Monday, January 29, 2018



The Never-ending Battles of the Coral Sea

Viv Forbes

For at least 50 years Australian taxpayers and other innocents have supported a parasitic industry in academia, bureaucracy, law, media and the tax-exempt Green Alarm “Charities”, all studying, regulating, inspecting and writing about yet another “imminent threat to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.”

It has become the never-ending battle of the Coral Sea.

The threats change, but there is always a doomsday forecast – Crown-of-Thorns, oil drilling, fishing, cane farming, coastal shipping, global warming, ocean acidity, coral bleaching, port dredging, chemical and fertiliser runoff, coal transport, river sediments, loss of world heritage status etc. Every recycled scare, magnified by the media and parroted by politicians, generates more income for the alarm industry, usually at the expense of taxpayers, consumers or local industries.

The reality is that sea creatures would starve in pure water – all marine life needs nutrients, salts and minerals. These come from other life forms, from decomposing rocks and organic matter carried to the sea by rivers, from dissolving atmospheric gases, or from delta and shelf sediments stirred up by floods, cyclones, dredging or coastal shipping. No one supports over-use of toxic man-made chemicals, but well-run cane, cattle and coal companies can co-exist with corals.

Corals first appeared 500 million years ago and have proven to be one of Earth’s great survivors. They outlasted the Carboniferous Forests, the Permian and Cretaceous extinctions, the dinosaurs, the mammoths, the Neanderthals and the Pleistocene cycles of ice age and warming. They thrive in warm tropical water, cluster around hot volcanic fumaroles and survive massive petroleum spills, natural oil seeps, tidal waves and volcanic dust. They have even recolonised the Montebello Island waters devastated by atomic bomb testing in the 1950’s.

The ENSO oscillation of blobs of warm Pacific water which caused recent coral bleaching can be identified in historical records for at least 400 years. Corals have survived El Nino warmings for thousands of years and they will probably outlast Homo Alarmism as Earth proceeds into the next glacial epoch.

Corals do not rely on computer models of global temperature to advise them – they read the sea level thermometer which falls and rises as the great ice sheets come and go.

In the warming phase like the one just ending, ice melts, sea levels rise and the reef that houses the corals may get drowned. Corals have two choices – build their reef higher or just float south/inshore and build a new reef (like the Great Barrier Reef) in shallower, cooler water. When islands sink beneath rising oceans, corals may build their own coral atolls as fast as the water rises.

Then when the cold era returns, ice sheets grow, sea levels fall, and the warm era coral reefs (like the Great Barrier Reef) get stranded on the new beaches and coastal plains. Usually the process is slow enough to allow the coral polyps to float into deeper warmer water closer to the equator and build another reef.

This eminently sensible policy of “move when you have to” has proved a successful survival policy for the corals for 500 million years.

Humans should copy the corals – “forget the computer climate models but watch real data like actual sea levels and . . . move when you have to.”

SOURCE

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Australia: New funding for the Great Barrier Reef

This is in response to Greenie claims that the GBR is "dying".  The reef has been there for millennia but Greenies talked up some recent changes as if they were catastrophic and final.  As is now clear even to a Greenie, the reef "fixes" itself.  It has rebounded from the small but highly exaggerated degree of damage that it suffered.

Dead coral revives when the stressor -- in this case a temporary sea level fall -- goes away.  To Greenies, of course, coral deaths are caused by Global Warming. 

The new money seems to be reasonably allocated even if the need for it was built on false pretences


THE number of crown-of-thorns starfish control vessels will be more than doubled under a new $60 million Great Barrier Reef funding suite.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will unveil the package in Townsville today as he continues the North Queensland tour that began in Cairns yesterday.

The Federal Government will spend $10.4 million for what Mr Turnbull labelled an “all-out assault on coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish” to increase the number of culling ships from three to eight.

Another $36.6 million will go towards measures to reduce run-off pollution entering the reef, giving farmers incentives to cut down soil erosion, improve nutrient management, and restoring coastal and riparian vegetation in reef catchments.

“This $60 million funding boost over 18 months will set in motion a major research and development program for coral reef restoration,” Mr Turnbull said.

“For the first time The Commonwealth will bring together key agencies to explore ways the reef can best adapt to the changing environment to protect it for decades to come.

“By supporting the development of innovative new reef technologies we are also helping to cement Australia’s international reputation as a strong innovation-driven economy.”

