Monday, April 22, 2019

What David Attenborough told BBC viewers about this raging orangutan fighting a digger is only part of the truth... and that's just one of the flaws in the great naturalist's 'alarmist' new documentary

DAVID ROSE issues a cautious rebuttal

One of the most talked-about programmes of the past week – a primetime documentary on BBC1 – featured two people many seem to regard as living saints.

One was the presenter, Sir David Attenborough, the other Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist inspiring climate change ‘school strikes’ in several countries, including Britain.

The film’s title was Climate Change: The Facts, and these, Sir David claimed, are now ‘incontrovertible’. The film’s message was so bleak it could have been made by Extinction Rebellion, the eco-anarchist protest group which has brought Central London to a standstill.

No one has done more to convey the marvels of the natural world than Attenborough, and his long career has rightly earned him public acclaim.

Sadly, on this occasion, I believe he has presented an alarmist argument derived from a questionable use of evidence, whose nuances he has ignored.

According to Sir David, climate change, is the ‘greatest threat’ to humanity in thousands of years. ‘We are facing the collapse of our societies,’ he intoned, insisting we ‘must all share responsibility… for the future of life on Earth.’

Attenborough is about to turn 93, while Thunberg is just 16, but they issued the same warning. ‘It’s our future and we can’t just let it slip away from us,’ she told viewers. Yet ‘nothing is being done, no one is doing anything’.

The film rounded off a week which had already seen the BBC invite Extinction Rebellion extremists on to its news shows to expound the message – without serious challenge – that unless we cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, ‘our children will die’.

Last year, the BBC issued guidelines instructing editors that inviting comment from ‘climate change deniers’ was ‘false balance’. In practice, this has meant that those who accept climate change is real, but less threatening than some such as Attenborough claim, have effectively been banished from the airwaves.

Now the Corporation has given acres of airtime to protesters demanding the overthrow of democratic governments and an almost immediate end to fossil fuel-derived power, heating and transport – in other words, the abrupt termination of civilisation as we know it.

Thunberg has become a global media darling, her pronouncements cherished as if they were holy writ.

‘I want you all to panic,’ she told the Davos economic forum in January: and Attenborough’s film may well have persuaded viewers to do just that – and, perhaps, to join the Extinction Rebellion barricades.

Watching it did fill me with horror, but not at the threat from global warming. It was at the way Sir David and the BBC presented a picture of the near future which was so much more frightening than is justified.

Climate science remains a field riven by deep uncertainties. The film largely glossed over these – and where faced with alternatives, it plumped unerringly for the most pessimistic version of the ‘truth’.

Let me be clear: I am not a ‘denier’. Global warming and climate change are real, in large measure caused by humans. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our emissions were responsible for more than half the 0.6C – 0.7C global average temperature rise recorded between 1951 and 2010.

But I am also convinced that the ‘panic’ Thunberg desires and Attenborough’s film will encourage is not helpful when it comes to making policy designed to tackle it. Moreover, it is a grotesque travesty of the truth to claim that ‘nothing’ has been done: for example, since 1990, UK emissions have fallen by 43 per cent, according to the Government’s Committee on Climate Change. Not only that, Government statistics say 56 per cent of our electricity came from low carbon sources in 2018, our last coal-fired power station will close in six years and the Government has pledged to ‘decarbonise’ electricity by 2030.

Above all, the Climate Change Act requires Britain to reduce its 1990 carbon emissions by no less than 80 per cent by the year 2050, making us the first major economy to make such a dramatic commitment. To say that ‘nothing’ has been done is as risible as it is dishonest.

One of the film’s most questionable aspects was its claim that extreme weather events such as floods and storms have already got worse and more frequent, thanks to global warming, along with wildfires.

It did say that attributing reasons to any single event is difficult, and derived from probabilities. But in the words of interviewee Michael Mann, a US climate scientist, the effects of climate change are ‘playing out in real time’, and are ‘no longer subtle’. Cue images of monster waves and hurricanes, accompanied by doomy music.

