Alarmist Great Barrier Reef report debunked

“The GBR [Great Barrier Reef] is not actually threatened by anything. For over 40 years it has survived unscathed from a constant litany of purported threats, all dire, all demanding urgent attention, and of course funding. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on research with little achieved other than the establishment of a parasitic industry predicated on imaginary threats. This reef salvation industry now supports hundreds of researchers, bureaucrats and activists

Generations of researchers have been schooled in a culture wherein threats to the reef are an unquestionable belief and all evidence is interpreted from such perspective. When evidence of good news cannot credibly be explained away, it is simply shelved, as were the extensive coral trout surveys by Ayling and the large ENCORE (Anon., 1994) experiment on enhanced nutrients. For a researcher to question the prevailing orthodoxy and insist on presenting evidence contrary to consensus belief would be professional suicide. The gravy boat steams on.

It is disheartening to see capable researchers, whose other extensive work clearly conflicts with claims made in this [Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority] report, lending their names to it and, worse yet, such conflicting evidence being glossed over or ignored.

It should be noted that the lead author is employed by GBRMPA, all of the 20 additional authors are either employed by them or are recipients of substantial funding from them and this study was funded by them. The authorship and rather unrestrained positive spin on the benefits and cost effectiveness achieved by GBRMPA management presents the appearance of a promotion piece for and by GBRMPA which the most productive and respected beneficiaries of their research funding have been invited to endorse. In such case, it would have been very difficult for any to decline or to offer much objection to the claims made. At the same time, their names and status would provide credibility and deterrence of criticism while greatly increasing the prospect of acceptance for publication in a prestigious journal. It is incongruous to note that all these employees and repeated recipients of generous GBRMPA funding, could, “…declare no conflict of interest.” (see footnote, p.1 of the report) when they are in fact assessing the value of their own work and that of the organisation which supports them. To compound the impropriety even further, PNAS also requires that, “Authors must acknowledge all funding sources supporting the work.” There appears to be no such disclosure in this study either.  …

It almost seems that somewhere there must be a handbook for agenda science as the reef salvation industry has managed to cover all of the same points of scientific malpractice as revealed by Climategate:

Hide or ignore conflicting evidence.
Dramatic claims and language.
Massage data.
Misrepresent data.
Offer conclusions only. Employ opaque data and methods.
Use peer review to publish in prestigious journals and block publication of conflicting studies.
Denigrate dissent without addressing its substance.
Assert authority and expertise,
Claim Noble Cause to excuse excesses.
Maximise credibility and defence with as many authors from as many institutions as possible.

Reef Salvation score – Ten out of ten.”  “Reef report lacks credibility


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