Saturday 23rd of October 2021

the sludge is in great health...


A couple of my European friends got disappointed with the GBR. They went to three "touristic" places and all they saw was green sludge on dead corals...


Meanwhile the great debate continues with a judge not judging on the judgeable Climate Science or Freedom of Speech, but on terms of employment, meaning that should you employ an idiot who goes against your trading integrity and damages your goods, you can not sack him as this would be something like breaking a contract of employment. How stupid is this?


Sacked Australian scientist and hero of climate science deniers everywhere — Dr. Peter Ridd — has won his case against former employer James Cook University (JCU).

Judge Salvatore Vasta, in Australia’s circuit court, said actions the university took to censure and ultimately fire Ridd were all “unlawful.”

In a long statementJCU said it was “considering its options” and said it disagreed with the judgment, adding it “does not refer to any case law, nor any authority in Australia to support its position.”

Climate science deniers and right-wing commentators around the globe have been championing the case, helping Ridd to raise AU$260,000 for his legal costs.

As I’ve argued before, Ridd’s supporters have tried to claim he was sacked because of his fringe beliefs on human-caused climate change and his claims that the Great Barrier Reef is in “fantastic shape.”

Since the judgment was published, this trend has continued.

'None of the Above'

While Judge Vasta did have some harsh criticisms of JCU, he went out of his way to be clear about what the trial and his decision were, and were not, about.

He wrote that some had “thought that this trial was about freedom of speech and intellectual freedom” and that media reports had considered “this trial was about silencing persons with controversial or unpopular views.”

Even though those views had been canvassed, wrote Vasta, “this trial was about none of the above.”

“Rather, this trial was purely and simply about the proper construction of a clause in an Enterprise Agreement,” he wrote. 

Contrast this with an editorial in The Australian, which said the case had “struck an important blow for academic integrity and freedom.”

Or contrast the judge's comments with the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) that has campaigned heavily alongside Ridd and claimed the academic had won his “battle to speak for science against the Climate Inquisition.” The IPA is a think tank heavily funded by billionnaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

“Fearmongering about the health of the Great Barrier Reef must now desist,” said the IPA in a media release, despite the judgment having nothing at all to do with marine science.

On Breitbart, right-wing commentator and climate science denialist James Delingpole claimed the “underlying reason” that Ridd was fired was “his refusal to play ball on the subject of the Great Barrier Reef.”

(Gus note: James Delingpole is an idiot)

In 2016 and 2017, the World Heritage-listed ocean icon was hit with back-to-back mass coral bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures. About half the corals died and research has found that the number of new baby corals growing has since plummeted by about 90 percent.

In the interest of full disclosure, in the time since I first started writing about Ridd's case, I've taken a part-time job at an Australian marine conservation charity as a media adviser.

JCU Appeal?

So what now? Ridd wants his old job back, but JCU says it is “considering its options” on the case decided by Judge Vasta.

In an article in the Australian Financial Review, the newspaper’s legal affairs editor Michael Pelly asked in February “Is Salvatore Vasta Australia's worst judge?

Pelly was reviewing what he described as “withering denunciations” in appeal courts of three of Judge Vasta’s findings. Pelly has also reported on the “prospect of a parliamentary inquiry on his fitness to remain on the bench” over concerns about his judgments.

If JCU is considering an appeal, its lawyers may consider that, according to Pelly, Judge Vasta has been “overturned on appeal at least 15 times” since he was appointed in 2015 by then-Attorney General George Brandis, a conservative politician.



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Free Julian Assange Now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we're in trouble...

More to come...

"instant death"...

Increasingly frequent marine heatwaves can lead to the almost instant death of corals, scientists working on the Great Barrier Reef have found. 

These episodes of unusually high water temperatures are - like heatwaves on land - associated with climate change. 

Scientists studying coral after a heat event discovered that extreme temperature rises decayed reefs much more rapidly than previously thought.

They published their findings in the journal Current Biology.

The study revealed that corals became up to 15% weaker after an extreme heat event, causing some fragments to actually break off from the reef.

Commenting on the paper, Dr Laura Richardson, from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, UK, said that the really significant discovery was "the rapidity with which the reef skeleton breaks down when you have these severe heatwaves". 

Dr Richardson added that the team had documented, for the first time, that severe heatwaves were causing "almost instant mortality of corals". 

Dr Ainsworth said the researchers referred to the resulting, heat-damaged skeletons as "ghost corals, because there was just nothing left". 

"Within about 10 days, those samples that had been exposed to the heatwave... were actually floating." 

'Canary in a coal mine'


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canning the lecture to canegrowers...

