Jennifer Marohasy

Jennifer Marohasy

Credentials

  • Ph.D. & B.Sc, Biology, University of Queensland (1980 – 1983). [1], [17]

Background 

Jennifer J. Marohasy is Senior Fellow at the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, “with responsibilities for Climate Change in the Research Program”, according to the group's website.

Marohasy obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Queensland in 1983. After graduating she was employed as a field biologist at the Allen Fletcher Research Station prior to overseeing an associated station in Madagascar, where she focused on biological control. [1]

According to her website bio, upon completing a PhD at the University of Queensland in the 1990s, Marohasy attained the position of Environment Manager for the Queensland Canegrowers Association beginning in 1997, where she: “became interested in environmental campaigns and, in particular, anomalies between fact and perception regarding the health of coastal river systems and the Great Barrier Reef.” [1]

The Australian sugar cane industry has been identified as a major source of pollution contributing to adverse environmental impacts on rivers and coastal reefs. [2]

According to her LinkedIn profile, Marohasy founded The Climate Modeling Laboratory with husband John Abbot in 2015. The group claims the ability to forecast accurate rainfall amounts up to a year in advance using “historical data and genetic algorithms embedded into sophisticated probabilistic neural networks.” [8], [12]

Marohasy’s publications have appeared in journals, magazines, and newspapers and frequently propose analyses of climate data that stand in contrast to the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. She is a self-described “utilitarian libertarian.” [9]

Institute of Public Affairs Ties

In 2003 Marohasy joined Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) as Environment Unit Director with a focus on the Murray River. That same year she published a paper titled “Myth and the Murray: Measuring the Real State of the River Environment.” [1], [3]

Her initial tenure at IPA coincided with a $40,000 contribution made to the organization from Murray Irrigation Limited, Australia’s largest irrigation company. [4], [30]

According to Don Henry, the Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation:[5] 

“The IPA has variously claimed that the Murray River is fine and doesn't need protection and that the Great Barrier Reef is not being polluted by fertilizer run-off - despite both federal and state governments saying to the contrary. I think in most cases the IPA presents an anti-environment perspective.” [5] 

Marohasy was a founding director of the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), first appointed in 2005 according to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The filings also show that AEF worked directly out of the offices of the IPA. Peter Ridd is also listed as a founding director of AEF in the filings, while Marohasy served as a director until 2008. [5], [6], [31]

In 2008, the AEF launched a subsidiary group entitled the Australian Climate Science Coalition (ACSC) with an advisory board comprised of some of the country's most prominent climate change deniers. [32]

The IPA is an Australian think-tank that has received funding from petroleum, mining, logging, and tobacco concerns. In 2018, DeSmog confirmed mining magnate and climate change denier Gina Rinehart was a key backer of IPA, providing between a third and a half of the group's entire income via her company Hancock Prospecting Proprietary Ltd (HPPL). [13]

In 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that about a quarter of IPA's $2 million in annual funding came from corporations with a direct stake in the climate change debate. Donors have included major corporations such as Visyboard, Telstra, Western Mining and BHP Billiton as well as the tobacco industry. [14]

In July 2012, executive director John Roskam told the Brisbane Times: “[T]he reason we don't reveal our donors is because unfortunately our donors - and people who were believed to be our donors - have been intimidated because of their supposed support for us.” [15]

Research Funding

Marohasy left the Institute for Public Affairs in 2009 following a contract non-renewal and went on to work as an adjunct senior research fellow at Central Queensland University from 2011 and 2015. While working at the university, her work was funded by Bryant Macfie, an Australian philanthropist and former shareholder in Strike Resources Limited, an international mining corporation. [7], [8], [9]

Returning to the IPA as a Senior Fellow in 2015, Marohasy’s work continued to be funded by Bryant Macfie. According to Marohasy:

In September 2015, I was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). This followed the termination of my adjunct position at Central Queensland University (CQU) on 1st July 2015 because my work was ‘not well integrated into emerging research clusters’. […] My work at CQU was wholly funded by the B. Macfie Family Foundation, and this will continue to be the source of funding for my employment at the IPA.” [9], [11]