But is this true? The IPCC, regarded by mainstream scientists as the world’s most authoritative source, says there have been some changes, such as higher rainfall. But its Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013, stated there are ‘no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century’. It added: ‘No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricane counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.’

A separate IPCC report last year said that cyclones in the tropics would in future be less numerous, although some would be stronger.

In 2014, a group of IPCC experts published a paper about flooding. So far, they said, ‘no gauge-based evidence has been found for a climate-driven, globally widespread change in the magnitude/frequency of floods.’

Another memorable segment of the film showed a father and son narrowly escaping from one of several devastating fires last year in California. These, too, were ascribed to global warming.

Surprisingly, several recent scientific papers suggest that wildfires have been declining in recent years – even in California, where statistics gathered by the local agency, Calfires, says the number across the state has roughly halved since 1987, following a peak in the 1970s.

According to a study published by the Royal Society in 2016, ‘many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem’. In reality, however, says the study: ‘global area burned appears to have declined in past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape than centuries ago.’

Equally questionable was the film’s claim that global warming is triggering a wave of extinctions, with eight per cent of species under threat solely because of it.

This also appears to oversimplify the findings of the IPCC, which said in 2014: ‘There is low confidence that rates of species extinctions have increased over the last several decades. Most extinctions over the last several centuries have been attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution, or invasive species.

'Of the more than 800 extinctions documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only 20 have been tenuously linked to recent climate change. It says: ‘Overall, there is very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming.’

The IPCC is clear that further warming will make things worse, but has found ‘low agreement’ over which species are at risk, and when extinctions might occur.

Attenborough made yet another contentious claim about corals, claiming that one third of the world’s reefs have perished due to ‘heat stress’ in the past three years.

It is true that the record high temperatures recorded during the powerful ‘El Nino’ event of 2015/16 – which saw the central Pacific warm by several degrees and drove warmer weather elsewhere – damaged corals badly.

But many have begun to recover, including those of the supposedly moribund Great Barrier Reef.

I suppose it could be argued that this film merely jumped the gun a little, by portraying climate impacts which, while not discernible yet, soon will be.

But here we must turn to its most provocative claim of all – that IPCC computer model projections show that, by the end of this century, world average temperatures will be between three and six degrees higher than now. Needless to say, this would be devastating.

In fact, the IPCC issues not one but four such projections, each one showing what would happen with differing levels of future greenhouse gas emissions.

The most pessimistic – known in the trade as ‘RCP 8.5’ – suggests that by 2100, the world would indeed be much hotter: according to the 2013 IPCC report, between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above the average between 1986 and 2005.

This, of course, is lower than the 3-6 degree range predicted by Attenborough.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that RCP 8.5 is almost certain not to take place. First, it posits population increases far higher than those now thought likely by many demographers.

UN forecasts claim the global population will reach 11 billion by 2100, but several expert teams now say falling birthrates mean it will peak much earlier.

‘It will never reach nine billion,’ says the eminent futurologist Jorgen Randers. ‘It will peak at eight billion in 2040 and then decline.’

For the RCP 8.5 prediction to become a reality would also require a massive increase in the use of coal, and the reversal of the emissions cuts which many countries have already achieved.

All of which means the world is more likely to conform to what are known as RCP 4.5 or RCP 6. Under RCP 4.5, the IPCC says, the ‘likely’ range of warming by 2100 would be between 1.1C and 2.6C; under RCP 6, between 1.4C and 3.1C.

A BBC spokesperson said yesterday that the film said the 3-6 degrees of warming was a reasonable estimate given the current emissions trajectory, and said emissions ‘have been following the RCP 8.5 curve rather than the alternatives.’ Under this, an upper limit of 6C was possible.

She added: ‘The film sought to make clear that scientists don’t know exactly what may happen.’

