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CSIRO's Ideology Is Questionable

By Graeme Pearman

The decision to dismantle CSIRO's climate research underlines a shift in priorities from support of broad societal needs towards a focus on wealth generation.

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CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall has decided to reduce his investment in climate research on the basis, notwithstanding the quality of the research, that the time has come to focus Australia's strategies on adapting to climate change. The assumption is that sufficient is known about how global warming will impact regional and local climate-related events so as to enable the confident development and deployment of adaptive efforts in anticipation of those threats.

The reality is that our sound foundation of climate knowledge can only lead to a sound and active role in adaptation if those strategies are linked directly to improved regional projections of the impacts of both climate and sea level. This is where the very leading-edge of the climate science is. Today is very much the wrong time to cease efforts to improve understanding of regional climate change, particularly with regard to linkages with other disciplines and operators dealing with the adaptation options.

It is the prerogative of a CEO to make decisions about the investments within an organisation. However, it is reasonable to ask about the degree to which any CEO, in the private or public sectors, is responsible to more inclusive oversight by a suitably qualified board or set of advisors, and whether this has been the case with CSIRO.

It also brings into question the extent to which the CSIRO...

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