Five years ago, the Great Barrier Reef was hit by its worst recorded bleaching to date, with media outlets around the world rushing to tell the public why that was putting the World Heritage site at risk.
Their stories were accompanied by headlines such as “Bleaching hits 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef,” “93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef is suffering” and the hyperbolic “93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef is practically dead.”
This bleaching happens when corals are put under stress and expel the colourful algae that are their primary food source. It’s considered a consequence of climate change because that stress can be caused by rising water temperatures, with the Great Barrier Reef’s 2016 bleaching the result of a record-breaking marine heatwave.
But former Canadian Greenpeace leader turned prominent climate science skeptic Patrick Moore was suspicious about reports of that bleaching. In his new Amazon-bestselling book Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom, Moore wrote “the careful reader would be hard pressed to find the origin of the 93 per cent as there is no record of it other than in headlines.”
There’s just one problem: such a record does exist. At least some articles referenced the work of Terry Hughes and the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce.
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