Tuesday, February 6, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Professor Peter Ridd Fights University Gag Order








Australian Marine Scientist Standing Up For Scientific Freedom & Integrity

In this newsletter:

1) Reef Row Scientist Peter Ridd Snubs University Gag Order
Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 1 February 2018 
 
2) Professor Peter Ridd Standing Up For Scientific Integrity Against James Cook University
Institute of Public Affairs, 1 February 2018 


 
3) Peter Ridd: The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science 
Climate Change: The Facts 2017
 
4) The Need For A Formalised System Of Quality Control For Environmental Policy-Science
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 126 (2018)
 
5) Never Trust Climate Alarmists: Great Barrier Reef More Resilient To Climate Change Than Previously Thought
The Daily Telegraph, 30 November 2017 
 
6) Matt Ridley: The Climate Wars And The Damage To Science
Global Warming Policy Foundation, November 2015 


Full details:

1) Reef Row Scientist Peter Ridd Snubs University Gag Order
Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 1 February 2018 

Marine scientist Peter Ridd has refused to accept a formal censure and gag order from James Cook University and expanded his Federal Court action to defend academic freedoms and free speech.


James Cook University professor Peter Ridd. Picture: Cameron Laird

A revised statement of claim alleges JCU trawled through private email conversations in a bid to bolster its misconduct case against him.

JCU had found Professor Ridd guilty of “serious misconduct”, ­including denigrating a co-worker, denigrating the university, breaching confidentiality, publishing information outside of the university and disregarding his obligations as an employee.

Professor Ridd has asked the Federal Court to overturn the university ruling and confirm his right not to be silenced.

In the revised statement of claim, Professor Ridd has dropped an earlier claim of conflict of interest against JCU vice-chancellor Sandra Harding, but has alleged other senior staff had been biased and had not acted fairly or in good faith.

Professor Ridd’s Federal Court action is seen as a test of academic freedom and free speech, and has been supported by the Institute of Public Affairs.

Professor Ridd said he would seek public donations to continue the fight against JCU. He first took court action in November in a bid to stop a JCU disciplinary process against him for comments he made to Sky News presenter Alan Jones.

The university said by expressing concerns about the quality of some reef science, Professor Ridd had not acted in a “collegiate” manner.

Professor Ridd told Sky News: “The basic problem is that 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.”

He said a lot of the science was not properly checked, tested or replicated and “this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more”.

A JCU spokesman said the university’s lawyers had invited Professor Ridd to discontinue his proceedings. “(He) has amended his proceedings. His decision to do so is a matter for him,” he said.

“The university intends to vigorously defend those proceedings (but) as these matters are before the courts, JCU will not comment further.”

Lawyers for JCU wrote to Professor Ridd on November 28 confirming the university had determined he had engaged in “serious misconduct” and issued him with a “final censure”.

“The disciplinary process and all information gathered and recorded in relation to the disciplinary process (including the allegations, letters, your client’s responses and the outcome of the disciplinary process) is confidential pursuant to clause 54.1.5 of the university enterprise agreement,” the JCU lawyers said.

Professor Ridd has subsequently published his concerns about the quality of reef science in a peer-reviewed journal. He said he was determined to speak freely about his treatment “even though it will go against explicit directions by JCU not to”.

“This is as much a case about free speech as it is about quality of science,” he said.

Full story
 

Please support Peter Ridd’s Legal Action Fund 
 https://www.gofundme.com/peter-ridd-legal-action-fund
 

His web page with all the details is here: 
https://platogbr.wordpress.com/serious-misconduct/
 

2) Professor Peter Ridd Standing Up For Scientific Integrity Against James Cook University
Institute of Public Affairs, 1 February 2018 

James Cook University is threatening scientific integrity by seeking to censor one of its academic staff members, Professor Peter Ridd, according to John Roskam, the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The university should not be attempting to silence the scientific debate about the impact of climate change.  Professor Ridd is a world expert on the Great Barrier Reef – he has the right and responsibility to interrogate the research evidence which determines how more than a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money will be spent,” Mr Roskam said.