I’m not trying to argue that climate change is trivial, nor that the world doesn’t need ‘action’ to deal with it. On the other hand, we have already seen what can happen when ‘panic’ determines policy: the introduction of measures conceived by a need to be seen to be doing something under pressure from groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

Without making this clear, the film revealed one of the worst examples of this unfortunate effect. A powerful sequence showed an orangutan, fleeing loggers who have been eradicating Borneo’s rainforest.

This is disastrous for both wildlife and the climate because, as the film pointed out, a third of global emissions are down to deforestation, because giant trees lock up a lot of carbon.

But why are Borneo’s forests being cut down? The reason, as Attenborough said, is palm oil, a lucrative crop used in products ranging from soap to biscuits. Unfortunately, he left out the final stage of the argument.

Half of all the millions of tons of palm oil sent to Europe is used to make ‘biofuel’, thanks to an EU directive stating that, by 2020, ten per cent of forecourt fuel must come from ‘renewable’ biological sources. Malaysia says this has ‘created an unprecedented demand’.

To put it another way: misguided ‘action’ designed to save the planet is actually helping to damage it – although the EU has pledged to phase out palm oil biofuel by 2030.

Another example of a misconceived effort to save the planet is Drax power plant in Yorkshire which is fed, thanks to £700 million of annual subsidy, by ‘renewable’ wood pellets made from chopped-down American trees – while pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than when it burnt only coal.

In theory, the trees it burns will be replaced – but a large part of its supply comes from hardwood forests that take 100 years to mature.

There are times when climate propaganda – for this is what this was – calls to mind the apocalyptic prophets of the Middle Ages, who led popular movements by preaching that the sins of human beings were so great that they could only be redeemed by suffering, in order to create a paradise on earth.

Perhaps this is how Attenborough, nature journalism’s Methuselah, sees himself. But climate change is too important to be handled in this manner. It needs rational, well-informed debate. Too often, cheered on by the eco-zealots of Extinction Rebellion, the BBC is intent on encouraging quite the opposite.


Delingpole: ‘Climate Change: The Facts’ Was the BBC’s Biggest Lie Ever

The increasingly unwatchable and slavishly woke BBC plumbed new depths last night. It gave a prime time slot to a piece of environmental propaganda so blatant, shameless, and dishonest it might just as well have been a political broadcast on behalf of Extinction Rebellion.

Even the programme’s title was a lie. "Climate Change: The Facts" was a farrago of alarmist cliches, exaggerations, and untruths which have been debunked on numerous occasions.

It lied about the cause of wildfires; it lied about heatwaves; it lied about storms and floods; it lied about polar melting; it lied about sea levels; it lied about coral reefs; it lied about droughts.

Yet many viewers may well have been taken in because the programme was presented with breathy earnestness and apparent authority by the doyen of TV wildlife ‘experts’ Sir David Attenborough. And accompanied by the kind of dramatic footage and stirring music guaranteed to bypass the brain and appeal directly to the emotions — as all the most effective propaganda does.

“If you liked Triumph of the Will then you’re going to love Our Planet,” I wrote recently of Attenborough’s new Netflix series, which uses exactly the same techniques: amazing nature photography; manipulative music; a trembly voiceover making all manner of scientifically dubious assertions in order to scare the viewer into the appropriate state of climate fear.

But "Climate Change: the Facts" was more unscrupulous and dishonest still.

What I found particularly objectionable was its use of emotive trickery to help deceive the viewer into buying its specious arguments.

For example, on the subject of heatwaves, we were shown heartbreaking footage of thousands of flying foxes (giant fruit bats) in Australia which had dropped dead out of the trees during a particularly hot spell last November in Queensland.

“There was a deafening sound of babies crying,” said the voiceover of a distraught Australian conservationist, over images of piles of dead bats, and an orphaned baby bat being hand fed some milk from a bottle. “This is climate change in action,” muttered an unnamed Australian. “We need to wake up!” said another.

The unwary viewer might easily have been gulled into drawing two erroneous conclusions from this.

