Podcast: Fired For Telling The Truth About Climate Alarmism (Guest: Peter Ridd)

From the Heartland.org daily podcast

Professor Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist at James Cook University in Townsville AU, was terminated after rejecting research linking Great Barrier Reef changes to human action. Peter joins the show to share his side of the story.

Proponents of anthropogenic, catastrophic climate change often point towards the Great Barrier Reef as an example of the human impacts of climate change. Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist, reviewed this research and found the findings do not support the claim that humans are the driving force behind Great Barrier Reef changes. This conclusion led Ridd into a messy legal battle over wrongful termination.

Ridd joins the show to discuss his findings on the Great Barrier Reef. He also talks about his legal battle over wrongful termination.

(Note: Apologies for poor sound quality on my side of the interview, I had a microphone problem, and didn’t realize it until afterwards. Peter has gone on “walkabout” for two weeks, so a do-over isn’t possible. His audio is quite clear though – Anthony)


Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute.

61 thoughts on “Podcast: Fired For Telling The Truth About Climate Alarmism (Guest: Peter Ridd)

  1. Penalized for telling the inconvenient truth. Smells like tyranny to me.
    It is a black mark on humanity that twice in living memory we are seeing freedom of speech being taken in front of our eyes and we are doing nothing to stop it. Martin Niemoller’s famous quote-first they came for the Communists… pretty well describes the human condition. They wait until it is too late. Then they realize that whistle blowers were right-they were a pack of Nazis.
    You see the luvvies-the SJWs going “never again” as if this is going to prevent fascism from re-emerging. At the same time, the useful idiots decry anyone-Jew or Gentile that would seek to expose creeping fascism. This guarantees that fascism MUST come back-with a vengeance.
    We are seeing climate skeptics being persecuted. We straight white male conservatives being persecuted. We see Christians persecuted (without media reporting much if any of these crimes against humanity.) We see the useful idiots-traitors to the society that reared and nurtured them destroying our entire society and civilization from within because they are too stupid to actually think.
    Throughout history, those that have betrayed their society to bring forth the revolution are ALWAYS the first to the wall come the Revolution. ALWAYS. Why? Because no despot worthy of his harem and palaces would be seen with such traitorous scum-the lowest of the low. When the useful idiots wake up that they have been used like toilet paper, they will turn on their new leaders- shoot them before they wake up they have been used. The last reason why the traitors usually come to a very sticky end is that it will put the people that have been vanquished on side that the traitors that sold them out are getting their just deserts. So, to those starry eyed SJW types, think carefully about that for which you wish-it might just come true. Just remember little bleeding hearts, YOU will be the first to come to a gruesome demise and the scum you so blindly followed will have absolutely no sympathy or rewards for you whatsoever for betraying your own people.

  2. I read through the court documents over the weekend, as well the university’s response to the decision, and note the following.

    The university is still stating, as of a few days ago after the court’s decision, that Peter Ridd was ‘never silenced’ for his views, but only that he breached the code of conduct. The irony is of course, that the code of conduct itself, it could be argued, is being used to effectively ‘silence’ Peter Ridd. It’s arguably also being used, and was used, to ‘harass, villify, and bully’ Peter Ridd, when it’s supposed to be used for the exact opposite purpose.

    I also liked the judge’s comments that in their case, JCU are systemically cherry picking ‘very small bits’ (of Peter Ridd’s emails etc) and not viewing them in the larger context, which is very much akin to cherry picking the science of the reef. JCU must be so used to routinely cherry picking ‘very small bits’ of the science, they can’t see anything wrong with it when they do it in legal context. Just another irony.

    There is also a very important point made on p208 of the court case documents. It states clearly that the code of conduct does not over-ride, or ‘detract’ from, the enterprise agreement, which is what JCU’s WHOLE case is based on:

    p208
    “The law is clear enough that these are separate instruments and the code of conduct cannot prevail over the enterprise agreement. But, to put it beyond doubt, clause 13.3 says: The parties note that the code of conduct is not intended to detract from clause 14.”

    It goes on to say why the code of conduct cannot ‘detract’ over the enterprise agreement (except in more serious instances, which not even JCU contend occurs here). In other words, clause 13.3 is very clear that JCU’s whole contention is wrong, i.e. to argue that the code of conduct prevails over the enterprise agreement. Yet JCU still don’t agree, even after the case went against them. Apparently they have also since changed the wording and clauses in the contract, so in future Peter Ridd apparently would not have this defence.