In August last year Professor Ridd was interviewed by Alan Jones on Sky News  about his chapter in a book Climate Change: The Facts 2017 published by the Institute of Public Affairs.  In his chapter, The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science, Professor Ridd wrote:

“Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian government will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer review process.”

Professor Ridd said on Sky News:

“The basic problem is that 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 – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more…

…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 and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.”

JCU claimed that Professor Ridd’s comments denigrated the university and the university directed him to make no future such comments.

“The actions of James Cook University (JCU) follow a now-familiar pattern of behaviour by Australia’s universities.  The search for truth has been replaced by unquestioning allegiance to consensus, group-think, and orthodoxy.  The treatment of Professor Ridd by JCU is no different to what the University of Western Australia did to Bjorn Lomborg in 2015,” said Mr Roskam.

IPA research has found a worsening state of free speech on Australia’s university campuses. The IPA’s Free Speech on Campus Audit 2017 found 34 of Australia’s 42 universities are hostile to free speech on campus through their actions and policies.

‘We will enter a new dark age of unreason if universities are afraid of debate,’ said Mr Roskam.

Professor Ridd has launched a GoFundMe to fundraise the legal costs for action against James Cook University to protect his academic freedom to discuss integrity in science.

The IPA’s Climate Change: The Facts 2017 sold out its first three printings, and has sold nearly 10,000 copies. The book can bepurchased from Connor Court Publishing.

Full press release
 

3) Peter Ridd: The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science 
Climate Change: The Facts 2017 

The state of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is often used to show that we are facing an imminent crisis from climate change. It is photogenic, the water sparkles blue, the fish and corals are beautiful and delicate, and most who see it, particularly marine biologists, fall in love with it. It is abhorrent to even contemplate that it be destroyed, or damaged, by humanity.

The claimed imminent peril faced by the GBR has captured the public imagination. When Barack Obama was president of the United States and visited Australia he remarked that he wanted global action on climate change so maybe his daughters had a chance to see the Great Barrier Reef. A visiting architect to my university revealed that his daughter, on discussing the latest reef bleaching event at school, came home depressed that she would probably never be able to see the GBR. A majority of the world’s population seem to have been persuaded that it has no more than a few years left.

There is no doubt that every decade or so, abnormally high sea water temperature can cause corals to bleach (Marshall and Schuttenberg, 2006). This is when the coral expels the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) which live inside the individual coral polyp. The polyps are the animals, generally a few millimeters across, which make the calcium carbonate structure of the coral.

Thousands or even millions of polyps make up an individual coral. The symbiotic algae live inside the polyp and make energy from sunlight, which it shares with the polyp in exchange for a comfortable environment. However, when the water gets much hotter than normal, something goes wrong with the symbionts and they effectively become poisonous to the polyp. The polyp expels the symbionts and because the symbionts give the polyp its colour, the coral turns white. Without the symbionts, the polyp will run out of energy and will die within a few weeks or months unless it takes on more symbionts which float around naturally in the water surrounding the coral.

The ghastly white skeletons of bleached coral, and on a massive scale, make graphic and compelling images to demonstrate the perils of climate change. The fact that this only happens when the water gets much hotter than normal makes it a plausible hypothesis that coral bleaching is caused by anthropogenic climate change. It is also often claimed by scientists that mass bleaching has only occurred since the 1970s; that it is a recent phenomenon which did not occur a hundred years ago when the water temperature of the GBR was 0.5o C cooler (Hughes, 2016).

Despite this apparently plausible hypothesis, I argue in this chapter that there is perhaps no ecosystem on Earth better able to cope with rising temperatures. Irrespective of one’s views about the role of carbon dioxide, I will show that the GBR corals are masters of temperature adaptability, and able to cope with the modest warming that has occurred over the last century – and are also so-far unaffected by ocean acidification. There are, however, issues with how GBR science is reported, and a desperate need for some basic quality assurance.

