Secret tape sheds light on Australian climate science job losses

Posted: May 30, 2016 by oldbrew in climate, research

Australian coral [image credit:]

Australian coral [image credit:]

The row over proposed admin changes in Australian climate science rumbles on, amid reports of ‘walkouts, groans and the occasional expletive’ at a staff meeting.

Remarks made by the head of Australia’s peak science body in a secret recording will do little to assuage fears the country will lose much of its climate science capacity amid severe budget cuts.

The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was thrown into turmoil in February after reports that hundreds of climate scientists would be made redundant. 

The change is being led by the organisation’s new CEO, Larry R. Marshall, who has made little secret of his desire to concentrate on science that can be commercialised.

The recording, obtained by ABC’s Background Briefing, sheds further light on Marshall’s view. The audio was obtained during a February meeting in Canberra between concerned CSIRO staff and Marshall, the show reported.

In the recording, Marshall suggests the CSIRO’s work will be focused on fulfilling the government’s innovation and growth agenda, above all. “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but you have to get real about your customer,” he suggests, referring to the government.

“It’s a fundamental shift away from curiosity-led research toward impact. That’s the key.”

Marshall has run into controversy for appearing to suggest the case for climate science is closed. In the tape, he attempts to clarify his remarks, suggesting the focus should be on adaptation to climate change.

“You’re cutting our ability to predict what those changes will be,” responds one of the attendees.

According to the ABC, half of the assembled scientists had walked out by mid-meeting. Groans and the occasional expletive can be heard throughout.

Source: Secret tape sheds light on why Australia is losing vital climate science jobs | Yahoo News

Original report from: Mashable

  1. oldbrew says:

    Possible disruption to production line of climate scare stories? Oh dear.

  2. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Hi from Oz. My understanding from careful reading of various news reports here in Oz was that the job of several of the ‘climate scientists’ being retrenched was ‘researching the social effects of and attitude to climate change’ or the like. Hardly likely to affect Australia’s ‘ability to predict what those changes will be’. Here in brisbane I’m looking forward to cooler summers in my retirement, not hotter ones, as seems likely.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Prune the useless aggressively. If you need to hire back some function, there will be plenty of resource available from which to choose… It is very important “to break the (cultural) gel” of an ossified organization in order to fix it. Any collateral damage can be fixed up later. Not breaking the gel means failure to fix at all…

    ( As Director level management I’ve done exactly that. After trying other things that didn’t work.)

  4. michael hart says:

    ‘“You’re cutting our ability to predict what those changes will be,” responds one of the attendees.’

    Well duhhh… I guess that’s the problem with predicting the world in the year 2100: Once you’ve confidently predicted it, then you have nothing more to say. If you then want to predict something different then you’ve admitted that your original prediction was no good.

  5. seth says:

    Gutting science is a poor policy for the future of the country in any field.

    Gutting climate science seems part of the clamp down on discussing facts that are inconvenient for the coalition’s position on refugees, climate change and recently the NBN.

  6. oldbrew says:

    seth: speculation on what the climate will or might be like in 20,30,50 years etc. is not ‘discussing facts’.

  7. Paul Vaughan says:

    ““You’re cutting our ability to predict what those changes will be,” responds one of the attendees.”

    No, you were born without that.

  8. Paul Vaughan says:

    I feel terrible for the families who are attached to these hopeless people.

  9. […] Source: Secret tape sheds light on Australian climate science job losses | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    As the science is settled and the predictions have been made, these people are no longer needed.
    PR people are what is now needed to sell the message to save the world!
    Old gravy train is over and the new begins. The game remains the same…pg

  11. Paul Vaughan says:

    Is anyone aware of any useful climate insights that ever came from this place? I’m trying to think of any. None are coming to mind.

  12. mikerestin says:

    I have two points:
    1. No one has the ability to predict global climate because a SWAG is not a prediction.
    2. There is no such thing as a vital climate science job.

  13. Gerry, England says:

    Oh dear, how sad, what a pity, never mind as a certain Sergeant Major used to say. I like the cut of this Marshall chap’s gib. If he needs some ‘prediction’ capability he can always hire it in on sub-contract and on a results basis. Get it wrong and you aren’t hired again. That would be a shock to the doom-mongering industry.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Gerry: they could call it rent-a-scare 😎