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Dr Gideon Polya
Dr Gideon Polya

Australian Rudd Labor Government plans to kill Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef

Photo from the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia. Photo: Icelight.

An extraordinary admission by the Australian Federal Government has passed unnoticed by the Mainstream media in the “look away†Land of Oz, the Antipodean Land of Flies, Lies and Slies (spin-based untruths), the Murdochracy called Australia.

However from the Green Senator Christine Milne’s blog of the June 4, 2008 entitled “Rudd Treasury not modelling real climate protection scenarios†we read that “Treasury is only modelling global emissions scenarios with a very high risk of triggering runaway climate change, Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, discovered today in Senate Estimates hearings … On questioning from Senator Milne in today’s [senate] Estimates hearings, [public servant] Meghan Quinn revealed that her Department [Treasury] is only modelling scenarios leading to global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 and 550 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent. Treasury had not been asked to model lower concentrations, Ms Quinn said.â€

"550 ppm will send us toward 3 degrees warming, destroy the Great Barrier Reef and almost certainly trigger runaway climate change, leading some to say that there is no such thing as stabilisation at 550 ppm."
Senator Milne has stated: “If Treasury has not been asked to model safe climate scenarios, I will fill that gap today by calling on the Prime Minister to direct Treasury to model at 350 and 400 ppm as well as 450 ppm and to drop the 550 ppm scenarios as too dangerous for the climate.

“450 ppm gives us a less than even chance of avoiding 2 degrees warming, leading most likely to the complete loss of Arctic summer ice, extinction of polar bears and so many other species in the wild, and potentially setting in train positive feedback loops that could send our climate into an uncontrollable heating cycle.

“550 ppm will send us toward 3 degrees warming, destroy the Great Barrier Reef and almost certainly trigger runaway climate change, leading some to say that there is no such thing as stabilisation at 550 ppm. It should not even be being modelled as it is beyond the point where a safe climate for all living creatures, including humanity, can be imagined.â€

Senator Milne is CORRECT – 450 ppm and 550 ppm could be disastrous according to climate SCIENTISTS as set out below.

1. World coral reefs start dying off because of ocean acidification above 450 ppm CO2. Thus coral expert Professor Mumby, University of Exeter, UK: “If we can reduce local stresses and simultaneously curb CO2 emissions to within 450 ppm as argued by the 2007 Bali Declaration by Scientists, then coral reefs and the food and housing security of millions of people could yet be savedâ€(see: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/.../).

2. Top coral scientists say the “tipping point for world coral death is in the 450-500 ppm atmospheric CO2 zone. Thus in a paper published in the top scientific journal Science, 14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1737 – 1742, “Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification (see: http://www.sciencemag.org/.../),the authors O. Hoegh-Guldberg, P. J. Mumby and 15 other scientists: “Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2°C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse.â€

Treasury economists should not be modelling these things with the exclusion of specialist scientists, no more than they should be modelling treatment of sick Indigenous Australians – but they DO and that is why about 9,000 Indigenous Australians die avoidably every year in Australia – see an

article by me entitled “The Awful Truth†in the National Indigenous Times, June 2007.

"It demonstrates that global warming and ocean acidification are acutely threatening world coral reefs that have been around for tens of millions of years."
3. As reported on the prestigious ABC Radio National Science Show, the 10-year study on coral reefs referred to above has concluded and been published as a cover-story in the latest edition of the top US and World scientific journal Science. It demonstrates that global warming and ocean acidification are acutely threatening world coral reefs that have been around for tens of millions of years.

Coral reefs require carbonate ions present in the water at the right concentrations and this only happens with carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere at levels under 450 parts per million. As atmospheric CO2 rises, more CO2 dissolves in the ocean and causes the ocean to become more ACIDIC (higher concentrations of protons, H+).

Other organisms will be affected as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. Crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters are already developing diseases as the result of poor calcification of their shells (see: http://abc.net.au/.../).

At about 450 ppm atmospheric CO2 corals become sick but survive. Between 450-500 ppm corals become very sick. Above 500 ppm the world corals are heading for extinction.

In addition to the ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric CO2 there is a direct bleaching effect of increased temperature as corals “spit out†the symbiotic zooxanthellae algae (see: http://science.org.au/.../).

