Sunday, February 25, 2018

World's coral reefs face new peril from beneath within decades (?)

This is just a new variation on an old fraud.  For the ocean to become more acidic it has to absorb more CO2 and thus produce carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3). And as CO2 levels rise, that might happen to some degree.

But according to Warmist theory higher CO2 levels will bring higher temperatures.  But higher ocean temperatures will REDUCE the carrying capacity of the oceans for CO2.  So CO2 will OUTGAS from the oceans under higher temperatures and the oceans will be LESS acidic. 

So if the galoots below really believed in global warming they would welcome it as REDUCING the threat to corals.

So there is a small potential threat to corals from higher CO2 levels but it will only eventuate if there is NO global warming. Fun?

The world's coral reefs, already enduring multiple threats from bleaching to nutrient run-off from farming, also face another challenge - this time from below.

New research, published in the journal Science on Friday, has found the sediments on which many reefs are built are 10 times more sensitive to the acidifying oceans than the living corals themselves. Some reef bases are already dissolving.

The study used underwater chambers at four sites in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and applied modelling to extrapolate results for 22 reefs in three ocean basins.

As oceans turn more acidic, the corals themselves produce less of the calcium carbonate that forms their base. Instead of growing, the reef bases start to dissolve.

"The public is less aware of the threat of ocean acidification [than warming waters]," said Brendan Eyre, a professor of biogeochemistry at the Southern Cross University and the paper's lead author.

“Coral reef sediments around the world will trend towards dissolving when seawater reaches a tipping point in acidity - which is likely to occur well before the end of the century,” he said.

At risk will be coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, fisheries and the many other human activities, he said.

The ocean's acidity has increased about 30 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, as seas absorb about one-third of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It is vital that we put pressure on governments globally to act in concert to lower carbon dioxide emissions as this is the only way we can stop the oceans acidifying and dissolving our reefs,” Professor Eyre said.

Rates of dissolving reef sediment will depend on their starting points, including their exposure to organic sediment. The Hawaiian reef studied is already showing signs of its sediment dissolving, with higher organic nutrient levels likely to be contributing, he said.

"Carbonate sediments in Hawaii are already net dissolving and will be strongly net dissolving by the end of the century," the paper said.

Living corals themselves appear to be able to resist the acidification process, with mechanisms and strategies to resist some of the impacts.

Still, the study said the transition of the dissolution of reef sediment "will result in the loss of material for building shallow reef habitats such as reef flats and lagoons, and associated coral cays". It is unknown if the reefs will face "catastrophic destruction" once the erosion begins, the paper said.

Over time, as coral bases begin to dissolve, they are more likely to become more vulnerable to cyclones and other threats, Professor Eyre said.

He said further study was needed to understand how reefs would be affected by temperatures, rising organic and nutrient levels and more acidic waters in combination, he said.

The impact of bleaching - such as the two mass events in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 summers on the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely accelerate the breakdown of reefs by "making more sediment and organic matter available for dissolution", the paper said.


Must not mention differences between blacks and whites

Australian Aborigines usually live apart from whites and their living conditions in their communities tend to horrify all others who see it -- but somehow you have got to pretend that they are "equal" in some sense.  It's perfectly fine for good kind people to make that pretence but such people also tend to condemn others who choose just to look at reality.  It seems to me that the real racists are people who base their perceptions of Aborigines on their race rather than on any objective circumstances

After niggling disagreements with campmates including Peter Rowsthorn and Paul Burrell, David Oldfield has had his first full-on I’m A Celeb fight.

The blow-up happens in tonight’s episode, and sees former One Nation politician Oldfield and comedian Fiona O’Loughlin clashing over Indigenous welfare issues.

A question from AFL player Josh Gibson to Oldfield - “What do you actually think about Aboriginal people?” - quickly led to a heated argument between Oldfield and O’Loughlin, who lived in Alice Springs for 27 years and fostered “many” Indigenous children during her time there.

Oldfield had questioned how much Aboriginal people had contributed to modern society, while O’Loughlin explained that her own son works closely with Aboriginal communities and has seen first-hand the effect of ignorant comments and beliefs like Oldfield’s.

“You’re suffering white guilt,” Oldfield told her. “They didn’t invent anything.”

“Oh, you racist pig,” O’Loughlin shot back.

