[Coral-List] CO2 science

Billy Causey billy.causey at noaa.gov
Sat Oct 31 10:23:53 EDT 2009

Joanie .... I don't see your postings often, but read and enjoy every one of them when you do post.  These are excellent comments and a fair observation of how the debate, when some make it personal (not your words but mine) gets in the way of objectivity. We would be 30 years ahead of addressing issues like C02 emissions and what's really killing coral reefs, if we hadn't given decision-makers a reason to not make the tough decisions.  Our Australian friends have a good cartoon that they like to show which makes this very point.  For way too long, we have let the scientific minority voice distract global leaders from implementing the tough corrective actions. 

This is not to say the scientific process isn't critically important, I am simply saying the public opinion  in the Pew poll is what it is because we continually confuse the public who elect the officials who should be making the tough decisions. 

There's a point that we have to weigh the scientific evidence from the majority and move forward in an adaptive way until we have to reassess.  We can no longer afford the time to have the small minority voice hold us back.

Again Joanie ... Great comments!  Billy    

----- Original Message -----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Fri Oct 30 14:00:08 2009
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] CO2 science

Bill Allison recently asked this:

I wonder what the authors cited in Sherwood and Isdo 2009 would have to say
about that document

Regarding a recent post Eugene Shinn:
 > John ,That is a great post! Thanks for making me (and listers) aware
 > of the Co2science  website. I was especially impressed with
 > http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N21/EDIT.php. Amazing example
 > of how the published results of our well respected coral scientists
 > can support an alternative interpretation of the effects of co2 on
 > corals. Keith and Idso wrote a very scholarly piece and came up with
 > a very different perception. Gene

Here is what I have to say:
Walter Goldberg's post captured the problem with th reports.  CO2science 
is cherry-picking science to support the point they want to make.  They 
are not objective.  In previous ocean acidification publications, we've 
specifically addressed their contrarian points head on (e.g., the fact 
that we had corals in the past when CO2 levels were high; the flawed 
argument that CO2 increase will fertilize zooxanthellae production and 
thus enhance calcification).  The authors then cite those publications 
to make a point, yet blatantly ignore the explanations provided in the 
same publications that prove their points wrong.

Unfortunately, their reports do make it into the hands of US 
Congressmen, and provide fodder for the naysayers as well as confusion 
for those who are honestly trying to understand the science.  We do have 
our peer review process in science, which is not perfect, but it does 
help keep us honest.  Yes, sometimes good science is unfairly quashed by 
this process, but even so, these guys don't even try to have their work 
peer reviewed by experts in the field.

This has been going on since about 2000 and to address these folks head 
on is a waste of time - they don't come to the discussion with a quest 
for the truth, but rather with a quest to "win" the conversation.  I 
don't even like posting my comments on this issue, because invariably 
someone will see it as an 'opening' for a useless debate.  It doesn't 
matter how much information one provides them, it would not change what 
they say.  Their audience is not us, nor do they feel the need to prove 
anything to us.

all the best,

Walter Goldberg wrote:
> I took a look at the essay written by "CO2science" posted recently. They make some interesting points about CO2 and corals, some of which are actually fact-based. Regrettably, their perspective is so biased that the authors seem to highlight only the parts of papers they like. For example, they cite Maynard et al., 2008 (Major bleaching events can lead to increased thermal tolerance in corals. Marine Biology (Berlin) 155: 173-182) as follows: “Major bleaching events can lead to increased thermal tolerance in corals” and the coral genera that were originally most susceptible to thermal stress (Pocillopora and Acropora) "showed the greatest increase in tolerance." Both of these statements may be true, but here is the part they left out: 
> Although the vulnerability of coral reefs remains largely dependent on the rate and extent of climate change, such increase in thermal tolerance may delay the onset of mass coral mortalities in time for the implementation of low-emission scenarios and effective management”. 
> This is in the abstract, so it doesn’t take much sleuthing or scholarship (as Gene calls it) to figure out what these guys are trying to do. Who or what is CO2science? It is The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change run by the Idso family who constitute the Chairman, President, Vice President and Operations Manager. Three have PhD’s, none having anything to do with reefs or oceans. Here are some gems from their own website:
> 1) Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming
> Where We Stand on the Issue
> C. D. Idso and K. E. Idso
> ….the biospheric benefits that come from the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment: enhanced plant growth, increased plant water use efficiency, greater food production for both people and animals, plus a host of other biological benefits too numerous to describe..
> 2) What Motivates the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change?
>  “ExxonMobil made some donations to us a few times in the past”. “We never discuss our funding”.
> My goodness, nothing suspicious here. Just pure scholarship.
> Walter M. Goldberg, Ph.D.
> Professor of Biological Sciences
> Florida International University
> University Park Campus
> Miami, FL 33199
> email goldberg at fiu.edu
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

Joanie Kleypas
Integrated Science Program / Climate & Global Dynamics
National Center for Atmospheric Research
PO Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
ph: 303-497-8111
fx: 303-497-8125
kleypas at ucar.edu

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