The Australian Institute of Marine Science and CSIRO will share in $6 million to scope and design the program to develop heat-tolerant coralswith a focus on leveraging private investment.

Mr Turnbull said $4.9 million would be spent to boost the number of field officers protecting the reef and the 64,000 jobs that rely on it.

“It is a vibrant, resilient ecosystem and one of the best-managed coral reef ecosystems in the world,” he said.

“While it is facing increasing threats we intend to remain leaders in reef management.

“The specific science focus of the R & D funding is part of the government’s broader focus on science, innovation and jobs and the central role they will play now and into the future.

“Innovation and science are key to future employment opportunities for Australians.”

SOURCE


Despite global warming, some reefs are flourishing, and you can see it in 3D

Maybe it’s not the end of the world for corals after all.

That’s one of the surprising findings of a new project called the 100 Island Challenge, led by two scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

Jennifer Smith, Stuart Sandin and their team from Scripps are studying the changes taking place on 100 coral reef systems around the world. What they have found offers a surprising, and hopeful, glimpse of the current state of coral reefs.

“We’ve seen evidence of health pretty much everywhere,” says Sandin. “This isn’t saying that every reef is thriving, and every reef has stayed immune to climate change. But what we’re seeing is that after a reef dies, organisms grow.” Call it the Jurassic Park effect: life finds a way.

While they acknowledge that some reef systems like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia have suffered tremendously from recent warming events, other reefs seem to be thriving.

“We were inspired by some observations that we had about seeing coral reefs in far flung places that showed signs of resilience, that showed bounty, that showed wonder,” says Sandin. “And these observations that we had were somewhat in contrast to some of the news reports of doom and gloom, of loss.”

If you don’t believe it, take a look at the video above, which the team has assembled as part of the 100 Island Challenge. In vivid 3D, corals bulge with life, exhibiting vibrant hues that stand in stark contradiction to the pale skeletons left behind after coral bleaching events that have ravaged other reefs.

The videos themselves are an astonishing and important part of the project. Although the corals look computer generated, the videos represent actual reef systems shot with off the shelf DSLR cameras. They are assembled from as many as 4000 photographs, shot by divers who swim lawnmower patterns over the reef, snapping a picture every second. The images are then run through a software process called photogrammetry, which stitches the images together into a 3-dimensional whole, allowing the viewer to glide across the reef with resolution down to one centimeter.

The team has shot over 70 reefs so far, in places like Hawaii, the Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, and French Polynesia. This year, they will visit the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Kiribati and several islands across the Caribbean.

They plan to return to each one after 2-3 years to repeat the process. The idea is to gain a fine-grained understanding of the changes that are taking place over time on the reefs, and to do so without harming the coral. It is the most detailed study of its kind on the planet, and it’s providing data the likes of which has never been collected before.

“Now we’re able to do a single dive on a reef, capture thousands of images, bring them back home, recreate that reef in the lab and then spend hundreds of hours extracting data out of that one dive, whereas normally that would have taken hundreds of hours underwater to collect the same data,” says Smith.

Although they have not yet determined how the reefs are changing over time, perhaps the most surprising results they have seen reveal how well many reef systems are doing, even in places facing human impact. Jamaica, for example, has long been held out as a case study for coral loss. But the team visited last year and came away surprised.

“You can see these little colonies of pretty much every species of Caribbean coral alive, growing slowly,” says Sandin.

The team is already taking the study into other interactive realms, with plans to create virtual reality tours of the reefs, adding sound and expanding into 4D by adding the dimension of time into the experience. They believe that the images will become a valuable baseline for understanding the changes, both good and bad, that are taking place on the planet.

“These models are essentially a living library of reefs that will essentially be an opportunity to take a time machine into the past 20 years from now,” says Sandin.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Friday, January 19, 2018


The inconvenient truth is that catastrophists are wrong

In a hurried piece in Fairfax publications, the Climate Council of Australia’s Will Steffen throws hot water on any misconceptions that may have been drawn from abnormal snowfalls in Britain, Switzerland and Japan, the record-breaking cold snap in Canada and the US, and the expansion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

He says: “Terms like ‘global warming’ and the mental images they trigger can be misleading when people attempt to understand what is happening to the climate. A far better term is ‘climate disruption’, which captures the real nature of the vast array of changes, many of them abrupt and unexpected, that are occurring.”

