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Thread: Coal And Coral: Australia's Self-Destructive Paradox

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    Coal And Coral: Australia's Self-Destructive Paradox

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...uctive-paradox

    well lookie here

    It's not every day you open an in-flight magazine and read an ad touting "spitwater pressure cleaners for the mining industry." Flip the page and you'll also see an ad cajoling you to "snorkel, sip, snooze" on the Great Barrier Reef.

    This is Australia, and the ads illustrate a self-destructive paradox: Coal mining could eventually kill the reef that Australians revere.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in the city of Gladstone, a jumping off point to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and the world's fourth largest coal-export hub. Dredges have turned the harbor brown as they work to expand the coal port. And three massive liquefied natural gas terminals are being constructed on an island that is a World Heritage Site — a United Nations designation for places of exceptional natural value.
    my junk is ugly

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    People really don't realize sometimes how these things can affect the environment. When you add in the construction to build industrial facilities for these operations, the trash build up from the workers and facilities, the pollution of the nearby ecosystems and water sources, the destruction of the forests and mountains surrounding it, and so on, it just because a hazard to life.

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    Coral reefs dying off...



    Scientists race to prevent wipeout of world's coral reefs
    Mar 12, 2017 - There were startling colors here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves. Now this Maldivian reef is dead, killed by the stress of rising ocean temperatures. What's left is a haunting expanse of gray, a scene repeated in reefs across the globe in what has fast become a full-blown ecological catastrophe.

    The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world. "This isn't something that's going to happen 100 years from now. We're losing them right now," said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada's University of Victoria. "We're losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined."





    Even if the world could halt global warming now, scientists still expect that more than 90 percent of corals will die by 2050. Without drastic intervention, we risk losing them all.
    "To lose coral reefs is to fundamentally undermine the health of a very large proportion of the human race," said Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Coral reefs produce some of the oxygen we breathe. Often described as underwater rainforests, they populate a tiny fraction of the ocean but provide habitats for one in four marine species. Reefs also form crucial barriers protecting coastlines from the full force of storms.





    They provide billions of dollars in revenue from tourism, fishing and other commerce, and are used in medical research for cures to diseases including cancer, arthritis and bacterial or viral infections. "Whether you're living in North America or Europe or Australia, you should be concerned," said biologist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at Australia's University of Queensland. "This is not just some distant dive destination, a holiday destination. This is the fabric of the ecosystem that supports us."





    And that fabric is being torn apart. "You couldn't be more dumb ... to erode the very thing that life depends on — the ecosystem — and hope that you'll get away with it," Hoegh-Guldberg said. Corals are invertebrates, living mostly in tropical waters. They secrete calcium carbonate to build protective skeletons that grow and take on impressive colors, thanks to a symbiotic relationship with algae that live in their tissues and provide them with energy.


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    The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its worst bleaching on record...

    Great Barrier Reef survival relies on halting warming, study warns
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 - The survival of Australia's natural wonder relies on tackling warming, new research warns.
    Australia's Great Barrier Reef can be saved only if urgent steps are taken to reduce global warming, new research has warned. Attempting to stop coral bleaching through any other method will not be sufficient, according to scientists. The research, published in the journal Nature, said bleaching events should no longer be studied individually, but as threats to the reef's survival.


    Severe coral bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    The bleaching - or loss of algae - in 2016 was the worst on record. "Climate change is the single greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef," said co-author Prof Morgan Pratchett, from Queensland's James Cook University. "It all comes down to what the governments in Australia and around the world do in terms of mitigating further rises in temperatures."

    Mass coral bleaching

    * Coral bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures resulting from two natural warm currents.
    * It is exacerbated by man-made climate change, as the oceans are absorbing about 93% of the increase in the Earth's heat.
    * Bleaching happens when corals under stress drive out the algae known as zooxanthellae that give them colour.
    * If normal conditions return, the corals can recover, but it can take decades, and if the stress continues the corals can die.

