From Sarah Chaffee at ENST:
Professor Peter Ridd heads up the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia. He has over a hundred scientific papers to his name and has spent thirty years studying the Great Barrier Reef. But he wrote a chapter in the volume Climate Change: The Facts 2017 for a think tank, critiquing claims that the Great Barrier Reef is nearly dead due to global warming and other factors. When he talked about the article on television last August, his university went ballistic.
Ridd took his situation to the public, writing an op-ed for Fox News, “Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef.” More.
From that job-endangering op-ed:
Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.
The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.
Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.
And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.
My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.
Some of us remember when the Great Lakes were dying. It’s amazing the number of people who go into biology who don’t appear to understand how systems grow, thrive, and decline in a natural way. The fact that they need science to be a religion wouldn’t be quite so bad if the religion were something other than Left Behind (apocalyptic fundamentalism).
Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.
These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s. More.
It would be smart to wait a while to see whether an apparently massive event is part of a cycle. One thinks of tent caterpillar invasions and jellyfish blooms). But that would knock the guts out of popular eco-prophecy.
The worst part is, the doomsaying comes at the expense of identifying the true ecology changes, as opposed to massive cyclical ones. Of true issues, there are more than enough.
See also: Can environment change accelerate adaptation: Mechanism proposed
Forests challenge ecosystem claims
Fire nature and hire a different one
March 3, 2018