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Delingpole: Only Gullible Fools Believe that the Great Barrier Reef Is Dying

April 11, 2017

By Paul Homewood




From Dellers:

The Great Barrier Reef is dead. It has ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and gone to join the bleedin’ choir invisible. It is an Ex Great Barrier Reef.



Well, at least it is if you believe the left-wing media such as the Guardian, which claims today that the reef is at “terminal stage” because of damage allegedly caused by “climate change”.

Lots of eco loons have been rending their garments and throwing their (recyclable, organic, gluten-free) toys out of the pram in horror at this hideous disaster.

But it’s OK. As I keep trying to explain here to anyone who’ll listen – and obviously, also, to annoy the greenies – is that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t in the remotest danger. Yes, it has experienced bleaching, but this is normal – especially in dramatic El Ninos like the one we’ve just had – and there is no reason to suspect that the GBR won’t recover. Nor is there any particular reason to blame man’s-selfishness-and-greed-and-refusal-to-amend-his-lifestyle for the temporary damage the reef has suffered. Even if we’d done as the greenies want and bombed our economies into the dark ages, replaced all cars with bicycles and retired to caves illuminated by tallow candles – even then, the GBR would be in exactly the same condition as it is now because El Ninos are a natural phenomenon not a man-made one.

For chapter and verse on this I recommend this most excellent essay by ecologist Jim Steele, who puts the scaremongering in its proper scientific context.

The problem is that the main man behind the scare – Professor Terry Hughes of an impressive-sounding organisation called the National Coral Bleaching Task Force – appears to have been more interested in generating headlines than pursuing the scientific method.

His scary aerial shots of bleached Great Barrier Reef may look like damning evidence of the effects of climate change on the reef. But here’s the rub:

Aerial surveys, on which Hughes 2017 based their analyses, cannot discriminate between the various causes of bleaching. To determine the cause of coral mortality, careful examination of bleached coral by divers is required to distinguish whether bleached coral were the result of storms, crown-of-thorns attacks, disease, aerial exposure during low tides, or anomalously warmer ocean waters. Crown-of-thorns leave diagnostic gnawing marks, while storms produce anomalous rubble. Furthermore aerial surveys only measure the areal extent of bleaching, but cannot determine the depth to which most bleaching was restricted due to sea level fall. To distinguish bleaching and mortality caused by low tide exposure, divers must measure the extent of tissue mortality and compare it with changes in sea level. For example, the Indonesian researchers found the extent of dead coral tissue was mostly relegated to the upper 15 cm of coral, which correlated with the degree of increased aerial exposure by recent low tides. Unfortunately Hughes et al never carried out, or never reported, such critical measurements.

And no, bleaching isn’t the same as dying. Not in the slightest.

Hughes reported the various proportions of areal bleaching as degrees of severity. But that frightened many in the public who confused bleaching with mortality, leading some misguided souls to blog the GBR was dead.  However bleaching without mortality is not a worrisome event no matter how extensive. Rates of mortality and recovery are more important indices of reef health. As discussed in the article “The Coral Bleaching Debate: Is Bleaching the Legacy of a Marvelous Adaptation Mechanism or A Prelude to Extirpation?“, all coral retain greater densities of symbiotic algae (symbionts) in the winter but reduce that density in the summer, which often leads to minor seasonal bleaching episodes that are usually temporary. Under those circumstances coral typically return to normal within weeks or months. Furthermore by ejecting their current symbionts, coral can acquire new symbionts that can promote greater resilience to changing environmental conditions. Although symbiont shifting and shuffling promotes adaptation to shifting ocean temperatures, symbiont shuffling cannot protect against extreme low tide desiccation, and dead desiccated coral can no longer adapt. Humans have little control over El Niños or low tides.

Why does anyone seriously imagine the Great Barrier Reef is dying? For the same reason some idiots seriously imagine that the polar bear is an endangered species. For the same reason these same pillocks think that there’s a man-made climate change problem.

Because Greenies don’t do science. They do propaganda.