    Peter Ridd has also said thinks the only way to understand JCU’s response to staff a few days ago is they couldn’t have read the case documents.

      • Yes, thanks for that analysis, thingadonta. It sounds like you did a lot of reading. (p.208). It also sounds like the Judge is leaning in favor of Mr. Ridd.

    • ‘Apparently they have also since changed the wording and clauses in the contract’ In which case they may need to get the ‘new terms ‘ agreed with each party . The union or unions at the place should stamp on this, before the university gets into a habit of pulling this trick or their members could find themselves right in it.

    • Apparently they have also since changed the wording and clauses in the contract
      ===≠====??
      If so this is an admission that JCU agrees with the judge. Otherwise, if the Judge is wrong the existing agreement is fine and there would be no need for JCU to change it.

      • JCU want, or have already, changed it because they don’t like the way the law is written, just like ignoring some inconvenient science they don’t like. The process they are engaged in hasn’t anything to do with reality or principles of law, but is more about people who have abandoned reason for self interest under the guise of an apparently noble cause.

    • If that is the JCU position then the ‘code of conduct’ is a deliberately vague set of provisions devised for the purpose of being able to expel anyone who comments adversely on anything to do with the JCU self interest. Ridd commented adversely on the quality of certain research carried out and published by JCU staff in a field he was well qualified to comment on. What he did was at the very core of academic freedom and his implicit role as a senior academic.

      It is a bit like those instances in the US where a cop pulls a car over and ask to see the driver’s licence. When the driver reaches for his licence he is promptly shot dead with half a magazine of bullets on the basis that he/she looked like/ the officerfeared they were reaching for a firearm.

      My bet is that JCU have little choice but to fight tooth and nail through the courts, all the way to the High Court ( Oz’s Supreme Court equivalent) where they wil likely lose and this case will become a basis for all sorts of claims against other universities and publication of contrarian views from other academics just itching for an opportunity to speak freely.

      • ” … fight …. all the way to the High Court …. ”
        There is no right of appeal. JCU has to apply for permission to appeal, and with a loss of 17 points to zero, their prospects of getting permission are not looking good 🙂

      • Like any powerful, well-funded organisation, JCU will not take adverse court results lightly. Having failed to obtain vindication of its actions, the next step will have to be damage minimisation. If there is no reasonable prospect of a legal victory on appeal, then shutting down all communication on this issue is the next-best thing.

        I imagine that JCU is still considering its options, but damping down all publicity until a decision is made is just common sense.

        Their original tactics seemed sensible because of the evident disparity in financial resources. Mr Ridd’s successful crowdfunding ploy must have been a most unpleasant surprise. Nonetheless, it is likely that Mr Ridd’s academic career at JCU is over and this troublesome individual may find it difficult to get a decent job anywhere in academia. What self-respecting administration wants a ‘loose cannon’ who successfully sued his last employer?

        After a quiet year or two waiting for the dust to settle it will be business as usual at JCU, the world’s foremost tropical research institution, while Mr Ridd sinks quietly into financially comfortable obscurity! Ultimately, the winner is almost never the little guy.

        • Like any powerful, well-funded organisation, JCU will not take adverse court results lightly.

          JCU has an annual revenue of more than 500 million. On the other hand, lawyers can be eye-wateringly expensive. In the SCO vs. the world lawsuits, SCO was able to cap its lawyer fees at $31 million. link I can’t find a link but IIRC, IBM’s costs exceeded $100 million. Admittedly SCO vs. the world was a special case but it does give an idea of how expensive cases get if they drag out.

          My former employer would almost always settle rather than ending up in court. JCU should have done the same. If they end up spending ten or twenty million in legal fees, it will be noticed.

      • “It is a bit like those instances in the US where a cop pulls a car over and ask to see the driver’s licence. When the driver reaches for his licence he is promptly shot dead with half a magazine of bullets on the basis that he/she looked like/ the officerfeared they were reaching for a firearm.”

        What a deeply ignorant and offensive statement. If in the process of someone just “reaching for their wallet” the officer doesn’t actually see a weapon or otherwise moves are made that clearly indicate they are a significant threat to the officer, they don’t get shot. NOBODY just “reaching for their wallet” as instructed gets shot. You’re getting your news from some very biased sources with an agenda.

        • Sorry pal but I came close to being on the receiving end of such treatment about 25 years ago on my first and last trip to the US. I had been warned expressly to not take my hands off the sterring wheel in such circumstances and I did not. Luckily I was just asking a group of cops directions back to the freeway and had my window down before I pulled up. About 4 out of 8 had their hands at their right hips and the other 3 had moved behind the squad cars. One approached me with hand on pistol grip.