Full paper
 

4) The Need For A Formalised System Of Quality Control For Environmental Policy-Science
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 126 (2018)

Piers Larcombe & Peter Ridd

ABSTRACT

Research science used to inform public policy decisions, herein defined as “Policy-Science”, is rarely subjected to rigorous checking, testing and replication. Studies of biomedical and other sciences indicate that a considerable fraction of published peer-reviewed scientific literature, perhaps half, has significant flaws. To demonstrate the potential failings of the present approaches to scientific Quality Control (QC), we describe examples of science associated with perceived threats to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. There appears a serious risk of efforts to improve the health of the GBR being directed inefficiently and/or away from the more serious threats. We suggest the need for a new organisation to undertake quality reviews and audits of important scientific results that underpin government spending decisions on the environment. Logically, such a body could also examine policy science in other key areas where governments rely heavily upon scientific results, such as education, health and criminology.

Full paper
 

5) Never Trust Climate Alarmists: Great Barrier Reef More Resilient To Climate Change Than Previously Thought
The Daily Telegraph, 30 November 2017

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is more resilient to climate change and better able to regenerate itself than previously thought, scientists have said.

A new study has revealed a collection of 100 individual reefs spread throughout the 2,000 mile-long marine ecosystem that not only withstand warming seas and attacking starfish but also protect others.

Although only constituting around three per cent of the whole Great Barrier Reef, the newly discovered coral formations are being likened to the “cardiovascular system” of the World Heritage Site.

Above average ocean temperatures have caused unprecedented “bleaching” in recent years, where coral expels the algae that gives it colour and provides most of its energy.

The Great Barrier Reef has also suffered widespread outbreaks of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

However, the new research by the University of Queensland found a collection of reefs lying in cooler areas able to supply their larvae – fertilised eggs – to other reefs via ocean currents.

Published in the journal PLOS Biology, it estimates the 100 reefs are able to supply larvae to almost half of the entire ecosystem in a single year.

“The presence of these well-connected reefs on the Great Barrier Reef means that the whole system of coral reefs possesses a level of resilience that may help it bounce back from disturbances, as the recovery of the damaged locations is supported by the influx of coral larvae from the non-exposed reefs,” said Dr Karlo Hock, who led the research.

The authors suggested that focusing on ways to support these reefs may hold a key to protecting the wider area.

Last week a separate team announced they had successfully bred “baby” coral on the Great Barrier Reef, producing more than a million larvae after collecting coral sperm and eggs produced during last November’s spawning period.

Full story 

How Climate Scientists Mislead The World About The Great Barrier Reef



 

6) Matt Ridley: The Climate Wars And The Damage To Science
Global Warming Policy Foundation, November 2015 



At the heart of the debate about climate change is a simple scientific question: can a doubling of the concentration of a normally harmless, indeed moderately beneficial, gas, from 0.03% of the atmosphere to 0.06% of the atmosphere over the course of a century change the global climate sufficiently to require drastic and painful political action today? In the end, that’s what this is all about. Most scientists close enough to the topic say: possibly. Some say: definitely. Some say: highly unlikely. The ‘consensus’ answer is that the warming could be anything from mildly beneficial to dangerously harmful: that’s what the IPCC means when it quotes a range of plausible outcomes from 1.5 to 4 degrees of warming.

On the basis of this unsettled scientific question, politicians and most of the pressure groups that surround them are furiously insistent that any answer to the question other than ‘definitely’ is vile heresy motivated by self-interest, and is so disgraceful as to require stamping out, prosecution as a crime against humanity, investigation under laws designed to catch racketeering by organized crime syndicates, or possibly the suspension of democracy. For yes, that is what has been repeatedly proposed by respected and senior figures in the climate debate....

Most disappointing of all is the way that science – especially the leaders of the world’s science academies – have joined the climate campaign, not just demonizing those who say they are not convinced we face catastrophe, but turning a blind eye to the distortion and corruption of the scientific process itself.

Full Essay


The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

1 comment:

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...
Reply To This Comment

The translation of scientific research into governmental policy is a problematical area at the best of times as a lot of good solid research is NOT translated into policy. Even worse is when the political will in favour of a given policy is so strong that the science it appeals to is far from robust. The discussion that Prof Ridd wants us all to have is long overdue.

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