Doomed Planet

The Reef of Gold

turtleAs ironclad evidence for the falsity of predictions regarding catastrophic anthropogenic global warming continues to evade the notice of the dedicated climate science community, the efforts of alarmists to shore up their industry turn naturally to scaremongering – drumming up frightening scenarios that might happen if we are so foolish as to continue on our fossil-fuelled ways.

Polar bears are now passe, possibly because the overwhelming observational evidence is that their population is not in decline at all (but it might be at some point in the future if if we don’t act now!). So it’s the Great Barrier Reef that has emerged as the latest iconic victim. Just like polar bears, most people will never see it, — and those that do, unlike a close encounter with ursus maritimus, will not risk being torn limb from limb after getting up close and personal.

We’re used to hearing about the reef’s imminent demise almost on a daily basis, but one recent Guardian article pushes the boundary of rigorous argument to breaking point. Professor Hugh Possingham, of the University of Queensland, billed as an expert on “conservation modelling”, tells us that it is now too late to save the entire reef.  Therefore, we must determine what bits we can save and concentrate on them. The Guardian tells us:

He conceded it could be “suicide” for politicians to talk of abandoning some parts of the reef over others.

“In politics, there’s a lot of: ‘We can do everything’,” he said.

But a “difficult discussion” was needed with time running out for more research, limits on funding, and the real chance of a “Sophie’s choice” looming for the reef, Possingham said.

Notice the subtlety.  The good professor is not actually telling us the sky is falling; he is holding out a flicker of hope. The inference is that we will cry ‘No, some of the reef is not enough.  We must save it all.  We must act now…” followed by, “We demand more funding for research.”

Walter Starck: The Reef’s Self-Serving Saviours

He tells us that ‘climate change’ is the reef’s greatest threat.  If that is so, then presumably it threatens the whole reef.  How does one quarantine certain parts of the reef and concentrate only on them?  What local action could be taken to offset the effects of a global phenomenon? Do we build controlled atmosphere domes over them?  Do we install barriers around them?

Here’s the real gem:

The analysis applied to carbon emissions, which drive climate change, the reef’s main threat, shows Australia sacrificing less than most other countries to go carbon neutral, Possingham said.

That put the onus on Australia to act, even though the reef’s fate through climate change will be “not entirely, but largely driven by the activities of other countries”.

Australia could go carbon neutral by 2030 “with far less pain than most people think and the average Australian would barely notice the difference”, Possingham said.

“My view is Australia is a filthy, filthy, filthy rich country … if we can’t make a small sacrifice, I don’t see why people in Bulgaria, Brazil, or Columbia – people who enjoy a far lower standard of living than we do – should do it,” he said.

Richard di Natale and his Greens minions will be delighted to hear that we’re triply filthy rich and can not only spend a lot more on inefficient no-carbon energy sources but are morally obliged to do so. Let me see if I understand the logic.  If we make a small sacrifice in order to save the Barrier Reef, then “Bulgaria, Brazil, Columbia” and all the other developing nations will be stung into action to make very big sacrifices to achieve the same end. For them, Australia’ sacrifices to save the Great Barrier Reef will be the tipping point that turns those nations from apathy. Our example will inspire their efforts to combat all the other catastrophes that purportedly await us, even at the cost of pobliging their populations to accept energy poverty and perpetual Third World living standards.

Unfortunately the dodgy logic isn’t the only thing wrong with this proposition.  Firstly, the sacrifice we’ve already committed to make, via Paris, is not small – it’s huge.  Billions of dollars, in fact.  And we’re not really drowning in filthy lucre, so we can’t regard such sums as small change.  And secondly, we’re not actually asking the developing countries to make any sacrifice at all.  We’re proposing, or rather they are, to make them the recipients of vast amounts of wealth transfer in order to allow them, in the name of climate justice, to emit as much CO2 as we do.

Possingham also concedes that the only threat to the reef that we can directly influence is agricultural run-off.  I would have thought that actions are already in train to address this, especially as it affects those areas of the reef closest to land. So why is he postulating abandoning the entire reef — the GBR equivalent, if you will, of World War II’s infamous Brisbane Line?

It is worrying that academics peddle this rubbish, that editors are prepared to publish it, and that well-meaning people are eager to believe it. What’s infinitely more worrying is that Possingham, a ‘world leading expert’, actually believes it himself. What does that say about the academy, other than the most obvious: more research dollars soonest or catastrophe is inevitable.

8 thoughts on “The Reef of Gold

  • padraic says:

    An excellent summary, but those dregs ranting on about the reef with fake data (or no data at all) couldn’t give a rats about the reef. What they are hunting down are those wanting to produce coal in Queensland and export it through Gladstone – another capitalist plot that must be thwarted. Coal has become the “Great Satan” of these fanatical characters.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    A man so dedicated to saving the reef should not need grants, he would do the necessary research for free. He and that other Hugh, Ove-Gulberg could tag team across the corals with parasols to keep the reef from that dangerous CO2 laden sun drenched atmosphere. I wonder at the university who employs these absolute jokes and am more concerned for the kids who attend for an education. A few years hence a science degree from most Australian universities will simply garner guffaws.

