February 5, 2012

The Science Show

ABC Radio National

Matt Smith:
The World Health Organisation estimates that air pollution causes at least 6.5 million premature deaths a year worldwide, and a study released by the International Energy Agency states one-third of those deaths occur in China.
(Tackling air pollution in China, 3 December 2016)

Tony Abbott:
Coal is good for humanity.
Coal is good for prosperity.
Coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world.
(The March of Coal, 27 August 2016)

Robyn Williams:
[According to] the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation [Australia is currently] fifth from last in the league of governments supporting science-based innovation [ie 52nd out of 56 countries.]
(9 April 2016)

No Profit in Climate Change Research

Decisions we make as a society matter — and will shape Australia’s future more than decisions we make as businesses or individuals.
(p 18)

Across all scenarios analysed, we found that those scenarios where Australia and the world take stronger action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions show higher long-term economic growth and better environmental outcomes compared to scenarios that continue current trends. …
Synthetic solar gas and other zero-carbon energy [could] underpin Australia’s future energy and energy-intensive exports …
We find the additional benefits of stronger global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could outweigh the additional costs before 2050, due to projected shifts in national competitiveness rather than reduced physical climate impacts (which would largely occur after 2050). …
In our analysis, only the very strong global action scenarios limit the increase in global average temperature to 2°C. …
(p 26)

[While weaker action on climate change] is projected to result in better near-term economic performance, [it] risks damaging the natural assets and life-support systems on which our long-term wellbeing and economic security depend.
At this stage, our modelling does not fully account for the economic impacts of climate variability and extreme events — including droughts, floods, and storms — and so is likely to
  • understate the economic performance of scenarios involving very strong action, and
  • overstate the economic performance of scenarios with weaker action,
relative to existing trends.
(p 27, emphasis added)

[Furthermore,] we do not yet fully understand the potential cascading impacts of future climate change and extreme events on farms, sectors, and regions.
(p 11)

(Australian National Outlook, CSIRO, October 2015)

Maurice Newman: Prime Minister Abbott's top business advisor

The CSIRO … has 27 scientists dedicated to climate change.
It, and the weather bureau, continue to propagate the myth of [anthropogenic] climate change, and are likely to be background critics of the Coalition's Direct Action policy.

(Quoted by Fran Kelly, Climate Commission axed — Climate Change Authority next, Breakfast, ABC Radio National, 20 September 2013.)

Larry Marshall: CSIRO CEO, Venture Capitalist and Physicist

We're reducing our labour in [climate] modelling and measurement by about half [ie by 100-110 FTE.]
[We're] not the only people doing measurement …

(CSIRO boss Larry Marshall sorry for saying politics of climate 'more like religion than science', ABC News, 12 February 2016)

[What would it take to change my mind?]
For that to happen, someone's going to have to convince me that measuring and modelling is far more important than mitigation …

(CSIRO boss defends shake-up, says politics of climate 'more like religion than science', ABC News, 11 February 2016)

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? …

However, as our business unit leaders [aka senior scientists] work through the process of realigning their teams for the new strategy it is inevitable that there will be job losses. …
Our headcount is projected to be unchanged at the end of a two year period, but it is anticipated there could be up to 175 less CSIRO people per year during this two year transition.
There will be reductions in headcount in Data61, Oceans & Atmosphere, Land & Water and Manufacturing, but other business units will also be impacted in that changes in capabilities are required and there will also be some transfer of personnel. …
While I know that a smaller number of job losses in no way diminishes the pain of losing team members and friends, it is something that we must do to renew our business.

(All Staff Email, 4 February 2016)

[The good side of low staff turnover is] that means people love working for CSIRO but on the bad side most companies have much higher turnover than we do …
The good thing about turnover is it creates a career path for junior scientists to aspire to …

(Climate science on chopping block as CSIRO braces for shake-up, ABC News, 4 February 2016)

… innovation …

… innovation, … innovation. …

… innovation … innovation …

(Correcting the Public Record on Changes at CSIRO, 8 February 2016)

Ernest Gellner

A society that lives by growth must needs pay a certain price.
The price of growth is eternal innovation.
Innovation in turn presupposes unceasing occupational mobility …

(Nationalism and the Two Forms of Cohesion in Complex Societies, in Culture, Identity, and Politics, CUP, 1987, p 15)

Would you like to know more?


