On 31st January there was a piece in The Age titled ‘Scientists worried by reef bleaching’ quoting Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland, with Don Henry from the Australian Conservation Foundation suggesting the problem of bleaching that Ove was so worried about, could be fixed if only the Australian government ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
I received an email from a reader of this blog a couple of weeks ago pointing out that expert, and academic, Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg keeps changing his tune on global warming and its impact on the reef. He wrote:
“Within a little over a month, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s estimates have dropped from 50-60 percent to 1 percent of the reef bleached. That is simply an amazing change over a short period of time, particularly when you consider the amount of time required to do field work, analyse data etc. In the later article, Ove appears to be discrediting the scientists who made the initial estimates, when of course they were his!
I will be interested to see if Ove makes a statement also modiyfing his claims that the reef will be dead and barren within 30 to 50 years.
My feeling is that the initial claims were simply scaremongering and the disappointing thing is his willingness to go public with such claims with only preliminary data rather than any real published material.”
Herald Sun Columnist Andrew Bolt also noticed the inconsistencies in the advice from Ove:
“How many times must the experts be wrong about Barrier Reef devastation before we disbelieve their scares?
HOW many times must the Great Barrier Reef “survive” before we figure it’s not really dying?
Actually, the real question is a bit ruder.
As in: How many times can global-warming alarmists such as Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg be wrong about the reef’s “devastation” before we learn to ignore their scares?
The trouble is our reef is so well-loved that green militants, desperate that we back their theory of man-made global warming, consider it the perfect hostage.
No month goes by without one screaming: “Freeze! Out of the car, or the reef gets it!”
And Hoegh-Guldberg, head of Queensland University’s Centre for Marine Studies, has threatened us more often than most.
Just three months ago he was at it again, issuing a press release with a grim warning: High temperatures meant “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef could die within a month”.
Just four paragraphs on he upped the ante, warning that the warm seas “may result in greater damage” still — to more than 60 per cent of the reef — and we “have to rapidly reduce the rate of global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”
You heard him, jerk. Get out of your car.
But as anyone who’s seen the reef lately knows, it’s still there and still beautiful.
Ask — hey! — Hoegh-Guldberg himself. He’s just back from a trip out to the outer reef and reports that, um, the bleaching, er, has had, well, “quite a minimal impact”, after all. In fact, just 1 per cent was affected.
And history tells us even that little bit will recover.
What history? The history of an earlier Hoegh-Guldberg scare.
In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg was commissioned by Greenpeace — warning — to find out why bits of the reef had just turned white.
Global warming was to blame, he concluded, which pleased Greenpeace awfully.
More, it moaned, and the professor obliged: Warming seas meant “coral reefs could be eliminated from most areas of the world by 2100”.
Click here to keep reading.
You don’t need to be really clever to work out that global warming might not be so good for polar bears, but it is probably going to be OK for Nemo, as I’ve explained previously, click here.
But even the Australian Financial Review can’t help but scaremonger. An article in the Review on Friday (BCA Warms to Climate Change Rethink, pg. 57) claimed a 1C temperature rise would result in 81 percent of the Great Barrier Reef bleaching. One degree was the extent of the temperature rise last year according to the Bureau of Meterology. The Review would have published the one degree temperature rise for last year, and is now publishing that a one degree rise will bleach most of the reef! How confused must editors and journalists be with all the global warming scaremongering?
Several commentators at this blog have been indignant about the letter from the 60 skeptics in which the scientists suggested there has been some exaggeration, and there could be more public consultation about climate change issues (see comments following the blog post here). They claim the letter ignores the science and seriousness of the issue and is just about playing politics. But these same commentators will ignore the more ridiculous claims from Ove and other ‘believers’ who spin stories that result in completely nonsense predictions.
On a brighter note, here is a little Nemo from The Great Barrier Reef: