cycles on environmental computer games in the US as well.

      • Wow, my keyboard dropped a few letters on me. The opening was supposed to say “I bet …”

  10. Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

    Right. Cooling specific parts of the reef artificially must be cheap &. easy. And mixing a prodigious quantity of lime milk there into the water along with diverting cyclone paths to abandoned segments is surely a piece of cake. Or Possingham is silly. Either — or.

  11. Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

  12. I have seen elsewhere that the portions of the GBR that are most endangered are those exposed directly to currents crossing the Coral Sea from the strait between Vanuatu and the Solomons, a very active volcanic area. Perhaps the sulfur dioxide released by the submarine volcanism is a contributing factor.

    • I think there has been a lot of volcanic activity in the last few years. Earthquakes, and a lot – and I mean a lot, of pumice stone on the beaches.

  13. Obviously they need to give the Marine Scientists millions in order to ‘research’ how to save the reef.

    • An all-expenses-paid tropical ‘research’ holiday – on the taxpayer. Who wouldn’t enroll? (Just write what we suggest).

  14. reefs are the aquatic equivalent of weeds in the front yard…they will grow where they can

  15. Corals have developed a method of dealing with sudden warm waters, this evolutionary defense mechanism developed over millions of years, so this is nothing new for corals.
    Warmists must not believe in evolution then. Corals have obviously being dealing with environmental change for millions of years including sudden increases in temperature.
    This is pure pseudo science to claim corals are suffering from temperatures

    • Logically, is very weak.
      “Corals have developed a method of dealing with sudden warm waters, this evolutionary defense mechanism developed over millions of years, so this is nothing new for corals.”
      That doesn’t mean you know that these corals will survive this event.
      “Warmists must not believe in evolution then.”
      Believing that quick changes will harm certain ecosystems doesn’t mean you don’t believe in evolution.
      “Corals have obviously being dealing with environmental change for millions of years including sudden increases in temperature.”
      Nobody is claiming that all corals will necessarily become extinct due to a sudden temperature increase.
      “This is pure pseudo science to claim corals are suffering from temperatures”
      And that was a bunch of pseudo logic.

      • I feel sorry for you, Phillip. I expect you still refuse to give in to the idea that the Easter Bunny isn’t real or that Santa doesn’t bring your Christmas presents. Mark’s logic is concise and flawless, while you advance the preposterous notion( yes Phillip, your ideas are preposterous!), that a temporary upset of a couple of degrees to an area of reef could possibly be the first time in the history of coral reefs that this completely permanent and fatal condition has occurred. You present no counter theory as to why the ocean had some magic temperature limit before humans that prevented this from ever happening. When I was in Cuba years ago I saw hills composed of layers of coral hundreds of feet above sea level. I don’t think they’re alive, Phillip! I flew there in a plane, Phillip! And it was pretty hot there. Did I kill the coral, Phillip? If you think so, go ahead and blame me for Santa and Peter Cottontail!

      • John Harmsworth said: “I feel sorry for you, Phillip. I expect you still refuse to give in to the idea that the Easter Bunny isn’t real or that Santa doesn’t bring your Christmas presents”
        OK, nothing so far, just an insult.
        “Mark’s logic is concise and flawless, while you advance the preposterous notion( yes Phillip, your ideas are preposterous!), that a temporary upset of a couple of degrees to an area of reef could possibly be the first time in the history of coral reefs that this completely permanent and fatal condition has occurred.”
        I do? Please do quote me if you aren’t just making stuff up.
        “You present no counter theory as to why the ocean had some magic temperature limit before humans that prevented this from ever happening.”
        I didn’t say anything about that at all. I just pointed out that the logic used by mark doesn’t prove anything.
        “When I was in Cuba years ago I saw hills composed of layers of coral hundreds of feet above sea level. I don’t think they’re alive, Phillip! I flew there in a plane, Phillip! And it was pretty hot there. Did I kill the coral, Phillip? If you think so, go ahead and blame me for Santa and Peter Cottontail!”
        Now you’re just ranting.

  16. Also they wont say, when SPS do die off, the rock they leave is a prefect environment for even more diverse reef life. Most don’t die off though, they hunker down expel algae and wait for things to get better, which would be around now as El Nino went. If the waters suddenly cool in the GBR it will also have a negative net effect until temperatures stabalise
    Plus we can actually take chunks of reef and seed new reefs, easily. We can grow reefs no problem, this is all complete nonsense

  17. What is ” ‘decision science’ for nature conservation'”? Not to mention ‘conservation modelling’. Where do you start with this idiocy? Triage for the ‘triple whammy’ to the GBR! Good grief! So that’s what a Rhodes Scholarship can do for you.

