Australia’s Climate Change Authority Has No Climate Scientists

Australia’s Climate Change Authority Has No Climate Scientists

The Climate Change Authority, a government board set up to advise on climate policy, has no climate scientists left. None. Not one. There are no climate scientists on the government agency appointed to advise on climate policy.

The University of Melbourne’s Professor David Karoly lasted five years. He just left.

Karoly spoke to The Guardian of the importance in having at least one member of the authority that is an experienced climate change scientist. How else can the board expertly assess proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and understand the impacts of those decisions?

The Department of the Environment and Energy says they will simply refer to the Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel. Alan Finkel is an engineer, and a neuroscientist.

So who does that leave?

Dr Wendy Craik was appointed as the Chair of the Authority in 2015, and will serve until 2020. Dr Craik is currently Chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Deputy Chancellor at the University of South Australia, Chair of the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority and Chair of the NESP Climate Science and Earth Systems Hub Steering Committee.

Stuart Allinson was also appointed as a member of the Authority in 2015. Allinson is the Chief Executive Officer of BidEnergy, a cloud-based platform “helping multi-site organisations control their energy spend locally and globally”.

He holds a Master of Petroleum Engineering. His early career was in oil and gas exploration and production, before moving on to energy and environmental market deregulation.

Kate Carnell also joined the Authority in 2015 for a term of five years, and became Australia’s first Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in 2016. Carnell is a registered pharmacist.

John Sharp joined the Authority in 2015 for a term of five years. Originally from a farming and business background, Sharp’s career in politics has been accompanied by his founding Thenford Consulting, a high-level aviation and transport consulting company, being Deputy Chairman of airline Regional Express (Rex), Chairman of Pel Air, and until recently director of Airbus Group Australia Pacific.

Sharp served as Federal Treasurer of the Nationals from 2000-2015 and was also a Director of the French/Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Shayleen Thompson is the Acting CEO. Thompson served as a lead negotiator on land issues for the Kyoto Protocol and has worked on the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the Government’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme and the Renewable Energy Target. Thompson also led work on the Carbon Farming Initiative and the Emissions Reduction Fund before being appointed as the Acting CEO of the Climate Change Authority.

Then there’s our Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, described on the Climate Change Authority’s website as “a prominent engineer, respected neuroscientist, successful entrepreneur and philanthropist with a personal commitment to innovation and commercialisation.”

He has held positions as the Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

But he is not a climate scientist.