Zoals we inmiddels weten, moet het klimaatalarmistische vuurtje regelmatig worden opgepookt. Dit keer was het Karel Drijver van het Wereld Natuur Fonds (WNF) die zich van deze taak kweet.

In Rypke’s ‘postings’ is vaak gewezen op het propagandakarakter van de ‘voorlichting’ van het WNF. Een kras voorbeeld daarvan werd onlangs weer geleverd in Umberto Tan’s ‘Late Night Show’. (Zie hier, vanaf 16.) Daarin kwam Karel Drijver, aangekondigd als oceaanexpert, aan het woord die met zorgelijk gelaat wees op de aantasting van Australische koraalriffen. De voornaamste boosdoener was natuurlijk weer de opwarming van de aarde (die sinds 1998 nagenoeg niet heeft plaatsgevonden), veroorzaakt door de mens. Het ging weer eens slechter dan we dachten! 95 % van de Australische koraalriffen zou thans zijn aangetast door de opwarmings’golf’.

Het verhaal over het afsterven van de koralen werd door hem vooral geplaatst in de context van de de nakende opwarmingsapocalyps. ‘Als wij niet zorgen dat het klimaat in balans komt (!?), dan gaan dit soort gebieden uiteindelijk verloren.’ Aldus Drijver. Volgens hem doet Australië in dit verband ook te weinig aan hernieuwbare energie – zonne– en windenergie. Daarin hebben ze veel te weinig geïnvesteerd. Het land zou voor 100% op hernieuwbare energie kunnen leven !?

Toegegeven, vervuiling door meststoffen uit de landbouw, riolering en sedimenten die door de rivieren in zee worden geloosd, werden ook door Karel Drijver genoemd. Maar in zijn  verhaal lag het accent toch op klimaatverandering.

Op de vraag wat wij persoonlijk zouden kunnen doen om verdere schade te voorkomen, antwoordde hij: ‘Duurzame vis eten op vakantie.’

Om het maar vriendelijk te zeggen: het was een kluwen van onnavolgbare logica. Een regelmatig bezoek aan Climategate.nl zou Karel Drijver waarschijnlijk in de toekomst kunnen behoeden voor dit soort wartaal.

Maar wat is er nu werkelijk aan de hand? Een snelle zoektocht op internet levert resultaten op die een heel ander licht werpen op deze materie.

Op 6 januari 2015 publiceerde de website ‘Die Kalte Sonne’ een ‘posting’:

Unerwartete Wendung: Korallen sind viel Wärmestress-resistenter als vormals befürchtet.

Op 12 januari 2015 deed de website er nog een schepje bovenop met:

Verweis auf Klimawandel lenkt von den wahren Gefahren für die Korallenriffe ab: Dynamit-Fischerei, Killer-Mikroorganismen, Seesterne, Abwassereinleitung und Rodung der Küstenwälder.

In deze ‘postings’ kwam een grote hoeveelheid literatuur aan de orde, die een heel ander beeld gaf dan het klimaatalarmisme dat Karel Drijver ons voorschotelde.

Maar venijniger was de analyse van Walter Starck op de website van Anthony Watts (WUWT) van 9 oktober 2012, onder de titel: ‘Reef Alarmists Jump The Shark’. Ik pik er een aantal krenten uit:

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is doomed again. [Noot HL: Dat was dus in 2012.] A recent widely publicised scientific study reports the dramatic finding that it has lost half its coral in the last 27 years. Forty-eight percent of the loss is attributed to storm damage, with bleaching and crown-of-thorns starfish being responsible for 10% and 42% respectively. The average annual rate of coral loss over the 27-year period was estimated to be 3.38% and growth was put at 2.85%, leaving a net decline of 0.53% per year. Further effort and research on starfish control is suggested to be the most promising means of reversing the decline. Elimination of the loss due to starfish would leave a net gain of 0.89%.

