“Unless you’re prepared to redo thirty years of scientific research yourself, the debate on this point [the salinity crisis] comes down to a pure question of comparative credibility,” wrote Professor John Quiggin in April 2004, click here. John Quiggin was suggesting that I had no credibility on Murray River issues because my thesis contradicted “thirty years of scientific research”.
In my discussions with John Quiggin over the Murray River, he has been reluctant to consider the evidence. For him, and many others, it’s been a case of backing the orthodox view, also known as ‘the consensus’.
Anyway, some months ago a producer at Channel 9’s Sunday program contacted me. Nick Farrow said that he had heard that I had information showing that salinity levels in the Murray River were falling, not rising. I sent him a copy of ‘Myth and the Murray’.
Some weeks later I was interviewed by Ross Coulthart, also from Sunday, and in the following video clip, click here, which is an advertisement for this week’s program, I am seen stating that we don’t have a salinity crisis, but rather an ‘honesty crisis’.
Peter Cullen (a Director of the National Water Commission), Wendy Craik (head of Murray Darling Basin Commission), John Passioura (CSIRO) and others, are quoted in the clip suggesting the Murray River is not dying and that the problem of salinity may have been grossly overstated. The television reporter, Ross Coulthart, describes it as, “Misguided pessimism”.
To John Quiggin, who has relentlessly attacked me, and my credibility, over this issues, I say:
Maybe I was just a bit ahead of my time.
Following is the media release from Channel 9:
Australia’s Salinity Crisis: What Crisis?
The SUNDAY Program
Nine Network Australia
Sunday 28th May 2006 – 9am
Reporter: Ross Coulthart
Producer: Nick Farrow
It’s an apocalyptic story of environmental disaster we all know so well.
The Murray Darling basin is being poisoned by salt. Adelaide’s water supply is threatened, along with some of our most productive farmland – and our beautiful rivers are dying.
It’s a frightening scenario. But is it true?
In this week’s SUNDAY programme, reporter Ross Coulthart takes a look at the real threat posed by salinity – and finds things are going badly wrong in public science.
As Coulthart reveals, some of the claims being used to support calls for billions of dollars to be spent on fixing a ‘looming salinity crisis’ are simply not true.
Salinity is a problem. But it seems nowhere as bad as we’ve been told by environmental groups, government departments and many in the media.
Claims that an area of land twice the size of Tasmania is under threat are false. The reality is a fraction of that. Even top scientists now admit the predictions of a disaster have been exaggerated.
They say this may be because the theory about what causes salinity in non-irrigation areas is flawed.
Worse still, scientists suggest a cheaper and easier solution for salinity problems is being ignored – for very unscientific reasons.
“It’s a disaster for science. It’s a disaster for farmers,” one former CSIRO scientist tells SUNDAY.
Taxpayers have now given Government scientists billions of dollars to spend on efforts to understand and tackle salinity. But how solid is the science behind it?
Watch the SUNDAY Program this Sunday 28th May at 9am to find out.”
And here’s the link to the video promo: http://www.nextgenmedia.com/nine/promo/sunday_060528_vid_300.asx