Feb 13, 2006

Howard Government burnt in climate change cover-up

Howard Government burnt in climate change cover-up

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Jenny Macklin

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Education, Training, Science & Research

Anthony Albanese MP

Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Shadow Minister for Water

13 February 2006

Reports today show that the Howard Government and CSIRO management are politically censoring key scientists over climate change. This is a disgrace.

It is scandalous that Australia’s top scientists have been gagged from highlighting concerns about climate change. It is not the role of Australia’s top climate change scientists to simply toe the line of the Howard Government.

Federal Labor will demand answers from CSIRO management at this week’s Senate Estimates hearings.

We should be doing all we can to avoid dangerous climate change. Instead the Howard Government and CSIRO management are playing politics and intimidating experts to stop them talking publicly.

CSIRO already has a heavy-handed public comment policy which requires scientists to have comments screened through management. Now they’ve gone a big step further by gagging scientists in public debate.

At least three scientists at our national research icon have claimed they were silenced. Australia’s leading scientists should be able to engage in the climate change debate without fear or favour.

The Howard Government is trying to dumb-down the public discussion on climate change to suit its own cynical agenda. The Howard Government doesn’t want to hear from CSIRO scientists unless they say things the Government agrees with.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, 2005 was the hottest year since annual records began in 1910. The Bureau says climate change is the cause.

Australia’s greenhouse pollution has risen by more than 23% between 1990 and 2003.In spite of all of the evidence, the Howard Government refuses to join the other 156 countries taking global action by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

This censorship of CSIRO scientists adds to Labor’s call for an independent Senate inquiry into how the CSIRO is adapting to change and managing its research priorities.