[Coral-List] Two news stories about coral reefs

Robert Bourke rbourke at OCEANIT.COM
Thu Aug 18 23:23:53 EDT 2016

Doug & All;
	The discussion concerning saving Australia's Great Barrier Reef ignores the elephant in the room.
	At the recent coral reef conference we all listened to numerous papers placing much of the blame for the decline of the Great Barrier Reef upon two key factors 1) sediment turbidity from agriculture and mining operations, and 2) global warming.

Nobody mentioned the fact that last year (2015) Australia mined and shipped 
	150,000,000,000 kg
of coal, primarily to China.   China imports about 
	190,000.000.000 kg per year  - primarily from Indonesia and Australia.

Why does the government allow this to happen? Because coal exports make up about 15% of Australia's GDP (~1 Billion $) and there is no comparable measure of the value of the GBR against which to balance the economic and social welfare from these two sources.   

The solution to this is NOT to use questionable economic surveys to inflate the economic value of reefs.  NOAA has tried this approach and the results are not pretty.  Rather we should urge our governments to take a broader view of the economic AND social value of all activities so that a better balance can be achieved.  

Methods to conduct a true ecosystem valuation were developed by ecologists cumulating (my opinion) with the work of de Groot in 1992 (Functions of Nature: Evaluation of Nature in Environmental Planning, Management, and Decision-making).  Unfortunately (for us biologists) this methodology has been conscripted by the economists.  The method was further developed and used to create the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) which calculated the "value" of all the worlds ecosystems.    Fortunately many large international organization (mostly outside the US) have adopted methods that incorporate the quantification of all ecosystem functions and services as part of their large project planning and funding activities.  Anyone interested in the approach to saving reefs should look into the work of the World Resources Institute, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, or the United Nations Environmental Program.  Many good universities now have programs that concentrate on this topic.

NOAA, USFWS, EPA and USACE would all benefit from adopting a similar strategy based upon analyses of ecosystem functions and services.

Perhaps to save the reefs, one must become an economist........ just a bit.


Bob Bourke
Environmental Scientist
Oceanit, Hawaii

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Douglas Fenner
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 10:40 PM
To: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] Two news stories about coral reefs

Five things we can do right now to save the Great Barrier Reef


The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime, and Exxon fired the gun.


Cheers,  Doug

Douglas Fenner
Contractor for NOAA NMFS, and consultant "have regulator, will travel"
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

Join the International Society for Reef Studies.  Membership includes a subscription to the journal Coral Reefs, and there are discounts for pdf subscriptions and developing countries.  Coral Reefs is the only journal that is ALL coral reef articles, and it has amazingly LOW prices compared to other journals.  Check it out!  www.fit.edu/isrs/

"Belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."- Jim Beever.
  "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts."- Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Earth's hot streak continues with warmest May since at least 1880.


The political hurdles facing a carbon tax- and how to overcome them.


Solar can power more than 100 times America's current electricity needs, a new report finds


website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope
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