Great Barrier Reef Doomsday Claims Should Be Audited: Scientist

1 month ago 42

An Australian scientist says the Great Barrier Reef sustained ’record amounts’ of coral from 2022-23, but the government says the reef needs protecting.

Australian geo-physicist Peter Ridd says an additional $5 million (US$3.3 million) allocated to the Great Barrier Reef in this week’s budget would be better spent on “genuine environmental problems.”

The funding was handed down as part of Labor’s 2024 federal budget on May 14.

In a statement released last month, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation said the reef had suffered through the “worst summer” on record, with cyclones, severe flooding, starfish outbreaks and mass bleaching.

The funds will help the Great Barrier Reed Marine Park Authority to engage tourism operators undertaking reef monitoring, protection, and stewardship.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation says the full extent of mass bleaching is not known, but claims aerial surveys over 1,000 reefs showed a rate of 73 percent bleaching within the area, plus another 6 percent in the Torres Strait.

“The Reef Summer Snapshot shows the highest levels of coral bleaching were found across the southern region, where temperatures are typically cooler, and parts of the central and northern regions, where in some areas corals were exposed to record levels of heat stress,” the Foundation said in a report online.

Reef Subject to Constant ‘Doom-News’: Ridd

Yet Mr. Ridd, a researcher into the Reef, believes its poor health has been greatly exaggerated.

Related Stories

Spending Hundreds of Millions to Make a 0.1 Percent Difference to the Great Barrier Reef
Australia Commits $200 Million to Enhance Water Quality in the Great Barrier Reef

“It is telling that in the latest doom-news about the Great Barrier Reef bleaching, they failed to mention that the Great Barrier Reef had record amounts of coral in 2022/23 despite having suffered four ‘catastrophic’ bleaching events in 2016, 17, 20, and 22,” he told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We ended up with twice as much coral than in 2012 when a couple of cyclones genuinely destroyed a lot of coral.

“How did we end up with so much coral if those last four bleaching event were so catastrophic—even the fast-growing coral takes five to 10 years to regrow.”

The coral that bounced back, he says, is the type most susceptible to water bleaching.

“That proves the last four bleaching events were exaggerated in terms of the coral death, and there is no reason to expect this latest event to be much different,” he said.

Former JCU Professor Peter Ridd. (Courtesy of IPA)Former JCU Professor Peter Ridd. (Courtesy of IPA)

Minister Says Jobs and Reef Depend on Funding

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced earlier this month that the government would also fund $17.48 million in local council projects to protect the Reef.

“We are committed to protecting our precious Great Barrier Reef and supporting the 64,000 jobs that depend on it,” she said in a statement.

“Protecting and restoring the Great Barrier Reef requires all levels of government and communities to work together.”

But Mr. Ridd says there’s evidence the Reef is thriving.

“The latest $5 million in the budget is just a drop in a bucket of how much cash is wasted ’saving' the Great Barrier Reef, which is actually one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet,” he said.

“I estimate about $400 million are spent each year—and that is almost all wasted. We'd be better off spending it on genuine environmental problems.”

A photo taken on Sept. 22, 2014, shows fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300-kilometre-long reef contributes A$5.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) annually to the Australian economy. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)A photo taken on Sept. 22, 2014, shows fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300-kilometre-long reef contributes A$5.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) annually to the Australian economy. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr. Ridd said the money could be used to audit the claims of widespread reef destruction.

“In the Great Barrier Reef science institutions there is a great deal of groupthink, emotion, and raw self-interest to maintain the fiction that the Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger,” he said.

“Dissenters are excluded and removed. The institutions need to be challenged by an official scientific ’red-team.’

“The cash could also be well spent on a publicity campaign pointing out the good condition on the reef. The recurring bad news and exaggeration is very bad for the Great Barrier Reef tourist industry.”

The March 2022–23 budget allocated a $1 billion funding package over nine years to help maintain the reef.

A spokesperson for the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water said a wide range of funding had been put in place to protect and maintain the World Heritage listed site.

“The Australian government has committed record funding of $1.2 billion in the Great Barrier Reef through to 2030, including an extra $5 million to extend the Tourism Reef Protection Initiative, so tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef can continue to play a key role in protecting this precious area,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

Read Entire Article