National environmental science capacity in jeopardy

February 04, 2016

Australia’s world-leading climate and environmental science capability is facing an uncertain future with the news of more major job cuts at the CSIRO, according to the Australian Academy of Science. 

The announcement comes on top of cuts of more than $20 million to climate and environmental science in the 2014-15 Federal Budget. 

Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes said there was now serious concern about Australia’s future capacity to conduct climate and environmental science, and our ability to contribute to the global monitoring of climate change. 

“Whilst the Academy is seriously concerned that CSIRO will no longer be leading Australia’s climate and environmental science research effort, we want to ensure that our national research capability is not lost in these important areas,” Professor Holmes said. 

“We call on the government to quickly make alternative arrangements to continue a comprehensive national program of climate research. Without a nationally coordinated effort, our diminished research capacity will mean Australia lacks the local knowledge necessary to adapt to a changing climate.

“Our climate and environmental scientists are some of the best in the world. We wouldn’t stop supporting our elite Olympic athletes just as they’re winning gold medals. Nor should we pull the rug out from under our elite scientists.

“Australia is internationally recognised for its expertise and unique position in climate and environmental research. Realistically, there are no other countries in the Southern Hemisphere that are able to do what we do. We have a singular contribution to make towards global and regional climate knowledge, and with this role comes a great responsibility to the global community.”

Professor Andrew Holmes is available for comment. To arrange an interview please contact Bella Counihan on 0419212219. 

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