A spoonful of enviro-sugar helps the atmospheric medicine go down

In her 16th July 2008 media release, GREEN PAPER ON CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION SCHEME RELEASED, Senator, the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water, stated that:

“Climate change threatens … icons like the Great Barrier Reef, the Kakadu wetlands and the multi billion dollar tourism industries they support.”

The selection and juxtaposition of these two icons is, at the very least, strategically interesting. The Great Barrier Reef is widely celebrated as one of the natural wonders of the world, epitomising environmental importance for Australians. Kakadu, in a similar vein, is resplendent with fauna and flora and resounds of antiquity and Aboriginal spirituality. It is a logical companion to the Reef and particularly if the Minister’s intention was to capture the breadth and diversity of Australia’s environmental concerns.

However, the Reef is thought to be around a half-million years old and quite obviously has endured temperature variations throughout this period. With an even greater perseverance, Kakadu is believed to have formed around 140 million years ago, with the prominent escarpment wall forming sea cliffs and the Arnhem Land plateau a flat land above the sea.

Yet, despite these environmental assets enduring against the ravages of turbulent climate variation, their imminent environmental collapse is foreshadowed alongside the devastating implication of multi-billion dollar economic losses, unless dramatic changes are implemented as outlined in the Federal Government’s draft Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

But what of other environmental icons, like the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest? Surely it is even more vulnerable to these forecast catastrophic climate changes? Being coastal, it is more proximal to inundation than Kakadu, it is more primitive, has a far richer biodiversity and endemism and attracts more than twice the annual visitation and expenditure.

Perhaps its ecological interaction with the contiguous Great Barrier Reef is spatially less inclusive of the broader environmental diversity between the Reef and Kakadu. Nevertheless, localised carbon pollution should be more of a concern in the Daintree rainforest with its greater vulnerabilities and visitation, as well as its more abundant income-earning performance. Not that Kakadu should be under-valued, but it seems entirely incongruous that for all the urgency for this necessary intervention, that nothing is being done to protect the Daintree rainforest from carbon pollution emitted from hundreds of concurrently running engine generators.

It has been conservatively estimated that the federal government will raise ten billion dollars in 2010 from the sale of permits to emit greenhouse gases. Every cent of this estimated bounty will purportedly be used to help Australian households and businesses adjust to the emissions trading scheme and to invest in clean energy options.

Perhaps the federal Government might be persuaded to embrace the Daintree World Heritage rainforest as a priority pilot project to remove the unnecessary emissions of so many generators.

10 Responses to A spoonful of enviro-sugar helps the atmospheric medicine go down

  1. Jeff August 12, 2008 at 4:53 pm #

    I may get kicked in the shins for this, but I’m getting a bit tired of Ross Garnaut, Penny Wong, Tim Flannery etc. with their dire predictions – sea levels rising 8 mtrs, drought, floods, freezing temperatures, higher than ever temperatures.

    Just Google Earth Dubai and Abu Dahbi in the United Arab Emirates to see terraforming by dredging the seabed to form Palm Islands 1 – 2, and a multipilicty of exotically large buildings. Areas adjacent to the sea, at levels far less than the 6m+ flooding warnings from the Alarmists.

    Travelogues of this area show lighting from chandeliers – not a CFL in sight and from articles I have read recently, coal fired power generation being built to power all this development.

    Top all this off with Rolls Royces and other large engined European vehicles.

    I would not consider the population of the Emirates as stupid or irresponsible, I feel that they know what the situation is.

    Simple question – Are we being had by the Alarmist camp?

  2. Ianl August 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm #

    As a matter of geological record (ie. observed fact), corals first appear in the record in the pre-Cambrian.

    They are represented in-continuum throughout the entire of that time-span to today, although obviously evolving during this immense time-scale.

    Many climate changes have occurred in that time-span – but the corals are still with us. Threats to specific deposits such as the Barrier Reef have occurred (eg. starfish) and will continue to occur. That is how evolution works and no collectivist dialectic will change that. The entire exposed strata surfaces of the PNG Highlands are primarily composed of fossilised coral limestones – I’ve mapped some of it.

    The notion that homo sapiens threatens the survival of corals by burning fossil carbon deposits is more an appeal to superstitious guilt than a significant evolutionary risk. Far more likely is a catastrophic episode of volcanism or tectonism from the regional sub-sea surface plate boundaries. This is an assessment of evolutionary risk based on past evidential patterns rather than a “what-if” guess.

  3. Dr LeBlanc Smith August 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    As a retired CSIRO principal research scientist (geosciences), I make this observation and comment on Minister Wong’s statement:

    “Climate change threatens … icons like the Great Barrier Reef, the Kakadu wetlands and the multi billion dollar tourism industries they support.”

    The vast bulk of the Great Barrier Reef was exposed land, above sea level, prior to 10,000 years ago, when sea levels were over 70m lower than present.

