Monday, July 16, 2007

Barrier Reef 'can adapt' to warmer times

Amazing what it takes to get some people to see the obvious. The fact that Australia's great coral reef has survived many temperature fluctuations in the past and the fact that it is at its most flourishing in TROPICAL waters should have made it the least likely candidate for Warmist hysteria but the fact that the reef is highly regarded by many meant that it HAD to be seen as endangered. The latest report below:

THE Great Barrier Reef may be much better suited to surviving climate change and warmer conditions than previously thought. Researchers in north Queensland have found many corals contain microscopic algae that protect them from temperature fluctuations.

The study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, which clashes with the work of many coral experts who have long claimed the reef is doomed by climate change, used DNA analysis to show many corals stored several types of algae that kicked in to provide nutrients when temperatures increased.

The future of the reef has become a touchstone for environmentalists, some of whom say the reef could be gone within 20 years. Last year, Nicholas Stern, the author of Britain's Stern Review into climate change, said the reef would die because of global warming. Greenpeace and the World Wild Fund for Nature claim the reef is threatened by global warming. The latter has called for a reduction of CO2 emissions specifically to save the reef, which it estimates contributes $5.8 billion to the economy. "Overfishing, land-based pollution and coral bleaching exacerbated by increased sea temperatures due to global warming are all impacting upon (the reef's) natural wealth," the WWF website says.

The new research suggests coral is suited to climate change and species have survived temperature changes in the past. Researcher Jos Mieog said that, when conditions warmed, the more heat-tolerant algae provided back-up, becoming more abundant. Some algal types imparted greater resistance to environmental extremes.

Before the research was released this week, many scientists believed only a few coral species harboured the algae, but it has now been shown to be much more widespread. The research shows coral has the ability to "shuffle" the algae, maximising life-sustaining nutrients depending on water temperature. The AIMS team discovered the heat-resistant algae by examining the DNA of different types of coral. "The potential for this hidden back-up algae to provide nutrition to coral during heat stress is far greater than previously thought," said the study's lead researcher, Madeleine van Oppen.

She acknowledged the work was viewed as controversial in coral reef sciences. The research team believes bleaching, widely associated with the death of coral, is part of coral's natural cycle of life. The presence of the heat-resistant algae had been missed by other researchers, Dr van Oppen said, because their techniques could not detect it at low abundance. Dr van Oppen said the research helped to explain how coral had survived over thousands of years. "This flexibility discovered in our research is important in understanding the past evolutionary success of these coral species and their future survival capacity in the face of changing climate," Dr van Oppen said


Fear of a global 'coldening'

By Tim Blair

LAST month Australians endured our coldest June since 1950. Imagine that; all those trillions of tonnes of evil carbon we've horked up into the atmosphere over six decades of rampant industrialisation, and we're still getting the same icy weather we got during the Cold War.

Not that June should be presented as evidence that global warming isn't happening, or that we're causing it. Relying on such a tiny sample would be unscientific and wrong, even if it involves an entire freakin' continent's weather patterns throughout the course of a whole month, for Christ's sake. No such foolishness will be indulged in here.

Sadly, those who believe in global warming - and who would compel us also to believe - aren't similarly constrained. A few hot days are all they ever need to get the global warming bandwagon rolling; evidently it's solar powered. Here, for example, is an Australian Associated Press report on May's weather, which in places was a little warmer than usual:

"Climate change gave much of Australia's drought-stricken east coast its warmest May on record, weather experts say. "Global warming and an absence of significant cold changes had driven temperatures well above the monthly average, said meteorologist Matt Pearce. According to Mr Pearce, May's temperatures were "yet another sign of the widespread climate change that we are seeing unfold across the globe."

If that's the case, shouldn't June's cold weather - coldest since 1950, remember - be a sign that widespread climate change isn't unfolding across the globe? We're using the same data here; one month's weather. And, in fact, the June sample is Australia-wide while May only highlights the east coast. Fear the dawn of a great "coldening"!

While Australia freezes, it's kinda hot in California. Again, local toastiness is evidence of global warming; one San Francisco Chronicle writer this week referred glibly to their "global-warming-heated summer". What phenomenon was responsible for previous summers? Maybe they got by on the superheated fumes radiating off Lateline host Tony Jones.

Snow cone Tone hosted an in-studio discussion Thursday night after the ABC presented The Great Global Warming Swindle, and he was hotter than a Christina Aguilera video. "Welcome to our debate on this deeply flawed and utterly mistaken documentary, which is wrong in every regard and was made by a zombie," Jones said in introduction (I'm only lightly paraphrasing). During an interview with filmmaker Martin Durkin Tone was visibly sweating; no easy achievement during a typical summer in the UK, to where he'd flown for his heated little chat.

Perhaps Tone was anticipating the phantom British summer forecast by The Independent's environment editor, Michael McCarthy, in April: "The possibility is growing that Britain in 2007 may experience a summer of unheard-of high temperatures, with the thermometer even reaching 40C, or 104F, a level never recorded in history. "This would be quite outside all historical experience, but entirely consistent with predictions of climate change."

