Dr Peter Ridd from James Cook University gave a lecture in Townsville yesterday and it was reported in The Age. Not bad given that he wasn’t pushing a doom and gloom message and doesn’t believe the reef is at risk from global warming. He’s some of what The Age reported:
Risks to the Great Barrier Reef have been overstated and Australians should be more worried about population growth and noxious weeds, a physicist says.
Dr Peter Ridd from Townsvilles James Cook University (JCU) today challenged the widely held view that one of the world’s most important natural assets is in serious decline.
He said the reef, which other scientists predict could be wiped out within 30 years due to global climate change, was in “first rate condition”.
“It’s probably one of the best preserved ecosystems in the whole world,” Dr Ridd, of JCU’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Information Technology, said.
“I think the only place that’s probably better is Antarctica, and that is because it’s a long way away from any significant population centre.”
His comments came only weeks after scientists warned of a new coral bleaching threat following the discovery of blanched corals off the central Queensland coast.
Dr Ridd said although the reef suffered extensive bleaching in 1998 and 2002, most of it was unaffected and the parts that were damaged “completely recovered”.
“I think some of it is a beat-up and I think we’ve got our priorities wrong,” he said.
“We have around the country some serious environmental issues associated with weeds and indeed with things like population and the growing of our cities.
“We’re not worried about all these other things which are potentially far more important and definitely there, whereas you can argue about the Great Barrier Reef being in jeopardy.”
Dr Ridd, who formerly worked with the Australian Institute of Marine Science – a body which has long sounded warnings about threats to the reef – said coral bleaching was an “adaptation to changing environmental temperature”.
Additionally, pollution from sediment and agricultural run-off was negligible given the reef’s size and how rapidly it was flushed by tides, he said.
In a draft policy paper for new environment group the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), Peter Ridd outlines and discusses the various environmental issues he sees confronting Australia. The paper can be accessed from the home page of the AEF, click here.
I have listed nine reasons why Peter Ridd doesn’t consider the reef is at risk from global warming at an earlier blog post, click here.