    The evidence can be seen from the sea level curve derived from joining dots of observed and dated sea levels that track the natural melt-out of the last glaciation ice sheets. Sea level rose 130m with a maximum observed in the perched Antarctic lakes, at ~8m above present, some 6000 years ago. It has fallen since, as the planet has cooled to our present level.


    The obvious inference is that the bulk of the GBR AREA would not have supported coral growth. The Bathymetry levels for the GBR can be seen at:


    The statement should probably reflect that recent climate change did indeed threaten that environment, it drowned the GBR AREA and it was “polluted” by sea water and associated local outbreaks of coral growth.

    Any talk of presently located GBR as hundred of millions of years old is incorrect and not based on available science. I suggest that this should have been challenged by CSIRO at the very least, and by any observant scientist who looks at the logic and evidence.

    The massive sea level rise at the termination of the last glaciation would likely also have affected the Kakadu environment, and it may well not have been swamp then, either. The Bradshaw rock paintings, which pre-date modern Aboriginal culture and paintings in the area, depict scenes that are different, with roos and similar. Worth a further thought I would think, and getting the true history for these areas in context so that objective discussion and decisions based of real science can be derived.

    Natural climate change has and will continue to pose challenges and threats to human kind. Some of these we can manage for, others we will have to adapt to.

    My current view is that the the suggestion of Human-caused carbon dioxide driving these (natural) changes is built on bad science at best, and the carbon tax is a fraud at worst.

    This above information was submitted into the Garnaut Review, and presented to the Parliamentary ministers and parties (by me) yet has apparently been ignored.

    I contend that the professional scientists that are knowingly complicit in scientific fraud and all that is derived from that, will soon be exposed by the the science itself.

    I wonder if class action legal challenges will flow from any implementation of carbon tax in the future – once the foundations on which it is being build are exposed for what they are?

    I remain open to be persuaded by evidence. I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, yet alone man-made CO2 driving it. The ice core data refute this. (Jennifer M. has the graphics that I generated from the publicly available NOAA ice-core data).

  4. janama August 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    we couldn’t even rid the Bikini Islands of coral reefs using 100 nuclear bombs. They are back today, pristine as ever.

  5. bill-tb August 12, 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    Doesn’t anyone know anything about history? I assume the politicians think that government schools have done their job, and the fact base of the average citizen does not include facts anymore. What else can it be, if they try and pass off moronic stuff like this in broad daylight.

  6. cinders August 13, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    The comments by Dr LeBlanc Smith are a timely reminder for the need to question the pronouncements of both government and our scientific organisations.
    There appears to be a distinct trend in making alarming claims on the ‘pollution’ status, impacts and storage of carbon.

  7. Max August 13, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    Tim Flannery seems to be one of the present authorities on
    “Climate Change.” I would like to ask him why he has ignored basic
    elementary scinece in his conclusion that CO2 is somehow an enemy of our
    world at the present moment?
    eg – If I were to force feed a greenhouse with CO2, what would the plants
    do? Answer- They would grow more vigorously,wouldn’t they? At this web
    address –

    over 31,000 international scientists have stated (quote) –

    Global Warming Petition
    “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement
    that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar
    proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the
    environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the
    health and welfare of mankind.
    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon
    dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the
    foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and
    disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific
    evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many
    beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the

    Why is it that the media have grovelled at Tim’s 2,500 supposed supportive
    scientist’s opinions yet, these 31,000 plus scientists have been
    deliberately ignored it seems. Their voice is never heard in any media, and
    if science is to be true to itself, it must, to be consistent and fair,
    listen to ALL viewpoints.

    UK Scientist, Christopher Monktin wrote a letter to Penny Wong in the
    Hearld-Sun recently and told her she was leading the Labor party down the
    road to oblivion on this issue. I’ll leave you to work out why he said that.

  8. Graeme Bird August 13, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    Conservatives don’t want to make the mistake of getting smug about being so much smarter than the fraudster/traitor coalition. While they do this the left will run rings around them in terms of getting their agenda ahead.

    There isn’t too much of a deeper meaning to it. Penny Wong is a leftist liar just like the rest of them. She probably didn’t ever think about the age of some jungle or the reef. They grab any lie that happens to be to hand at the time. Its the same with all of them.

    The left for all their out-there stupidity trump the conservatives every time. Not much to be smug about. Only the threat of forcing these people to actually work for a living could get them to abandon this tax-eaters crusade.

  9. Max August 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Graeme, I basically agree with your August 13 statement, but I’m going to suggest something that you are all missing. The Labour Party is hardly socialist any more. Fact is, if you check their policies, and the policies of the LIBs at the moment they are more right wing than left! Checking Lib and Lab policies is like re setting the deck chairs on the Titanic. They behave like they were born to rule the world, and make policies which will ultimately starve the “third world” through lack of food. But of course, this will be a good thing because they are saving the planet! What about saving the people for a change!

  10. Nuclear Medicinen March 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    The Great Barrier Reef is widely celebrated as one of the natural wonders of the world, epitomising environmental importance for Australians.

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