Saturday, 9 May 2015

University of Western Australia comes to its senses and boots Bjorn out the door

Bjorn Lomborg
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ABC News 8 May 2015:

The University of Western Australia has cancelled the contract for a policy centre that was to be headed up by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg …..
In a statement, UWA Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson said the creation of the centre had attracted "mixed reactions" from staff, students and the general public.
"The scale of the strong and passionate emotional reaction was one that the university did not predict," he said…..
Mr Johnson said he had on Friday spoken to the Federal Government and Dr Lomborg, advising them of the university's decision to cancel the contract and return the money to the Government.
He last month said the Federal Government had approached the university to set up the centre.
The Federal Government funding had attracted strong criticism from the Opposition, who described it as politically motivated, something Mr Pyne strenuously denied.
UWA Academic Staff Association vice president Professor Stuart Bunt said the move was not censorship.
"This isn't about censorship at all ... Lomborg is not a climate [change] denier; he believes the scientific evidence which overwhelmingly shows that climate change is happening, he just debates the economics of how we should deal with it," Mr Bunt said.
"The difficulty is he is neither a scientist or an economist, he's a political scientist.
"Once you become attached to a university, you're given a kind of credence by that university; people would expect an adjunct professor at UWA to be working in a professional manner and that their statements would be evidence-based.
"Lomborg would be using the name of the university, to put what are largely political opinions, rather than evidence-based statements, using the university's name."
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said UWA made the right decision.
"It was very clearly the Government's design to get someone in place that was running a different argument on climate change, to try and suggest that climate change isn't as significant an issue as it is," Senator Siewert said.
"It was bad science, and I'm pleased that UWA has realised that.
"[The Federal Government] clearly had a political agenda, and it was a mistake for the University of Western Australia to go along with it."…..

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