If the article at the Sydney Morning Herald is true, then the CSIRO and Australian government have decided to dim the lights on climate science. Instead of researching climate science and climate change, the CSIRO management has decided to research how we can adapt to it.
It should not be a case of either/or. We need both.
Now applied research and development is the stock in trade of the CSIRO. That R&D organisation was established primarily for the "D" in R&D. It exists for the economic benefit of Australia. As with a lot of universities these days, it is expected to earn money through patents, licences, contracts and partnerships with industry and business. I've no problem with that. CSIRO has some very worthy successes. The problem I see is that in order for development there has to be research. Research precedes development in the R&D chain. If we don't properly understand what is happening and what is going to happen, then we won't properly understand what it is that we need to adapt to. So the question becomes - how are we going to adapt if we don't understand well enough what the future holds?
CSIRO works closely with the Bureau of Meteorology on climate science as well as with other research organisations here and abroad. Some of these programs are described on this CSIRO web page (archived version).
I don't know to what extent this latest move to block research is gamesmanship between the Turnbull government, Christopher Pyne and CSIRO management. Nor do I know what will be the outcome. What I do think is that we should be investing more heavily in climate-related research, not getting out of it.
Below are a couple of the more egregious paragraphs from the email from Dr Larry Marshall, CSIRO's new CEO from Silicon Valley. The SMH article has a link to that email.
CSIRO pioneered climate research, the same way we saved the cotton and wool industries for our nation. But we cannot rest on our laurels as that is the path to mediocrity. Our climate models are among the best in the world and our measurements honed those models to prove global climate change. That question has been answered, and the new question is what do we do about it, and how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with?Larry Marshall comes across as an ignorant ning nong when it comes to climate. Climate models are not merely to "prove" climate change. They help us understand it. In particular, as the computers that run models become more powerful, we have greater insight into what we can expect from climate change at the local level around Australia. This knowledge is going to become more critical, not less, as time goes by. I certainly hope that he's not suggesting that CSIRO is dismantling its climate models.
Then there's this, talking about Oceans and Atmosphere, and Land & Water units of the CSIRO. I've archived some CSIRO web pages, because if the razor gang has its way, they might not exist much longer (see here and here and here):
There will be reductions in headcount in Data61, Oceans & Atmosphere, Land & Water and Manufacturing...Which followed, some paras after this:
The Great Barrier Reef is at risk, and clearly we need to enhance our nation’s capability to restore marine ecosystems. We will grow our capability in autonomous marine platforms to make a step change in our management of the oceans, climate adaptation, climate interventions (geo-engineering), emergency response to extreme events, understanding of cumulative impacts of Blue Economy developments, our world leading water management capability, genomics and remote sensing methods for fisheries.
From the WUWT comments
Eric Worrall at WUWT picked up this story (archived here). Needless to say the deniers at WUWT are delighted. They would like to stop all climate-related research, while they sit back and gloat in disastrous floods, dreadful droughts, terrible wildfire and the demise of Australia's agricultural sector. In fact they'd like to stop any research that was geared toward understanding the environment in which we live. Deniers are scientific illiterati who extol and thrive on ignorance.
February 3, 2016 at 7:25 pm
About ‘bloody’ time!
February 3, 2016 at 8:00 pm
This make sence. Since the science is settled, what’s to study?
markl demonstrates the usual conspiracy ideation:
February 3, 2016 at 7:31 pmLeonard Lane is another WUWT conspiracy theorist:
Can’t say this is bad news. Maybe it will be cause for some to become whistle blowers in retribution.
February 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm
Great thought markl. We sure could use a few dozen or more whistleblowers showing how and why the adjustments and homogenizations were done–good case for some legal action against some of the national climate data manglers and conspirators.
William isn't satisfied with stopping climate research at CSIRO, he wants to shut down Australia's weather office too:
February 3, 2016 at 10:52 pm
Now they can start on the BOM?