*It’s incomprehensible that Norway’s Equinor is allowed to destroy a magnificent and vital slice of a renowned southern hemisphere marine nursery for more climate destroying fossil fuels.
On Monday, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) gave the green light for an oil and gas contractor to sonically bombard the seabed for petroleum reserves across almost 12,000 square miles of the Great Australian Bight.
The Bight is home to endangered pygmy blue whales, southern right whales and southern bluefin tunas. It’s an essential feeding ground for sea lions, great white sharks, migratory sperm whales and short-tailed shearwaters. 85 percent of all the marine species that are found in the Bight occur nowhere else on the globe.
Non-stop ear shattering pulses of 242 decibels every 10 seconds will occur for 90 consecutive days. Not only do seismic surveys burst larvae within the plush mats of phytoplankton, the basis of the entire marine web, but also, they smash to smithereens eardrums of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). Excruciating pain drives these masterpieces to beach themselves before eventually expiring.
“I fail to see how you can actually approve this type of seismic activity in the middle of one of the most significant nurseries in the world,” remarked Peter Owen, South Australian Director at The Wilderness Society Australia. “It’s totally unacceptable.”
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
the Indigenous Peoples.
This is unconscionable greed. Heating up an overburdened atmosphere and broiling all life forms in order for a handful of shareholders and petroleum oligarchs to become trillioniares is insanity.
On Tuesday, the hottest 15 temperatures registered on Earth all belonged to the Australian continent. It’s so hot and so dry that legendary water conservationists like the goannas are perishing.
The parched roasting land Down Under is federally governed by the neoconservative Liberal party. It’s a party that is led by newly appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a climate denier. He refuses to acknowledge that inferno heatwaves and relentless droughts caused massive forest and coral graveyards now strewn around the nation.
Sneering at science that reported the oceans had their hottest year on record in 2018 as global warming accelerates is utter lunacy. In fact, every year in the last decade was among the 10 warmest measured.
The oceans drive Earth’s climate. 93 percent of combusted fossil fuel heat is stored in the oceans. The ocean heat is in lockstep with accelerating fossil fuel emissions. In 2018 alone, the oceans absorbed the equivalent fossil fuel heat of detonating 100 million Hiroshima-style bombs. Terrifying.
The week prior to the ocean record heat report, my colleagues released their latest assessment of Antarctica’s epic melt. The South Pole is losing six times as much ice as it did four decades ago. Ice melt, too, is in lockstep with accelerating fossil fuel combustion.
The largest block of land ice on Earth sits atop of the Eastern Antarctic and it’s exhibiting the telltales of disintegrating. It contains enough water to raise sea levels globally by 175 feet. The more fossil fuels burned the faster that block of ice will melt.
Incessant sonic explosions in the Great Australian Bight will also further accelerate the Man-driven Sixth Mass Extinction, which is occurring as quickly as 10,000 times the previous five others. Hideous biological annihilation.
Jeff Hansen, Director of Sea Shepherd Australia told me that: “The Great Australian Bight is Australia’s Galapagos. And risking it in a push to expand the fossil fuel industry is the height of irresponsibility.”
Owen and Hansen are correct. Why jeopardize this unique biologically rich marine biome? A couple years ago, British Petroleum’s risk assessment models predicted that an oil spill, at a depth of 8,200 feet, would pollute almost 470 miles of South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales coastlines. That would be disastrous for nursing whales and all life including Man.
Democracy is at a crossroads. From Australia to America and elsewhere, governments are capitulating to petroleum oligarchs. They are miserably failing to acknowledge the incontrovertible scientific proof that Earth is heating up quickly from burning fossil fuels and to respond by creating a zero combustion global economy. It’s time to vote for lawmakers who will protect all life rather than covet seats on corporate boards that are quickly destroying it.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Marine Nurseries Marine Nurseries Marine Nurseries Marine Nurseries Marine Nurseries