“People talk about reconciliation, which is inappropriate because we have never been together and it’s to bring together two peoples that have not been estranged. What time do Aboriginal and others feel they’re together as one group?” Oldfield asked.


Is immigration too high in Australia?

THE former prime minister is copping a lot of flak for his latest comments, including from his own colleagues. But one expert said he made a lot of sense.

Should Australia cut immigration levels?

CUTTING immigration into Australia may improve living standards and housing affordability for residents but there are also trade-offs that need to be considered.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called for Australia to drastically reduce immigration levels from 190,000 to 110,000 people a year.

“My issue is not immigration; it’s the rate of immigration at a time of stagnant wages, clogged infrastructure, soaring house prices and, in Melbourne at least, ethnic gangs that are testing the resolve of police,” he said during a speech at the Sydney Institute on Tuesday evening.

“It’s a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages; and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.”

Mr Abbott has come under fire but could he actually be right?


Population expert Bob Birrell, a former Monash University professor and now head of the Australian Population Research Institute, said net overseas migration was responsible for half the growth in households in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Therefore it’s a major factor in demand for housing in those two cities and a major contributor to price rises as a consequence,” Mr Birrell told

“If there’s going to be any solution to metropolitan problems (housing affordability, pressure on infrastructure, cost of living increases), the immigration program has to be cut drastically.”

However, net overseas migration includes everyone coming in or out of Australia annually, whether they are citizens or migrants.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said today it was temporary migration driving population growth up, so the government had tightened controls on 457 visas and extended the waiting list time for migrants to be able to claim welfare.

But Mr Birrell said he thought dramatic cuts could still be made to the skilled migration program.

While a high immigration rate may have made sense in the past — to help bring workers in during the mining boom — Mr Birrell said many migrants were not filling skills shortages anymore.

According to 2015-16 statistics, almost 130,000 people enter Australia every year under the “skills stream”, a substantial number of the total 190,000 granted permanent visas. Most of the other places are granted under the “family stream”.

“That could be slashed because the so-called skilled migrants it is attracting — very few have skills that are in short supply in Australia,” Mr Birrell said.

“Employers would hardly notice the difference if the skills stream was slashed.”

In a report published in December 2016, Mr Birrell highlighted rorting of the previous 457 visa system (which has now been replaced) among three popular occupations: IT professionals, engineers and accountants.

“Recent Australian graduates in each of these major professions identified are struggling to find professional work,” Mr Birrell said in the report.

“Competition from the migrant influx is part of the problem.”

But Mr Birrell said changes announced in April last year to abolish the 457 visa and replace it with a new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa was a significant reform.

Unlike the 457 visa, the two-year TSS will not allow migrants to apply for permanent residency once they expire. The government also slashed the number of occupations eligible to apply for the visa.

“All those reforms were justified and represented quite a change in Coalition Government immigration policy,” Mr Birrell said.

“Prior to April 2017, the Coalition priority had been to open up the temporary and permanent entry programs so this is a big change.”


Treasurer Scott Morrison has come out swinging against Mr Abbott’s suggestion, saying that drastically cutting Australia’s migration intake would cost the federal budget up to $5 billion.

This potential impact on economic growth is one of the main factors keeping immigration high, Mr Birrell said.

“A great point of pride in Australia is our 26 years of unbroken economic growth, and by economic growth, they are referring to overall GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” he said.

“Government does not want to lose that growth figure and it’s also crucial to tax revenue.

“Extra people consuming things is a major driver to gross domestic product.”

Basically, if population is growing, so are the number of houses and other products required to cater to the extra people. This is good for business, who can make more products.

Mr Birrell said the Coalition, like the Labor Party, had been anxious to maintain overall economic growth and reducing population growth would slow this down.

But he also noted that while “nominal economic growth” would slow, “per capita economic growth” wouldn’t.

“This is what really matters to Australian residents,” he said.

“The benefits would mainly be reducing pressure on the big cities — so it’s a trade-off.”

Another trade-off would be the hit to Australia’s university sector.

“The main industry affected by this would be the overseas student industry because it would diminish the attractiveness for students to enrol at Australian universities, since many only do so in the hope of using the qualification to get permanent residency,” Mr Birrell said.


While Mr Abbott has also raised issues with migrants not speaking English and “ethnic gangs” in Melbourne, Mr Morrison said he disagreed with the proposition that immigrants caused crime, saying statistics showed they were less likely to be unemployed and their children did better educationally than the general population.