While the news reports present the appearance of scientific precision and certainty, examination of the study itself reveals a number of doubtful assumptions, undisclosed conditions and instances where strong conflicting evidence is unmentioned. ….

The study … states:

“The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

No evidence exists for this claim. The mass-bleaching events of recent decades have coincided with surface water warming resulting from periods of extended calm associated with strong El Niño events. This impedes normal evaporative cooling as well as wave driven mixing. ….

The report further states:

“Water quality is a key environmental driver for the GBR. Central and southern rivers now carry five- to ninefold higher nutrient and sediment loads from cleared, fertilized, and urbanized catchments into the GBR compared with pre-European settlement.”

No actual measurements of pre-European sedimentation rates exist. These are only estimates and extrapolations from unverified proxies which may or may not represent what is claimed. What is certain is that the inshore areas of the GBR are heavily blanketed in sediments that have accumulated over thousands of years and turbidity in coastal waters is overwhelmingly governed by re-suspension of these sediments through wave action, not by current day runoff from the land. …

The claim is made that, “Reducing COTS (crown of thorns starfish) populations, by improving water quality and developing alternative control measures, could prevent further coral decline and improve the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef.”

This is entirely supposition, and the actual result could well be the opposite. After nearly half a century and over a hundred million dollars in research, the COTS outbreaks are no better understood, nor are they any more of a threat, than they ever were. They continue to occur sporadically as they do with other starfishes and sea urchins in many other places. Such outbreaks also often occur on isolated oceanic reefs far from any runoff or human influence.

There is nothing to indicate the GBR outbreaks are due to anything other than natural causes. In fact they may even play a beneficial role in the maintenance of coral diversity as the starfish selectively prune the fast growing branching and plate-like species permitting the slower growing forms to catch up. This is especially noticeable a few years after severe storm damage, when the faster growing species tend to predominate and when COTS outbreaks are likely to occur.

The report concludes that, “…coral cover on the GBR is consistently declining, and without intervention, it will likely fall to 5–10% within the next 10 [years].”

Interestingly, this particular claim is conflicted by the most comprehensive previous study (published only three years earlier by the same institution) which, “…found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995.”

If the experts were wrong then is there any reason to think they are right now?

There is abundant reason to question the validity of the findings. The imminent demise of the GBR has been an ongoing claim for nearly half a century and has funded a small industry of researchers, bureaucrats and activists devoted to “saving” the Great Barrier Reef from a variety of imagined “threats”. In recent decades this industry has cost the Australian taxpayer well over $100 million per year and the cost has been increasing. Although no practical solutions have ever been found, the demand for hypothetical solutions to imaginary problems seems unlimited. …

What if for once the experts are right?

The core claim is that the reef has lost half of its coral in the past 27 years and that

“Without significant changes to the rates of disturbance and coral growth, coral cover in the central and southern regions of the GBR is likely to decline to 5–10% by 2022.”

If this is true, the implications for future research and management are profound. It means that the current condition of the GBR is essentially no better than that of the heavily exploited and effectively unmanaged reefs of the Caribbean or SE Asia. It means all the money and effort that has gone into management and research has been an abject failure. It means that the promised “resilience” to environmental impacts that was the major justification for greatly expanded green zones and sundry other stringent and costly restrictions on productive usage have achieved nothing, and that the vaunted resilience has been just another theoretical academic fantasy. It means that the claims of having the best managed reefs in the world have been only a self-serving delusion. It means that all the past assertions of successful management have been untrue and the research supposedly supporting it has been either grossly incompetent or a deliberate misrepresentation. …

Personally, I suspect that the surest way to save the reef would be to cut funding for management and research by half and link future cuts or increases to the balance of economic and environmental outcomes. I have little doubt that would soon effect a miraculous recovery.

Lees verder hier.

Aldus enkele krenten uit het opmerkelijke betoog van Walter Starck.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhier, hier, hier en hier.