The Australian reported that Marohasy's funding at the university from Macfie had been channeled through the IPA. Clive McAlpine, a climate change expert at the university, expressed concerns about the funding: “It is important that the science is objective and that students are not subjected to restraints from donors,” Dr McAlpine said. [35]

Stance on Climate Change

April 26, 2018

In a blog post criticizing a well-known Australian journalist, Marohasy said:

“There have always been cycles of warming, followed by cooling.” [36]

July 26, 2005

Following the release of an Australian government report on climate change, Marohasy appeared for a July 26, 2005 interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where she stated: [16]

It's ambiguous. It's not clear that climate change is being driven by carbon dioxide levels. But let's move beyond that argument and let's start talking about how we can adapt to what will be a different climate in the future.” [16]

Key Quotes

February 20, 2018

In an opinion piece critical of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (which she labeled “the main source of news and information for Australia's ruling elite”) and its tendency to adhere to consensus views on climate change, Marohasy wrote: 

“Global warming is actually not a hard issue to dissect, because fundamentally it relies on evidence of there being a general trend of temperature increase - and measuring temperatures is not rocket science. Of course, there is nowhere on Earth where the mean global temperature anomaly can be measured. So, steer-clear when this statistic is mentioned by an expert - you can probably dismiss it as something entirely contrived, like say the Virgin birth.” [17]

August 22, 2017

Touting a paper authored by Marohasy and her husband, Dr. John Abbot, in the journal GeoResJ

“…we cannot confirm that recent warming is anything but natural – what might have occurred anyway, even if there was no industrial revolution.” [18]

July 14, 2017

Writing in the Spectator, Marohasy suggested Australian electricity prices were rising because of false assumptions about climate change modeling:

“Because the masses believe that global atmospheric temperatures are rising unnaturally – the Hazelwood coal-fired power station was decommissioned, and the price of electricity is surging across Australia. The evidence, however, for a rise in global temperatures is actually not that compelling – unless you believe the output from computer models. … So, I have always thought, once this obsession with catastrophic global warming eventually comes to an end (as surely it must), we will be able to start over, with the real data.” [19]

November 1, 2016

In an article for the Institute of Public Affairs, Marohasy cited the opinion of a former astronaut (Harrison Schmitt) to question the motives of climate change realists:

“Harrison has gone as far as to state that ‘climate change’ is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government—though he does not deny that he was a part of the last mission to the moon on Apollo 17 in 1972.” [20]

July 26, 2005

Appearing on an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television program:

I actually think that it's good if we can get beyond this debate of whether increase in carbon dioxide levels are driving more extreme climate events. I think that we need to move beyond that and accept and recognize that whether or not we can reduce carbon dioxide levels, there will be climate change.” [16]

September 20, 2003

Speaking about Bjorn Lomborg’s visit to Australia, as a guest of the Institute of Public Affairs:

I think what we see as an inability by so many in Australia to actually work from the basis of the evidence, work from the basis of the facts, is actually a global issue and I think that Lomborg will hopefully, by putting some of these issues in a global context, make us aware of what is happening globally and where we sit in that. Bjorn Lomborg has a lot of opinions with respect to greenhouse and the signing of the Kyoto Protocol and they’re very relevant in the context of current deliberations in Australia.” [29]

Key Deeds

November 5, 2018

Marohasy came to the defense of fellow skeptic Peter Ridd after his firing from Australia's James Cook University. Prior to Professor Ridd's dismissal after allegations of improper conduct, he frequently challenged scientific analysis of the effects of climate change and sugar cane processing on the Great Barrier Reef.  According to Marohasy:

“What Dr. Ridd has to say may not be politically correct. He has shown that the true demise is less of the Great Barrier Reef and more an erosion of the scientific method within our once great scientific institutions.” [21]

December 2017

Marohasy co-authored a paper for the science journal GeoResJ with her husband, John Abbot, also with the Institute of Public Affairs, titled “The application of machine learning for evaluating anthropogenic versus natural climate change.” [22]

The paper claimed that climate change is largely the result of natural phenomena, which led other skeptics and conservative media outlets such as Breitbart and the Drudge Report to promote it. After review by climate scientists, however, the report was found to contain several obvious flaws and was recommended for redaction. [23]

