Lonely Planet Writer

Australia's climate change scientists facing the axe

Australia is to terminate the employment of hundreds of its climate research scientists because it says it now knows everything about global warming.

Australia's decision to end employment  of hundreds of climate scientists a worry for what happens about global warming
Australia’s decision to end employment of hundreds of climate scientists a worry for how they will respond in future to  global warming effects Image by Sarah Joy / CC BY-SA 2.0

However experts fear that such a drastic move will leave the country exposed and unable to respond in future to global warming effects. Australia is the driest country on Earth and traditionally is the hardest hit by global warming and already has felt the impact of massive weather changes, reports the London Independent. At present thousands of scientists are employed at the country’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) where it has been in the forefront in modelling climate change and observing how the ocean is affected by such change. A statement by CSIRO said that moving away from climate science was a “strategic decision” and it would instead concentrate on how best to adapt to the new environment.

Australia is the driest country on Earth according to experts and should be at the forefront of research on the effects of global warming
Australia is the driest country on Earth according to experts and should be at the forefront of research on the effects of global warming Image by Amanda Slater / CC BY-SA 2.0

However scientists disagree with this stance, saying that work at a basic level is still ongoing and warn that such research across the Southern Hemisphere would be damaged as a result. John Church, who has been employed by the organisation for 38 years and is a sea-level expert, told Nature News that the CSIRO statement was inaccurate and misleading because climate science was not done.

There will be job cuts in its atmosphere and oceans division and in its land and water programme departments, while a further 350 climate staff face deployment to more general roles away from their specialist areas. A CSIRO scientist told Scientific American that Australia is ground zero for climate change. He said climate models are needed to tell them what they should adapt to – and by when.