Great Barrier Reef

I quote this little item out of Australia. It is a timely reminder that the media is profoundly lazy and insecure in their shallow knowledge and will pile on any fashion to tell a good story.

These days I am perusing dozens of stories with little or no credible linkage to the global warming theme, yet everyone is assigning the label to just about any apparent environmental anomaly.

Perhaps I should construct a story about how global warming is causing the miraculous recovery of the Great Barrier Reef.

None of this is advancing knowledge or actions where action is truly mandated and is promoting action were none is warranted. Today I see a story suggesting that George Bush is about to announce some sort of action on global warming. I hope it is a hoax.

They survived this, they’ll survive warming
Andrew Bolt

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 12:03am

You know those scare campaigns every few years about the Great Barrier Reef facing extinction thanks to global warming? Relax. It turns out that coral is actually so tough you couldn’t kill it with a nuclear bomb. In fact, much of the stuff just grows back fine, the seas are so coral-friendly these days:

SOME corals are again flourishing on Bikini Atoll, the Pacific site of the largest American atom bomb ever exploded, but other species have disappeared… Ms Richards said she did not know what to expect when she dived on the crater but was surprised to find huge matrices of branching Porites coral - up to eight metres high - had established, creating thriving coral reef habitat.

The truth is that I never understood this story at all. Mankind’s involvement with the massive reef is at best ephemeral and it is remote from the type of coastal pollution you see around Taiwan for example. Any observed collapse phenomena was most likely no more than a natural event that simply had not been observed before.

The most powerful force affecting natural populations is the predator prey cycle. Many of these will swing from a massive destruction of the host environment, through near complete collapse through a long slow rebuilding and recovery and suddenly back to massive destruction. Whatever happened on the reef looked very much like that.

We should be more concerned about the ongoing unnecessary influx of pollutants into the sea off the industrial heartlands of the world. Most such pollutants are actually safe to dump this way, but the problem is the lack of an audit trail that allows us to spot truly dangerous pollutants getting into the environment.

It likely required trivial abatement systems and a dose of common sense to prevent the dumping of mercury compounds in Japan fifty years ago, but no regulatory system was in place to catch it.

Does anyone actually believe that the Chinese are on top of this threat yet? Or India? I know that while most individuals in charge of these situations will do the right thing, there are always individuals who are both reckless and ignorant who are utterly focused on short term results. Every disaster will shake out another such fool.

In any event, it is fair to say that the global warming theme is been devalued by this sort of nonsense diverting attention.

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