  18. This is going to be a big problem. I live in one of the GBR coal ports, near a big river mouth (full of phosphates. The problem is that the reef is not dying! It’s thriving.
    The scientists are going to be angry. I just hope they don’t lobby to do something stupid and damage the reef with some silly proposal.

    • True, there was high mortality on part of the reef, the bit that pokes into the equatorial region, the media went with the reef is dying, overall loss was not significant and that would be replaced within a year with growth.
      As some local tourism people have said, the greenies only want to see damaged parts, which is the vast minority of the reef, while the rest will flourish in the warmth as life does in general

      • Reefs are living systems. Life spreads out as far as it can until it is living in places that are not supportive of it all the time. The ecosystem of every organism has areas where the individuals are racing to evolve before the variability of local conditions kills them off. That’s why there are different species of coral and symbiotic algae.Different ones fit a different band of conditions.

  19. It is worse than we thought! Spanish Hogfish are invading because it is so warm.
    /stock photo is from the Atlantic 😀

  20. It’s only “anthropogenic warming” of the oceans in the models when they factor in the “missing heat”. And its never “gentle” either, but a man-made disaster.
    This is much better:
    “Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle NATURAL warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.”

  21. The cora; that forms the reef may well have evolved 450 million years ago and actually be far more robust than green alarmists will ever admit but that is not the potential extinction that is play here. That extinction is the end of the gravy train that feeds and breeds CAGW alarmism and all its many many tributaries including the one that flows from Canberra via Brisbane to the tropical alarmism hot spot in Big Green Eco Education on North Queensland

  22. “The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

    Yes. It’s like I keep saying about the space aliens. I shouldn’t have to show definitively that they are here, and pose a significant threat to humanity. The burden of proof is too great a hurdle, and the threat is an enormous one. I mean, we’re talking about a planet-wide alien presence, over many decades. We need to act now, before it’s too late!

    • If your doorbell rings, ignore the flickering lights, all your clocks spinning backward, and don’t open the door, Bruce.

  23. If (when) we get another glaciation the entire reef will be gone when sea level drops 400 feet. The reef as it is today only exists due to global warming.

  24. What needs to happen is the Australian government needs to get a prediction out of this guy about which part of the GBR can’t be saved, then leave it to its fate.
    Then tell him in five years, if nothing bad has actually happened to that section of the reef, they will fire him and charge him with fraud.
    See how doomed he think the reef is then.

  25. There’s been a lot on the Internet lately about the die-off of starfish, which leads to a proliferation of sea urchins, which are decimating Pacific kelp beds. Nothing in that might be affecting the coral, except what may be affecting the starfish (a normally non-fatal densovirus) might be related to the causative factor of coral polyp mortality.
    One possibility is the highly sensitive poisons being spewed our from Fukushima. Since Japan clamped down on dissemination of that data, measurements have been bubbling in the background that are truly scary. Can starfish die of be distantly related to coral mortality?

    • Interesting point. It seems to me that with the oceans it’s usually something really not very obvious for a lot of these die offs. Of course whatever ends up being the real cause is always global warming related somehow.

    • Other way around. Some reef damage is caused by infestations of Crown of Thorns starfish.

  26. All we have to do to stop the bleaching events is to stop the El Ninos. Simple.
    Australia can just build a big dam at the equator of the Pacific about 500 kms long (going south to north) and about 500 metres deep. Or one could stop the Trade Winds, stop the Earth’s rotation, remove the atmosphere, accelerate continental drift of Australia northeasterly etc.

    • Mexican official says they can’t pay for no 500 km dam & a wall on their northern border at the same time, but certainly want to bid for the deeper excavation contract. (OK, not true)

  27. triage?
    triage??
    triage???!!!
    “an expert in conservation modelling”
    I think that says it all don’t you? Not an expert in marine reef science, not an expert in marine biology, heck not even the word scientist was used…..a conservation modeler.
    And what the heck is “decision science?” I decide what is science and squawk my decisions to justify a paycheck? Or to get my name into the media because I have a grant approval pending?
    Pahleeze.
    Go back to your clean, sterile lab environment dude and let the “dirty”(i.e. field) scientists do the real stuff.

    • Nice one, Jenn 🙂 But … does he have an actual lab or is it an office with a computer or three.
      I used to model stuff when I was 9 or 10 years old. You could buy these really nice Airfix plastic kits of Spitfires and ME109s and all sorts of exciting things. They came with cards of transfers that you could soak off in water and float onto the assembled model. That made the models real and authentic. It was best to paint the models before you put the transfers on. I think that my models were more accurate than his.

      • Never got into models myself…..although…..
        I once put together a mouse skeleton from owl pellets (extra credit that I didn’t really need, but was curious to see if I could do it)…I have to say that although I got a few bones wrong and some were missing, it was more accurate than this guy could ever make a model.