Sugarcane industry managers funded by grants from the Queensland government to help cane growers reduce pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef are promoting lectures by a controversial scientist who argues farm runoff is no threat to the reef.

Peter Ridd began a speaking tour of regional Queensland on Monday amid fierce opposition to proposed state regulations that would set restrictions for sediment and chemical runoff from farms into reef catchments.

His lectures – which dispute the overwhelming consensus of reef scientists – argue that pollution from farmland is not seriously damaging the reef.

The events are hosted by regional branches of the sugar cane growers peak body, Canegrowers, and the Australian Environment Foundation, a charity set up by the rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs, and with strong links to the agriculture and fossil fuel industries.

The new regulations were announced by the Queensland government in February, partly because of an ongoing lack of farmers taking part in voluntary “best management practice” (BMP) programs, which offer incentives to improve practices.

The state provides funding for the Canegrowers organisation to run its own version – called “Smartcane BMP” – and pays for the positions of more than a dozen BMP facilitators to assist farmers with water quality practices and encourage them to participate. Guardian Australia has seen emails from at least two program facilitators to farmers and others, encouraging them to attend the Ridd lectures.



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get rid of ridd...

An expert panel led by the former chief scientist Ian Chubb has warned ministers that controversial scientist Peter Ridd is misrepresenting robust science about the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, and compared his claims to the strategy used by the tobacco industry to raise doubt about the impact of smoking.

The warning, in a letter to the federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, and the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, follows Ridd launching a lecture tour in which he has repeated his claim that farmland pollution does not significantly damage the natural wonder.

Ridd’s tour has been supported by rightwing commentators and sugarcane industry managers campaigning against proposed state regulations limiting sediment and chemical runoff on the reef coast.

Signed by Chubb, the head of the independent expert panel advising on plans to protect the reef, the letter says the group did not have a view on the regulations but it had chosen “not to sit by and watch” while the science was disputed and sometimes misrepresented.

“This advice to you was triggered by the roadshow of Dr Ridd and the associated industry response to new regulations aimed at improving water quality in the [reef] area,” Chubb says in the letter.

“It is our advice to you that the science we have seen and discussed during our 15 meetings has been conducted according to the most rigorous and widely accepted processes employed by professional scientists.”

In an appendix to the letter, headed “for information”, the panel likens the campaign against reef-related science to strategies used by the tobacco industry and others to delay policy responses by claiming doubt existed where there was none.

It quotes Alexander Nix, the former chief executive of election-disrupting firm Cambridge Analytica, who said: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.”

“We have seen the sowing of doubt play out over the years: tobacco use, lead in petrol, anti-vaccination, climate change are examples. And now possibly the GBR,” the panel says. “In all cases, scientific evidence is, or was, disputed, only sometimes for obvious reasons – usually money.

“The tactic of sowing doubt works, because there can be reluctance to change policy or regulation in the face of doubt. But absolute certainty is rare. It does not mean that what we know is wrong.”

The panel says science works by steadily accumulating evidence, drawing deductions and modifying them if conclusions are disproven by further work. Consensus occurs when accumulated evidence from independent scientists converges on a conclusion.

“It is up to people or scientists with another view to provide evidence established by rigorous application of the same scientific process and have it subjected to the same level of scrutiny by experts,” it says.

The panel says if the sowing of doubt does not work “the next step in the now time-honoured tactic is to invoke the notion of a conspiracy of the world’s scientists all working together to stop the outside getting their results published, or accepted”.

Ridd’s speaking tour has been hosted by regional branches of the sugarcane growers peak body, Canegrowers, and the Australian Environment Foundation, a charity set up by the rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs, with strong links to the agriculture and fossil fuel industries.


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"Ridd" from top....

from poor to very poor...

For the first time, the long-term outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded from "poor" to "very poor" by the Federal Government's five-year reef report.

Key points:
  • The report said global and national action on climate action "within the next 10 years" was imperative for reef's future survival
  • Without additional action on climate change, the ecosystem will remain very poor
  • The findings could have consequences for the Great Barrier Reef's UNESCO World Heritage listing


The evidence-based report written by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) using more than 1,000 scientific reports, was described by its chairman Ian Poiner as "sobering".

The report said climate change is escalating and is the most significant threat to the Great Barrier Reef's long-term survival.

"The current rate of global warming will not allow the maintenance of a healthy reef for future generations," the report said.

Experts said strong mitigation actions "within the next decade" are necessary to achieve the best possible outlook for the reef and future generations.

"Specifically, early and effective global and national action on climate change, coupled with local actions to … facilitate recovery, are imperative over the next 10 years if the region is to have a positive long-term outlook.

