The world’s top climate scientists — 2800 of them from 60 countries — have written an open letter to the federal government about the cuts to CSIRO’s climate research.
Under the heading “An open letter to the Australian Government and CSIRO”, the scientists say the announcement of cuts to the CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere research program has alarmed the global climate research community.
They say the decision shows a lack of insight and a misunderstanding of the importance of the depth and significance of Australian contributions to global and regional climate research.
“Australia is a canary in the climate change coal mine, spanning a large range of different climate zones, from the northern tropics to the cool temperate south,” they write.
“Large and persistent decreases in south-western and south-eastern Australian rainfall has occurred alongside persistent warming over the last four decades. The past year, 2015, was fifth warmest year on record for Australia, and the warmest on record globally — climate change is truly underway.”
The open letter from the international climate community has been coordinated by Paul Durack of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US and Anna Pirani of ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics), Italy.
Dr Durack, currently a visiting scientist at CSIRO, emailed the letter to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, opposition leader Bill Shorten and a long list of politicians and senior CSIRO executives.
“The response by the global climate community has been a very prompt and very consistent condemnation of the proposed CSIRO action to slash Australia’s climate research capability,” says Dr Durack.
“It has been an overwhelming, but on reflection unsurprising international response. This community deeply cares about the future, and knows better than most what actions we need to take to get there in good shape.
“The proposed cuts undermine Australia’s primary climate capability. A capacity that is required now more than ever to best frame the climate change challenge and feed into adaptation and mitigation solutions. You can’t plan for, and adapt to what you don’t know and don’t understand.”
The full letter can be read HERE.