  1. AlecM permalink
    April 11, 2017 9:28 am

    In 1967 I was one of the first Aussie backpackers. On my charter flight was a UK woman scientist whose project was to video the GBR which was at that time being attacked by the Crown of Thorns starfish and expected to disappear. She’s gone; the GBR is still here and will remain for as long as the thermohaline circulation controls ocean temperatures.

  2. April 11, 2017 9:42 am

    Good point. I always thought coral reefs only had a limited life anyway and there are many other pressures. “Climate Change…bah humbug.”.

  3. andy mckendrick permalink
    April 11, 2017 9:45 am

    An alleged secular society still retains the concept of original Sin.

  4. HotScot permalink
    April 11, 2017 10:00 am

    The BBC saw fit to report it on radio news yesterday, so it must be true.

    After all, they have a vested interest in ensuring Attenborough has something to talk about and that Countryfile can continue to scare the bejeesus out all the city folk who think the programme is anything but a soap.

    • April 11, 2017 11:10 am

      Shukman was all over it on the BBC TV News yesterday.
      “Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in ‘unprecedented’ bleaching”
      When the BBC uses ‘unprecedented’ in the headline, you know it’s BBC fake news.

      Is that true, or did you hear it on the BBC?

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        April 11, 2017 11:36 am

        Has Harrabin moved to pollution only now or are the Beeb trying a different formation?

      • CheshireRed permalink
        April 11, 2017 12:03 pm

        I caught a C4 7pm news hysteria-piece too last night. Same story: Catastrophe! Unprecedented! Disaster! Terminal!

        Ah f*ck off ya whining girl’s blouses.

      • R2Dtoo permalink
        April 11, 2017 12:13 pm

        It was on the CTV nightly news yesterday. The greenies still have the msm pipeline in Canada.

  5. April 11, 2017 10:22 am

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Well worth sharing!

  6. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 11, 2017 10:36 am

    I first met this in 1961 on a schoolboy trip there. Our trip didn’t go where the brochure had said and when I asked a deckhand he said “that patch has lost colour. It happens and it will be OK in 2 years. Where we are going has lots of colour (it did)”.
    For years various vested interests have been claiming the GBR is dying, with limited proof at best? worst? Usually because they want more money for ‘research’. All they achieve (apart from money from the gullible) is to frighten off tourists who think the reef is dead. One day the tour guides are going to sue these alarmists for damages and that will be the end of these exaggerations.

  7. April 11, 2017 11:49 am

    A little example from my first real trip to California. In the early 1990’s I visited my niece and husband in Santa Barbara. Lynn and I went up the coast to Carmel and to the Point Lobos State Reserve on the Monterey Peninsula. Little trails snaked around the coast right up against Pebble Beach. You could see birds, otters and sea lions in the bay and large rocks offshore. There was a triptych sign board which described the vegetation. I would circle back to identify the plants photographed. As I stood there, making my list, a woman came burbling up to her friend near the sign. She breathlessly, for all to hear, stated: “I am SOOO relieved. I just learned that sea otters can die of natural causes!” No kidding. If they did not, I wanted to tell her, we would be up to our necks in sea otters and a lot of other things.

  8. April 11, 2017 12:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  9. Mike Jackson permalink
    April 11, 2017 12:37 pm

    The minute you come across any organisation with a name like the National Coral Bleaching Task Force the alarm bells ought to start a deafening ringing. The word “bleaching” tells half the story (we know something b-a-a-d is happening) and the words “task force” tell you the rest (gie’s the money so we can swan off to look at it and perhaps make ourselves famous at the same time)

    These people are so bloody predictable you would think even politicians’ patience would have run out by now.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      April 11, 2017 4:37 pm

      Exactly. The whole point of the ‘National Coral Bleaching Task Force’ was to find bleaching and get extra funding! They could’ve cut to the chase and called it the ‘We Make It Up As We Go Along To Get Wagon Loads Of Cash Task Force’ and be done with it.

  10. Broadlands permalink
    April 11, 2017 12:51 pm

    The temperatures on the GBR are not out of line, even if our added CO2 could focus on them.


    The corals in the Red Sea are in much warmer waters and are doing fine, if the people there would stop polluting the water. Same for the GBR?

