Jennifer Marohasy

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Jennifer Marohasy portrait, 2008

Jennifer Marohasy (born 1963) is an Australian biologist, columnist and blogger. She was a senior fellow at the free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs between 2004 and 2009 and director of the Australian Environment Foundation until 2008.[1] She holds a PhD in biology from the University of Queensland. She is sceptical of anthropogenic global warming.


Marohasy worked as a field biologist in Africa and Madagascar during the 1980s and 1990s,[2] and has a number of published papers in science journals.[3]

In 1997 she switched from researcher to environment manager with the Queensland sugar industry. In 2001, she started to develop an interest in environmental campaigns and, in particular, claiming that there are anomalies between fact and perception regarding the health of coastal river systems and the Great Barrier Reef.[4]

In July 2003, she became director of the environment unit at the Institute of Public Affairs.

Her work at the Institute of Public Affairs[edit]

While head of the Environment Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, Dr Marohasy compiled a backgrounder titled Myth and the Murray - measuring the real state of the river environment[5] which was published by the Institute in December 2003. The Institute received a $40,000 donation from Murray Irrigation Limited at that time.[6] This paper is quoted in the Interim Report of the Inquiry into future water supplies for Australia’s rural industries and communities of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, March 2004. At a science round table of the committee, when asked for her views on how much water should be returned to the River Murray, Dr Marohasy argued that there was no need for additional flows at that time and that we should test the results of current environmental measures before committing to more.[7]

Dr Marohasy was instrumental in establishing a joint programme with the Institute of Public Affairs and the University of Queensland, funded by Western Australian philanthropist, Dr Bryant Macfie (A top 20 Shareholder in Strike Resources Limited [1] [2]).[8][9] Dr Marohasy is nolonger involved in the programme following objections to her involvement from the Australian Federation of Scientists and Technologists (FASTS).

Public position on global warming[edit]

In an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview she stated that... [i]t's not clear that climate change is being driven by carbon dioxide levels...whether or not we can reduce carbon dioxide levels, there will be climate change.[10]

On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National program, Ockham's Razor, Dr Marohasy said... I agree with Professor Flannery that we need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.[11]

In an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National program, Counterpoint, she claimed recent cooling by starting with the extreme temperature peak of the 1998 El Niño[12] event. She said that... there has been cooling if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last ten years. ...very unexpected not something that is being discussed. It should though be being discussed because it is very significant.[13]

Criticisms of BOM[edit]

Dr Marohasy claimed in the Australian media [14] that Cyclone Marcia's warning should be for a category 3 cyclone. The Bureau of Meteorology's Cyclone Marcia warning was for a category 5 cyclone.[15] Dr Marohasy cited data from Middle Percy Island station[16] showing maximum wind gusts of 208 kilometres per hour.[17] BOM stated however, that the strongest winds of the cyclone were on the eastern side, some 40 kilometres per hour faster - typical for cyclones in the southern hemisphere. The cyclone was gaining in strength. Middle Percy Island was on the western side of the cyclone. Middle Percy Island measuring equipment was destroyed by the cyclone and therefore the BOM data stream ceased. Dr Marohasy's claim, that BOM's category 5 warning was based solely on computer modeling, was rejected by Bureau chief Rob Webb.

Professor Jonathan Nott,[18] a James Cook University specialist in extreme natural events, said the bureau numbers showed it was a category 5 rather than a 3. “I would agree with the bureau,’’ Professor Nott said. “Percy didn’t get the strongest winds. They were substantially stronger to the east.’’


  1. ^ Melissa Fyfe, "Cool reception for new green group", The Age, 8 June 2005.
  2. ^ Walton, Craig (2005). Reclaiming Lost Provinces: A Century of Weed Biological Control in Queensland. Department of Natural Resources & Mines, Queensland.  Reviewed here
  3. ^ Early Scientific Publications :: Publications
  4. ^
  5. ^ Jennifer Marohasy, IPA Backgrounder Vol 15/5, December 2003,Myth and the Murray - measuring the real state of the river environment
  6. ^ ABC Local Radio, VIC Country Hour, 04/06/2004, Institute of Public Affairs accepts irrigation funds.
  7. ^ House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,2004, Inquiry into future water supplies for Australia’s rural industries and communities
  8. ^ AAP MediaNet Press Releases, Media Release: Institute of Public Affairs, 30 April 2008; Andrew Trounson, Greg Roberts,"Climate sceptic's $350,000 grant to uni has `no strings attached'", The Australian, 7 May 2008
  9. ^ The Australian, 7 May 2008. Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant
  10. ^ Report released on climate change - Broadcast 7/26/05
  11. ^ Ockham's Razor - Broadcast 11/20/05
  12. ^ 1997-1998 El Nino: the most recent event, Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois
  13. ^ Interview on Counterpoint - Broadcast 3/17/2008
  14. ^ Courier Mail - You Call that a Category 5?
  15. ^ Tropical Cyclone Marcia to reach Category 5 system at landfall
  16. ^ Latest Weather Observations for Middle Percy Island
  17. ^ Dr Marohasy, "Just before the cyclone made landfall it passed over Middle Percy Island ... A wind gust of 208 km/hr was recorded at 4.30 am, which suggests Marcia was almost a Category 3 at this time"
  18. ^ Professor Jon Nott Profile - James Cook University

External links[edit]