Across the Tasman-they have their own climate change problems.....

Save farmers from Great Barrier Reef swindle

Recent media outbursts that the Great Barrier Reef faces catastrophic danger from climate change and ocean acidification are based on piggybacking a fraud on top of a fraud.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Federal Environment minister Peter Garrett’s reef protection plan signed off on last week will force farmers off the land under the guise of protecting water quality for the reef under “climate stress”.

The Reef Water Quality Protection Plan 2009 targets to reduce agricultural run-off by a massive half and specifies that by 2013, 80 per cent of landholders in agricultural enterprises (sugarcane, horticulture, dairy, cotton and grains) will need to implement new soil, nutrient and chemical management practices and 50 per cent of landholders in the grazing sector must adopt new pasture and riparian management practices.

This will force farmers to jump through hoops and combined with the global financial crisis, many will simply go bankrupt. And this policy to reduce agricultural run-off in the catchment is all based on a false premise—that the reef is stressed from global warming and ocean acidification. This is a fraud and scientists know it.

This “Protection Plan” follows the release of the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009, a report by the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority—a report claiming “the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor and catastrophic damage to the ecosystem may not be averted.” Paradoxically, the report also states that the Great Barrier Reef “remains one of the most healthy coral reef ecosystems.”

The report is chock-full with pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo, even claiming that ocean acidification is likely to be the most significant climate factor affecting the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.

With a pH of about 8.2, ocean water is not acidic at all, but slightly alkaline, yet most mainstream media insist on scary stories of ocean acidification—an absolute impossibility, even if we burnt our entire coal reserves. In fact, corals can grow quite well in aquariums containing water of very high dissolved CO2 concentration—corals often thrive in such water.

Dr Peter Ridd a Marine Physics specialist from James Cook University has made the following assessment:

“Corals have survived 300 million years of massively varying climate both much warmer and much cooler than today, far higher CO2 levels than we see today, and enormous sea level changes. Corals saw the dinosaurs come and go, and cruised through mass extinction events that left so many other organisms as no more than a part of the fossil record.

“Corals are particularly well adapted to temperature changes and in general, the warmer the better. It seems odd that coral scientists are worrying about global warming because this is one group of organisms that like it hot.”