Three-quarters of sampled Australian green voters believe the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is doing worse than usual, with 44% stating the coral is at a record low. Overall only 3% of all Australian voters knew that the coral was at a “record high” – the correct answer following two years of record growth that has broken all previous records. These findings are not a surprise, since the true picture on the reef has been downplayed, even hidden, by mainstream interested parties in the media and in science.
The results come from a survey carried out by the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) and is the work of coral authority Dr. Peter Ridd and science journalist Jo Nova. They note that the poor scores reflect badly on media coverage that reports every local coral bleaching event, but rarely the rapid recovery. “It’s almost as if Australians have been subject to years of misinformation,” they say. The silence on the health of the corals is “deafening”. Jo Nova has an idea why the media work so closely with the science establishment to suppress the real story: “Corals are thriving but Australians are spending half a billion dollars to save them.” As atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen says, the climate narrative is absurd, but trillions of dollars say it is not absurd.
It can be argued that few scientific propositions are more absurd than the suggestion that the recent gentle warming spell is leading to the destruction of coral reefs around the world. In a recent report, Dr. Ridd noted that the IPCC said in 2018 “with high confidence” that corals would decline worldwide by 70-90% if temperatures rose just 0.4°C. Data on coral in many parts of the world are less reliable than for the GBR, but Ridd said it seemed that across the globe there has not been a major drop in coral cover to date.
Corals grow in waters between 24°C and 32°C, and in fact often grow quicker in higher temperatures. But they dislike sudden changes in local water temperature caused by natural weather events such as El Niño oscillations. As a result they often bleach, but the evidence suggests they rapidly return to health as natural conditions become more stable. On the GBR, conditions have been testing until recently with powerful El Niños causing rapid temperatures changes, and cyclones smashing the shallow corals. For decades, scientists and their media messengers have hyped up the temporary loss of coral to secure grants and promote political causes surrounding climate Armageddon.
It obviously worked – and is still working.
As can be seen, only 3% of Australians know the true state of the coral. Barely 10% knew coral cover was above average, while 80% thought erroneously that the situation was average or worse. Ridd and Niva note that ten years after coral cover hit a record low, half the country still doesn’t realise the reef has recovered. The “phenomenal health” of the GBR is said to be virtually unknown, yet the public are paying half a billion dollars in taxes to save it. In addition the country is “being misled into thinking that expensive low carbon policies and Net Zero targets will help protect the reef, when there is no correlation between CO2 levels and coral cover”.
The authors point some fingers at those responsible for the ignorance about the current condition of the reef among the general population. Four years ago, the State of the Climate report from the national science agency CSIRO and the national weather service the BoM noted that 30% of all coral cover across the entire GBR was lost. “This year, they told us ‘more frequent and severe coral bleaching events are likely’, but did not even mention the excellent health of the reef.” How is that reasonable, they ask. Where are the media, they also ask. “Journalists are supposed to grill professors to make sure they are providing value for taxpayers, not sensationalist, self-serving hyperbole.”
It is often found that those on the Left are more inclined to accept the ‘settled’ climate science narrative, promoting as it does the collectivist Net Zero agenda. A major recent survey in the U.S. found higher levels of belief in the suggested dominant role played by humans in altering the climate among Democrats than Republicans. Nevertheless, the proposition that humans cause all or most global warming has seen general support fall in the U.S. from 60% to 49% in just the last five years. Of course there is lack of sceptical enquiry and there is ignorance, and echo chamber greens seem to score high on both counts.
Record ignorance levels of the true state of the GBR were found among green voters. The populist right of centre One Nation voters recorded much better levels of awareness. Voters for the Liberal party seem to be marginally better informed than Labour.
The AEF results were compiled by a polling company asking 1,004 Australians about the current state of coral coverage on the GBR. The full question and suggested answers are shown in the first graph above. The poll was conducted soon after the news came out of last year’s record high coverage. The authors note that the results largely confirm an earlier similar survey of 1,007 of people in 2022. In that survey, only 7% of voters correctly said that coral cover on the GBR was “well above average”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
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