Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

CSIRO must ensure climate science is maintained

By John Church

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Parts of CSIRO’s climate science capability axed from the organisation could be absorbed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, according to media reports this week.

Under cuts announced in early February by chief executive Larry Marshall and Oceans and Atmosphere Director Ken Lee, CSIRO could lose 100 staff from the Oceans and Atmosphere business unit, mostly in the climate area, as part of a total of 350 job losses across the organisation. The cuts represent a reduction in CSIRO’s role in doing science for the public good. Marshall stated that the research focus would shift towards mitigating and adapting to climate change.

A potential partial solution could see the Bureau take on some aspects of the science programs lost from CSIRO, potentially involving a transfer of 40 to 50 climate staff. Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has said he is “deeply concerned” about the time taken to develop a transition plan.

At this stage, it is unknown what will happen with the Bureau proposal. Picking up 40 to 50 staff would be a welcome step forward from the initial CSIRO cuts, but would be far from an optimal solution. There also needs to be a solution for the potential remaining loss of capability that would not be...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.