Friday, August 17, 2018

Sydney rock oysters getting smaller as oceans become more acidic due to climate change

EVERYTHING is caused by climate change!  The study behind the article below does not yet appear to be online. None of my usual search techniques located it anyway.  So I am a bit handicapped in commenting on it. 

I would for instance like to know details of the survey technique they used to arrive at their conclusion that Sydney oysters are shrinking.  Without representative sampling no generalizations are possible.  My bet is that they did not do comprehensive and representative sampling.

But in the absence of that information, we can still detect some dubious conclusions.  If there has been a decline, how do we know it is due to global warming?  We do not know.  There could be many other causes of the effect.  The most obvious alternative cause would be disease.  Oysters are prone to all sorts of disease stressors: QX disease, POMS disease and many more.  And given the frequency of such attacks there are probably some as yet undetected diseases at work.

Oyster farmers believe that acidic runoff from the land adversely affect oysters.  Susan Fitzer says that has recently been reduced but again I would like details of that assertion and the surveys on which it is based.

And sewage runoff is known to affect oysters.  And there seems little doubt that the breakneck expansion of the Sydney population is putting a lot more sewage into the ocean. (Yes. Sydney does do that).  Could that adversely affect oysters?

And the alleged acidity is in fact reduced alkalinity. Does any level of alkalinity affect oysters?  I can't see why it should.

And the "acidity" is said to be a result of increased global warming.  But, according to the satellites,  global temperatures have been  falling for the last couple of years. 

Furthermore the entire prediction that acidity will increase in the oceans is deliberately dishonest. If, as Warmists predict, the world will warm, that will make the oceans warmer too. And as water warms it OUTGASES CO2, as every drinker of coca cola can observe. Those bubbles in your coke are outgassed bubbles of CO2, outgassed as the drink warms. And less CO2 means less carbonic acid. So a warming ocean will become more ALKALINE.

The Warmists try to have it both ways, saying the oceans will be both warmer and more acidic.  But that flies in the face of basic and easily demonstrable physics.  But they are only pretend scientists so I guess that is OK

And we read here that  ancient planktonic foraminifer shells were still going strong at CO2 levels 5 times higher than today. That sounds like a good augury for oyster shells.

So I think we can say with some confidence that the causal chain suggested by Susan Fitzer is rubbish on a number of counts

The famous Sydney rock oyster is shrinking as oceans become more acidic, new research has found.

In news that will rock seafood lovers, a study released overnight by academics in the UK found oysters in New South Wales have become smaller and fewer in number because of coastal acidification.

It’s part of what researchers fear is a worldwide trend driven by climate change and coastal runoff.

Headed by University of Stirling academic Susan Fitzer, the study looked at oyster leases at Wallis Lake and Port Stephens, both on the NSW coast north of Sydney.

They make up the two largest Sydney rock oyster production areas in NSW.

The study found the oysters’ diminishing size and falling population is due to acidification from land and sea sources, part of a global trend.

“Sydney rock oysters are becoming smaller and their population is decreasing as a result of coastal acidification,” Fitzer said.

“The first thing consumers will notice is smaller oysters, mussels and other molluscs on their plates, but if ocean acidification and coastal acidification are exacerbated by future climate change and sea level rise, this could have a huge impact on commercial aquaculture and populations around the world.”

The risk to oyster populations around the globe from soil runoff has long been recognised.

In 2014 oyster farmers in Port Stephens released an industry-driven environmental management policy which recognised that damage to oyster leases from the drainage from acid-sulphate soils was both “likely” to occur and “severe” in consequence.

But Fitzer’s research argues that run-off is not caused by agricultural activity and is rather the consequence of the impacts of climate change.

“A lot of work has been done near to Australia’s oyster fisheries to mitigate the impact of sulphate soils causing acidification, and there has been a marked decline in levels,” she said.

“The run-off from sulfate soils aren’t produced by agricultural activity, they occur as a natural result of climate change-driven increases in rainfall and sea-level rise.

“But the trend persists and small changes in pH are having a huge impact on these molluscs.”

Increased acidification affects oyster growth by limiting the amount of carbonate in the water.

“Acidic water is damaging oysters’ ability to grow their shells. We see lots of disorder in the calcite layers, because there isn’t enough carbonate in the water for the oysters to draw on for optimal shell formation and growth,” Fitzer said.

