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.
Original report from: Mashable