Earlier this year 300 jobs — the vast majority from the climate science department — were cut from the CSIRO. Today the Federal Government’s new Science Minister, Greg Hunt, announced 15 additional climate researchers will be employed in recognition of the fact that “climate science is important, it’s significant, it’s critical to our long-term planning.”
But is this enough?
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As reported by the ABC, the new jobs (which increase the number of climate scientists in the CSIRO from 100 to 115) plus “additional support” will cost $3.7 million a year.
“We have clearly but respectfully made that known to the CSIRO and they’ve embraced and endorsed the direction and so climate science will be a bedrock function of the CSIRO, which is really one of the world’s great institutions,” Mr Hunt said. “It’s a new Government and we’re laying out a direction that climate science matters.”
The next three months will see the new strategy unfold, which includes 40 jobs at a new climate change centre in Hobart.
But Dr Sam Popovski, of the CSIRO Staff Association, says it’s not enough to make up for the 300 job cuts earlier this year (61 from the oceans and atmosphere division). “That commitment is not sufficient to maintain critical areas of climate research, including monitoring greenhouse gas emissions,” Popovski said.
“Health and medical researchers rely heavily on CSIRO climate modelling to understand the health risks to individuals as well as larger population groups. Axing these globally respected climate experts from the CSIRO will directly threaten the future health of Australians,” said Climate and Health Alliance President Dr Liz Hanna at the time.