          I am white as it happens.

          Sorry USA but you have a very serious problem in this area. Tell your story to the family in Minneapolis.

        • I’m going to agree with Kerry here. The idea that cops are just shooting down citizens in the street is one of the pet lies of the left.
          There is no truth in it, but that’s not what matters to them.

          • Unfortunately there is very graphic footage of a number of such shootings so it is hardly paranoia to have a concern about the possibility. In my case the incident occurred in 1995 and I ewas expressly warned by a fellow australian who had driven across the lower 48 states some years before. The US gun culture is a fundamental difference between the US and most other ‘western’ nations and the gun death rate per head of population in the US is an order of magnitude or more than most other places. Such numbers are real, not ‘paranoia and hardly some confection of the ‘left’.

            Anyway enough on this.

    • “Peter Ridd has also said he thinks the only way to understand JCU’s response to staff a few days ago is they couldn’t have read the case documents.”

      Peter Ridd is being kind – the Climate Cult does NOT care about the law or ethics – they are corrupt to the core. They rely upon deceit and intimidation to achieve their ends, and no falsehood is “wrong” if it serves their objectives.

      To better understand the objectives of the Climate Cult, read my three posts below, starting at
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/04/23/podcast-fired-for-telling-the-truth-about-climate-alarmism-guest-peter-ridd/#comment-2687042

  3. I would be surprised if an appeal was upheld simply because JCU didn’t like the verdict.

    It read to me that JCU was not familiar with common law, and expected Dr Ridd to be bound by 2 contradictory documents at the same time.

    A slave cannot serve 2 masters. This is the legal precedent the case was decided upon. A fairly famous man said this 2000 years ago.

    • No offence intended. The following is tongue in cheek.

      Given the lofty source for the concept of a slave with two masters, perhaps Peter had the Lord on his side?

      Perhaps if JCU was better read on the Bible than Marx, they might better understand where they went wrong.

    • ” … changed the wording and clauses in the contract … ” This cannot be applied unilaterally to existing contracts, or a contract that they have unlawfully terminated. Doubtful if it is actually lawful for them to start tinkering with future contracts. Maybe they want to be prosecuted under the Industrial Relations Act? I am not surprised. 25 years ago I had to explain to the JCU Administration that their premises constituted a workplace under the (then) Workplace Health and Safety Act. The response was open-mouthed amazement. (The situation concerned serious defects in a laboratory which could easily have resulted in death or serious injury.)

      • Doubtful if it is actually lawful for them to start tinkering with future contracts.

        Ideally, they should be able to write future contracts however they want. It’s up to them and the parties they are contracting with to negotiate and agree to terms that are mutually acceptable to all involved. In reality, there are probably a number of factors that limit their abilities in what they are allowed to do with any prospective contract wording. For example, previous deals with Unions may force certain clauses to be included in those contracts and wouldn’t leave much room for tinkering with those clauses.

      • You can not contract outside the law, it doesn’t matter how much you change the wording the principle was ruled unlawful.

        • The problem was the JCU was insisting the Code of Conduct superceded the enterprise agreement. Legally it does not. For future hires, they could well re-word the enterprise agreement (assume there isn’t any other factors, such as union agreements, or legal codes, forcing them to continue with the current wording that gave them so much trouble in this case) to be more inline with their CoC thus eliminating the issue.

  4. Excellent debunking of ‘the ‘reef salvation industry’!
    Politicians (both sides) just love saving the reef before every election.
    Academics just love taking taxpayers’ money to save it.
    What a scam with diabolical consequences for industry in Queensland.
    More debunking required.
    Can’t wait for Peter’s new book . . .

    • Key word ‘industry ‘ lots of jobs and money ridding on the ‘wagon of doom’ , whole academic departments and individual careers are dead in the water without ‘climate doom’ Now given this what results do you think they will find . One that shows there is no cause for alarm or ones that demand action and further ‘research’ ?

  5. For radical greens, it was never about the environment – the environment was a smokescreen for their extreme-left totalitarian political objectives.

    The Climate Cult has taken over the environmental movement, universities, professional societies, political parties, governments and the United Nations. Many of the leaders of the Climate Cult are openly or covertly totalitarian and Malthusian – their stated objective is to reduce human population to a small fraction of our current numbers, and they are indifferent to human suffering and environmental damage.

