The Climate Council has warned that proposed cuts to the CSIRO’s climate research capacity will leave Australia badly under-resourced to manage climate change. The country will also be in breach of one of the key commitments made at COP21 in Paris, Professor Will Steffen said.
In an email to supporters professor Steffen said, “Cutting climate science now, as the demand escalates for both reducing our emissions and protecting our communities from worsening impacts, just doesn’t make sense.
“It’s like flying into a violent storm and ripping out the radar, navigation and communication instruments.”
The Climate Council has released a report, Flying Blind: Navigating Climate Change without the CSIRO, that outlines the impact the cuts are likely to have.
The report also identifies key sectors that are using CSIRO climate research to implement adaptation and mitigation strategies, including property development, agriculture, infrastructure, emergency services and health.
Brisbane Airport, for example, utilised CSIRO sea level research for planning a new runway that is located in a low-lying area that is at risk of flooding.
The global science community has reacted with concern, the report said, with almost 3000 scientists from 60 countries highlighting how the cuts will impact not only Australia’s research but the global research effort.
Australia has the strongest climate science research in the Southern Hemisphere, the report said.
The report quotes an open letter signed by 2800 scientists that stated: “Without committing to the continued development of next generation climate monitoring and climate modelling, billions of public investment dollars for long term infrastructure will be based on guesswork rather than on strategic and informed science-driven policy.”