So fire and ice, it’s to be expected.

Of course you won’t be surprised to learn Steffen claims “the climate disruption we are increasingly experiencing is not natural. It is caused by the heat-trapping gases we humans are pouring into the atmosphere primarily by the burning of coal, oil and gas.”

On the day Steffen’s opinion piece appeared, this newspaper republished Matt Ridley’s article in The Times claiming “the Earth is very slowly slipping back into a proper ice age”. This confirms research by Henrik Svensmark, Australia’s David Evans and others, who correlated low solar activity (fewer sunspots) and increased cloud cover (as modulated by cosmic rays), with a cooling climate.

Indeed, last year scientists submitted 120 papers linking historical and modern climate change to variations in solar activity.

Steffen wasn’t among them. He says: “Whole ecosystems are succumbing to (human-induced) climate disruption. In 2016 unusually dry and hot conditions triggered massive fires in Tasmania’s World Heritage forests, while ocean circulation patterns have moved ­unprecedented underwater heatwaves around the world, driving the tragic coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.’’

Yet the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt, dismisses many of the claims that he says “misrepresent the extent and impact of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Peter Ridd from James Cook University goes further, saying: “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the ARC (Australian Research Council) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

Steffen’s work could fit this description. He spends much time pushing eco-catastrophism. “Climate disruption” he says “brings growing risks of large-scale migration and conflict as people, particularly the most vulnerable, are forced to deal with increasingly difficult conditions where they live. Some security analysts warn that climate disruption will dwarf terrorism and other conventional threats if present trends continue or worsen.

“Had enough of climate disruption? Then let’s leave our 20th-century thinking behind and get on with the job of rapidly building innovative, clever, carbon-neutral 21st-century societies.”

But Ridley questions the influence of carbon dioxide. He reminds us that: “In 1895 the Swede, Svante Arrhenius, one of the scientists who first championed the greenhouse theory, suggested that the ice retreated because carbon dioxide levels rose, and advanced because they fell. If this was true, then industrial emissions could head off the next ice age. There is indeed a correlation in the ice cores between temperature and carbon dioxide, but inconveniently it is the wrong way round: carbon dioxide follows rather than leads temperature downward when the ice returns.”

But where would manmade global warming “science” be if it relied on just facts? For decades, climate science has been plagued by scandals, deceit and the confessions of whistleblowers.

Penrith’s hyped recording is not new. Scientist and long-time BOM critic Jennifer Marohasy has been calling for an audit and urging Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg “to inform the World Meteorological Organisation that the temperatures recorded by our bureau are not consistent with calibration, nor any international standard”, and, to “direct the bureau to desist from announcing new record hot days”.

Still, institutionalised data bias is a handy default for radical-left eco-catastrophists who have a tendency to extract worst-case scenarios from every weather event.

But despite their best efforts, in the public’s eyes their story is wearing thin. There have been too many false predictions and unwarranted alarmism. People are wising up to the reality that climate science has become an unfalsifiable ideology and resent having their moral conscience questioned should they disagree.

If Ridley is right and the earth is slowly slipping back into a proper ice age, it will be literally cold comfort, not to mention lethal, to keep passing it off as climate disruption.

To survive such an event, our successors will need a plentiful supply of cheap, reliable energy, impossible given today’s intelligentsia’s religious objection to low-cost fossil and nuclear fuels.

It’s not carbon dioxide that threatens us with extinction but blind ideology dressed up as science.

SOURCE

Friday, January 5, 2018



The End of the Ocean Acidification Scare for Corals
    
Paper Reviewed: McCulloch, M.T., D'Olivo, J.P., Falter, J., Holcomb, M. and Trotter, J.A. 2017. Coral calcification in a changing world and the interactive dynamics of pH and DIC upregulation. Nature Communications 8: 15686, DOI:10.1038/ncomms15686.

The global increase in the atmosphere's CO2 content has been hypothesized to possess the potential to harm coral reefs directly. By inducing changes in ocean water chemistry that can lead to reductions in the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater (ظ), it has been predicted that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may reduce rates of coral calcification, possibly leading to slower-growing -- and, therefore, weaker -- coral skeletons, and in some cases even death. Such projections, however, often fail to account for the fact that coral calcification is a biologically mediated process, and that out in the real world, living organisms tend to find a way to meet and overcome the many challenges they face, and coral calcification in response to ocean acidification is no exception, as evidenced by findings published in the recent analysis of McCulloch et al. (2017).