First, that the bats really had been killed by “climate change”. (Which they hadn’t. This was an extreme weather event of the kind which, no doubt, has killed many thousands of flying foxes on previous occasions in history — only without the presence of camera crews to record the incidents.)

Second, that the world divides into two kinds of people: those who love the planet and cute baby bats and who consequently believe in the urgency of combating climate change; those who don’t give a damn. (Which is another entirely false premise. It is quite possible to care very much about the natural world without buying into the false claims of green-ideology driven, anti-growth, anti-human environmental activists.)

Paul Homewood has been through its various claims with a fine-tooth comb and found many to be misleading and inaccurate.

Among his criticisms:

Attenborough shows a surface temperature chart of dramatically rising temperatures but a) fails to mention that the more accurate satellite temperature data shows no increase since 1998; b) fails to explain why temperatures rose sharply in the early 20th century, long before CO2 emissions began to rise significantly; c) fails to mention that since the 19th century, Earth has been emerging from the Little Ice Age — probably the coldest period since the end of the Ice Age.

The extreme weather bogeyman. Various talking head ‘experts’ assure us that heat waves are getting more intense. But last summer’s heatwave in the UK — cited as evidence of this — was no hotter than the summer of 1976; nor was the recent one in Queensland when temperatures reached 42 degrees C — also cited — anywhere near as bad as the one in 1972 when temperatures reached 49.5 degrees C. In fact, Homewood notes, there is considerable evidence that heatwaves are actually becoming less common.

Michael Mann (quoted as an expert witness): “You’re going to get more rainfall, more superstorms, worse flooding. We’re seeing the effects of climate change now play out in real time” Homewood: Maybe one of the most dishonest parts of the programme. Even the IPCC can’t find any long term trends in tropical cyclone activity or flooding. And severe tornadoes are have become much less common in the US.

Attenborough: “Rising seas are already displacing hundreds of thousands of people from already vulnerable coastal areas.” Homewood: Pure hyperbole. Where is the evidence to support this claim? Sea levels have been rising steadily since the mid 19th century.

On polar ice caps, it is claimed that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland is “worse than expected”. Homewood: In fact, according to NASA, the Antarctic is actually gaining ice. It is symptomatic of the whole programme, that Attenborough does not mention this inconvenient fact.

As for Greenland, I’m not sure what the experts were “expecting”, has any relevance at all. What we do know though, is that temperatures in Greenland are no higher now than they were in the 1930s.

Attenborough: “In the last three years, repeated heat stress has caused a third of the world’s corals to first bleach and then die.” Homewood: There is absolutely no evidence for this, and I have not even seen that claimed about the Great Barrier Reef. And as we now know, the death of GBR corals was drastically overstated. Indeed, as scientists like Peter Ridd and local reef experts have long maintained, corals quickly recover from bleaching, which was just as bad in the 18thC.

In sum, where in reality there is increasing doubt and debate among scientists on the issue of ‘climate change’, this #fakenews documentary pretended the opposite: that the weight of evidence points unquestionably to an imminent climate catastrophe which can only be averted if we take concerted global action now.

“It may sound frightening but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action in the next decade we could face irreversible damage to the natural world — and the collapse of our societies,” said Attenborough. [Fact check: there is not a single piece of scientific evidence which suggests anything of the kind. Perhaps that’s why he covered himself with the word “could.”]

“What is happening now in the next few years will profoundly affect the next thousand years,” he declared elsewhere. [Fact check: no it won’t; barely in the slightest. The planet is 4.5 billion years old. It’s perfectly capable of taking care of itself, regardless of our ludicrous delusions otherwise.]

This isn’t science. This is the purest political activism — and it’s quite extraordinary that the BBC, theoretically committed by its charter obligations to fair and accurate broadcasting, should have allowed itself to be used as a platform for such blatant fearmongering, misinformation, and propagandising.