Most notable was the selective use of only six data points out of nearly 700 to yield a predictive model that “proved” that temperature rise would have occurred much as it has even without any additional CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by industrial civilization. [23][24]

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, suggested that the paper’s conclusions are the result of “what happens when people have their conclusions fixed before they start the work.” [23]

August 2014

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed 2013 as the continent’s hottest year on record, prompting Marohasy to accuse the BOM of manipulating temperature data to fit the consensus view on anthropogenic climate change. [25][26]

Mahorasy’s allegation was widely disseminated by other climate change science deniers and organizations, and was based on a critique of the homogenized data sets used by BOM to construct its temperature graphs (a method routinely used in peer-reviewed science journals). [26], [27]

The fundamental flaw in Marohasy’s reasoning, as explained by BOM in an official response, was her failure to recognize homogenization as a necessary means by which to account for intermittent fluctuations recorded by temperature sensors as a result of changes in location, surrounding vegetation, or exposure to sunlight. [26], [27]

The BOM also pointed out that the raw, non-homogenized data was available for anyone to study and that this yielded an almost identical graph as the homogenized data. [26], [27], [28]

February 29, 2012

The Australian Environment Foundation released a report authored by Marohasy disputing government claims of the history of the Murray River and criticizing its plans to regulate water flows as based on “junk science.” [32]

Marohasy’s report, “Plugging The Murray River's Mouth: The Interrupted Evolution of a Barrier Estuary,” challenged the government’s policy of maintaining sea dykes at the river's mouth to preserve the basin’s fresh water for environmental preservation. [32], [33]   

The report recommended the removal of the dykes to replenish water flows into the river basin’s lower lakes instead of diverting fresh water from the upper river – water that would, in Marohasy's view, be better served by being diverted for irrigation. [32] 

A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Media Watch program pointed out the network of ties between the AEF, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Australian Climate Science Coalition, and the large agriculture and irrigation companies that rely on fresh water from the Murray River. [32]

The AEF report failed to disclose the fact that Peter Ridd, credited with peer reviewing Marohasy’s work, was a director of AEF at the time. [32]

In a written response to ABC’s reporting, Marohasy said[34] 

Media Watch claims to not question my right to speak out on the need to restore the Murray River’s estuary, but your very line of questioning suggests that I am misleading the Australian public on the important issue of water reform. Indeed, the implication is that I am but a stooge for vested interests.” [34] 

December 2003

Marohasy published a document titled “Myth and the Murray: Measuring the Real State of the River Environment” as a “Backgrounder” for the Institute of Public Affairs. The report challenged widely held beliefs about the true causes of environmental degradation along the river and suggested that management of its waters for industrial irrigation purposes was sufficient for maintaining the river's health. [3], [4]

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported in April of 2004 that around the same time as Marohasy's report was published the IPA received a donation of $40,000 from Murray Irrigation Limited, Australia's largest irrigation company. [30]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

According to her IPA profile, Marohasy has published in journals including Atmospheric Research, Advances in Atmospheric Research, Wetlands Ecology and Management, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Public Law Review and Environmental Law and Management. She has also written for papers including The Australian, The Courier Mail, The Herald Sun. [9]

Marohasy has also written a range of opinion and public policy articles, primarily for publications controlled by the Institute for Public Affairs:

Resources

  1. About,” jennifermarohasy.com. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/qpMFh
  2. Lisa Cox. “Great Barrier Reef: four rivers are most responsible for pollution,” The Guardian, June 14, 2018. Archived November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/wN6Zw

  3. Jennifer Marohasy. “Myth and the Murray: Measuring the real state of the river environment” (PDF), Institute of Public Affairs, 2003. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. Kaye Lee. “The Coalition Environment Committee,” The AIM Network, June 29, 2016. Archived November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/eQ5AO

  5. Cool reception for new green group,” The Age, June 8, 2005. Archived November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/aOVlF

  6. Australian Securities and Investments Commission Database Extract, July 6, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  7. Jennifer Marohasy Leaves the IPA,” jennifermarohasy.com, July 6, 2009. Archived November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/ISnIC

