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CSIRO and climate: the devil in the detail

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick writes in Inside Story (25.2.16) about the risks entailed in planned cuts to CSIRO’s climate change research programs.

‘Around mid morning on 4 February the news broke that Larry Marshall, chief executive of CSIRO, was swinging the axe on hundreds of jobs. Unlike previous rounds of redundancies, these are tightly targeted – mostly focusing on climate research capabilities in the Oceans and Atmospheres Division and the Land and Water Division, each of which will lose around one hundred people.

‘Back before the Coalition came to government, when I was working at CSIRO as a climate projections scientist, the prospect that Tony Abbott might become prime minister was causing widespread unease among scientists and other staff. The fears proved to be justified – the organisation’s headcount was reduced by more than 20 per cent after the change of government. The broader scientific community thought that those cuts took CSIRO’s staffing to rock bottom, but we were wrong. And now it seems likely that the organisation’s climate research capability will altogether starved of fuel.’

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