james cook university

Climate Science Deniers From Around Globe Rally Around Sacked Scientist Peter Ridd

Read time: 4 mins
Peter Ridd

Climate science denial groups from the UK, U.S., and Australia have leapt to support a controversial marine scientist who was fired from his job at an Australian university.

Dr. Peter Ridd, formerly a professor at James Cook University (JCU), was sacked for repeated breaches of his employment’s code of conduct, according to a statement from the university.

Ridd claims that the Great Barrier Reef is “in great shape” and dismisses evidence that human activities including dredging and human-caused global warming have damaged the internationally iconic marine wonder. Back-to-back coral bleaching events linked to record-breaking sea surface temperatures have killed about one third of the reef's corals.

Climate Science Deniers Have a New Hero and His Name Is Peter Ridd

Read time: 6 mins
Peter Ridd

Climate science deniers and conservative media have found themselves a new “free speech” hero — an academic who is suing his own university and thinks the multiple human threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are overblown.

Professor Peter Ridd might be a new name to some, but the marine geophysicist has a long association with groups pushing denial of the well-established links between human activity and dangerous climate change.

Outlets including Breitbart and Fox News have joined a steady flow of columns and interviews across Australia’s conservative media landscape covering Ridd’s case, sometimes handing over space to him in their column pages.

Each time, Ridd, of Australia's James Cook University, has been painted as a bastion of truth pushing back against the establishment. But how does that image hold up to scrutiny?

Australian University Dumps Bob Carter, Advisor To Multiple Global Climate Science Denial Groups

Read time: 6 mins
Dr Robert Carter

CLIMATE science denialist radio host Chris Smith - of the shock-jock variety - got a little upset recently at a decision made quietly more than six months ago by James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

“What a bunch of weak pu**ies - James Cook, your management is an absolute disgrace,” screamed an apoplectic Smith on his top-rating 2GB afternoon Sydney show, after directing his listeners to pick up the phone and call the university to complain.

What had the folks at JCU done to attract such an aggressive response?

As I reported two weeks ago, JCU had decided not to extend the unpaid adjunct professorial status of Dr Robert Carter, who Smith had ready on the line for an interview. Dr Carter (pictured) is a globe-trotting geologist who advises at least ten climate sceptic organisations and “think tanks” from the UK and Germany to the US and Australia.

Dr Carter's “official status” with JCU - where he had held an unpaid adjunct position since 2002 after retiring - had ended on 1 January 2013, the university told me. Before his retirement, he had worked as a Professor at the University from 1989.

This belated news of Dr Carter's “non status” had also infuriated climate sceptic blogger JoNova. Both JoNova and Smith claimed that Dr Carter had been booted out because of his fringe-dwelling views on climate change. The Townsville Bulletin declared Dr Carter had been “dumped” because of his “outspoken views”.

Dr Carter dismisses the role of burning fossil fuels in changing the climate, a position at odds with about 97 per cent of peer-reviewed climate change research and every major science academy in the world. Some of the world's highest profile groups spreading unfounded doubt about the risks and causes of climate change, not to mention a number of high-profile media outlets, turn to Dr Carter for comment, advice and sometimes paid consultancy and provide a forum for his views.

Dr Carter is, for example, the Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, the chief science advisor to the Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, a director at the Australian Environment Foundation, a member of the academic advisory council of the UK's Global Warming Policy Foundation, an adviser to the Australia-based Galileo Movement, science adviser to the US-group Science and Public Policy Institute, a patron of the UK's anti-climate legislation group Repeal The Act, an advisor to the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), an advisor to the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an inaugural founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

Internal documents from climate science denying “think tank” the Heartland Institute, which has accepted millions of dollars from vested interests over the years,  also showed the group was planning to pay Dr Carter $1667 a month for his work on its Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change project.

Bob Carter

Robert (Bob) Carter (Deceased)

Credentials

  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge, Palaeontology, 1968.  [1]
  • B.Sc. (Hons), University of Otago, Geology, 1963.  [1]

Background

Read time: 26 mins
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