Understanding Climate Risk

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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Friends of CSIRO

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In response to the recent threats to public good research in CSIRO, a Friends of CSIRO organisation has been set up with nodes in a number of states and Territories. Like the friends of the ABC, their role is to defend the public good and socially beneficial aspects of publicly-funded scientific research.

They have a Facebook page, so get over there and like that, and they have a web page, so get over there, have a look, join up and donate.

While you’re at it, the CSIRO Staff Association has published a whole heap on resources into their campaign to preserve those jobs including the so-called ‘deep dive’ exercise and job cuts including private emails that were intended to keep the whole process opaque. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

May 24, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Review of national climate science capability

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The Australian Academy of Science is conducting a review of Australian climate science capability and future requirements, in order to better understand the capabilities (including expertise and infrastructure) that are needed in Australia.

The review is being overseen by a steering committee, consisting of:

  • Professor Trevor McDougall (chair)
  • Associate Professor Julie Arblaster
  • Professor David Griggs
  • Professor Rod Keenan
  • Professor Neville Nicholls
  • Dr Graeme Pearman
  • Dr Helen Cleugh

The committee will conduct an extensive consultation program, both with organisations that conduct climate science research and individuals in the climate science community.  Although there are a wide range of fields that contribute to climate science and the response to climate change in Australia, the Academy feels that its expertise is best placed to examine the fundamental climate science capabilities – approximately those areas which would be included in the IPCC Working Group I report.

Institutions such as CSIRO, BoM, AIMS, CoE, TERN, IMOS have been notified of this review and have welcomed it.

More information on the review can be found at the Academy’s website. If you are a climate scientist working in an IPCC WGI-related field, please consider following the links on that website to download the consultation paper and make a submission.

Submissions from individuals are due by 5 June.

Written by Roger Jones

May 24, 2016 at 6:27 pm

End of the hiatus

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Understanding Climate Risk has been in something of a hiatus, or a pause for the last couple of years due your host being almost fully submerged, but maybe it’s time to rise to the surface and get things going again.

This is for a few reasons. One is that research, especially public good research and especially in CSIRO, is under serious threat in Australia. We have a government who tout innovation, but who wilfully ignore the role of the generation of underpinning knowledge in fuelling such innovation. They are interested only in commercial innovation – public-good innovation is not only being ignored, it is being excluded from processes such as the Cooperative Research Centre bids currently under way. Having sustainable cities, catchments and ecosystems is impossible without public good research and social innovation, with funding that extends across the sciences, the humanities and the arts. With an election going on, these harms need to be publicised. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

May 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

CSIRO climate research cuts: Statement by concerned scientists

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The following is a statement prepared by a group of climate scientists in response to the recent announcement of cuts by CSIRO. It was released today at lunchtime by scientists attending the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society 2016 Conference.

 

We strongly believe that the proposed cuts to CSIRO (announced 4/2/16) will seriously undermine Australia’s capacity to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.

Some 100 positions are to be cut in CSIRO’s Ocean and Atmosphere Flagship as part of 350 lost positions across the organisation. This will cripple CSIRO’s climate research.

Australia is a continent surrounded by rapidly changing weather patterns, connected to a rapidly changing global climate. We have already learnt a great deal about our region’s climate, but urgently need to improve our understanding in important areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

February 8, 2016 at 5:26 pm

CSIRO cuts to climate science are against the public good

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Roger Jones, Victoria University

CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) is facing another round of job losses to basic public research, with the news that the organisation is making deep staffing cuts to areas such as Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water. Internally, there are signals that Oceans and Atmosphere will be cut substantially, amid 350 job losses over two years across the organisation.

In a letter to staff, CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said:

CSIRO pioneered climate research … But we cannot rest on our laurels as that is the path to mediocrity. 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?

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Written by Roger Jones

February 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Pell hoists himself on his own logic

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We have been waiting for Cardinal George Pell to comment publicly on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ because it professes pretty much the opposite to Pell’s public omnipotence on all things climate change.

Speaking to the Financial Times in a story on his reform of Vatican finance, Pell says this:

“It’s got many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful,” he says. “But the church has no particular expertise in science . . . the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,” added Cardinal Pell.

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Written by Roger Jones

July 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Is the Chief Scientist’s recent science & economy report really pseudo-science?

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Fairfax journo Gareth Hutchens has an article in today’s Herald with the headline:

Australia’s scientists forced to rely on pseudo-science to be taken seriously in Canberra

Well, it is April the first.

Hutchens has a go at the recent Chief Scientist and Australian Academy report: The importance of advanced physical and mathematical sciences to the Australian economy (pdf). They engaged the Centre of International Economics to conduct an economic analysis that used the MMRF-NRA computable general equilibrium model to estimate the impacts of a number of input assumptions on the contribution of the physical and mathematical sciences to the economy. The report estimates that the direct contribution of the advanced physical and mathematical sciences is
equal to 11% of the Australian economy (about $145 billion per year). Along with the direct contribution, the report estimates additional and flow-on benefits of another 11%, bringing total benefits to just over 22% (around $292 billion per year).

I felt I had to defend the report, which is not perfect but necessary (I think I also agree with the headline). In doing so I find myself in defence of CGE economic models (which I can’t quite believe I’m doing). Basically, Hutchens reckons that by engaging with an economic consultancy and an economic model, the Chief Scientist and Australian Academy of Science have prostituted themselves (my words) to the same economic lobbying that everyone else in Canberra uses to argue for government support. Here’s my response posted to the comments of the article (slightly edited – doesn’t seem to have made it through, either):

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

April 1, 2015 at 9:17 am

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