    Lead author Prof Terry Hughes warned bleaching events had become "the new normal". Last week, he said an aerial survey had shown evidence of mass bleaching in consecutive summers for the first time. The scale of the damage will be examined in the next three weeks by the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, a collaboration of scientists and reef managers.

    Prof Pratchett said he remained optimistic the reef could recover, but the "window of opportunity" to curb emissions was closing. "It's the number one thing we need to think about now to save the reef," he told the BBC. Improving fishing practices or water quality would not be enough, he said. he reef - a vast collection of thousands of smaller coral reefs stretching from the northern tip of Queensland to the state's southern city of Bundaberg - was given World Heritage status in 1981. The UN says it is the "most biodiverse" of all the World Heritage sites, and of "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39226494

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    Granny says, "Dat's right - it's the end times...


    Scientists Issue Climate Change Alert for Australia's Great Barrier Reef
    March 18, 2017 — New research warns that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can be saved only if urgent steps are taken to tackle climate change. The study, published in the journal Nature, says parts of the world’s largest coral system will never fully recover from repeated bleaching, caused by spikes in the water temperature.
    The Great Barrier Reef faces localized threats, such as the run-off of pesticides from farms and overfishing, but scientists believe its future depends on immediate efforts to reduce global warming.


    Worst bleaching on record


    They say last year’s bleaching of large parts of the reef was the worst on record. There’s evidence that a similar event is occurring this year. Corals begin to starve once they bleach, the main cause of which is heat stress resulting from high sea temperatures. The world heritage body, UNESCO, has threatened to put the Great Barrier Reef on its in danger list because of mounting concerns over its health.



    Dried coral lies on a beach as the sun sets on Lady Elliot Island, 80 kilometers northeast of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia



    In response, Australia’s Queensland state government released a discussion paper to look at ways to improve water quality on the reef, which is contaminated by fertilizers and pesticides from farms near the coast. Nick Casule from the environment group Greenpeace says while localized threats must be addressed, so must the broader issue of climate change.


    'Warming killing the reef'


    “Poor water quality is a huge threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef,” Casule said. “There is no denying that, and that comes from activities like agriculture and agricultural run-off into the reef. It also comes from activities like the industrial ports that are all up and down the Queensland coastline, but they can’t be viewed in isolation. At the core of that has to be the recognition that global warming is what is killing the reef.”


    The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2,300 kilometers down Australia’s northeast coast. It is home to a wondrous array of wildlife, including more than 130 species of sharks, 500 types of worms and 1,600 varieties of fish. The reef pumps more than $4 billion into the Australian economy and employs 63,000 people mostly in the tourism industry, although some travel groups believe the damage inflicted on the coral system has been exaggerated, which has, in turn, seen many travelers from Europe and the United States cancel their trips.


    http://www.voanews.com/a/scientists-...f/3771653.html

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    Granny says, "Well, at least it ain't gettin' any worser...

    3-year Global Coral Bleaching Event Easing, But Still Bad
    June 19, 2017 | WASHINGTON — A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide is finally easing after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday.
    About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global bleaching event in May 2014. It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.


    The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope. Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it'll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin. Places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef, northwest Hawaii, Guam and parts of the Caribbean have been hit with back-to-back-to-back destruction, Eakin said.



    Bleached coral is photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas, February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace.



    University of Victoria, British Columbia, coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years. “This is really good news,” Baum said. “We've been totally focused on coming out of the carnage of the 2015-2016 El Nino.” While conditions are improving, it's too early to celebrate, said Eakin, adding that the world may be at a new normal where reefs are barely able to survive during good conditions.


    Eakin said coral have difficulty surviving water already getting warmer by man-made climate change. Extra heating of the water from a natural El Nino nudges coral conditions over the edge. About one billion people use coral reefs for fisheries or tourism. Scientists have said that coral reefs are one of the first and most prominent indicators of global warming. “I don't see how they can take one more hit at this point,” Baum said. “They need a reprieve.”


    https://www.voanews.com/a/global-cor...d/3907564.html

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