Are they serious? Shade Cloth over the Great Barrier Reef to save it from climate change?

These people are not good with numbers.

In a paper published in Nature Climate Change today, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, together with Greg Rau of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, and Elizabeth McLeod of The Nature Conservancy, say new tactics are needed to save oceans from CO2 emissions.

“It’s unwise to assume we will be able to stabilise atmospheric CO2 at levels necessary to prevent ongoing damage to marine ecosystems,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“In lieu of dealing with the core problem – increasing emissions of greenhouse gases – these techniques and approaches could ultimately represent the last resort.”

In addition to using shade cloth over coral reefs, the paper suggests novel marine conservation options, including applying low-voltage electrical current to stimulate coral growth and mitigate mass bleaching; adding base minerals such as carbonates and silicates to the ocean to neutralize acidity; and converting CO2 from land-based waste into dissolved bicarbonates that could be added to the ocean to provide carbon sequestration.

Alistair Hobday Research Scientist – Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO saidnovel solutions are required. “We need to be mature enough to listen to all sorts of arguments.”

To which Jo Nova,  unfunded non government critic said: We need scientists who are mature enough to spot a plan that is bonkers.

The Great Barrier Reef has an  area of 348,000 square kilometers. It’s bigger than the UK, Holland and Switzerland combined. So perhaps we could just cover 1%, that’s only three and a half thousand square kilometers and then ask the water to stay in one spot?

The idea apparently is not to drive thousands of pylons into the reef (phew), just to cover “hundreds of square meters” with floating shade material.  One wonders how predatory sea-birds will feel about this, not to mention photosynthetic marine life. Air breathing mammals might not “feel right at home” under the shades. (But its not like anyone cares about whales and dolphins right?) Tidal and wave action, with floating material near lots of spiky coral and rocks suggests maintenance could be “expensive”.

Jo Nova

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7 responses to “Are they serious? Shade Cloth over the Great Barrier Reef to save it from climate change?

  1. Has the good professor noticed just how fast plastics (shade-cloth is a plastic material) are rotted by UV over the southern hemisphere summers?
    They wouldn’t be anywhere near completing their sun umbrella before
    they would have to start replacing it …

  2. Wow…Really? This article reminds me of another article I read not long ago. Bill Gates, (does rich = smart?) had this idea that if we pumped cold water from the depth of the ocean to the surface where the water was much warmer we could diffuse or at least change the path of a hurricane from populated centers.

  3. Obviously these ‘scientists’ are pure academics, whit no practical engineering experience. Useless as teats on a boar-hog.

    • Ove is a greenpeas-funded wactivist. He rose to infamy with a model on his laptop showing the GBR (Great Barrier Reef) would be cooked white three weeks ago last Thursday by gorebull warbling (I may not have that quite right). Couldn’t get a nice position in Townsville or anywhere along the reef so ended up at a cold college down in Brisbane as a “coral expert” (real ones are found in northern campuses where it is a short boat run to the reef ‘lab’).

  4. I’d suggest we put the shade cloth over the good professor. Maybe he’ll go to sleep like a parrot….

  5. There an area the size of Texas covered with plastic trash in the Pacific. It’s not very dense coverage, but probably the best you could ever hope for, held in place by currents. Perhaps Australia needs to allow more litter to float out to sea, if that has really been proven to help the reef.

  6. Sounds like a bonza idea! But um, what is shade cloth made of, isn’t it a high density polyethylene sometimes stabilised with HALS (Hindered Amine Light Stabiliser). Reckon they might be oil based products huh?

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