4. Top UK climate scientist Professor James Lovelock FRS in his recent book “The Revenge of Gaia†says that at at an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 500 ppm CO2 (perhaps the lowest some economists say we can hope to stabilize at given the extraordinary global inaction) there is a crash in the ocean phytoplankton system (that crucially sequesters CO2 , feeds ocean life and promotes cloud formation through dimethyl sulphide production), Greenland ice melts and there is a positive feedback to exacerbate global warming through the “albedo flip†– decreased light-reflecting clouds and ice and increased light-absorbing “black†water (see: http://green-blog.org/.../).

5. The threat to coral refs around the world, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, from global warming is spelled out in the latest 2007 IPCC Synthesis Report – this is of course a major tourist asset in an economic sense. As explained above, the recent paper in the prestigious journal Science reveals that at 450 ppm CO2 world coral reefs will start dying from ocean acidification (see: http://abc.net.au/.../). The coal industry (that is helping to destroy world coral reefs) is worth about A$25 billion pa to Australia (A$2 billion to 25,000 workers and at 30% company tax, about A$8 billion to the taxpayer) - as compared to A$7 billion pa from tourism and 63,000 jobs associated with the Great Barrier Reef (Access Economics: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/...a/ PDF).

"Is Rudd Labor hell bent on destroying not just the Queensland Great Barrier Reef ($7 billion per annum and 63,000 Australian jobs) but the whole planet biosphere?"
6. It has been estimated by Balmford et al in the prestigious scientific journal Science (see “Economic reasons for preserving wild natureâ€) that for a variety of “biomes†(ecological systems) the total economic value (TEV) is about 50% greater when the resource is used sustainably as opposed to destructive conversion. Further, these scientists have found that the economic benefit from preserving what is left of wild nature is OVER 100 TIMES greater than the cost of preservation.

Is Rudd Labor hell bent on destroying not just the Queensland Great Barrier Reef ($7 billion per annum and 63,000 Australian jobs) but the whole planet biosphere?

I have written of these acute concerns and posing this question to Australian mainstream media and politicians but – apart from the Greens – the silence is deafening in climate criminal, Murdochracy Australia, the Land of Flies, Lies and Slies (spin based untruths). Unfortunately Coal is King in Australia, the world’s leading coal exporter.

Earlier this year I sent a Formal Complaint to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court re Australian Government involvement in Aboriginal Genocide, Iraqi Genocide, Afghan Genocide and Climate Genocide (see: http://climateemergency.blogspot.com). In relation to Australia’s involvement in Climate Genocide I documented that Australia is the World’s worst Developed nation CO2 polluter and quoted eminent atmosphere scientist Professor James Lovelock FRS who estimates that over 6 billion will die this century due to unaddressed global warming (see: http://businessandmedia.org/.../).

I concluded my Formal Complaint thus: “I understand that the International Criminal Court may be prepared to make initial investigations of formal complaints by individuals (such as this complaint) but will only act to the fullest extent of its remit in response to formal complaints by National Governments. Countries at major risk from sea level rises due to climate change include island nations in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific (some of which face total extinction) and countries with mega-deltas in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia (of which some face catastrophic loss of agriculture and massive population displacements). Such Nations will be receiving copies of this formal complaint and are urged to transmit formal complaints to the International Criminal Court.â€

I would reiterate these observations here – all countries with coral reefs threatened by climate criminal, grossly CO2-polluting nations like Australia should take urgent action via the International Criminal Court and by imposing Sanctions, Boycotts, Green Tariffs and Reparations Demands (see “Climate Emergency, Sustainability Emergencyâ€). It is notable that this week Australian doctors, lawyers and politicians are charging the former Australian Government with war crimes in relation to the invasion of Iraq ALONE via a 52 page legal brief sent to the International Criminal Court.(see: http://theage.com.au/.../ and http://abc.net.au/.../).

Sanctions and Boycotts were successful against the racist Apartheid régime in South Africa for denying one-man-one-vote to its disenfranchised non-European African and Indian citizens. Sanctions and Boycotts are surely justified against climate criminal countries like Australia that are hell bent on destroying the biosphere for short-term profit of greedy vested interests. Maybe Sanctions and Boycotts are all that these environmental vandals will understand.

Please inform everyone you can.

Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003). He has just published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950†(G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://mwcnews.net and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com);

see also his contribution “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality†in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics†(edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007). He is currently preparing a revised and updated version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History†as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a possibly 100-fold greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the "forgotten" World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others).

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