Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category
When recently asked at a meeting with CSIRO scientists what he thought public good research was, their CEO Larry Marshall said:
“Anything that’s good for the public”
He then went on to say:
“Government policy, frankly, determines public good. That’s their decision. When they fund renewable energy, environmental science, education, health care, that’s a fundamental policy choice. It’s completely separate to us. National objectives, national challenges, is that not, a realistic measure of public good?”
Part of the debate about CSIRO funding and priorities, and public good research (PGR), is what public good research means. This confusion in part comes from different world views, but it also has specific economic and less specific philosophical meanings that need to be teased out and understood. Otherwise PGR will be a political football, subject to the politics of the day.
In Australia, we’ve already seen that happen in a number of areas of public good, such as climate change, the arts and the humanities, to name a few. Because they are not directly injecting cash into the economy (or are perceived slow down other areas of income generation), these areas are held to be uneconomic and a burden to the public purse. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday was hug a climate scientist day. Dear readers, you missed out if you didn’t get to one, because there were a whole bunch of climate scientists at the State Library of Victoria being very huggable. And other friends of CSIRO.
The Friends of CSIRO had a forum at the State Library of Victoria, moderated by Kate Auty. Senator Kim Carr spoke and announced that if elected, Labor would restore $250 million to the CSIRO budget, reversing the cuts currently underway. Adam Bandt science spokesperson from the Greens said they would would go further, investing slightly over $300 million, and boosting funds for R&D generally. Both were very welcome statements. Read the rest of this entry »
Twitter is going off after Australia’s Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt posted this:
Elaine McKewon book-ended my letter to the editors of Fairfax papers The Age and Sydney Morning Herald regarding the publishing of John McLean’s error-ridden piece on the IPCC (the editors, by the way, have not responded) with a terrific take down of McLean in Crikey.
She questioned McLean’s byline on the original article, to whit:
“John McLean is the author of three peer-reviewed papers on climate and an expert reviewer for the latest IPCC report. He is also a climate data analyst and a member of the International Climate Science Coalition.”
asking “But is that accurate? Who is John McLean? What qualifications entitle him to speak as an expert on climate science? What is the ICSC, and which groups, interests and agendas do McLean and the ICSC represent? What exactly does it mean to be an “expert reviewer” of IPCC reports?”
As a result of the statement I made regarding the BoM Annual Climate Statement 2013, I was asked to do a radio interview on ABC drivetime radio in WA, so had a close look at the WA numbers to provide some local background. Average temperature was 0.98°C warmer than the 1961-90 average, the next highest being +0.93°C in 1998. Maximum temperature was also the warmest at +1.11°C compared to +1.00°C in 1994. Minimum temperature was not quite the warmest on record.
But the big shock I got was when I looked at sea surface temperatures (SSTs) for south-west WA. Have a look at this graph (note that 2013 isn’t up there yet due to a delay in processing):
On Friday Jan 3, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology released its Annual climate statement 2013. The headline statements include:
Data collected and analysed by the Bureau of Meteorology show that 2013 was Australia’s warmest year on record while rainfall was slightly below average nationally.
- Summer 2012–13 was the warmest on record nationally, spring was also the warmest on record and winter the third warmest
- Overall, 2013 was Australia’s warmest year on record: annual national mean temperature was +1.20°C above average
- All States and the Northern Territory ranked in the four warmest years on record
- Nationally-averaged rainfall was slightly below average for the year, with 428 mm (1961–1990 average 465 mm)
- Rainfall was mostly below average for the inland east and centre, and above average for the east coast, northern Tasmania and parts of Western Australia
The statement was widely reported – two good summaries by the BoM crew and Lewis and Karoly can be found on The Conversation. One of the biggest talking points was that 2013 was a normal year meteorologically – no El Niño in sight – but the temperature was still a record. Much of the reporting in Australia pointed out the disjuncture between observations and current government policy. The Australian Science Media Centre also had a rapid round-up that included some words from me.