Yesterday I came across this inviting tweet from Ben Harris-Roxas:
Who could resist clicking the link! It was with some wonderment that I then read this article posted on the ABC website on Tuesday – Key climate change body loses government funding.
In 2009 the Lancet reported that climate change ”could be the biggest global health challenge of the 21st century”. In the years since, as described in many postings on this site, the health challenges it poses in Australia are already projected to be substantial.
In this context I cannot help but wonder how an organisation whose mission is to “generate the biophysical, social and economic information needed by decision-makers in government, and in vulnerable sectors and communities, to manage the risks of climate change impacts, by leading the research community in a national interdisciplinary effort,” could not be worthy of government funding?
Perhaps decision makers in government are already so well informed they need no further information? One might then question why a group of Australia’s leading health organisations felt the need to meet in Canberra last week formally creating an alliance “to raise awareness of the adverse health effects of Australia’s current minerals and energy policy”.
Maybe this is a sign that the government has decided that a “venture established by the Australian Government in 2008 to harness and coordinate the capabilities of Australia’s researchers, to generate and communicate the knowledge decision-makers need for successful adaptation to climate change” is too defeatist and that we should give greater thought to mitigation? An idea I would applaud, but sweating away here in Melbourne last night while watching yet another flooding disaster unfold up north I can’t help but think there may still be a role for adaptation.
It could be that research and academics in the area of climate change are already over funded – I’m sure you will let me know if this is the case.
I cannot bring myself to think that climate change and the challenges it brings are no longer considered worthy of informed and intelligent debate amongst our countries leaders. Nor can I consider that the leading role Australia could play in understanding, mitigating and adapting to climate change is becoming a distant dream. But then again it’s and election year and (almost) anything is possible.