Mr Birrell also notes Australia’s intake of refugees is “non-negotiable”.

“The humanitarian program is based on Australia’s obligation to do its bit for the international refugee situation,” he said.

Currently about 17,555 refugees settle in Australia every year, and this is on top of the 190,000 granted permanent visas.

“It’s an obligation that can’t really be changed, it’s a non-negotiable part of the immigration program,” he said.


Deregulate energy market and go back to coal

The catastrophic outcome of government energy market interventions is palpably clear. As the latest new regulatory body, the Energy Security Board, diplomatically puts it: “Fifteen years of climate policy instability … (have) left our energy system vulnerable to escalating prices while being both less reliable and secure.”

Australia has seen electricity prices double since 2015 and the once reliable supply is now suspect. From enjoying the world’s lowest cost electricity a decade ago, Australia now has among the most expensive.

The main cause has been subsidies and regulatory favours to renewable energy — chiefly wind — that have forced the closure of reliable coal-fired generators, particularly Northern in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria. Without these subsidies, costing about $5 billion a year, there would be no wind or solar. Not only are customers and taxpayers slugged with the subsidy costs but the outcome also has been to raise prices and reduce reliability.

A new Australian coal plant would produce electricity at about $50 a megawatt hour. A new wind farm can produce electricity, at best, at $110/MWh and its present subsidy is about $85/MWh. Solar is about twice the cost of wind

Fundamentally, the cost disadvantage of wind and solar stems from their low “energy density”. To get the equivalent energy from a standard 500MW coal generation unit requires 300 wind generators or 900,000 solar panels, and storage or back-up capacity is required to offset the inherent unreliability of energy sources dependent on the vagaries of the weather. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg put the cost of this at $16/MWh, an optimistic estimate even with the government’s 23.5 per cent renewable target.

Wind farm entrepreneur Simon Holmes a Court recently argued on this page that the world is abandoning coal for electricity generation. Australia’s booming coal exports testify to the ludicrous nature of such statements. In fact, according to Greenpeace’s data, China has 300,000MW of new coal plant under way, increasing its capacity by a third; Japan has 20,000MW, which also would raise capacity by a third; while India has plans for an additional 148,000MW, adding 65 per cent to its capacity. Australian coal generating capacity is about 25,000MW.

The US has no new coal generators planned. This is partly a legacy of Barack Obama, who declared his policies would bankrupt any new coal generators, and partly because of the US boom in gas and oil production. Due to fracking, a technology largely banned in Australia, the US has gas at less than half the Australian price, making it cheaper than coal for new electricity generation.

Holmes a Court was correct in drawing attention to the costly failures of “carbon capture and storage”, the global propaganda arm for which is largely financed by the Australian government, and of high-energy, low-emissions coal power stations. These technologies reduce carbon dioxide emissions but involve add-on costs.

The Minerals Council of Australia, anxious to retain the support of BHP, has promoted low-emission technologies. For internal reasons, BHP supports renewables and opposes coal generation in Australia notwithstanding its dependence on international coal sales and cheap energy generally. The firm’s promotion of renewable energy confronted the reality of this with high fuel costs for its Olympic Dam mine in wind-dependent South Australia. It also took a $137 million hit from the 2016 wind-induced collapse of SA’s power system.

Many firms support renewable policies out of self-interest. Revenue from subsidies is itself valuable and, in addition, coal generators, as Origin Energy’s half-year results last week showed, are earning huge profits from the doubled wholesale price. Others are conscripted to support renewables for PR reasons, as part of what German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann has called a “spiral of silence”, where a loud and confident group is perceived to be majority opinion, leading others to acquiesce in much of its message.

The ESB has been tasked with creating an electricity market blueprint that marries lower carbon dioxide emissions with lower costs and greater reliability. This is an impossible task and would require massive new regulatory interventions.

The ESB’s proposals envisage creating a market combining emissions and energy in which every retailer and generator would need to participate. They would add new dimensions of complexity to electricity supply, bringing a further proliferation of administrative resources within the bureaucracy and the industry.

Envisaging such further controls as bringing improved efficiency represents a triumph of hope over experience. We can restore our latent competitiveness in cheap energy only by abandoning all the intrusions and distortions that are in place. Donald Trump has achieved success from such an approach and we may have to await full recognition of this before our politicians adopt similar deregulatory policies.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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