The Abbott – Turnbull Government must today take responsibility for the damage they have caused to Australia’s climate science capacity; not only tarnishing our international reputation but putting all Australians at unnecessary risk from climate change impacts.
The Australian Academy of Science’s review into Australian Climate Science Capability released today found that climate science in Australia is under-resourced and failing to keep pace with the rest of the world.
“The current level of resourcing of Australia’s climate modelling activity will not allow Australia to keep pace with world’s best practice.
“This shortfall is brought into sharper focus when considering that Australia is potentially more exposed to the impacts of climate change than most developed nations, and our location means that key climate drivers in our region are not well represented in climate models developed in other countries.”
Australian Climate Science Capability Review, 2017.
Australia has leading scientists whose research is helping develop climate policy around the globe, but here at home the Turnbull Government is happy to see these capabilities diminished as his government refuses to introduce any real climate change policy in Australia.
The Australian science and research community has still not recovered from the assault that the Turnbull Liberals waged on the CSIRO and when it comes to climate change science, the once great climate warrior Mr Turnbull has proven to be no better than his predecessor.
Compounding Tony Abbott’s $115 million funding cuts, Malcolm Turnbull decided to make his own mark by signing off on hundreds of CSIRO job losses, critically endangering vital climate research at the CSIRO.
Today’s report reinforces that Prime Minister Turnbull’s actions have done significant damage to Australia’s international reputation and our ability to contribute to global efforts. The impact of this Government’s anti-CSIRO policy has previously been highlighted by the New York Times in an editorial expressing shock at the decision to cut CSIRO’s climate science research.
The agency remains in crisis, reduced and under resourced, making climate change mitigation and adaptation harder and more expensive for all Australians, especially future generations.
In May the Director of the CSIRO Climate Science Centre, Dr Helen Cleugh told Senate estimates:
“We have lost staff, yes, and we are now rebuilding and reshaping… CSIRO's climate capability in terms of its staffing has been reduced.”
Dr Helen Cleugh, Senate Estimates 31 May 2017
It is the Liberals failure to deal with scientific reality that has put the capabilities and reputation of our research agencies, and by extension all of us, at risk.