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, this team of five researchers developed geochemical proxies (ن11B and B/Ca) from Porites corals located on (1) Davis Reef, a mid-shelf reef located east-northeast of Townsville, Queensland, Australia in the central Great Barrier Reef, and (2) Coral Bay, which is part of the Ningaloo Reef coastal fringing system of Western Australia, in order to obtain seasonal records of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and pH of the corals' calcifying fluid (cf) at these locations for the period 2007-2012. And what did those records reveal?

As shown in the figure below, coral colonies from both reef locations "exhibit strong seasonal changes in pHcf, from ~8.3 during summer to ~8.5 during winter," which "represents an elevation in pHcf relative to ambient seawater of ~0.4 pH units together with a relatively large seasonal range in pHcf of ~0.2 units." These observations, in the words of McCulloch et al., "are in stark contrast to the far more muted changes based on laboratory-controlled experiments" (as shown in the dashed black line on the figure), which laboratory-based values are "an order of magnitude smaller than those actually observed in reef environments."

With respect to DICcf (also depicted in Figure 1), McCulloch et al. report that the "highest DICcf (~ x 3.2 seawater) is found during summer, consistent with thermal/light enhancement of metabolically (zooxanthellae) derived carbon, while the highest pHcf (~8.5) occurs in winter during periods of low DICcf (~ x 2 seawater)."

The proxy records also revealed that coral DICcf was inversely related (r2 ~ 0.9) to pHcf. Commenting on this relationship, the marine scientists say it "indicate[s] that the coral is actively maintaining both high (~x 4 to x 6 seawater) and relatively stable (within ± 10% of mean) levels of elevated ظcf year-round." Or, as they explain it another way, "we have now identified the key functional characteristics of chemically controlled calcification in reef-building coral. The seasonally varying supply of summer-enhanced metabolic DICcf is accompanied by dynamic out-of-phase upregulation of coral pHcf. These parameters acting together maintain elevated but near-constant levels of carbonate saturation state (ظcf) of the coral's calcifying fluid, the key driver of calcification."

The implications of the above findings are enormous, for they reveal that "pHcf upregulation occurs largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification," demonstrating "the ability of the coral to 'control' what is arguably one of its most fundamental physiological processes, the growth of its skeleton within which it lives." Furthermore, McCulloch et al. say their work presents "major ramifications for the interpretation of the large number of experiments that have reported a strong sensitivity of coral calcification to increasing ocean acidification," explaining that "an inherent limitation of many of these experiments is that they were generally conducted under conditions of fixed seawater pHsw and/or temperature, light, nutrients, and little water motion, hence conditions that are not conducive to reproducing the natural interactive effects between pHcf and DICcf that we have documented here." Given as much, they conclude that "since the interactive dynamics of pHcf and DICcf upregulation do not appear to be properly simulated under the short-term conditions generally imposed by such artificial experiments, the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned."

And so it appears that alarmist claims of near-future coral reef dissolution, courtesy of the ever-hyped ocean acidification hypothesis, have themselves dissolved away thanks to the seminal work of McCulloch et al. Clearly, the world's corals are much more resilient to changes in their environment than acidification alarmists have claimed them to be.

SOURCE

Thursday, December 14, 2017


The Blue Planet movie: RIGHT ON PLASTICS AND PCBS, WRONG ON ACIDIFICATION

Matt Ridley

The climate change obsession is still sometimes getting in the way of telling the truth. The most dishonest sequence in the series was when Attenborough watched shells dissolving in a tank of acid, to a soundtrack of fizzing noises, and was told by Professor Chris Langdon that although this was “more dramatic than what’s happening in the oceans”, nonetheless “the shells and the reefs are really truly dissolving”.

This is highly misleading in several different ways. Was it carbonic acid, or another acid? The reduction in alkalinity will get nowhere near neutral, let alone actual acidity, even by the end of the 22nd century, so “dissolving” is false, let alone happening now. The changes in ocean pH expected even by the end of this century are minuscule compared with what was shown in that tank, and by comparison with the daily and seasonal changes that an average reef experiences. (Coral bleaching, a different issue, is more serious, but more temporary.)