    The destruction of modern society is their primary objective; to date, they are winning.

    Reference:
    “HYPOTHESIS: RADICAL GREENS ARE THE GREAT KILLERS OF OUR AGE”
    by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/04/14/hypothesis-radical-greens-are-the-great-killers-of-our-age/
    [excerpts]

    7. Radical greens have caused enormous harm to the environment, for example:
    · Clear-cutting the tropical rainforests to grow sugar cane and palm oil for biofuels;
    · Rapid draining of the vital Ogallala aquifer in the USA for corn ethanol and biodiesel production;
    · Clear-cutting forests in the eastern USA to provide wood for the Drax power plant in Britain;
    · Destructive bird-and-bat-chopping wind power turbines.

    8. Why are the radical greens so anti-environmental?

    Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder and Past-President of Greenpeace, provided the answer decades ago. Moore observed that Eco-Extremism is the new “false-front” for economic Marxists, who were discredited after the fall of the Soviet Union circa 1990 and took over the Green movement to further their political objectives.

    This is described in Moore’s essay, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement” written in 1994 – note especially “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”, at
    http://ecosense.me/2012/12/30/key-environmental-issues-4/

    For radical greens, it was never about the environment – the environment was a smokescreen for their extreme-left totalitarian political objectives.

    To better understand radical green objectives, see http://www.green-agenda.com/, excerpted below:

    “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
    – Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

    “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”
    – David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, founder of Friends of the Earth

  6. I just discovered this excellent article by Peter Foster, published in 2013:
    https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/peter-foster-the-child-killers

    [excerpts]

    During the decade in which the anti-GM campaigners have held up the adoption of Golden Rice, eight million children have died from vitamin A deficiency.

    Given this catalogue, the support that Greenpeace receives from ordinary citizens seems a mystery, but is part of the larger mystery of support for a global cause that has resulted in literally tens of millions of preventable deaths. An even worse example is the banning of DDT in the wake of Rachel Carson’s hysterical Silent Spring, which last year “celebrated” its 50th anniversary (For a dissection of Carson and the darker roots of radical environmentalism, see Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson, edited by Roger Meiners, Pierre Desrochers and Andrew Morriss).

  7. Shocking. There’s been nothing about Peter’s ordeal and JCU’s kangaroo-court on CNN or in the NYT.

    (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

  8. As they say, the best revenge is to live well. But I also think that Dr. Ridd will have a few books up his sleeves. And what about spending some left-over money on a low level but persistent ad in a widely read sciende journal: “Thinking of working at JCU and valuing academic freedom? Be very careful what you sign up for.”

  9. No matter the outcome of this fracas the reputation of JCU and universities in general will suffer. Next thing we know universities will be offering degrees in climate theology.

  10. Prof. Ridd, tell your story on Fox News to Judge Jeanine or Tucker Carlson. It will inspire academics all over the world to fight for their academic freedom when they are bullied, harassed, intimidated by alarmists

  11. There is an interesting chatter about if the JCU did seek leave to appeal the decision.

    First they only have 21 days to lodge an application to appeal
    Then the appeal bench will decide
    (1) whether permission to appeal should be granted, and
    (2) whether there was an error in the original decision.

    Then the kicker is number 2, if you do get an appeal the bench can
    (1) confirm, quash (suppress) or vary the decision
    (2) make a further decision in relation to the matter that is being appealed
    (3) refer the matter being appealed to a Commission Member for further action.

    There is a legal view the JCU argument is so weak and that on appeal that the judgement may go further.

    Remember JCU can’t recover costs even if they win the appeal and there legal bill will already be frightening. It is a case JCU could just dig itself a bigger hole.

  12. James Cook University clearly has ZERO grounds for appeal.

    Read the Enterprise Agreement.
    Read the Code of Conduct and other documents encased within it.

    After doing this, try really hard to put yourself in the mindset of JCU towards Peter Ridd. Even pretending, I cannot do it. The hypocrisy is too evident.

    Not only does it appear that someone at JCU has not read the judge’s decision, but also it appears that someone has not read and comprehended the Enterprise Agreement, Code of Conduct, and other documents encased within.

    https://youtu.be/PEjaxYmxY8E

  13. Note that the taxpayer funded ABC (Oz version) immediately put out an article stating that his court win did not vindicate his heretical positions on science:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-04-23/peter-ridd-reef-science-climate-change/11026540

    Yes, I used heretical for dramatic effect … they didn’t use the term, but the author was probably thinking it. Let’s remember that the ABC had a survey back in 2013 IIRC, in which identities stated their voting inclinations. Needless to say, the ABC staff self-identified as much further to the left of the political spectrum than the audience they are supposed to serve. Were it not for the taxpayer teat they wouldn’t make it in the real world. Going on the attack against the institution as a right-leaning politician is too dangerous of course … so here we are.

