When discussing climate change, the catch-cry is, "Believe the Science."
But what if the "science" is not correct?
True science can be validated. Other scientists can test the hypothesis and should get the same results.
But some of the theories on which we are basing long term planning, and millions of dollars, could be based on poor research.
Dr Jennifer Marohasy is a prominent scientist who questions the quality of Great Barrier Reef (GBR) science.
"Fundamental to the scientific method is the assumption that reality exists independently of our belief systems; that there is such a thing as evidence, and that it matters," she said in a recent article.
Evidence to support climate theories is missing from so many "climate models".
"Another way of finding universal truths is through simple observation. If we have catastrophic sea level rise, for example, then this should be evident when we visit the beach, or somewhere like Sydney Harbour. It should be evident in our coastal landscapes," she says.
The evidence shows that the sea level in Sydney Harbour is not rising. Go to http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/ntc/monthly/ and check Fort Denison.
Dr Marohasy added: "The evidence is being misrepresented when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef. I was recently in North Queensland surveying and filming coral reefs off Bowen. Coral reefs in shallow waters adjacent to the Australian mainland are considered particularly susceptible to coral bleaching, and also smothering by sediment from turbid water."
"This was all lamented the week I was there, including by Sussan Ley, the Federal Environment Minister," she said.
Dr Marohasy pointed out that the "review of more than 1,000 reports by academics who don't get out enough" led to Ley saying that the prognosis for the Great Barrier Reef, and particularly inshore reefs, was very poor.
Evidence to support climate theories is missing from so many 'climate models'
A 2016 report by Tara Clark and others claimed that, "... in 1994, no living Acropora colonies were found" in the Stone Island area, whereas Dr Marohasy said, "I visited Stone Island late August, and was surprised to find an abundance of Acropora spp. forming both plate and branching colonies.
"I saw and photographed large pink plate coral on 25th August, some more than one metre in diameter."
The picture on this page was taken at that site.
Dr Marohasy repeated the transects used in the Clark research which found there had been a serious decline in Reef health from historical photographs in the late 19th century to the present.
"If the transects used in the Clark analysis had been extended by 30m to the south of Stone Island they would have found a different story," she said.
There simply isn't room within this column to discuss all of Dr Marohasy's observations. I would suggest that readers who would like to know more go to Dr Marohasy's blog, at https://jennifermarohasy.com/, and particularly read her inspirational, "10 Days at the Magnificent Great Barrier Reef" story.
Dr Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist, was Doctor of Physics at James Cook University in Townsville. He is an expert on the Reef. His research appeared to prove that the GBR is not being killed by climate change.
Dr Ridd demolished popular notions of doom and gloom surrounding the Reef. He disputed the quality of the underlying science. Much of the science was not being properly checked, tested or replicated, he said.
Dr Ridd was sacked by James Cook University. He challenged JCU in the Federal Circuit Court and won. The court found that he was unlawfully sacked. JCU has appealed the decision.
Ridd will need to raise $1.5 million to cover his legal fees during the appeal. Peter Ridd needs your support. To donate, head to Peter's GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/peter-ridd-legal-action-fund.
As Dr Marohasy writes, "science is advanced by the exercise of intellectual freedom and by the testing of evidence. Facts are not established by consensus. The history of science over thousands of years is littered with consensus theories that were wrong and sometimes even dangerous."
Questionable reef science is threatening coastal agriculture, and the livestock industry up to 900km inland. It's time to question the consensus.