Climate Change Research Axed in Australia

climate changeThe fallout from the new government’s budget is still being seen in Australia, but it is already obvious that climate change is a loser when it comes to funding. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long been skeptical of global warming and the science behind it, but with his new-found legislative power it seems as though he is looking at making that viewpoint into law. According to critics, there is no longer even the pretence of working towards limiting the effects of climate change as the government works to protect the interests of fossil fuel producers and businesses. Whether or not there is a real connection between big business interest and the new budget, Abbott and his cabinet have taken the axe to climate change research and are poised to fundamentally damage all scientific research in Australia in the process.

The budgetary facts are inescapably grim for researchers and scientists based in renewable energies and research. The funding for all government programs related to climate change is set to shrink at an alarming rate, going from $5.75 billion this year to a scant $500 million in the next four years. Additionally, the Emissions Reduction Fund which is meant to help lower greenhouse gas emissions in Australia is going to be reduced to only $1.14 billion. This was devastating news after Environment Minister Greg Hunt had gone on record promising to provide $2.55 billion to fund the program. Nevertheless, it is not only climate change programs that are feeling the pinch of the Abbott budget. The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, will have $111 million worth of funding slashed over the next four years, which will affect an uncertain number of programs and a loss of tenth of the CSIRO workforce.

The outlook is bleak from the standpoint of scientists and researchers in Australia, many of whom will probably leave the country in order to find work elsewhere. This represents a loss of a skilled workforce for a country that is already seeing a six percent unemployment rate. Despite harping on the jobless rate, the Abbott government has not provided a solution to getting more people working. Cuts to climate change programs and scientific research are only the tip of the unemployment iceberg. Under this budget, unemployment rates are set to rise to 6.25 percent by June next year. This is worrying news for the hundreds of thousands of Australians currently out of work or who are facing the prospect of unemployment in the wake of the new budget plan.

But it is not only highly educated scientists who may lose their employment after climate change research was axed by the government that is currently running things in Australia. There are thousands of jobs connected to renewable resources that will also be lost due to funding cuts. Thousands of jobs exist in rural areas where renewable energy sources like wind and solar power have a great presence. Wind mills and solar energy outposts have to be built in rural areas that have enough space to accommodate them. People who own the land these are built on also see an income from the renting of their property to the operators of this machinery, an income they will most likely lose should funding be cut so drastically. It looks as though funding for climate change programs is not just an issue of ideology, but a problem of real-world economics.

Some have claimed that the cuts are completely ideologically driven and have nothing to do with principles of budget balance or good governance. Greens party leader Christine Milne called out the prime minister’s oppositional stance to climate change science. She referred to the government’s repeated claims to support emissions reduction and called the budget a repudiation of that, a dropping of the curtain on their real designs on the issue. She went a step further, calling the budget an attempt to “shore up the vested interests of coal-fired generators and the old order of Australia.” Her comment points to the role of the mining industry, which provides six percent of the country’s economy.

There is some good news for climate change funding and the scientific research community that is facing down the barrel of the Abbott government’s budget. Until the budget passes the senate, there will be no changes to funding and organization of the sector. For now, climate change research is safe from getting axed and if the senate does not allow the budget to go through, the jobs that could be lost will still exist in Australia’s renewable energy sector.

Opinion by Lydia Bradbury
Twitter @theAQTweets

Sources:

The Economist
Sydney Morning Herald
ABC
The Australian
ABC
Business Insider
Australian Mining

44 Responses to Climate Change Research Axed in Australia

  1. jimbow May 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    darn it they will come to the U.S. to try to lie to us some more

    Reply
  2. Sean May 20, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Hey this is almost good news. Good news would be if these climate cult crooks had their budgets cut to zero and their jobs terminated for cause.

    Reply
    • chappy May 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Hundreds of reputable scientific organizations from around the world and 97% – 98% of all actively publishing climate scientists = cult. Do you believe other branches of science constitute a cult, or just this one in particular?

      Reply
      • Peter AndersonPeterKeithAnderson June 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        ‘Scientific Organisations’ do not produce Science by OPINION chappy, whilst the 97% ‘statistic’ is itself a fraudulent number only. Notice…
        http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/that_97_per_cent_claim_four_problems_with_cook_and_obama/
        …derived by ‘activist’ types trying to protect their ’cause’.
        There is no OBSERVED anthropogenic effect on any pre-existing trend, not on Temperature (by Magnitude or Periodicity) or Sea Level (outright) which were already +ve trends.
        What the ‘warmist’ is attempting is to cite these pre-existing trends as being somehow anthropogenic in source, the ‘warmist’ attempts to cite any change as anthropogenic ‘somehow’.
        The funding is thus not been to research actual affect that can alter Climate Effect but instead to find that ‘somehow’ of a SUPPOSED anthropogenic effect.
        But there is no anthropogenic effect, there is not been an anthropogenic effect and there is no good, honest and rational reason to consider that there could even be now an anthropogenic effect.
        The ‘line’ you’d attempt chappy is been attempted now for 30 years (at least) and is still without supportive FACT or then Science but still only political opinions, some even made by ‘scientists’.
        The funding is not needed at all, there is no problem and a few hundred million is more than adequate to research actual Climate Effect and those actual affects involved in its production.

        Reply
  3. david May 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I am guessing it will save alit more than that. We could go back into the black by putting that money towards national debt

    Reply
  4. jameshrust May 20, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Have a go Australia. You will save billions by eliminating useless programs studying trying to prove human caused climate change when it doesn’t exist. Wish the U. S. would follow suit. It would probably save $100 billion per year.

    James Rust

    Reply
    • chappy May 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Based on what information have you concluded that it doesn’t exist?

      Reply
      • Peter Foster May 30, 2014 at 2:06 am

        Chappy, can you identify one change in climate in the last 600 million years that has been caused by CO2. For example 33 million years ago Antarctica glaciated while CO2 doubled from 750 ppm to 1500 ppm hmmm. 28 million years ago Antarctica thawed while CO2 fell from 700ppm to 400 ppm. hmmm again. Then it settled at a steady 300 ppm while Antarctica reglaciated 12 million years ago and then dived into a full ice age 5 to 3 million years ago. Where ever there is any relationship between the two it is always temperature that leads and CO2 follows. So show me one change caused by CO2.
        Models are a hypothesis – they are not evidence, and the latest IPCC report tells us that all the models are crap as they do not know whether cloud response is positive of negative. So where is there any evidence that
        CO2 drives climate change ?

        Reply

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