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Peter Ridd: Record coral cover of Great Barrier Reef shames climate alarmists

July 23, 2021

By Paul Homewood


The annual data on coral cover for the Great Barrier Reef, produced by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, was released on Monday showing the amount of coral on the reef is at record high levels. Record high, despite all the doom stories by our reef science and management institutions.



Like all other data on the reef, this shows it is in robust health. For example, coral growth rates have, if anything, increased over the past 100 years and measurements of farm pesticides reaching the reef show levels so low that they cannot be detected with the most ultra-sensitive equipment.
This data is good news. It could hardly be better. But somehow, our science organisations have convinced the world that the reef is on its last legs. How has this happened?



One reason is that occasionally colossal amounts of coral are killed, mostly by cyclones, but also by crown of thorns starfish and bleaching. So the media, with its predilection for bad news, can be fed a regular diet of doom. Our scientists are always happy to oblige.
The quiet recovery is generally downplayed or ignored.



Growing up in Innisfail, adjacent to the reef, in the early 1970s, I recall the initial doom stories about the reef.
The scientific study of the reef had only just started, and plagues of starfish that eat the coral had just been discovered and were making headlines worldwide. The reef had, supposedly, only a decade left.
It was reasonable in the ’70s to be concerned about these plagues and they ultimately precipitated AIMS’s long-term monitoring of coral and starfish in the ’80s. I was working at AIMS when this important work started, and it is interesting to look back on what has changed. The coral cover is no less, the number of starfish is no more, but the number of scientists and managers working on the reef has exploded. Perhaps this is the problem.
In 50 years we have now learnt a great deal about the cycles of coral death and regrowth. The data reported every year by AIMS shows all areas go through these cycles every decade or two.
Remarkably, even the excellent news of record coral still has the scientists pessimistic. The reef is, apparently, still doomed from climate change and this is just a temporary reprieve. How good does the data need to be to make them admit the reef is fine?
The science institutions have been claiming that there have been three disastrous bleaching events in the past five years, which does not accord with the latest statistics.
Record coral cover means there was no disaster on the reef. The only disaster is the quality assurance at the science organisations.
An examination of the data shows that, while there have been three events, they occurred in largely different regions in each year. The reef has thus effectively had one major bleaching event in the past five years and the previous major event was in 2002. So the reef has had roughly one event in 15 years, and most of the coral on the reef did not bleach, and most that bleached did not die. Therefore, it is not surprising that the reef is in good shape.
The science institutions have been caught out by their own deception. They exaggerated the bleaching events – as usual. Luckily, we have the AIMS long-term coral monitoring surveys, which are done professionally with good-quality protocols, to demonstrate the state of the reef.
The bad news is that the record high coral cover means it is likely that coral cover will decline in the next few years. Prepare for the headlines saying the reef has lost much of its coral and is indicative of climate change and farmers polluting the reef. And the reef will be predicted to be gone by 2050 – or whenever.
When will these doom stories about the reef, which have been going for 50 years, cease? Will it be like the Ancient Greek legend of Prometheus, who was chained alive to a rock so that his liver could be eaten by an eagle, only for the liver to grow overnight so that it could be eaten again and again? Will the agony ever end?
According to legend, Heracles saved Prometheus. Who will be our Heracles, and support better quality assurance of the science?
It should be the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, but so far it has not been interested. The various ministers could also take an interest.
In the meantime, don’t forget we have record high levels of coral. It is time to stop scaring the children with doom stories about the reef.
Peter Ridd has researched the Great Barrier Reef for decades and is the author of Reef Heresy Science, Research and the Great Barrier Reef, published by Connor Court. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    July 23, 2021 4:45 pm

    If the world was fair, this latest report (on top of other recent ones) would destroy the arguments against Peter Ridd in his legal case. He should wipe the floor at the next appeal hearing because he has been proven absolutely correct in the stand he took.
    However, life ain’t fair and the university has state financial backing for its proceedings.
    Good luck Peter!

    • H Davis permalink
      July 23, 2021 4:56 pm

      Ridd’s final appeal was heard by the High Court of Australia on June 23, 2021. The verdict has not yet been announced. You can read his comments on the matter at:

      • Duker permalink
        July 25, 2021 12:48 am

        Yes, Im hoping the court decides for him. However its an employment case about difference between a university code of conduct and the university employment agreement for academic staff. The subtext is academic freedom. The best thing about the High Court ( actually their national Supreme Court) is they can ignore previous precedent to arrive at a decision for academic freedom, which Im sure a lot of people thought was already the case, and mostly is except for when you are bucking the trend on climate dogma.
        Its good to see other researchers involved in coral atolls also following the research which confirms that the atolls generally are growing. Must be something about understanding how coral reefs and atolls work that shows the big picture on climate over millennia scale.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 23, 2021 7:11 pm

      If the world was fair – rather than corrupt – Trump would be president.
      There, Said it.

      • Duker permalink
        July 25, 2021 12:51 am

        Corrupt ? you do know that a whole coterie of his associates are now felons ( some pardoned) and now his closest friend is indicted over his scam as a foreign agent for the UAE …money of course ‘made him do it’
        Big Donnies Cult following, however has spread far and wide

  2. CheshireRed permalink
    July 23, 2021 4:59 pm

    Total vindication for Peter and his campaign.