  28. Can they just set up gigantic water chillers that can directionally spew cold water to specific parts of the reef?

    • These so-called scientists just need to leave the reef alone. It has been going a lot longer than the human race and may outlive us at the rate we are going. Both of us survived the Holocene warming period just fine when it was a lot warmer than now.

  29. Like Sir Lancelot, the misguided Guardian comes to the rescue of a princess, who is not in danger.

  30. Should be fun, though. Somehow you just know that the areas of reef the politicians choose to ‘protect’ will quickly wither and die, while somewhere they dismiss as ‘dead’ will flourish as never before …

  31. It wouldn’t surprise me if parts of the reef are actually destroyed — by too many tourists and/or poaching. Should it happen I hope climate change doesn’t get undeserved blame.

  32. The Ozzies should move the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica where it will be safe from Global Warming.
    Too Expensive you say? Not by half! Just stick a 10 cent postage stamp on the Reef, and mail it to Canberra, with a return address of South Pole, Antarctica. The Ozzie Posties will return it to the South Pole, Postage Due.

  33. Professor Hugh Possingham says authorities must confront prospect that some parts of reef are doomed and focus on what to preserve.
    ====
    start with the doomed parts professor

  34. The “Crown of Thorns” death threat didn’t pan out for these money grubbers, so they roll out another one … such is sustainability paradigm.

  35. To save it, just leave it alone. It is human activity that appears to cause the worst damage. Pollution, over-fishing, mechanical damage, etc. Look at the marine parks of Cuba, which are basically off-limits. Diving is permitted, but for only a few divers a day, and no fishing of any significance. They’re in beautiful condition. http://oceandoctor.org/gardens/ Perhaps the Great Barrier Reef has been studied and explored too much?

  36. Hhere.. I’ve been arguing that one with the trolls for a while now and they all ignore the science, fail to see the relevance of coral surviving extinction events including meteor impacts and a general geologic existence in a more warmer acidic ocean than today could possibly mean coral is a whole lot sturdier than those fretting about our mild bout of warming…

  37. Possingham said while he welcomed the presence of climate sceptics, it would be “catastrophic” to delay action until the full consequences of how global climate change will play out and coral reefs would evolve were known.
    “The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

    Hmmm…..So…The Hypothesis has been stated. It has been supported by other littler hypothesis that have often been shown to be exaggerated or in error. (Plus a very fractured Hockey Stick that few seem to want to hold onto anymore.)
    Add to that the cracked (I’m being kind.) foundation of the Climate Models used like a crystal ball to unfailingly support The Hypothesis and the skeptics have “the burden of proof”?!?!?
    Sheesh!
    PS “The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,”
    In other words, “We don’t have to prove a d*mn thing. We just have to make the claim that ‘Man did this and we have to control Man NOW!'”

  38. The dear old thing has been through quite a bit including Ice Ages but zounds the latest iteration is only about 10000 years old and survived the RWP and MWP. It even put up with rising sea levels. Wow!!!

  39. Hung Possum, as other ‘brilliant mathematical modelers’, should realize that dexterity in the development of complex mathematical models that normal mortal have no hope of understanding, does not necessarily predispose him to ‘learned’ commentary as to what really happens in the real world. Perhaps the occasional visit to the GBR would help him bridge this gap in perception.
    One ponders as to what prompted this former Rhodes scholar to seek attention and have his opinions published by The Guardian. Is his funding drying up?

    • Asp, do you think it could it be that Hung Possum has genuine concerns about potential extinction? Extinction in this case being the prospect of warming gravy train grants being turned off!

  40. Give us the money or your reef will die!
    Except that the threats of warming, acidification and storms is BS. The temperature trend on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades has been flat and temps are lower than in the Coral Triangle region where corals reach their global peak of biodiversity. A million measurements of oceanic pH over the past century shows no trend in acidification and the incidence of severe tropical cyclones on the Barrier Reef over the past century is less than in the preceding one. These are verifiable facts.
    For the past half-century “experts” have told us the GBR is threatened with immanent destruction. Are they liars, fools or experts? You decide.

  41. This reminds me of the scene from a Woody Allen film, I don’t recall what one as I am not a fan of his “work”, where he holds a fragment of the cloned nose of the president at gun point!

  42. I’ve been diving on the reef for over 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Bleaching everywhere on the northern reefs and last week temperatures 20 metres below at 27 degrees celsius (80 Fahrenheit)- in the middle of winter. That is insane and certainly not something I’ve seen before in my life time.

  43. They will put a fence around them and a “Global warming free zone” sign up. That oughta do it!

  44. “The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,”
    The stoic perfessor carries the Green Man’s burden heavily upon his shoulders. Now where have I heard something like that before?

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