Coral killed by pineapples, goats (and climate) — Tuesday, September 8, 2020 —

At an international conference last year, the U.S. Geological Survey director acknowledged climate change is harming coral reefs but focused his presentation on a smaller, politically safer problem: sediment.

USGS Director James Reilly traveled in September 2019 to the archipelago nation of Palau for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting, a twice-annual gathering of officials from the United States and its freely associated states in the Pacific: Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Reilly gave little to no data about corals’ response to warming, despite acknowledging it as one of the species’ top global threats. And his presentation concluded with a call for scientists to focus on “characterizing the affects [sic] of climate change” — an ambiguous statement that some experts say has been used by opponents of climate action to question scientific consensus and delay policy.

Reilly did get specific about some of the

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