  3. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 23, 2021 5:22 pm

    Still a month or two to wait for the High Court verdict on his case. Looking increasingly open and shut to a layman like me: JCU have nothing to stand on.

  4. GeoffB permalink
    July 23, 2021 6:06 pm

    JCU dismissed Peter Ridd for breaking his conditions of appointment, by criticising another department, thereby causing disrepute to the university, they never disputed the facts he gave. His case is that his right to Free Speech supersedes his contract. I just hope he wins.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 23, 2021 7:12 pm

      Plus many!!

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 23, 2021 6:11 pm

    My suspicion would be that Australia needed to fend off the Chinese political economic punishment/sabotage attempt to have UNESCO list the reef as in danger – which it was announced today was successfully prevented.

    For the moment the data had to meet a different goal, it’ll soon be all doom again.

    Covid has exposed beyond any doubt that whilst politicians claim to follow the science, the data/science is often just a product of political demand.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 23, 2021 7:43 pm

      Convinced that the CCP is controlling Aus decisions. The fact that, afaik, the CCP own much of the shale-gas deposits in the UK would explain why the UK is not exploiting shale. Cui Bono?

      • AC Osborn permalink
        July 24, 2021 10:54 am

        I don’t think that can be true, I think the “State” or “Crown” own all deposits of any kind anywhere in the UK, even if you or somebody else owns the land.

      • Duker permalink
        July 25, 2021 12:57 am

        Yes. Australia is like UK in that the landowner doesnt own the minerals under the land. The definition of mineral is very broad.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        July 25, 2021 2:16 pm

        The UK situation with fracking is because the police allowed the mob to disrupt the lawful business until Boris caved in to XR, Russian funded anti-fracking propaganda/groups, Princess nut-nut etc., and refused to redefine an earthquake as something more than a gnats whisker falling to earth.

  6. Matt Dalby permalink
    July 23, 2021 6:16 pm

    If all the people employed to monitor the health of the reef consistently reported that it was in good health then there would be less need to keep monitoring it and a lot of people would’ve caused their own redundancy. Obviously no one is going to do this, they have to keep making things seem bad in order to keep getting funding. As the saying goes:-
    It is very hard to get someone to believe something when his salary depends on him not believing it.

  7. Broadlands permalink
    July 23, 2021 7:04 pm

    Perhaps some of these people who put the blame on global warming could explain how an increase in AGW man-made CO2 can select and heat such small regions of the global oceans, but not others. The temperature data taken daily at the Great Barrier Reef for at least the last 10 years does not support that theory anyhow.

  8. John Hultquist permalink
    July 23, 2021 7:44 pm

    In 1985 CO2 was about 345, this month it is 419.
    Compare to the coral chart at the top.

    • Broadlands permalink
      July 23, 2021 8:50 pm

      John… You can do the same thing with the historical data on the equatorial Pacific ENSO. CO2 does not correlate.

  9. mwhite permalink
    July 23, 2021 7:48 pm

    OT – Heat pumps, great video

    “This is Why Heat Pumps May NOT Be The Future”

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 23, 2021 8:25 pm

      Already posted. But it is good.

  10. July 23, 2021 10:35 pm

    But consensus driven scientists at James Cook University has been telling us for years that the GBR is dying due to climate change, which must be where China got the idea to go to the UN …. perhaps? It would seem that JCU scientists have got it wrong and Peter Ridd should be exonerated for getting it right.

  11. Ben Vorlich permalink
    July 23, 2021 10:47 pm

    One of the BBC environmental reporters must have read this and gone on the attack

    Why is the Great Barrier Reef in trouble? A simple guide

  12. Ray Sanders permalink
    July 24, 2021 10:03 am

    Sorry way off topic but! Does anyone have any idea what caused the loss of grid connection on Thursday that took out the reactor 8 of Heysham 2 and both reactors of Heysham 1? Gridwatch shows it was a sudden unexpected loss with pumped storage, noram hydro and open cycle gas turbines pitching in to compnesate. Losing 1.5GW of generation must have caused quite a stir.

  13. AC Osborn permalink
    July 24, 2021 10:58 am

    Is the original source of data for Peter Ridd’s graph available?
    Because presenting it as data will get the response “he made it up”.
    That is also the sort of response Jennifer Marohasy gets as well.

  14. AC Osborn permalink
    July 24, 2021 11:18 am

    From the actual AIMS report
    “The prognosis for the future disturbance regime under climate change is one of increasingly frequent and longer lasting marine heatwaves and a greater proportion of severe tropical cyclones. Mitigation of these climatic threats requires immediate global action on climate change.”

  15. AC Osborn permalink
    July 24, 2021 11:19 am

    The report is here

    So good news but disaster due to CAGW is just around the corner.

  16. Gamecock permalink
    July 24, 2021 3:12 pm

    ‘Record coral cover of Great Barrier Reef shames climate alarmists’

    Something FINALLY shamed climate alarmists. Wait . . . . Nah. Can’t be done.

  17. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 24, 2021 5:06 pm

    An interesting claim here:

  18. rtj1211 permalink
    July 27, 2021 7:30 am

    Next time a scientist puts in a grant application with the upfront statement ‘Climate chaos is causing untold damage to the Great Barrier Reef’, the reviewer should ask them if they would perjure themselves by saying that in a witness box…..

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