“This is the first time that the Sydney rock oysters’ shell crystallography has been studied, and we now know disruption to this process could have a significant impact on Australian aquaculture,” she said.

Fitzer’s research was published in the Journal of Ecology and Environment.


Australia is the worst-equipped nation for electric cars and we lag a decade behind the world

Good for Australia.  Electric cars are nice but they cost a bomb

HALF of Australians want to buy an electric car in the next few years, but experts have warned we’re not remotely ready to accommodate them on our roads.

Analysis released today by the UK firm GoCompare has found we are the worst-equipped country for electric vehicles, performing poorly across several key measures.

Of the 30 member nations of the International Energy Agency, Australia has the highest ratio of cars per charging points at 15.42 and one of the lowest total number of public charging stations, with just 476 nationwide.

“Additionally, there are a shocking 14.3 petrol stations to each publicly accessible electric car charging point,” the report said.

Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council, isn’t surprised and said Australia is almost a decade behind the rest of the world.

“While everybody else has access to a broad range of charging infrastructure, different priced models of electric vehicles and a lot of investment supporting the industry, Australia isn’t getting any of those benefits,” Mr Jafari said.

He said embracing electric cars could lead to improved public health, better energy security and increased economic activity.

Aside from some “outliers” like Norway, where electric cars account for 20 per cent of new sales each year, the global average is about two per cent at the moment. “In Australia, it’s just 0.2 per cent,” Mr Jafari said.

Labor’s Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, said we are “woefully unprepared” for the electric car revolution.

“There is an urgent need for Australia to have an internationally consistent policy road map to integrate these technologies — they are not as far in the future as some think,” Mr Husic said.


Coral reef corruption

There are some people who should never do interviews. At the head of that list is the managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Anna Marsden.

One of the interviews she did this week gave train wrecks a bad name. This is a woman who has never heard of the phrase “stop digging”. This week she was brandishing her shovel and seemed utterly determined to bury the $444 million grant the foundation received from the Turnbull government.

The opposition just couldn’t believe its luck as she poured fuel on a fire already burning out of the government’s control.

In her defence, all I can say is that the decision to grant the foundation this massive sum, which Marsden famously declared was like “winning Lotto”, stinks to high heaven and no one is capable of justifying it.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has waffled and struggled to explain how it came about. He is a competent minister whom I fear is covering for the real culprit in all of this — the Prime Minister himself.

Then again, how could you ever justify showering this foundation with such largesse when it didn’t even request it? This was money that simply fell out of the sky and into its grateful lap. Depending upon whom you believe, the foundation employed between eight and 12 people at the time of the grant announcement. Given there could be up to 1000 requests for grants, just how would it be expected to manage the task?

The answer would have to be to hire more people, which begs the question — how much of each dollar given reaches the reef and how much is spent on administration? You would be entitled to believe that this sort of question could be readily answered by the government simply checking its due diligence. Surely you would think that there would have been considerable resources applied to checking on the small charity to which you were considering granting a huge sum like $444m.

If you thought that, again you would be disappointed. Again, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, Marsden tells us that neither she nor anyone else at the foundation was contacted during any due-diligence investigation.

You just can’t give taxpayers’ funds away in such a cavalier fashion. If the commonwealth auditor-general is reviewing this farce, then he needs to look no further than the pathetic attempt at the due diligence.

Marsden’s attempts to put us at ease with the process are falling on many a deaf ear. Her claim that the “chairman’s panel and our corporate partners have no role in selecting projects” rings hollow.

It must be a very odd set-up if the board is unable to oversee the process of granting money. It must have the power to overrule the process if it finds any aspect of it unsatisfactory. It is not hard to understand how nervous the foundation is about the power of its board. Names such as BHP and Rio Tinto will frighten any friends of the reef given the many attempts over the years to mine this wonder of the world.

To think Malcolm Turnbull wants to hold a parliamentary inquiry into alleged bullying in a backbencher’s office but sees no need for anything like that when he presides over one of the biggest scandals in our history of maladministration says so much about our Prime Minister.


The number of homeowners hits the highest in six years

First-home buyers are returning to the housing market in the greatest number since late 2012 thanks to state duty exemptions in Australia's biggest states.