The BBC supposedly represents the entire viewing population. (Otherwise, why should we all be forced to fund it with our compulsory annual £154.50 per household licence fee?) Yet here it is speaking on behalf of a narrow clique of mostly metropolitan, left-liberal types who pay lip service to the green religion because it’s such an easy way of publicly signalling their virtue.

Those many of us — perhaps the majority of the population — who, with good reason, are sceptical about the global warming scare are treated with utter contempt, as if our opinions don’t matter.

Anyone with an even rudimentary grasp of the climate debate knows, for example, that Michael Mann, James Hansen, and Naomi Oreskes are key members of the climate industrial complex with a long track record of aggressive political activism on behalf of the environmental movement. Yet here they were being presented by the BBC — and by Attenborough — as if they were dispassionate, wholly trustworthy climate experts.

Even by the BBC’s abysmal standards, this programme was a disgrace: an insult to the intelligence, a betrayal of the Reithian principles on which the BBC was founded, and a shameless piece of propaganda on behalf of the watermelons who would destroy our civilisation.

As for Sir David Attenborough, it’s time this whispery voiced, gorilla hugging, walrus scaring Malthusian was recognised for what he is: not as a national treasure but as a national embarrassment long, long past his sell-by date.


Democrats Want to Rejoin the Paris Accord. Let’s Recall Why It Was Such a Bad Deal

When the Obama administration negotiated the Paris climate agreement, conservatives argued that it should move through the proper treaty process and be sent to the Senate, where elected senators could weigh in and potentially reject the deal.

President Barack Obama didn’t do that. Instead, he unilaterally signed the deal, making it all the more easy for a future president to un-sign it.

Now that President Donald Trump has announced his intent to withdraw from the costly, ineffectual agreement, House Democrats think it’s time to involve Congress.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced the Climate Action Now Act, a bill that would block the Trump administration from withdrawing from the Paris accord and enforce the commitments made under the Obama administration. Those commitments include reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26-28% compared to 2005 levels.

Trump was right to announce his intent to withdraw from Paris. While the climate is indeed changing and human activity is playing a role, the chances of looming climate catastrophe are simply unrealistic and not grounded in reality.

But even granting such a looming catastrophe, the Paris Agreement itself would do little to alter the climate. To have any impact whatsoever on climate, the entire world would either have to quickly change the way it consumes energy or simply remain undeveloped. Both options are devoid of reality.

While many countries are rapidly expanding their use of renewable power, forecasts indicate that coal, oil, and natural gas will continue to provide the overwhelming majority of the world’s energy needs well into the future. For developing countries, the highest priorities are to reduce energy poverty and improve living standards.

Those who are clamoring for action on climate change are the ones who should actually be most upset with what a sham the Paris agreement is. It’s been celebrated as a breakthrough achievement of the world’s developed and developing countries coming together, but it is anything but that.

With no enforcement mechanisms in place and no repercussions for failing to meet emissions reduction targets, countries are essentially free to do whatever they want, meaning they will continue on their business-as-usual trajectory without making any changes. China, for instance, can peak its emissions in 2030 even though projections have their peak emissions falling before that year.

India, for its part, has pledged to reduce its emissions levels, or cuts its ratio of carbon emissions to gross domestic product. That ratio may well go down so long as carbon emissions rise at a slower rate than GDP, but carbon emissions will keep rising all the same.

Actually, India committed to emissions reductions that are less than what the country would achieve if it continues on the same track it is currently on today. In other words, it set the bar so low that it can continue along its businesses-as-usual trajectory of emissions intensity and come out looking like a climate hero.

As the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass wrote, “It’s easy to slim down to 180 pounds, if you weigh 175 to begin with.”

Pakistan was more honest than most about its emissions prospects, stating bluntly, “Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030. An exponential increase of [greenhouse gas] emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected.”

Global compliance with the Paris Agreement has been nothing short of abysmal. In fact, most nations will soon fail to meet the deadlines they agreed to.

The original hope that each nation’s contribution might somehow push other countries to “do more” is not playing out. This deal was a hodgepodge of arbitrarily defined commitments with no enforcement mechanism. It was doomed from the start.

