[Coral-List] more climate stuff

Gene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Wed Nov 22 14:40:52 EST 2006

      I guess I should have known that any mention of  global warming 
or climate change would stir up emotions and comment. I hope people 
noticed that I did not write the materials I sent but basically 
provided websites to some recent climate skeptic literature.  I 
thought the coral community needed a different perspective. Being a 
geologist I do admit  to leaning toward the long-term geological 
perspective ie., a world before SUVs. I was in Abu Dhabi when the 
present debate started heating up and must admit I was startled by 
the excess use of energy and resources throughout the Arabian Gulf 
region. They have not only caught up but are exceeding us, as is 
India and China.  It was interesting looking out my hotel window at 
where there was a coral reef when I first visited in 1966 (there were 
no roads then). Where the reef was then there is now an artificial 
island.  The same is true all along  the Arabian Gulf Trucial Coast 
(United Arab Emirates) whether it be islands shaped like palm trees 
or islands in the shape of a map of the Earth, and don't forget they 
even have snow skiing in the shopping mall. The scale of development 
is unbelievable and must be seen to be believed!
      Back to the climate debate. I can appreciate the concerns of 
people living in the Florida Keys and other low lying islands, and 
shorelines (including my home). They are living on fossil reefs and 
sand bars that grew when sea level was more than 20 ft above present 
level. It might happen again with or without added CO2. That is the 
message from the Greenland ice cores and numerous fossil coral reef 
studies.  For a different perspective I forwarded the comments of 
Alexandra Barron (Vol 41, Issue 28) regarding Al Gores movie, to a 
geologist deeply imbedded in the climate issue/controversy. He wrote 
back, (and note these are not my words), "That is a typical 
misstatement by Gore as usual, like saying the NAS found that the 
"hockey stick" was correct. - the reference is Naomi Orestes, 
Science, in an essay. She later admitted that she only looked at a 
small sampling and did not assess the wider literature. I have almost 
as many peer-reviewed climate papers as she said were present in the 
entire literature. I'd be happy to send a reading list to whomever on 
the overall topic."
      From such responses I gather that the issue is not closed and 
the "consensus of scientists" we keep hearing about  is a myth. A 
friend showed me the Al Gore book that is intended to support his 
movie. There were essentially no references!  It is becoming 
increasingly clear that the issue is mainly emotional, highly 
political, and possibly on a par with intelligent design. My friend 
Mike Risk uses terms such as right wing and left wing politics and 
makes comparisons to the tobacco industry fight and ExxonMobil 
funding of non believers. I think what we really need is less 
rhetoric and more scientific evidence, not movies by politicians, or 
the outpouring of models that are only as good as the data that is 
fed in to them.  And speaking of motives, just who did fund Gore's 
movie? And, why is it that when I monitor the coral-list I 
periodically see postings for jobs for  sociologists, and reef 
managers, etc. I suspect we will soon see postings for reef 
psychologists. Are there no longer jobs for scientists who do actual 
data collection? Does anyone care about data anymore? Have the models 
taught us all we need to know? I'm sure glad the modelers were wrong 
about Atlantic hurricanes. I was getting worried. Gene

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