CSIRO Incorporated — The Research Company

Nice Guys and Bad Boys

Fasting and Longevity

Attitudes to Climate Change

The Only Planet We've Got

Wind Turbine Apocalypse

Rising Temperatures Across Australia

Measuring and Accounting for Sea-level Rise

The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality

Benefits of National Broadband: First Results to Come From Tasmania

How Plants React to Elevated Carbon Dioxide

Plastics Found in Sea Birds and Filter Feeders

How Plants Respond to Increasing Carbon Dioxide

Passive Infanticide

Reasons to be Hopeful

The Deficit Model

Spencer and Christy Mislead the World

February 4, 2012

Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Green Army: Research and Development

Executive Summary

  • Strong decisive steps are needed from key governments to place a long-term, stable and appropriate price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
    This will signal to the corporate sector that climate change is to be dealt with seriously, and stimulate appropriate investment from that sector to produce market-facing solutions
  • Limiting emissions from deforestation is a key area in which incentives need to be put in place immediately
  • R&D spending on clean energy should be increased with the public sector using its limited funds to leverage private sector investment
  • The co-benefits between energy security, economic stimulus through energy efficiencies and innovation, and tackling climate change should be highlighted …

Equity is also critical to the climate change issue, and … a cap and trade system based on a per capita emissions target by mid-century is proposed here as a potential method of generating financial flows from developed nations to the least developed world, whilst creating incentives for local decision making.
(p 3)


Reducing GHG emissions and deforestation are now issues of the greatest urgency.
Defossilising national economies over the coming four or five decades is less of a technological issue … than a behavioural, social and political challenge. …

The Copenhagen Accord of December 2009 was a major turning point in action on climate change.
In an ideal world, the major global powers … would have provided leadership to the UNFCCC process, and a global deal would have been achievable.
In the absence of this, the challenge is now being met through unilateral commitments, initiated prior to Copenhagen but massively extended through the Accord, and now integrated into the UNFCCC process in Cancun.
The UNFCCC process will continue to … verify and legitimise the actions of individual nations, and is an important sounding board, where the voices of small nations and of less developed nations can be heard. …

The potential profitability of moving to a green economy cannot be stressed enough, but it does need a price on the emission of GHGs to stimulate action in the market place.

Global equity is central to the debate.
A cap and trade system based on a per capita emissions target by mid-century is a potential way of generating financial flows from developed nations to the least developed world, creating incentives for local decision making.
(p 41)


The Scope of the Study

The International Climate Change Negotiations

Copenhagen and Cancun

Learning from the Negotiation Process

Next Steps

Parallel Processes


Would you like to know more?

Climate Change and Health

Climate Council

World Health Organization:
The global warming that has occurred since the 1970s was causing over 140,000 excess deaths annually by the year 2004.
(Fact sheet N°266, January, 2010)

Climate Council:
Australia’s emergency management authority estimates that in the last 100 years heatwaves "caused more deaths than any other natural hazard (except disease) …"
(Climate Change and Health, p 10)

The Important Role of Health Professionals

Why does climate change matter to health professionals?

Climate change is a threat to our health

Communities with a deeper understanding of the health implications of climate change are better equipped to participate in decisions about addressing climate change and preparing themselves for changes that cannot now be avoided.

Health professionals have a special role as trusted communicators

An initial survey found that health professionals are among those trusted to provide truthful information about climate change.

What should health professionals do about climate change?


[P]ublic health professionals and health organisations have many opportunities to help the public and decision makers better understand the implications of climate change, including the [threats] to human health and Australia’s health infrastructure.

Lead by example

Leadership by trusted health professionals … can have a significant ripple effect in the community.
[H]ealth professionals and services that proactively prepare for future extreme weather events will … help build more resilient communities.
(p 36)




Climate Change Will Affect Our Bodies

Climate Change Will Affect Our Minds

Some People Are Particularly Vulnerable

Urgent Action Can Protect Our Health