Following through with the Obama administration’s commitments would impose clear economic harm on the U.S. by driving energy prices higher—and that’s just a small part of the overall cost. Americans would pay more for food, health care, education, clothes, and every other good and service that requires energy.

These higher costs would be spread across the entire economy and would shrink overall economic growth and employment. Heritage Foundation analysts estimated that the regulations required to meet the Obama administration’s commitments would impose the following costs by 2035:

An overall loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, half of which would be in manufacturing.

A average total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four.

An aggregate GDP loss of over $2.5 trillion.

Other countries would continue getting a free pass under the agreement, but if the U.S. signed back on, one can be sure that environmental activist lawsuits would make sure the U.S. kept its obligations.

To make matters worse, the climate regulations encompassing the U.S. target may not even achieve the desired results and would require additional regulations. And that would just be the beginning. The Paris Agreement requires ever-increasing targets as time goes on, which would further increase the cost of compliance. These efforts would return us to the same costly and ineffective policies that the current administration is unwinding.

Congress should instead advance pragmatic policies that will actually drive innovation in energy and environmental protection.


NAACP Embraces ‘Green’ Agenda, Showing It No Longer Represents Black Interests

I try to keep an open mind about policies and regulations that impact communities of color. After all, the government’s No. 1 priority should be the welfare of its people.

But with interest groups now linking arms despite having little if anything to do with each other, it can be hard for the average person to discern which policies will serve them best.

For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a new study this month called “Fossil Fueled Foolery,” which claims to reveal how the fossil fuel industry manipulates communities of color.

Yes, you heard that right.

The contradictory 28-page report criticizes the industry and even highlights its “Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics”—but nowhere does it offer a solution to our growing energy needs. There’s also no mention of energy poverty, a real phenomenon plaguing the black community in which households can’t afford basic electric and heating needs due to high energy prices.

Those energy prices are only pushed higher by “green agenda” policies. So the very people the NAACP claims it is helping are actually the ones being negatively impacted by the energy policies it promotes.

The NAACP’s report states that “[t]he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put the world on a 12-year countdown to take urgent and aggressive action on eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.” This same statement caused hysteria among environmentalists calling for drastic measures like the Green New Deal.

And despite studies and articles written about how the Green New Deal would hit minorities and black communities the hardest, many presidential hopefuls continue to embrace the plan.

In the report, the NAACP lists the “Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics” that it claims are being used to manipulate communities of color. Yet some of these tactics are nonsensical, including the very first one, which says the fossil fuel industry “invest[s] in efforts that undermine democracy.”

The irony is that the NAACP is doing just that: investing in a study and promoting misleading information.

Another tactic listed (and the most absurd) is No. 10: “Embrace renewables, seek to control the energy economy, and quell energy sovereignty.” Come again?

The NAACP is simply trying to smear conventional energy sources in an effort to stay in with the left. But such tactics will only backfire on the people the NAACP claims to represent: low-income and black communities. We need look no further than the city of Baltimore, the national headquarters of the NAACP, where some residents pay 50% to 75% more in energy bills because of green energy policies that have fallen short.

This reflects a loss of mission on the part of the NAACP, which was founded to advance the interests of black people—not buy wholesale into one side’s energy policies.

In recent years, new organizations like Black Lives Matter have fostered a stronger presence in the black community than the NAACP. Other groups like the African American Episcopal Church Council of Bishops have called for the NAACP to reinvent itself.

Many black people, including myself, have questioned the relevance of the NAACP and its views. There is in fact more diversity of viewpoint within the black community than the NAACP lets on.

Proving this point, Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. and Alveda King—the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.—slammed the NAACP in 2017 for supporting abortion, despite the fact that abortion is the largest destroyer of black lives in America.

Even the NAACP’s name is outdated. I can’t remember ever being called “colored.” That word was removed from the U.S. census report in 1980. It’s no wonder the NAACP is struggling to stay relevant.