A 2010 analysis of 372 studies of 44 different marine species found that the world’s marine fauna is “more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions” and that it “may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century”:

"Ocean acidification has been proposed to pose a major threat for marine organisms, particularly shell-forming and calcifying organisms. Here we show, on the basis of meta-analysis of available experimental assessments, differences in organism responses to elevated pCO2 and propose that marine biota may be more resistant to ocean acidification than expected.

Calcification is most sensitive to ocean acidification while it is questionable if marine functional diversity is impacted significantly along the ranges of acidification predicted for the 21st century. Active biological processes and small-scale temporal and spatial variability in ocean pH may render marine biota far more resistant to ocean acidification than hitherto believed."

And recent work has established that corals’ ability to make skeletons is “largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification...the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned”. Indeed, one study found that calcifying plankton “respond positively to acidification with CO2enrichment”,

"As a result, cell growth and cellular calcification of E. huxleyi were strongly damaged by acidification by HCl, but not by acidification by CO2 enrichment...The present study clearly showed that the coccolithophore, E. huxleyi, has an ability to respond positively to acidification with CO2 enrichment, but not just acidification."

another that the growth rate of corals also increases with higher carbon dioxide up to 600 parts per mllion and concluded:

"Furthermore, the warming projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the end of the twenty-first century caused a fivefold decrease in the rate of coral calcification, while the acidification projected for the same interval had no statistically significant impact on the calcification rate—suggesting that ocean warming poses a more immediate threat than acidification for this important coral species."

The producers of Blue Planet II claim every word of the commentary was based on solid scientific evidence. Not in this case. In a magnificent series, they got that one wrong.

SOURCE

Thursday, November 30, 2017



Australia's Barrier reef not as fragile as once thought

It has inbuilt recovery from damage mechanisms

About 100 coral reefs within the Great Barrier Reef have been identified as having particular resilience that may help corals recover from bleaching and other threats.

The hardy "robust source reefs" – about 112 in number or about 3 per cent of total coverage – were found to be in cooler, outer reefs.

Their location helped shield them from the recent back-to-back annual bleaching that had devastated corals, the Australian and British researchers found.

Their proximity to stronger ocean currents than inland reefs also meant their annual spawning events could disperse coral larvae over a large region, fostering recovery after bleaching or cyclones.

A third characteristic was a relative absence of crown-of-thorns starfish, lowering their susceptibility to that threat.
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Peter Mumby, one of the authors of the reef paper appearing on Wednesday in PLOS Biology, said a single coral spawning event from the robust sites could "almost reach half the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef".

"These sites are important ecologically, providing some of the backbone of the reef," said Professor Mumby, who is based at the University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences.

"We are trying to uncover the natural life-support system of the reef, so we can then support it," he said, adding: "The reef is much better connected than we thought."

The importance of supporting natural recovery processes would likely increase in the future "as climate change reduces the average size of coral populations and the need for recolonisation becomes more frequent," the paper said.

But with most of the robust sites clustered off Mackay in the central-south region of the Great Barrier Reef, any relative resilience might be of little benefit to more distant regions, such as the northern end.

SOURCE


NOAA Lets Politics Corrupt Its Science

Internal emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by JunkScience.com website publisher and attorney Steven Milloy reveal NOAA media campaigns to politicize unsubstantiated CO2-caused ocean ecosystem impacts along with its "evil twin" climate influences.

A communication from NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Director Libby Jewett lauds a previous "great job" by staff member Madelyn Applebaum in writing "two widely-praised and referenced op-eds." She notes that the first one on space weather was quickly bumped up to Obama White House Science Director John Holdren.

The second article addressing ocean acidification (OA) which was developed "literally overnight" was also immediately approved by Holdren. It appeared in an Oct. 15, 2015 New York Times article titled "Our Deadened, Carbon-Soaked Seas."

Although written by Applebaum, the co-authorship was attributed to NOAA’s Chief Scientist Richard Spinrod and his U.K. counterpart Ian Boyd.

Jewett wrote that Boyd was "very interested in doing another op-ed on ocean acidification, and our team hopes that Madelyn can be assigned to develop it." She continued, "Ideally, the op-ed could appear in the fall prior to the second ocean conference at which Secretary Kerry and ocean acidification will be prominent. We want visibility for NOAA’s pioneering global leadership to be prominent too!"

