Tech & Science More climate scientists urgently needed for Australia, academy says

04:05  03 august  2017
04:05  03 august  2017 Source:   Brisbane Times

Big four banks slash lending to coal miners

  Big four banks slash lending to coal miners Australia's big banks have slammed the brakes on project finance lending to expand the coal industry since late 2015, but are still lending billions for other fossil fuels developments.ANZ and Commonwealth Bank, previously named as the largest lenders to fossil fuels, both signalled they were actively reducing loans to some carbon-intensive sectors including the coal industry, with CBA linking this to the Paris climate change agreement in 2015.

The ins and outs of this sweltering weather phenomenon, as explained by Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick. Produced in association with UNSWTV

Australia's climate is changing and more research is urgently needed, the Australian Academy of Science said.© Jessica Shapiro Australia's climate is changing and more research is urgently needed, the Australian Academy of Science said.

Australia's climate research is in "urgent" need of dozens more scientists to help prepare farmers, businesses and governments for the expected worsening effects of global warming, the Australian Academy of Science said.

The academy's assessment, prompted by last year's decision by CSIRO to axe as many as 100 of 140 climate scientists, identified 77 extra research positions that should be created in the next four years.

Australia now has about 419 climate researchers, or less than 1 per cent of the 50,000 in public science. The additional tally includes 15 staff announced by the Turnbull government last year for the CSIRO after a public outcry forced the agency's chief executive Larry Marshall to reverse most of the planned cuts.

Big four banks slash lending to coal miners

  Big four banks slash lending to coal miners Australia's big banks have slammed the brakes on project finance lending to expand the coal industry since late 2015, but are still lending billions for other fossil fuels developments.ANZ and Commonwealth Bank, previously named as the largest lenders to fossil fuels, both signalled they were actively reducing loans to some carbon-intensive sectors including the coal industry, with CBA linking this to the Paris climate change agreement in 2015.

But without any more climate science researchers, the academy said the nation would not be able to get any more precise than that. More staff needed ' urgently '. "It was tough on me but more importantly, it did a lot of damage to climate science in Australia and Australia 's relationships with

Search our available titles at oup.com.au

CSIRO Chief Larry Marshall was forced to limit the number of climate science job cuts after a public outcry at home and abroad.© Louise Kennerley CSIRO Chief Larry Marshall was forced to limit the number of climate science job cuts after a public outcry at home and abroad. "Climate change is affecting and will affect every business and every bit of the environment in Australia," said Trevor McDougall, an academy fellow and professor at the University of NSW, who led the review.

Professor McDougall cited uncertainty over how a warming climate will alter rainfall and evaporation in the Murray Darling Basin, the country's biggest food bowl.

Only Australians would prioritise such a topic, he said: "That's an issue models in the northern hemisphere won't even look at."

Australia's already highly variable climate – particularly for rainfall – made it critical for the economy and national security that the community understood how conditions were likely to change in the future. With much of the population living near the coast, those risks are also well worth knowing, the scientists said.

First editing of human embryos carried out in United States

  First editing of human embryos carried out in United States Technology that allows alteration of genes in a human embryo has been used for the first time.The OHSU research is believed to have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases, according to Technology Review, which first reported the news.

You have exceeded the allowed page load frequency. Chemical policy reform urgently needed .

Loving Hut - Urgent action still needed on climate change.

"Coastal inundation is a complex issue which looks at the interaction between sea levels, which are increasing, storm intensity, which is also likely to change within a warming planet, and also the structure of the coastline," said Graeme Pearman, a former CSIRO climate chief and another author of the report.

"It's highly specific and it's not something you can use in a global model – you have to have detailed information about particular areas of the coastline."

Josh Frydenberg, the environment and energy minister, said the review would be "an important input" for the work of the government's National Climate Science Advisory Committee.

He said the report noted Australia's "substantial climate science capability" and "well funded and supported" climate science infrastructure.

The Turnbull Government continues to make "a significant financial investment" in the field, including the new CSIRO Climate Science Centre in Hobart with 40 staff and a $37 million investment in long-term climate science monitoring capability, he said.

Much of South Asia 'could be too hot to live' by 2100

  Much of South Asia 'could be too hot to live' by 2100 Venturing outdoors may become deadly across wide swaths of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh by the end of the century as climate change drives heat and humidity to new extremes, according to a new study. Today, that vast region is home to some 1.5 billion people.

The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change. US National Academy of Sciences : "In the judgment of most climate scientists , Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of

Fuel poverty review ' urgently needed '.

In addition, the government is spending $23.9 million on a climate change hub as part of its National Environmental Science Program, and has committed $255 million as part of the Australian Antarctic Strategy, some of which will be spent on climate research.

Farming south-east of Perth, an area which has seen some of the largest drops in winter rainfall in Australia. Global models may not be applicable to local situations.© Jessica Shapiro Farming south-east of Perth, an area which has seen some of the largest drops in winter rainfall in Australia. Global models may not be applicable to local situations. Capability gaps

Of the 77 new positions, 33 should be created in climate modelling, the Academy report said.

A shortage of computer scientists and software engineers had become "particularly acute in the past few years as the complexity and size of climate models has continued to increase".

"In terms of adaptation, you need to have answers at the farm level or at least the council level, rather than [just] the state level," Professor McDougall said.

The team building Australia's main weather and climate model, known as ACCESS, was only "a small fraction of the size of groups building equivalent models" in other regions, the report argued.

U.S. submits formal notice of withdrawal from Paris climate pact

  U.S. submits formal notice of withdrawal from Paris climate pact <p>The U.S. State Department has officially informed the United Nations it will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement in a document issued on <g class="gr_ gr_3 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-del replaceWithoutSep" data-gr-id="3" id="3">Friday,</g> but left the door open to re-engaging if the terms improved for the United States.</p>The State Department said in a press release the United States would continue to participate in United Nations climate change meetings during the withdrawal process, which is expected to take at least three years.

Science needs skeptics: many reasons why scientists need criticism from outside. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists , were among Much more can be, and has been, said by the world’s scientific societies, national academies , and individuals

Australia 's most powerful computer was unveiled Wednesday, in a boost for climate scientists who need to crunch vast amounts of data to make forecasts and pinpoint extreme weather, officials said .

Other priority areas include micrometeorology and boundary-layer dynamics.

The report also noted the short-term nature of many contracts in the field, particularly among university climate researchers.

It also called on the federal government to extend funding for the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre and its 26 full-time staff beyond 2019 when its current funding runs out.

It also recommended considering a dedicated climate centre to co-ordinate national funding and reduce time and money now spent on writing research applications.

The Bureau of Meteorology could be one home for such a centre but the CSIRO – given its multidisciplinary breadth – was "the obvious place" even after the recent push to cut staff, Professor McDougall said.

"[We] shouldn't be swayed by the whims of the current CEO [Dr Marshall], as CEOs come and go," Professor McDougall said.

The report did not put a price of the extra staff and centre. But with about 100 people potentially needed, and the cost per scientist in the order of $200,000 a year, the cost would be about $20 million.

Will the Doomsday Clock be reset in light of North Korea situation? .
Experts from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said Trump's "fire and fury" comments are concerning and will be evaluated for the 2018 clock.A panel of experts from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists meet every November to discuss the Doomsday Clock, and the panel's results are made public at the beginning of the year.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos: