Prof takes aim at Reef papers
A TOWNSVILLE academic has cast doubt on the veracity of research into the Great Barrier Reef.
In the recently released book Climate Change: The Facts 2017, co- author Professor Peter Ridd argues the credibility of key research papers driving investments in reef management rested on “total reliance of the demonstrably inadequate peer- review process”.
The Federal Government is expected to spend more than $ 1 billion on the reef to mitigate the effects of climate change and much of the funding relies on the research Prof Ridd has criticised.
He summed up the peer review process as “a quick read by other scientists”.
“There’s no replicating or testing,” he said. “It’s a very cursory first check. It’s a good first check but not the basis to spend a billion dollars to save the reef.”
The climate change sceptic and geophysicist has called for a more adversarial approach to the peer reviewing of scientific papers.
“All the major supposed stressors to the reef are highly dubious,” he said.
“A lot of the science they’re using is not tested or replicated.”
Prof Ridd authored a chapter in the book arguing coral bleaching was not a concern for the reef’s long- term viability.
The book contains 22 essays by climate- sceptical commentators.
Leading coral bleaching authority Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University, said he would not comment on a book he had not read.
But he did say climate change was a real and well- established fact.
“It’s been accepted by the Australian Government as a fact,” he said.
Prof Hughes said Prof Ridd’s was a minority view, not supported by science.
“Climate research has been peer reviewed and published in journals like Nature, which is a well respected journal,” he said.
A Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority spokesman said climate change was “internationally recognised as one of the biggest threats” to the reef.
“This is clearly stated in our own 2009 and 2014 Outlook Reports and was last year articulated by some 2500 coral reef experts at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium,” a statement read.
“For the last three years, coral bleaching – due to ocean warming associated with climate change – has impacted coral reefs worldwide.
“This is the longest- running mass coral bleaching event ever recorded, triggered by record- breaking sea surface temperatures caused by climate change and amplified in 2016 by a strong El Niño.”