New Zealand Met Society reaction to CSIRO funding cuts for Climate Science.
Letter from our President to CEO of CSIRO regarding Climate Science funding CUTS :
16 February 2016
Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
CSIRO Head Office
Campbell ACT 2612
Dear Dr Marshall
I am writing on behalf of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand to express our serious concerns about the substantial loss of existing positions and change of focus announced within CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere and Land & Water groups (and others). According to colleagues in Australia, this may represent a substantial reduction of the climate research effort within CSIRO. While other institutions such as the Bureau of Meteorology and a number of Australian universities also carry out climate research, the CSIRO laboratories in Melbourne and Hobart represent a significant fraction of Australia’s total effort in terms of research and monitoring. This reduction in focus climate change research would be a major blow to research communities nationally and internationally, as evidenced by the scale of the reaction from the global and Australian scientific community. It would certainly damage linkages to the climate community in New Zealand, and a number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
As outlined in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, there is much we have yet to learn about climate change. Its reality has certainly been confirmed, but there remain huge uncertainties in our understanding of this phenomenon, particularly at the regional-to-national scale. CSIRO scientists are world leaders in some of these areas. The global community may face unmanageable changes in climate before the end of this century and now is not the time to reduce investment in climate change research. Quite simply, the proposed switch of CSIRO research focus to mitigation and adaptation is premature. We must have a better understanding of what these changes will be before a wholesale switch of research focus can be made from observation and modelling to mitigation and adaptation. Australia is exquisitely sensitive to climate variations emanating from the tropics and from the southern oceans and has long been recognised as a continent of climate extremes. As such, Australia is perhaps the Southern Hemisphere country most sensitive to climate change and has rightly been at the forefront of climate change research over recent decades.
As President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand, I urge you to re-evaluate your decisions around reducing climate change research within CSIRO. We will all suffer if significant cuts are made at this critical time.
Dr Daniel Kingston
President, Meteorological Society of New Zealand
Reply from Alex.Wonhas@csiro.au
Sent: 22 February 2016 11:18
To: Daniel Kingston
Subject: RE: proposed CSIRO change in research focus
Thank you for your letter expressing the concerns of you and your colleagues at the Meteorological Society of New Zealand. Dr Larry Marshall has referred your email to me as the Executive Director responsible for our environment, energy and resources work. CSIRO is proud that it has been one of the pioneers of fundamental climate science and that our participation in this critical debate is highly regarded the world over. CSIRO will continue to invest in climate related research including some fundamental climate monitoring and modelling. However, our particular focus in the future will shift more to finding solutions which will help us to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We believe that finding solutions to the challenge of climate change is the best contribution we can make to the future of our nation and the world at this point in time. Collaboration has been, and will continue to be, critical in our achievements in climate research. CSIRO is currently working through the details of our proposed changes and is committed to working with the scientific community to understand how the strategic shift may affect our collaborative programs.
Dr Alex Wonhas
Executive Director Environment, Energy and Resources
E Alex.Wonhas@csiro.au T +61 2 9490 5059 M +61 407 024 678
5 Julius Avenue, North Ryde NSW 2113, Australia
Executive assistant: Therese Nile T +61 2 9490 8821 E Therese.Nile@csiro.au