The proportion of real estate newbies rose to 18.1 per cent in June, the highest level in almost six years, as apartments near the city became more affordable.

For less than $500,000, savvy buyers wanting somewhere to live within 10km of the city centre, can snap up a unit at Earlwood in Sydney or St Kilda in bayside Melbourne.

Real estate data group Core Logic research analyst Cameron Kusher said stamp duty exemptions in New South Wales and Victoria were driving the resurgence in first-home buyer activity in Sydney and Melbourne.

'It's really driven the volume of first home buyers nationally much higher,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'If that impost is no longer there, the borrowing power of a first-home buyer is increased.'

The national average mortgage for first-timers stood at $350,000 in June, which meant buyers with a 20 per cent deposit of $87,500 were buying properties for $437,500.

At that price, it is possible to buy an inner-city apartment in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra or Hobart.

In New South Wales, however, the average first-home buyer loan was $393,400, which meant they were buying a $491,750 property with a deposit of $98,350.


Australians racist?  Even welfare-dependent Third-world immigrants say they are well-accepted

A new study from Australian researchers shows that refugees and new immigrants integrate well in Australia – especially in regional areas.

Contrary to recent comments from the multicultural affairs minister, Alan Tudge, that migrants who reside together “largely communicate in their mother tongue [and] are slower integrating”, the research found that refugees were welcomed by their new communities, found it “easy” to get along, and felt a strong sense of belonging to their new homes.

Researchers surveyed 214 refugees – 155 adults and 59 children – from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who all had been recently settled in Queensland across Brisbane, Logan and Toowoomba.

81% of those in regional Toowoomba said they found it “very easy” or “easy” to make friends in Australia. 62% of refugees in Brisbane and Logan said the same, for an average of 68% across Queensland.

82% of refugee children said they felt they belonged to the local community – either “always”, “most of the time” or “often”. Only 18% said they belonged “occasionally” or not at all. Half of all refugees surveyed said it was “very easy” or “easy” to talk to their new neighbours.

The study’s co-author, Professor Jock Collins from the University of Technology Sydney, said this refuted the idea that migrants formed linguistic bubbles.

Only 6% of the new arrivals said they spoke no English. 47% said they spoke it “not very well”, 38% spoke English “well” and 9% spoke it “very well”.

“In our experience the people we are talking to are really, really keen to learn English,” he said.

Measures of belonging were generally higher in Toowomba, which the researchers said was due to a proactive and welcoming community, and worse in Logan, which has a higher index of social disadvantage.

“We avoid the term ‘integrate into’, because integration is a two-way process,” said co-author Professor Carol Reid from Western Sydney University. “It requires the local community support. Where there is strong support, you find there are no problems.

“With the whole issue of English language learning, in the 1980s we had more funding around multicultural policy, and people could learn English on the job. The tension between employment and English could be resolved by that.”

The study found the unemployment rate was high among the new arrivals – with only 18% in paid employment – but Collins said that would change with time.

“We know that a lot of the refugees we talk to are putting off looking for a job until their English is better. We will be talking to them next year and expect to see an increase in the employment rate.

“For the engineers and architects and pharmacists, the professions have severe gatekeepers for their profession that they have to hurdle. For a lot of the others, it’s a bit of a Catch-22, they won’t get a job without Australian experience.

“There needs to be a way where these refugees can get work experience, and a recognition of prior learning. A lot of them are very confident, they are excellent at their skills.”

Collins said that the results of their survey showed that Australia had great potential to take more refugees.

“Most people don’t know that in 2017 Australia took in more than double the number of refugees than it usually takes. The sky didn’t fall in – in fact it worked quite well.

“Regional and rural Australia has an appetite for more migrants and refugees. It proves to us that the bush is not redneck, it is supportive of diverse communities.”

Across Queensland, 60% of refugees in Toowoomba said it was easy to talk to their neighbours, compared with 46% in Brisbane and 27% in Logan.

100% of refugees said they felt safe living in Toowoomba, and 85% across Queensland (and a majority in every city) said they believed they had found a neighbourhood that was a good place to bring up children.

Even with its comparatively poorer score, 76% of the refugees in Logan said they always, most of the time, or often, belonged.


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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