As Wimbledon watchers would be aware, what with the rainiest tournament since Jimmy Connors defeated John McEnroe in 1982, those unheard-of high temperatures remain unheard-of. Someone might conclude, therefore, that the not-hot summer is not entirely consistent with predictions of climate change.

But climate change is like Michael Moore's tracksuit - it can fit anyone. In 2005, Greenpeace rep Steven Guilbeault helpfully explained: "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with." What we're dealing with, apparently, is weather. What will the weather be like 100 years from now? Don't ask Britain's Guardian, which, like the Independent, is full of Warmin' Normans whose warm warnings never come true. "It could be time to say goodbye to defining features of British life," the paper claimed a few months ago, "like rainy picnics and cloudy sunbathing . . ." Other defining features of British life - screaming, inaccurate nonsense from the Guardian, for example - will never be farewelled. Cue wet Wimbledon, the coldest day for Test match cricket (7.4C) in English history, and this BBC online headline: "Where has the UK's summer gone?"

Maybe it migrated to Australia, like Augustus Owsley Stanley III, the American LSD enthusiast and manufacturer. Possibly influenced by his product, Owsley moved to outback Queensland about twenty years ago, reportedly convinced that imminent global warming would cause - in the tradition of warm meaning cold - the whole Northern Hemisphere to be covered with ice. Owsley, now 72, is still in Queensland, and likely not a little confused. Things didn't exactly turn out as predicted. While his former Californian haunts melt due to "global warming", this year Queensland has gone frosty. Townsville's June was its coldest since 1940; June 24 saw the coldest Brisbane morning on record.

Think of these little factoids the next time your read a report linking a hot day or month or year to global warming. And, if you run into this Owsley bloke, please ask him to quit adding things to environmentalists' water supplies.


Black housing group refuses to collect rent or spend money on housing maintenance

I am afraid this is no surprise to those who know Aborigines

FOR 12 months, seven children and three adults were forced to live in a home with exposed and faulty electrical wiring, exposed asbestos and rotting walls and floorboards. The ceiling on their Mount Morgan home in central Queensland was falling down and rain fell through the roof.

Mount Morgan Shire Council environmental health officer Steve Best said the condition of the Coronation Drive home was horrific, but it was not the only one. About 2000 homes across Queensland face a similar fate after the Federal Government last year cut off maintenance funding to regional indigenous housing corporations. There are no funds allocated for maintenance this year and in 2008, the Government plans to wash its hands of the stock. Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said he refused to hand over any more money to the corporations, which were not using funds correctly and had not been collecting rent.

In Mount Morgan, the local council has taken it upon itself to help residents. "The council is not equipped to deal with these social issues . . . but I can't allow these people to stay in these places," Mr Best said. "I don't expect my children to live in a place like that and I don't expect anyone else's children to have to live in it."

Mount Morgan Aboriginal Corporation funding was cut in 2004 - two years before the cut-off to all regional indigenous housing corporations - and it has not spent money on maintenance since.

Mayor Gavin Finch said the Government refused to acknowledge "the plight of the indigenous members of our community". "Houses that were in drastic need of repairs two to three years ago are now nearing the irreparable stage," Cr Finch said.

North Queensland Regional Indigenous Housing chief executive John Chacko said about 5 per cent of his group's housing stock was unlivable, but, with no funding for maintenance, homes would deteriorate. Indigenous housing corporations are now waiting to see if the State Government will accept the Federal Government's offer to take responsibility for the homes and want to meet Queensland Housing Minister Robert Schwarten. Mr Schwarten said it would cost $300 million to bring the 2000 indigenous housing homes up to standard and about half would have to be demolished


Hilarious! Rudd's brother is a secret supporter of the conservatives!

THE high-profile brother of Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has quit the ALP after leaked documents revealed he was giving rival parties thousands of dollars. Greg Rudd, an influential Brisbane lobbyist and former Keating government staffer quit the Labor Party on Friday after he was confronted with documents showing he had donated thousands of dollars to both the Liberal and National Parties. Bankrolling other parties is strictly prohibited under Labor Party rules and a breach results in automatic expulsion.

The leak of the damaging information came from within the ALP and was designed to embarrass the Opposition Leader into having to confront his own brother. It is seen as retribution for Mr Rudd expelling rogue unionists - such as the Electrical Trades Union's Dean Mighell and Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union boss Joe McDonald - from the Labor Party. The fact the leak was targeted personally at Mr Rudd through his brother suggests that Labor is not as unified as it appears over the Opposition Leader's tough stance against union leaders who step out of line. The leak is seen as a message from the union movement to Mr Rudd to back off.

It's likely to be seized on by the Government as evidence that union powerbrokers have the capacity to yank Mr Rudd's chain - even if it involves sacrificing his own brother. The documents shown to Greg Rudd detail donations of more than $10,000 made to the Liberal and National Parties in Queensland since 2001. Greg Rudd is the principal and founder of the Brisbane- based firm, Open Door Consulting.


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