Concerned about climate change, coral reef experts say they can predict the future with startling precision.

I’m halfway through my speaking tour of Australia and a meeting of coral reef experts being held in this country is attracting media attention.

Scientists have released a Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs that, in its words,

calls on all governments to ensure the future of coral reefs, through global action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The statement doesn’t sound scientific, however. For one thing, the language isn’t circumspect. It doesn’t talk about possible outcomes. It doesn’t say certain things may happen. Instead, it declares with supreme confidence that, by the end of the century,

CO2 emissions at the current rate will warm sea surface temperatures by at least 2-3°C, raise sea-level by as much as 1.7 meters, reduce ocean pH from 8.1 to less than 7.9, and increase storm frequency and/or intensity. [bold added, backup link here]

These people aren’t shy, that’s for sure. They don’t believe they’re correct about just a small piece of the puzzle. Rather, they imagine they know enough to predict what will happen 90 years from now with respect to four separate and distinct matters: water temperature, sea-levels, ocean pH, and storms.

My gosh. Where does one get that sort of self-confidence? What kind of echo-chamber/feedback loop/ivory tower does one need to inhabit? For how long must one reside there before such magnificent self-delusion takes hold?

That more than 60 people, with advanced degrees, have attached their names to this statement is all the proof one needs that education doesn’t equal wisdom.

I invite you to read that foolishly hubristic statement for yourself here. Then, as an antidote, click over here to Australian blogger Jennifer Marohasy’s explanation of why she thinks the alleged experts are crying wolf about the supposedly dire fate of the Great Barrier Reef.

Here’s a small taste:

All the species of coral that occur in the Great Barrier Reef also grow in Papua New Guinea where the waters are 2 degrees warmer.

Good grief.


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