Whereas later emails show that The New York Times initially rejected the proposed op-ed for its U.S. print edition, NOAA staff achieved success getting it placed in the newspaper’s The New York Times International print edition and its online NYTimes.com. Again attributed to co-authorship by Spinrod and Boyd, it was ominously titled, "In a High CO2 World, Dangerous Waters Ahead."

Research ecologist Shallin Busch at NOAA’s Fisheries Service insisted that the op-ed exaggerated the ocean acidification problem. Writing to Madelyn Applebaum she said " . . . the study of the biological impacts of OA is so young that we don’t have any data sets that show a direct effect of OA on population health or trajectory."

Busch later suggested in another e-mail, "It might be good to mention that some species will be harmed by ocean acidification, some will benefit, and some won’t respond at all!"

A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study that I reported in my April 10, 2012 Forbes.com column, "Is Your SUV Killing Ocean Coral Reefs?" agrees with this observation. Their findings concluded that the world’s marine biota are "more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions identifying ocean acidification as a major threat to marine biodiversity."

Higher seawater carbonation levels and temperatures actually have positive effects upon many marine species. Included are shell-building "calcifers" which are observed to grow faster over natural volcanic CO2 vents.

Most of the significantly negative responses occurred at atmospheric concentrations exceeding 2,000 parts per million (ppm). This is five times higher than the current 400 ppm today, and about three times higher than even the alarmist U.N.’s IPCC predicts will occur by end of this century.

No one should doubt that the health of ocean ecosystems must be of vital concern. For exactly this same reason we must be able to place trust in a non-political NOAA to get both its facts and messaging straight.

SOURCE

Thursday, November 23, 2017



Legal battle in Australia: James Cook Univer­sity trying to muzzle critic of coral reef alarmism

Outspoken James Cook Univer­sity professor Peter Ridd has taken Federal Court action claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias against vice-chancellor Sandra Harding.

Professor Ridd wants JCU to drop a misconduct investigation launched following his interview with Alan Jones on Sky News on August 1 in which he criticised the quality of Great Barrier Reef science.

In the interview, he said research findings by major institutions could not be trusted. “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

JCU responded in late August by launching a formal investigation for misconduct which could result in Professor Ridd’s employment being terminated.

Professor Ridd engaged legal counsel, with new accusations being made by JCU and Federal Court action being lodged by him.

JCU has said Professor Ridd’s comments were “not in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth”. It said his comments had denigrated AIMS and the ARC Centre and were “not respectful and courteous”.

In letters lodged with the court, JCU said Professor Ridd’s comments could damage the reputation of AIMS and the university’s relationship with it.

In a letter to JCU on September 7, Professor Ridd’s legal team, ­Mahoneys, called on JCU to drop the case. They said the university suffered a conflict of interest in its investigation.

“The vice-chancellor is a council member (akin to a director) of the Australian Institute of Marine Science,” Mahoneys said. “The vice-chancellor is in a position of conflict between her duties and ­office to the AIMS and to bringing an impartial mind to a decision on the allegations (against Professor Ridd).”

JCU responded on September 19 that it was “not satisfied that there has been no serious misconduct or that the allegations are unsubstantiated”. It said Professor Ridd “must not disclose or discuss these matters with the media or in any other public forum”.

Mahoneys responded on September 27, repeating concerns about conflict of interest: “There are only two conclusions our ­client can reach as to why the complaint is continuing to be prosecuted: incompetence or act­ual bias, neither of which is satisfactory or tolerable to our client.”

JCU then engaged law firm Clayton Utz, which on October 6 wrote to Mahoneys to say: “The matters you have raised are not matters that prevent JCU from ­addressing your client’s conduct and JCU’s expectations of your client as a JCU employee.”

Mahoneys responded on ­October 13 that the Utz response was “evasive and inadequate”.

On October 17, Clayton Utz wrote “further allegations and concerns” had been raised against Professor Ridd. “These matters ­related to allegations of similar conduct and/or a pattern of insubordination and denigration of the university,” Clayton Utz wrote. It rejected the allegation of bias, ­apprehended bias, or inability of the officers of the university to ­address Professor Ridd’s conduct.

JCU again wrote to Professor Ridd on October 23 highlighting comments made to Jones. In the Jones interview, Professor Ridd said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff — they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef; I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally ­attached to their subject.” In its letter, JCU said it “is not satisfied that the principles of academic freedom excuse or justify your comments”.