  8. Jennifer Marohasy,” LinkedIn. Accessed November 26, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  9. Jennifer Marohasy,” Institute of Public Affairs. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/2CPW5

  10. Jennifer Marohasy,” upclosed.com. Accessed November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/PB9WM

  11. About,” jennifermarohasy.com. Archived October 17, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/95zp5

  12. Home,” climatelab.com. Access November 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/K1PLU

  13. Graham Readfearn. “Billionaire Mining Magnate Gina Rinehart Revealed As Key Donor to Australian Climate Science Denial Promoter Institute of Public Affairs,” DeSmog, July 17, 2018.
  14. The benefit of the doubt,” The Sydney Morning Herald, May 8, 2010. Archived August 11, 2014.

  15. Graham Readfearn. “Bid to out the money behind the voice against climate change,” Brisbane Times, January 27, 2012. Archived September 1, 2015.

  16. Report released on climate change,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 26, 2005. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/El3J5

  17. Jennifer Marohasy. “Checking sources should be as simple as ABC,” On Line Opinion, February 20, 2018. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/KAgk9

  18. Jennifer Marohasy. “Big data finds the Medieval Warm Period – no denial here,” The Spectator, August 22, 2017. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/aQXhI 

  19. Jennifer Marohasy. “Price of electricity is rising, not sure about temperatures,” The Spectator, July 13, 2017. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/lXPto

  20. Jennifer Marohasy. “Your Dinner Party Survival Guide,” Institute of Public Affairs, November 1, 2016. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/xgRki

  21. Jennifer Marohasy. “Peter Ridd Versus the Clowns of Reef Science,” jennifermarohasy.com, October 29, 2018.  Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/UCQYr

  22. John Abbot, Jennifer Marohasy. “The application of machine learning for evaluating anthropogenic versus natural climate change,” GeoResJ, December 2017. Archived November 12, 2018. http://archive.is/M2iQi

  23. Graham Readfearn. “Why the IPA's claim global warming is natural is 'junk science',” The Guardian, August 25, 2017. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/bb283

  24. Guest. “Marohasy’s Machine Learning Paper Gets Schooled,” DeSmog, August 27, 2017.

  25. Oliver Milman. “Australia’s hottest year recorded in 2013,” The Guardian, January 2, 2014. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/f10oP

  26. Graham Readfearn. “The Australian Newspaper’s War On The Bureau of Meteorology,” readfearn.com, September 5, 2014. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/RhOcT

  27. Graham Readfearn. “Climate skeptics see a conspiracy in Australia's record breaking heat,” August 27, 2014, The Guardian. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/9dr5d

  28. Graham Readfearn. “How Australia's 'Fever Swamp' of Climate Science Denial Is Pushing a Non-Scandal About Temperatures,” DeSmog, September 25, 2017.

  29. Alexandra de Blas. “Bjorn Lomborg's Australian VisitEarthbeat, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 20, 2003. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/Xa9kU

  30. Libby Price. “Institute of Public Affairs Accepts Irrigation Funding,” VIC Country Hour, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Local Radio, April 6, 2004. Archived June 23, 2004. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/ppja

  31. Graham Readfearn. “Inside the AEF, the climate denial group hosting Tony Abbott as guest speaker,” The Guardian, June 14, 2018. Archived December 3, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/SSkp9

  32. What's in a Name?Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 19, 2012. Archived December 10, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/PrRFZ

  33. Jennifer Marohasy. “Plugging The Murray River's Mouth: The Interrupted Evolution of a Barrier Estuary,” Australian Environment Foundation, February 29, 2012. Archived December 10, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/2Or5b. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

  34. Jennifer Marohasy. Letter to Jonathan Holmes, Media Watch Host, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived December 10, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/oBCZd. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

  35. Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant,” The Australian, May 7, 2008. Archived August 31, 2015. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/xXXjt

  36. Jennifer Marohasy. “Wine and Climate Change in Australia – Journalist Michael Brissenden Just Makes Stuff-Up,” jennifermarohasy.com, April 26, 2018. Archived December 11, 2018. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/MZKZh

Other Resources