Professor Peter Ridd has been sacked by James Cook University.
Professor Peter Ridd has been sacked by James Cook University. Contributed

'Uni fired me to shut me up': Climate change sceptic

SACKED Professor Peter Ridd is taking his right to question "bad science" about the Great Barrier Reef to the Federal Court.

Professor Ridd, a climate change sceptic, claims he was sacked by James Cook University to "shut him up" over his concerns about academic freedom and scientific integrity of studies done on the Reef.

The Townsville-based geophysicist said North Queensland's four pillars of the economy - coal mining, sugar cane, beef cattle and tourism - are in jeopardy because of "scientific studies that cannot be trusted".

 

Professor Peter Ridd has been sacked by James Cook University.
Professor Peter Ridd has been sacked by James Cook University. Cameron Laird

In three months, more than 2000 supporters have donated $230,000 to a GoFundMe page to help his legal battle.

"It's true, I'm not convinced humans are causing climate change,'' Professor Ridd said yesterday.

"I also believe there are some huge question marks about Great Barrier Reef science, and a lot of it would fall over if it was properly peer reviewed.

"But the worst part of it is, because of bad science about the dire fate of the Reef, the coal industry is under attack, the cane and cattle industries are heavily regulated, and because of all the bad publicity, tourism is hurting.''

He said he felt he was sacked to "silence the truth" when his findings show coral growth rates have, if anything increased, that coral cover has not halved since the 1960s, and sediment and nutrient pollution is insignificant.

But JCU has hit back saying Professor Ridd was entitled to his opinion about "quality assurance" on the Reef.

His position was terminated on May 2 because he had repeatedly broken the University Code of Conduct, it said.

"He has sensationalised his comments to attract attention, has criticised and denigrated published work, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for his colleagues and institutions in doing so,'' JCU's Deputy Vice Chancellor Iain Gordon said.

"Academic rebuttal of his scientific views on the reef has been separately published.

"Professor Ridd has on numerous occasions and in numerous ways seriously and repeatedly breached the Code of Conduct - his employment has been terminated on this basis. To suggest otherwise is simply wrong."

JCU plans to vigorously defend itself against any legal action, he said