  11. Sheri permalink
    April 11, 2017 12:53 pm

    The trolls are out in force at Breitbart in the comments section. The true believers will not be swayed by facts, logic or anything else.

  12. Athelstan permalink
    April 11, 2017 1:07 pm

    Cyclone Debbie recently passed through, a good time to take a few aerial shots of the great reef – methinks.

    How many times?

    After that, there really is nothing to see but the coral is pretty robust and can deal with it, it’s not effin water temperature variation it’s effin natural silting FFS.

    But you can’t argue with generation snowflake, once they’ve made up their tiny minds.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 11, 2017 1:51 pm

      “You can always tell a Snowflake, but you can’t tell ’em much.”

      • Athelstan permalink
        April 11, 2017 4:28 pm

        Sadly, so very true – seemingly you can’t tell ’em [snowflakes] anything.

        Good Lord! whatever happened to the pursuit and joy of gaining knowledge, discovery and wondering at the dynamics of the UNIVERSE. Experimentation……. and proving it – and YES even if you prove yourself wrong, testing yourself and the rivalry of competition, smashing down the walls of ‘consensus’ opinion – isn’t that what science is all about?!

  13. April 11, 2017 2:17 pm

    Nice to know I am not the only rational being left on earth. As an ecologist I like being funded for work but I do hope I have never lied or made up a potential disaster just to get a grant. How do we stop this environmental madness and concentrate on the real problems, overpopulation, political wars, over-consumption ,starvation and disease. Nice to hear sanity still exists. All best wishes.Terry Langford.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 11, 2017 7:34 pm


      whilst I agree with most of what you say, I don’t believe this continuing rhetoric that the planet is, or will, be over populated.

      It is widely recognised amongst agriculturists that feeding 9Bn peole wont be a problem with advancing technology. Now that we have increased atmospheric CO2 to help, it’s even less of a problem. A NASA analysis of their own satellite data over the past 30 years demonstrated the planet has greened by 14%, 70% of that down to increased CO2 alone.

      The problem is that poverty in developing nations is increasing because of the lack of reliable energy sources. That puts pressure on their agriculture which doesn’t have the same level of technological advantage as in the west because they don’t have the energy to irrigate, sanitise water or power sewage treatment plants.

      Unregulated logging companies move into areas of forest to provide the local town/city/village with firewood, denude the areas, and farmers move in, to discover yet more soil that is exhausted of nutrients within 3 years. And the cycle repeats, leaving wastelands of bare soil to the elements.

      These, and a number of other contributing factors leads to a population increase, at a pragmatic level, parents need children to look after them in their old age. The child mortality rates are appalling, so they just keep having large families to ensure their old age provision.

      Simple answer; let these countries burn coal for energy, and help them introduce welfare provision for the elderly.

      Instead? We stop them burning anything but wood and dung, then feed their starving children subsistence rations.

      Talk about teaching a man to fish?

  14. Broadlands permalink
    April 11, 2017 5:28 pm

    Water temperature Great Barrier Reef in April 2017, 2016 year
    Current water temperature Great Barrier Reef

    The warmest sea in Great Barrier Reef in April is 84°F/29°C, and the coldest sea temperature in April is 79°F/26°C. Average water temperature in Great Barrier Reef in April is 82°F/28°C.

  15. AndyG55 permalink
    April 11, 2017 9:45 pm

    What would be interesting to investigate is the ocean currents.

    Slow or stationary current do not bring a continual supply of food.


    …. and totally OT.

    Southern Hemisphere has just had its quietest cyclone season on record.

    And not just a little bit low..

    LESS THAN HALF the previous minimum accumulated energy since 1970

  16. April 12, 2017 6:44 am

    If faux environmentalists truly believed their line on the demise of the GBR due to man made climate change, one might suppose that they would also pay attention to other great coral barriers across the world if only (a) in the interests of science generally and (b) more specifically to test their assertions against a wider backdrop.

    Is there the slightest indication that they have ever done so? Not that I have ever encountered.

  17. April 12, 2017 7:40 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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