Former US Democratic vice-president says agency’s decision will deeply affect the source of valuable research for the entire world
April 30, 2016 — Al Gore has said the decision by Australia’s science agency CSIRO to cut climate research should be “re-evaluated at the highest level”, since they limit a source of critical information for the entire world as it attempts to solve the challenges posed by climate change.
The former US Democratic vice-president also praised the government’s support for renewable energy and the Labor party’s recent climate change policy announcement.
The comments by Gore, a leading climate change campaigner, were made in a wide-ranging conversation in the latest edition of the Australian literary quarterly the Griffith Review, which has also been published online by Guardian Australia.
“In the face of this harsh new climate reality, there have been political forces in your country working to prevent Australia’s ability to act as the global leader it once was in the effort to solve the climate crisis,” he said, in conversation with Don Henry from the University of Melbourne, and former director of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“The most recent example of this is the announcement of major cuts to Australia’s CSIRO, a global leader and reference point for climate science. These cuts will deeply affect the source of valuable research for the entire world at a time when such information is critical to solving the challenge of our changing climate,” he said. “They should be re-evaluated at the highest level.”
The comments follow remarks Gore made in February, shortly after the cuts were announced. “Further development of climate modelling and observations by CSIRO and colleague scientific organisations is essential to planning for climate mitigation and adaptation to global warming,” he said at the time. “This effort needs strengthening, not weakening, after the Paris Agreement in December.”
Besides praising state governments and businesses that are driving investment in solar PV, he also singles out the Australian Labor party’s recent climate policy announcement.
“These examples, along with the Labor party’s pledge to adopt a 50% renewable energy target by 2030, show that there is a strong support and opportunity for climate action in this country.”
In order to solve the challenge, Gore said the world needed “a highly functioning global ideology”. He said capitalism needed to find a way to price environmental damage and democracy needed to be fixed after it was “hacked by large corporations and special interests,” which meant it was “dominated by the unchecked influence of money in politics”.
But Gore said there was hope all this could be achieved. Previous estimates of how quickly renewable energy would be adopted have regularly been far exceeded, and the agreement in Paris sent a signal around the world that “we can and we will solve the climate crisis,” he said.