The university said it did not accept a conflict of interest or apprehended bias existed.

On November 7, Mahoneys said “new evidence” was “entirely separate”. “The revised offending conduct cannot reasonably have had any effect on the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, that is, of course, unless the employer was hypersensitive in the extreme and determined to find slight in every action,” Mahoneys responded.

Professor Ridd said in correspondence to The Australian he hoped the court action would “draw attention to the quality ­assurance problems in science and the obligation of universities in general to genuinely foster debate, argument and the clash of ideas”.

“I think it is right to challenge our science institutions about whether their work is reliable and trustworthy,” he said.

A JCU spokesman said “it is not appropriate to comment on confidential matters’’.

SOURCE

Saturday, October 21, 2017



Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching

The Greenie panic was for nothing, as usual.  Julian Tomlinson didn't go to journalism school so he tells it like it is below -- supported by extensive video evidence

NEWS of the Great Barrier Reef’s demise have indeed appeared to be premature – as predicted. Cairns-based environmental science body, Tropical Water Quality Hub, released exciting news this month in an email titled: Signs of recovery on bleached coral reefs.

This is no surprise to reef operators, climate change sceptics and scientists who urged everyone not to believe the hype about the Reef’s certain doom.

The TWQH said researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science went back to 14 reefs between Townsville and Cairns they surveyed at the height of this year’s bleaching event and saw “significant” recovery. “The majority of coral colonies on the inshore reefs have regained their colour and some even appear to have developing eggs in their tissues,” said project lead Dr Line Bay.

This evidence is directly in line with the views of James Cook University’s Professor Peter Ridd who said this year that corals were experts at adapting to changing environments and that they would recover – as they had done in the past.

But still, Prof Ridd was dismissed by reef doom merchants and has even been threatened with disciplinary action by JCU because of his contrary views. One hopes the university will now apologise unreservedly to Prof Ridd for its treatment of him.  All he did was urge his colleagues to not take such an absolute and alarmist view of Reef health.

Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, believes Ridd’s treatment was so bad that he raised it in state parliament this month and suggested JCU’s administrative procedures should be reviewed. “I have been offered some explanations for the actions taken by JCU against Peter Ridd, but they were most unsatisfactory to the point of being feeble,” said Mr Cripps.

Marine biologist Walter Starck has spent a lifetime studying marine ecosystems and made the same observations as Ridd in a Quadrant magazine article he wrote last year.

Starck is considered by naysayers as a scientific fringe dweller but anyone who challenges the alarmists is always going to be ridiculed and have their credibility questioned.

While the TWQH researchers say it’s still early days, news of coral recovery is fantastic for our tourism operators.

Cairns reef dive company, Spirit of Freedom, has also given activists reason to stand down. Just last month, the company released a video of Ribbon Reefs, Lizard Island and Osprey Reef.  Shot by Stuart Ireland of Calypso Reef Imagery, it reveals a truly spectacular undersea paradise.

Tourists also appear on the video saying they can’t believe how beautiful the Reef is after what they’d been told about its imminent demise.

Check it out for yourself at https://vimeo.com/229457310.

I can’t wait for Midnight Oil to come back to spread the good news and for my Facebook feed to be cluttered with ecstatic posts from The Greens and GetUp!

Somehow, I think I’ll be waiting a long time. They’ll still say we must stop human-caused carbon emissions to ensure the recovery continues.

But environmental scientist Bjorn Lomborg has backed opponents of attempts to force us all to toe the man-made global warming line.

In The Australian this week he wrote that if every country honoured its emissions promises, 60 gigatonnes of carbon would be stopped from entering the atmosphere… whereas 6000 gigatonnes needs to be stopped to keep temperature rises below 2C.

Again, all the pain of high power prices and being lectured to and attacked by fanatics is for nought.

Another recent study has backed critics of laboratory tests claiming ocean acidification caused by CO2 emissions is a coral killer. The critics say the lab tests expose corals to increased CO2 too quickly for the organisms to adapt, therefore exaggerating the results.

Now, in the Nature Communications journal, researchers say they have shown this is the case, and that coral in the wild is able to adapt to changes in ocean composition when they happen gradually.

With all this evidence, we should all – especially politicians and the media – be taking the reef alarmists with a grain of salt and reject claims that we’re all environmental vandals.

SOURCE