The truth is that the NAACP has been left behind. This “Fossil Fuel Foolery” paper shows exactly who the NAACP serves: the coalition of the liberal elite. Low-income and black Americans will have to look elsewhere for genuine representation.


Australian chefs pledge to no longer serve unsustainable seafood

Keeping fish stocks healthy is a laudable goal but very large areas of Australian waters are national parks in which fishing is prohibited so the panic is unfounded.  The restaurateurs will end up giving their business to some of our many Vietnamese restaurants if they are not careful.  Viets are brilliant cooks -- including seafood

Chefs from 40 leading restaurants across Australia have pledged to no longer serve unsustainable seafood as part of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) new GoodFish Project launched today.

All the restaurants have agreed not to source or serve seafood that is red-listed as “Say No” in Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide - an independent scientific analysis of seafood production researched and published by AMCS.

World-renowned Australian chef Ben Shewry, owner of Attica in Melbourne, is also announced today as the project’s official GoodFish Ambassador. Attica is currently ranked the 20th best restaurant in the world.

Chef and GoodFish manager Sascha Rust said: “Chefs have an incredible ability to talk to people through food. We are trusted guides for society on how we eat and what we eat.

“Chefs that are coming onboard with GoodFish are sending a very clear message. This community does not want to support practices that are damaging our oceans and putting the long-term sustainability of the oceans and food they love at risk. Instead, they want to be able to celebrate great seafood that’s sustainable.”

Shewry’s restaurant Attica was ranked 20th in “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” awards for 2018 - the only Australian restaurant to make the list, independently judged by chefs, restaurateurs and critics.

Shewry said he was "absolutely thrilled and honoured" to be asked to be the GoodFish ambassador having first started using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide some 10 years ago to guide his sourcing.

He said: "The GoodFish project aims to build a community of chefs in Australia to come together to work on this problem. We have a moral responsibility. We need to understand the ingredients that we are cooking with, and no more so than what comes from the oceans."

"In my position as a chef, I have a big influence on what people eat and what other people cook because our restaurant is well known.  If I don't have have what I would call a clean menu - if I don't have best practice, the most sustainable menu I can have in terms of shellfish and seafood - then I am contributing to the problem."

So far 40 restaurants across the country have signed up to GoodFish, including Alanna Sapwell (Arc Dining, Brisbane), Alejandro Saravia (Pastuso, Melbourne; Uma, Perth), Ben Devlin (Pipit, Pottsville), Thi Li (Anchovy, Melbourne), Jacqui Challinor (NOMAD, Sydney) and the team behind Three Blue Ducks (Byron Bay, Sydney and Brisbane).

Rust added: “Our aim here is to bring together a strong community of voices to protect our oceans so they can continue to provide joy, and food, for generations to come.”

Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, which celebrates its 15th birthday in 2019, covers some 92 per cent of all the seafood consumed by Australians, including locally-produced and imported species.

The guide has three colour-coded classifications, where consumers and chefs are advised on green-listed “Better Choice” species, and to “Say No” to red-listed species and “Eat Less” from an amber list.

Adrian Meder, AMCS Sustainable Seafood Program Manager, said the guide assesses fisheries and aquaculture operators on a range of practices, such as the stock status of the species, the methods used to catch or farm them, and impacts on other marine wildlife and habitats.

He said: “Chefs are real arbiters of our seafood choices and the best chefs are closely connected to the supply chains from the ocean to the plate. That so many of them are now using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide to make sure their customers get the best seafood choices is not just a testament to the guide, but to them as guardians of the future of food.”

The guide assesses some 160 wild caught and farmed fish choices covering more than 92 per cent of the seafood consumed by Australians. Some 50 fish choices are green-listed, 53 are amber and 57 are coded red for “Say No”.

Because Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide is fully independent of government and industry, Meder said it remains the most used and trusted source of information for the seafood-loving Australian public.

Via email from


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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