Australian business magnate and multi-billionaire Ruport Murdoch created even more enemies when he declared on Tuesday that the Great Barrier Reef, which has suffered severe destruction at human hands, looks "to the naked eye...fully as good as it did 50 years ago."
Murdoch made the comment in a series of posts to his Twitter page:
Australia's Great Barrier Reef truly one of the world's great wonders. Never more beautiful than today teeming with multi-coloured fish.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) August 25, 2015
of course we should do everything to preserve the reef, but first let's get all the scientific facts in a row if greens can agree anything.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) August 25, 2015
To the naked eye reef looks fully as good as it did 50 years ago.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) August 25, 2015
Environmental campaigners were quick to express ire following the comments.
"Anything Rupert Murdoch says in this area, you have to remember you are talking about a man with no scientific training who is a rampant political ideologue," Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams. "Anyone who takes him half-seriously is a fool."
"The Great Barrier Reef is most certainly under threat and we look forward to advising Rupert Murdoch on his next visit to the optician," Leanne Minshull, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace International, told the Independent.
Murdoch's statements follow the Prime Minister Tony Abbott's proposed gutting of a critical environmental protection law, section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, which experts say would put the Great Barrier Reef and other natural treasures under immediate threat of further destruction.
The reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stretches 1,200 miles off Australia's northeastern coast. The bio-diverse site has suffered severe harm from human-made climate change, oil spills, pollution, and over-fishing. In 2009, it was declared in a government report that the reef faces "catastrophic damage" from climate change and chemical runoff and has "poor" chances of healthy survival. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn in early July confirmed that the reef continues to deteriorate and gave the Australian government 18 months to meaningfully protect it.
Murdoch's comments also provoked outraged responses on social media, including from Twitter users who questioned Murdoch's credentials to make such a claim.
Rupert Murdoch just said the Great Barrier Reef looks as good as 50 years ago. I.. I don't think he can see colours anymore. #auspol— Costa A (@costaacomics) August 26, 2015