  • PeterPetrum says:

    I read somewhere recently (and can’t remember where) that one of the best ways to deal with the Left’s idiotic cary-ons is to ridicule them publicly and often. This article does just that. What an incredible load of nonsense! Several very credible research sources (including our own David Evans) are now indicating, with a great deal of certainty, that the sun is approaching a condition very similar to that which led to the Maunder Minimum in the 1700’s. They full expect they world’s temperatures to commence dropping next year (there is aleady a significant drop after the El Niño spike of last year) and to continue to do so for some time. I would expect that the Reef would be in more trouble from significantly colder waters than it would be from waters that are cooler than they are nearer the equator getting slightly warmer! Follow the money!

    • nfw says:

      The advice about ridicule appears to be from Alinsk’y “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”. Rule 5 is: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” One of the best ways to ridicule the socialist “progressives” (aka Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro: mass murderers all) is to also make the ridicule funny. Not only do the luvvies hate being mocked but because they do not have a sense of humour it doubles the effect.

  • Egil Nordang says:


    On a related matter……
    How does one get past the marxist moderators/censorators/totalitarians at The Australian?
    I pay sub/log in/post comment and ……end up with subscription options….!
    This mal ware was rampant before the election.
    Who does this?
    Rupert M or Philip A.?

  • ian.macdougall says:

    Where do professional climateers and deep-green academics look for the mother’s milk of government funding when their dire predictions continue to fall short? Why, the trick is to invent a new threat and crisis, then spout the same old catastropharian nonsense!

    As I have noted before in comments on this site, the best physical data I have been able to find on global warming is from satellite altimetry studies of sea level changes carried out by the University of Colorado. (
    This shows that the global sea level is rising by around 3.3 +/- 0.4 mm/yr. That means 33 mm per decade; 330 mm (33 cm) per century; 330 cm or 3.3 metres per thousand years. And so on…
    Call it a long thaw.
    Global sea level rise cannot have been going on at that rate for very long in human historical terms without it having been noticed by observers on all continents and recorded in the annals thereof. Thus the proposition that it has only been going on in the period of massive fossil carbon combustion (ie since the middle of the 18th C) holds water.
    The amounts of money going to these allegedly corrupt scientific researchers operating within the framework of an alleged global climate conspiracy are miniscule compared to the amounts invested by those in the fossil carbon industries: in coal mining and oil in particular. So we have two simultaneous processes: 1. global warming’s effect on water (solid and liquid): ice melt and thermal expansion, and 2. the effect of dissolved CO2 on marine life, as many marine organisms depend on calcareous skeletons susceptible to carbonic acid attack.

    The economic cost of all this will have to be met by our grandchildren and succeeding generations. So follow the money: to philosophicaL truth, economic reality and climate ostrichism: ie the sort of ‘scepticism’ practiced by an ostrich.

  • says:

    I am far more concerned with my rapidly increasing electricity bill – due mostly to being forced to subsidise hopeless, ridiculously inefficient “renewable” energy sources – than the rise of sea level of 3.3 metres over a thousand years. 3.3 metres in 1000 years!!! Really?! Does that sound like something mankind should be seriously concerned about. No, I didn’t think so, either.

  • en passant says:

    Good to see that Ian is still recycling the same tosh. Recycling is the Green thing to do.
    Nothing new, nothing realistic, but if repeated often enough it only proves that I will be dead in a thousand years by drowning, dehydration, overheating, freezing, you-name-it, etc.
    I carried out my ‘threat’ and now live very pleasantly in an Asian country where coal, oil and gas are worshiped as beneficial sources of energy. I am so brave I have no fear of CO2, global warming, global cooling, rising seas, ecological collapse or Ian and his cultist ilk.
    My last (autumn) electricity bill in Oz was $200 for the month. In my tropical home I run fans and air conditioners endlessly and light up my home like a fairground. I was embarrassed to be invoiced $50 for my electricity.
    The sea is 20m away, which is where it was when I first stayed here 50 years ago. Maybe Ian is right and it has risen 1.5cm over that time, but if it has I failed to notice the threat or feel the need to run to higher ground.
    Can anyone name a predicted catastrophe made before 1980 that came true 20 or more years later? I did a Google search and found a site that lists some. They make fun reading as the first one was a genius who predicted an earthquake in California 17 years later. Sheer genius! (I hope he gave his academic monkey a few extra peanuts or grants).
    Predicting the climate is a pseudo-religious belief system, not science.

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