Evidence of the corruption of the once sacrosanct scientific process grows daily with scientific bodies falling victim to wokeness, unscientific findings and pseudo-scientific romantic mythology. The latest report on the future of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) is another sad reflection of this depressing trend. According to long-time Reef expert Dr. Peter Ridd, the report demonstrates that the AAS, Australia’s principal science body, is not just unscientific, but anti-science. Writing recently in Spectator Australia, he also noted it had become “astonishingly woke”.
The AAS observed that the Reef could already be “irreversibly damaged”. This propagandised opinion flies in the face of the fact that coral on the Reef is at a 37-year record high, despite a challenging past decade of cyclones, natural localised warming spikes and starfish attacks. Coral is now double that recorded in 2012. Nowhere in the report, including the executive summary, introduction and conclusion, is any of this mentioned. Also considered unworthy of note is the fact that UNESCO recently declared the GBR was not endangered.
What we get is a parade of wokeness and half-baked possible solutions to combat the mortal danger the doomed GBR is supposed to be in. Much play is made of the involvement of aboriginal people in the roundtable process that helped compile the report. Having a ‘traditional knowledge co-chair’ in each roundtable “allows for different sources of knowledge to be shared”. This provides a “holistic” understanding of the GBR, encompassing “customary activities, song-lines, stories, totems and spirituality”.
The original settlers in Australia were immensely practical people learning to survive in a hostile environment. But Dr. Ridd suggests that selecting people on the basis of their ethnicity, rather than their scientific experience, is a “fundamentally anti-scientific approach”. He did however feel that people “deeply practical” about the Reef could have helped in pointing out the absurdity of some future actions proposed by the AAS. Deeply practical people know that you cannot bolt the Reef, the size of Germany, to the sea floor. Under “rubble stabilisation”, the AAS seems to suggest coral rocks can be glued back together. Even if by some “climate magic” the Reef is broken up, are they seriously suggesting we can wire it back together, asks Ridd.
Folk more practical than the experts at the AAS might also have a problem with “solar radiation management”, a daft idea, unsparing of other people’s money, that could see the entire Reef shaded from the sun with artificial fog and clouds. Of course, since this is an Australian Government-bound report, nothing as vulgar as costings are supplied. “How are you going to make a cloud as big as Germany and keep it anchored over the Reef for the whole summer over the next few hundred years?” asks Dr. Ridd. In addition, he continues, you will have to stop hot water flowing from the Coral Sea, and this would necessitate building a dam 2,000 kilometres long and 100 metres deep.
While a simple calculation is all that is required to reveal the absurdity of such ideas, “modern science is full of people who are almost completely non-quantitative and, as such, impractical and virtually useless as scientists”, concludes Ridd.
The recent coral recovery on the GBR has been a major embarrassment to many climate alarmists, not least those found in the mainstream media. The story has disappeared from the headlines, leading to the obvious charge that the MSM are now lying about the spectacular recovery by omission. In a recent report, Dr. Ridd, who was cancelled in 2018 from his post as a physics professor at James Cook University for questioning the institutional narrative around the GBR, said recent events “raised serious questions about integrity in science institutions and in the media”. Coral has never been in better shape, he reported. “An uncharitable observer might conclude that periodic mass coral mortality events, which are largely completely natural, are exploited by some organisations with an ideological agenda and a financial interest.”
The AAS holds itself out as providing “independent, authoritative and influential advice“ to Government. It appears to be somewhat ruthless in protecting its trade. Last year it called for broadcast news and the internet to censor what it called “climate denialism misinformation”, as well as “disinformation” about the GBR, Covid vaccines and other issues that result in “societal harm”. It went on to call for all social media platforms to proactively promote “trusted information” to “inoculate” people against misinformation. Platforms should be held accountable for content that challenges the official narrative on any of these issues.
At the time, the Australian climate writer Jo Nova quoted the atmospheric physicist Professor Garth Paltridge, who said: “I just cannot understand how any science academy that is supposed to operate through rational debate can behave like this – that is, to use pure political brute force to prevent one side of the argument from putting its case”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily ScepticI‘s Environment Editor.