Yesterday afternoon news broke of further job cuts to Australia’s premier scientific institution, the CSIRO. The area most affected? Climate science.
"Climate will all be gone, basically" one senior scientist told Fairfax media.
Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen shares his thoughts on this devastating blow for climate science:
As a Climate Councillor I’ve had the privilege of working with CSIRO scientists for many years, and can say that this is a devastating blow. We are sad and angry that we are losing some of our best and brightest scientific minds, particularly from the Marine and Atmospheric Research divisions - the heart of CSIRO climate science. CSIRO has built an international reputation for world-class research through decades of hard work.
These job losses are just the latest in a series of harmful cuts to science. Just over two years ago, the Climate Commission was abolished by the Australian Government, and thanks to your overwhelming support, we were able to create the Climate Council. However it's impossible to replace such a large part of Australia's climate research capability and 175 CSIRO staff.
The loss of this scientific expertise deals a body-blow to Australia's capacity to understand climate change. Our firefighters, our emergency services, and our community will be less prepared for climate risks including bushfires, heatwaves, and extreme weather. It’s that simple. Cuts like these make our work harder. Our reports and media work are based on the world-class science produced here in Australia, especially by experts like those losing their jobs at CSIRO.
It is so important that the wider community understands the seriousness of these ongoing attacks on science - and we must put pressure on our leaders so that they know we strongly oppose these decisions. I've been doing many media interviews since the news broke yesterday, and will continue to speak strongly on behalf of the Climate Council community against these continuing attacks on science.
Our aim when we launched the Climate Council: to ensure that climate science couldn’t be silenced by Government cuts. Together, we’ve done just that, creating a team of scientists and communicators who are reaching tens of millions of people a year. Our work helps farmers, firefighters, doctors and defence forces tackle climate impacts — and pushes forward the national discussion on climate solutions. Thanks for being part of it, and for helping us to keep going on days like this.
Prof. Will Steffen - The Climate Council
P.S. While we might not be able to stop these cuts, we can - and will - redouble our work. Because there has never been a more important time for it. Please consider chipping in what you can so we can keep going.