CSIRO Boss Attacks Climate Lobby: ‘More Like Religion Than Science’

  • Date: 10/02/16
  • Jake Sturmer, ABC News

The CSIRO’s chief has told the ABC the backlash from his decision to restructure the organisation has made him feel like an “early climate scientist in the ’70s fighting against the oil lobby” and that there is so much emotion in the debate it almost “sounds more like religion than science”.

Dr Larry Marshall said he would not be backing down on his controversial shake-up of the organisation’s climate divisions, telling the ABC he was yet to be persuaded.

The redirection of climate science priorities at the CSIRO has drawn international condemnation, with thousands of climate scientists signing an open letter protesting against the changes.

The Oceans and Atmosphere division is expected to be one of the hardest hit, with 60 positions to go through a mix of redeployment and redundancies.

All up, 350 jobs will “change” – a plan that’s drawn the ire of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change co-chair and even the World Meteorological Organisation which has made an unprecedented statement condemning the decision.

But Dr Marshall said he had not been persuaded to reconsider the changes.

“For that to happen, someone’s going to have to convince me that measuring and modelling is far more important than mitigation – and at this point you know, none of my leadership believe that,” he said.

Since the changes were announced last Thursday, Dr Marshall has spent much of the week trying to clarify the restructure, stressing that there will not be a net loss of jobs.

“I feel like the early climate scientists in the ’70s fighting against the oil lobby,” he said.

“I guess I had the realisation that the climate lobby is perhaps more powerful than the energy lobby was back in the ’70s – and the politics of climate I think there’s a lot of emotion in this debate.

“In fact it almost sounds more like religion than science to me.

“I’ve been told by some extreme elements that they’ve put me at the top of the climate deniers list and what perplexes me is how saying that we’re going to shift more resources to mitigation – i.e. doing something to address climate change versus just measuring and modelling it – I don’t see how that makes me a climate denier.

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