The funding for all government programs related to climate change is set to shrink at an alarming rate, going from $5.75 billion this year to a scant $500 million in the next four years. Many climate scientists will probably leave the country in order to find work elsewhere.
The fallout from the new government’s budget is still being seen in Australia, but it is already obvious that climate change is a loser when it comes to funding. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long been skeptical of global warming and the science behind it, but with his new-found legislative power it seems as though he is looking at making that viewpoint into law. According to critics, there is no longer even the pretence of working towards limiting the effects of climate change as the government works to protect the interests of fossil fuel producers and businesses. Whether or not there is a real connection between big business interest and the new budget, Abbott and his cabinet have taken the axe to climate change research and are poised to fundamentally damage all scientific research in Australia in the process.
The budgetary facts are inescapably grim for researchers and scientists based in renewable energies and research. The funding for all government programs related to climate change is set to shrink at an alarming rate, going from $5.75 billion this year to a scant $500 million in the next four years. Additionally, the Emissions Reduction Fund which is meant to help lower greenhouse gas emissions in Australia is going to be reduced to only $1.14 billion. This was devastating news after Environment Minister Greg Hunt had gone on record promising to provide $2.55 billion to fund the program. Nevertheless, it is not only climate change programs that are feeling the pinch of the Abbott budget. The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, will have $111 million worth of funding slashed over the next four years, which will affect an uncertain number of programs and a loss of tenth of the CSIRO workforce.
The outlook is bleak from the standpoint of scientists and researchers in Australia, many of whom will probably leave the country in order to find work elsewhere.