James Cook University has fired marine scientist and climate science contrarian Professor Peter Ridd and as predictably as night follows day, Andrew Bolt is all upset.
As a very brief summary, Ridd has long been associated with groups that have misrepresented the state of climate science, he has been speaking openly for more than a decade about his views which, to give you an even shorter summary, is that the Great Barrier Reef is doing just fine and is not threatened by global warming or industrial activity.
But back to Bolt, who devoted his editorial on his Sky News show to Ridd’s case. In his trademark righteous tone, Bolt began: “A scandal in one of our universities,” before weaving the case into the politics of energy prices and free speech.
In some ways, the way the climate science denial community and the conservative echo chamber has rallied around Professor Peter Ridd is impressive.
In other ways, it is entirely predictable given the James Cook University academic is serving up two of their favourite dishes in one serving- a supposed fight for “freedom of speech” against the establishment, and a rejection of the science linking human activity to climate change and, in this case in particular, the Great Barrier Reef.
Since then, Ridd has continued to claim that fellow JCU scientists should not be trusted, leading to allegations of serious misconduct from JCU that Ridd had repeatedly breached their code of conduct . Ridd hit back and filed a case against them. It’s ongoing.
The latest instalment came earlier today from the newspaper’s environment editor Graham Lloyd, under the print headline “The bleaching of parts of the reef is dividing the scientific world” and online under the headline “Great barrier battleground over coral bleaching.”
Lloyd seems to be trying to construct a narrative that the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and the subsequent death of about a quarter of all the corals has opened some sort of schism among scientists.
The bleaching, writes Lloyd, has “unleashed long-simmering tensions over the quality of reef research.”
Remembering for a minute the reef has just gone through its worst bleaching event on record leading to the death of a quarter of the corals – a huge and historic deal that will impact the reef for the rest of our lifetimes.
But anyway, over the weekend The Australian published a story about Professor Peter Ridd, of James Cook University, who had apparently been disciplined for criticising colleagues and the the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for using some old pictures of reef near Stone Island to show how coral cover had declined over time.
According to Graham Lloyd, The Australian’s environment editor, Ridd said the pictures – from between 1890 and 2012 – didn’t show for sure the reefs were declining. Scientists needed to be more sceptical, he said.
For kicking up a stink, Ridd was reportedly almost fired.
The Australian also reported that Ridd had sent scientists out to check on the reef in question – valiantly displaying the kind of scientific skepticism that was so lacking in others. Some areas were OK, The Australian said.
One of the United States’ most visible climate science denialists, Marc Morano, has a new movie coming out that he claims will “rock the climate debate”. It won’t.
What it will do, though, is apparently rehash some old climate science denial talking points.
Hiding away on the website of the documentary’s producers was a segment destined for the film. The segment put some slick graphics to the old myth that because carbon dioxide is only a small part of the atmosphere, that it couldn’t have an effect on the climate.
So I asked some leading climate scientists to look at it, and then produced a bit of a critique of my own.
Anyway, here’s the vid. UPDATE:Marc Morano has contacted DeSmog to say the clip was not in the final version of the film. I’ve clarified this in the YouTube clip and the clarification also appears on the DeSmog story that went with it. I also apologise. The clip was on the public website of Climate Hustle’s production company, CDR Communications (screenshot here) , and was marked “Climate Hustle”. As of right now, 7 Jan 2016, the clip remains there. I should say also, that Mr Morano and CFACT executive director Craig Rucker both told me outside their Paris screening that they would have welcomed me to see the film, but that it was full. People in the screening later told myself and DeSmog editor Brendan DeMelle that the theatre was in fact only about 70 per cent full.