"The scientific evidence is clear: initiatives that will halt and reverse the effects of climate change at a global level and effectively improve water quality at a regional scale are the most urgent," the report said.

According to the report, "without additional local, national and global action on the greatest threats, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef's ecosystem will remain very poor, with continuing consequences for its heritage values also".


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the farmers object...

Queensland’s most influential farm lobby group, AgForce, has backed calls for a review of consensus science on the Great Barrier Reef, as the state’s agricultural sector intensifies its campaign against proposed water quality regulations.

On Friday the release of two key reports painted an alarming picture of the state of the reef. The Queensland-led water quality report – which rated the water quality at inner reefs as “poor” – highlighted the impact of land management practices that contribute to the degradation of the reef due to sediment and nutrient run-off.

The findings were released at a critical point in debate about the Queensland government’s proposed regulations, which would set variable pollution limits in separate reef catchments.

Agricultural groups say those regulations will have a significant impact on farmers; particularly graziers, sugarcane growers and tropical horticulture.

Some farmers accept the consensus science, but claim the regulations are ill thought out and will have unintended consequences for primary producers. This is also the formal position of the LNP opposition.

But increasingly, sober debate about the impact of the regulations has veered into science scepticism; pushed by the controversial scientist Peter Ridd, some of the larger peak industry bodies, backbench LNP MPs and opaque front groups.

The AgForce chief executive, Michael Guerin, in a statement to Guardian Australia sent before the release of the latest reef reports, said the organisation agreed with Ridd’s calls for the science “to be more thoroughly examined and tested”.

Last week Guardian Australia revealed that an expert panel led by the former chief scientist Ian Chubb had warned ministers that Ridd is misrepresenting robust science about the plight of the reef, and compared his claims to the strategy used by the tobacco industry to raise doubt about the impact of smoking.

Guerin said there “was no absolute consensus” on the reef.

“We are not scientists and have no position on the science. However, when eminent reef scientists call into question the research conducted by their peers, we as a community would be foolish not to listen.

“We are simply asking the government to make sure of the science before it implements such momentous changes with potentially devastating consequences for so many.”

The AgForce general president and ABC board member Georgie Somerset will speak at a protest rally of famers in Townsville on Tuesday to coincide with a sitting of the state parliament. The event is being promoted by the opaque front organisation Farmers United, with flyers quoting Ridd and featuring the AgForce logo.


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It is moronic to believe that not having restrictive controls on the usage of pesticides and fertilisers will leave the reef honkydory... Ridd is also a pest... Read from top.

a decline across the world's largest reef system...

Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its corals since 1995 due to warmer seas driven by climate change, a study has found.

Scientists found all types of corals had suffered a decline across the world's largest reef system.

The steepest falls came after mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. More mass bleaching occurred this year. 

"There is no time to lose - we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP," the researchers said.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was conducted by marine scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland.

Scientists assessed the health and size of coral colonies across the reef from 1995 to 2017.

They found populations had dropped by more than 50% in all coral sizes and species, but especially in branching and table-shaped corals. 

These are the large, structural species which usually provide habitats for fish and other marine life.



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the future never goes according to plan...

JCU rid of ridd...

A marine physicist sacked after challenging his colleague’s views on climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, along with the university’s attempts to discipline him, has lost his High Court battle against James Cook University in a mixed decision for academic freedom.

Peter Ridd had been a long-serving professor at the university when he was fired in 2018 after forming the view that the scientific consensus on climate change overstated the risk it posed to the reef and vigorously arguing that position.

In a unanimous decision on Wednesday five justices of the High Court dismissed Dr Ridd’s appeal, finding that his early criticism of climate research and the reef was protected by academic freedom but that he later went much further, justifying his termination.

The university welcomed the outcome as confirmation “that the termination of Dr Ridd’s employment had nothing to do with academic freedom,” saying in a statement that it strongly supported the freedom of staff to engage in academic and intellectual freedom.


Dr Ridd took a parting shot at the university as he informed his supporters of the outcome in remarks posted to Facebook.

The university’s actions, he said, “were technically legal” but it was “never right, proper, decent, moral or in line with public expectations of how a university should behave”.

Dr Ridd said one of the worst consequences of the decision was that it allowed universities to demand disciplinary processes stay confidential, undermining government legislation designed to support intellectual freedom.

“I know a couple of really egregious cases happening right now where freedom of speech has been curtailed, and the university is sitting on confidentiality,” Dr Ridd told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “I can’t even tell you who they are because they would lose their job.”

Dr Ridd, who says he is only sceptical of “cataclysmic climate change” which he says is sometimes forecast by shoddy science, wants the government to legislate to provide further protections to free speech directly in academics’ employment contracts.


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