Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) thinks there's no more work to be done on climate change - and they're slashing research funding across the board.
Australia has taken a precarious stance on climate change in recent years, with the majority of the population supporting further scientific research and efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and the government supporting further exploration and exploitation of the continent’s vast fossil fuel resources. According to a Forbes report, however, the Aussie government has made a definitive step towards climate change research, and many believe it was in the wrong direction.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, has announced that it would make deep cuts along its climate-science research team, prompting uproar from climate researchers around the world.
At the heart of CSIRO’s decision is the belief that climate change has already been proven – therefore scientists shouldn’t have to study it anymore. This represents a massive shift in Australian public policy, and climate advocates around the globe fear that this is only the beginning of a new form of climate denial.
“I believe this is the start of a global trend, said David Carlson, the director of the World Climate Research Program in Geneva, Switzerland. Carlson worries that following the Paris summit on Climate Change in 2015, nations will take a more relaxed stance towards climate research and forego studies that could prove essential.
CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall reiterated in a press release that the problem of climate change had already been solved, and that nations should focus on solutions for the climate scientists expect to experience in the coming century.
But there’s one big problem with this stance. By ignoring the scientific process, and taking old information as fact, the Australian government could find themselves making dated and uninformed policy decisions about the climate.
While this decision is surely related to Australia’s growing role as a major supplier of fossil fuels to Asia and the Pacific region, the country could find themselves inadvertently contributing to climate change more than they would have if new studies continued to receive funding.
The move may make short-term sense politically, but the decision to ditch climate science could come back to haunt Australia, and even the entire globe. The scientific process is never finished, and it would be foolish to take a relaxed stance on climate science without knowing what’s going on in the world for sure.
A press release from CSIRO’s chief executive Larry Marshall describing the recent policy changes can be found here.