    Did I mention the ABC hooked up with Al Jazeera to attack a right-leaning minor political party just a couple weeks ago? When we have an election due in about 4 weeks? Talk about election meddling…

    • Sorry Bulldust but One Nation are a pack of numbskulls who swallowed the bait like some frenzied fish and went to the US to cuddle up to the NRA.

      That does not excuse the ABC leftard bias but when gormless idiots let themselves be filmed and recorded seeking foreign funds and advice on a matter such as gun laws, probably the signature difference between the US and Oz social norms, then that is down to their idiocy. Imbeciles giving free kicks to the ABC is not the ABC’s fault.

  14. Bottom line – from numerous experiences – bullies (JCU) never admit to their wrong doing – it’s just not part of their human nature – they can lose as they did this time – but taking responsibility for their actions always remains a dream of the victim.

    • Why … You trying to claim he didn’t go to court with all the personal costs that go with that and did not employee the best council he could?

      JCU probably wishes he could not have afforded any of that 🙂

    • Wrong Question.
      The ones to ask are.
      What will Peter Ridd’s further damages be now that the $850,000 initial award has been made?
      What will be the quantum of punitive damages?
      Does the University want this to become a ‘test case’ and open a pandoras box on verification
      of data and replication of results?
      If so their own actions will be under deeper scrutiny.
      To appeal the Uni seems to ‘argue’ that the Judge and their defence barrister erred by not citing case law.
      Since their own barrister chose not to cite such law, probably for able reason, they would open up the
      possibility of other heads of damage claims.
      I would hate to be in the position they find themselves in.
      As for crowd funding,you pay your money and take your chances.
      Were the Uni to play bluff on the money, there are plenty that would stare them down.

      • A further defense of JCU appears in todays Australian.Paywalled
        ‘The exercise of intellectual freedom should not give anyone an unfettered right to denigrate or offend”
        If this is the best defense of JCU’s actions, they are better to fold, IMHO.

        • I agree. It was just laughable and the sort of crap I would expect in some lefty media, Fairfax in Oz or say the NYT in the US.

          I suppose good on Newscorp for being even handed or at least appearing so.

          LPB’s closing sentence says it all though so perhaps The Oz was just letting the pro JCU side hoist itself by its own petard.

          The real test will be if the law upholds the adjustments to the employment contracts by JCU ( and other institutions). There is a sort of precedent in Oz re free speech although we don’t have an explicit constitutional right which is to do with free and fair elections that was set down by our high court many years back now.

          The question will become whether a person has a right to speak their mind regarding apparent wrong doing or poor work and we have whistleblower protections already. It seems to me the core issue will be whether some sort of ‘code of conduct’ can be used to unreasonably silence any speaking out against wrongdoing, dodgy work or practices etc with a view or the effect of hiding said wrongdoing etc. To my mind that sounds like a ‘scheme of arrangement’ contrived to override or frustrate or negate what would otherwise be aright.

    • Top notch QC’s and lawyers aren’t cheap. If I was in a position to donate I would have and would have considered it money well spent given the outcome.

      • Really I’m wondering if/why it costs megabucks to have a judge look at the facts of the matter. Is that really what it takes to find justice? Access to lots of money?

        • If the legal system there is anything like the legal system here in the US of A, the answer is yes. Lawyers (particularly the good ones) eat up lots of money on even the smallest of cases. And if one side has deep pockets, their lawyers will try and drag out and delay the process (thus raising the costs) as much as they can in hopes of exhausting the other parties funds.

    • I think I would have asked him; Where did the $260,000. go?

      Answer: legal fees. lawyers (no matter which country you are in) aren’t cheap. The longer the case drags on the higher the legal bill, which is why the side with the deepest pockets often are the party that works to slow down and delay the case as long as possible (in order to force the “poorer” side to decide it’s not worth the fight and drop the case). Look at case with Steyn and Mann here in the states. It’s been years since that case started and it’s not going to be finished any time soon. And while there’s been little in the way of actual in court action, the lawyers are no doubt still getting paid (at the very least their retainer fees).

  15. I trust Ridd’s scientific arguments, but I don’t understand why he has not put all his findings in a scientific paper.

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