CSIRO axes annual climate survey

11 Aug, 2015 01:04 PM
The science agency had conducted the annual survey for five years, mostly in July and August

THE CSIRO has cancelled its annual survey of Australians' attitudes to climate change and won't release the results of its 2014 study until late this year.

The delay, says Labor, means the public will miss out on information that counters the Abbott government's "scare campaign" on climate issues.

The science agency had conducted the annual survey for five years, mostly in July and August, often polling the same people to create a long-term view of how Australians view global warming and their support for action.

In the most recent published report, released in February 2014, about 40 per cent of the 5219 people surveyed had participated in a previous study.

In the 2013 poll, 86 per cent agreed with the statement that climate change was occurring and 7.6 per cent disagreed.

CSIRO conducted another survey last year but the findings will be about 14 months old by the time it is released. It is understood financial constraints are a factor behind the change.

The CSIRO's funding has been cut several times in recent years, including $111 million in the first Abbott government budget. The cuts were expected to lead to the loss of as many as a fifth of its staff over two years.

"We are currently in the process of analysing the results, which will be communicated by the end of the October," a spokeswoman said. "We have no plans at the moment for further surveys."

News of the cancelled surveys comes as the Abbott government is expected to release its post-2020 carbon reduction goals on Tuesday that it will take to the global climate summit planned for Paris starting November 30.

Reports indicate the government is likely to settle on a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 26 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.

If adopted that goal, which is about a 19 per cent reduction on 2000 levels, would be among the least ambitious by an industrialised nation, according to data compiled by the Climate Change Authority. Australia should be aiming for a 40 to 60 per cent reduction by then, the agency said in a recent report.

Most surveys find Australians overwhelmingly support action on climate change, with about two in three people saying the government should take the issue more seriously, according to a report released on Monday by the Climate Institute.

A spokeswoman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the issue was one for the CSIRO to address: "CSIRO manages its own day-to-day decisions and allocation of resources, so it's not something the Minister would comment on."

"Tony Abbott is sick of all the reports that show Australians want climate change action," said Mark Butler, Labor's climate change spokesman.

"This is obviously at odds with Tony Abbott's views on climate change, and he would prefer to keep ignoring the problem," Mr Butler said. "Removing this important report from the public domain shows Tony Abbott's general disregard for science, but also his frustration that his scare campaigns on climate change are not working."

Greens deputy leader and environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters said the government's "pathetic" carbon reduction targets indicate it is beholden to its "big polluting donors".

"The Abbott government needs to start listening to everyday Australians scientists and the international community, instead of blocking his ears and acting as a puppet for the dying coal industry," Senator Waters said.

Last year's report found that attitudes to climate change had "remained relatively stable since 2010", with repeat respondents increasing their levels of trust in agencies "including environmental group scientists and government scientists to provide truthful information about climate change".

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18/08/2015 12:21:13 PM

I would say in all honesty that its the Labor/Greens parties that are pushing the climate change scare tactics not the Abbott govt. Tony has taken a sensible view of a non problem and planted a few trees to appease the those who were sucked in by the Labor/Greens climate change scare tactics.
Itz Me
19/08/2015 8:53:26 AM

When people like Mark Butler and Larissa Waters talk about climate change action , they are advocating their insane parties policies with their idiotic ideas that somehow CO2 is evil and warm weather is bad, and humans are somehow to blame, they advocate to shut down the countries economy with a tax on CO2 and hit us with an ETS cancer, which will send us entirely broke and put us all back to a pre-industrial life style. They represent two parties whose policies are total social destruction of everything you have come to expect as normal in today's lifestyle. Why would you vote for that ?
25/08/2015 12:20:04 PM

Fortunately, I know many farmers who recognise the risk that climate change poses to their industry and livelihoods and respect the simple science of CO2 trapping heat and warming the atmosphere. The problem is that people confuse weather with climate and don't think in long periods of time. The science is unambiguous and anyone thinking that the LNP have a better policy approach than the greens in regards to climate are deluded. Look at the policies rather than listening to pub opinions and see who is actually supporting farmers in this regard.
Itz Me
25/08/2015 1:56:33 PM

You have spent too long under a rock, Lizard. The SIMPLE science of CO2 trapping heat and heating the atmosphere came from under the rock as well. The Greens are a bunch of idealistic, deluded , and dangerous idiots that believe in fairy tales and gnomes at the bottom of the garden. Also, long term natural climate change happens regardless of CO2 levels. This is not pub science Lizard its real science.
26/08/2015 7:56:24 AM

ItzMe, you assert that your claim is "real science". Have you any evidence to back your dismissal of the basic physics of atmospheric CO2 as a regulator of climate?
Itz Me
26/08/2015 9:21:11 AM

Have you any evidence that CO2 is the main and one and only regulator of climate Nico ?
26/08/2015 12:41:52 PM

Nobody claims that CO2 is "the main and only regulator", Itz Me. However, it is basic physics that atmospheric CO2 is a major regulator of global climate. Without it we would have no "greenhouse effect" and the planet would freeze. Human history has happened during a stable period of around 350 ppm, until the Industrial Revolution, when we rapidly increased this to 400 ppm, last experienced during the Pliocene Era. See Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/jour nal/v461/n7263/full/461472a.html
Itz Me
26/08/2015 1:49:35 PM

Somehow I don't think you have a clue Nico. In one line your saying CO2 is not a major regulator of climate and in the very next line your saying CO2 is a major regulator of climate. Which one is it ? And then you shoot yourself in the foot and say without it there would be NO greenhouse effect. And what about water vapor Nico ? Is it not the major player in the GH effect , did you forget about it ? You push a lot of dodgy science Nico , no wonder people are skeptical of the cagw/climate change fantasy you go on about. Intelligent people see through your rubbish Nico, what a pity you can't.
26/08/2015 2:51:19 PM

ItzMe, don't be thick. CO2 is a major regulator of climate, but not always and only the main regulator of climate. Volcanic eruptions, for example, can have major effects on climate. Do your homework.
Itz Me
27/08/2015 9:04:26 AM

Nico, don't be thick. CO2 is a minor regulator of climate and climate is insensitive to the increasing amount. Volcanic eruptions , for example , can have major effects on climate because of the sulphur emissions not the CO2 emissions. Do your homework.
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