REEF PRE­DIC­TION

Australian Geographic - - Your Say -

If marine sci­en­tists Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett are right (AG 142), and the on­go­ing sur­vival of the Great Bar­rier Reef (GBR) re­quires the world to stop burn­ing coal for en­ergy, then the reef is doomed.The In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency, a Paris-based in­de­pen­dent group, ad­vises that coal con­sump­tion will con­tinue to rise un­til well into the 2030s when it will prob­a­bly sta­bilise at a much higher level than to­day.The main in­creases will be in China, In­dia, Ger­many, Ja­pan, Poland and Viet­nam. Some are broad­en­ing their power base to in­clude gas, nu­clear and re­new­ables, but coal will stay king for decades yet. Hap­pily, this is not the dis­as­ter Vail and Hoggett seem to be­lieve.The main driv­ers of cli­mate are so­lar and oceanic vari­a­tions, not CO , which is merely a bit player in a cli­mate pic­ture too com­plex to pre­dict. Like the rest of Earth, the reef was hot­ter 8000 years ago with higher sea lev­els, but it sur­vived as it has through years of ma­jor cli­mate shifts.With his­tory as a guide, I pre­dict the GBR will still be there, in good health, long af­ter all the doom­say­ers are gone. DOUG HURST, CHAP­MAN,ACT

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