Showing posts with label CSIRO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CSIRO. Show all posts

Monday, 25 September 2017

World's most successful environmental agreement has been in place for thirty years this month

CSIROscope, 15 September 2017:  

This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the world’s most successful environmental agreement. The treaty, signed on September 16, 1987, is slowly but surely reversing the damage caused to the ozone layer by industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Each year, during the southern spring, a hole appears in the ozone layer above Antarctica. This is due to the extremely cold temperatures in the winter stratosphere (above 10km altitude) that allow byproducts of CFCs and related gases to be converted into forms that destroy ozone when the sunlight returns in spring.

As ozone-destroying gases are phased out, the annual ozone hole is generally getting smaller – a rare success story for international environmentalism.

Back in 2012, our Saving the Ozone series marked the Montreal Protocol’s silver jubilee and reflected on its success. But how has the ozone hole fared in the five years since?

The Antarctic ozone hole has continued to appear each spring, as it has since the late 1970s. This is expected, as levels of the ozone-destroying halocarbon gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol are still relatively high. The figure below shows that concentrations of these human-made substances over Antarctica have fallen by 14% since their peak in about 2000.

Past and predicted levels of controlled gases in the Antarctic atmosphere, quoted as equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine (EESC) levels, a measure of their contribution to stratospheric ozone depletion. Paul Krummel/CSIRO, Author provided

Read the full article here.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Can the CSIRO sink any lower?

“Collaborating with government. As a trusted adviser to government, our collaboration within the sector supports it to solve challenges, find efficiencies and innovate.” [CSIRO, Data61]

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is a federal government corporate entity ultimately responsible to the Australian Parliament.

It started life in the midst of global conflagration in 1916 and for most of its existence it was widely respected both in its country of origin and around the world.

Sadly that level of respect has been diminished in recent years as commercial imperatives saw it move away from its once proud boast that:

However, it had not yet become a low creature of right-wing political ideology.

Until now – when it appears willing to participate in enforcing punitive social policies, cynically presented in the guise of Budget measures by the Turnbull Coalition Government.

In particular, enabling the trial drug testing of income support applicants “based on a data-driven profiling tool developed for the trial to identify relevant characteristics that indicate a higher risk of substance abuse issues” which almost inevitably will target the poor and vulnerable.

Apparently the only matter holding the CSIRO back from full commitment to the trial is the matter of contract negotiations with the Dept. Of Social Security and/or Dept. of Human Services1.

The cost of this measure has reportedly been deemed by government to be “commercial-in-confidence”.

InnovationAus, 2 June 2017:

CSIRO has still not officially agreed to allow its Data61 analytics unit to become involved in the government’s highly contentious welfare drug testing program, a Senate estimates hearing has been told.

But the delay appears to be related to difficult contract negotiations – for which the research agency is well known – rather than the objections of staff or management to becoming involved in such a politically-driven program.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and CSIRO appeared at the Senate estimates on Thursday morning.

The shocking concession that CSIRO has been in discussion to work on the drug-test project since April comes despite the organisation having specifically declined to confirm any knowledge of the project for weeks – let alone that it was actively negotiating a contract.

This is despite direct questions being put to CSIRO on multiple occasions for weeks.

The estimates hearing also revealed that Data61 has been called into the controversy plagued Social Services robo-debt project that has mistakenly matched debt to welfare recipients.

CSIRO digital executive director David Williams told shadow industry minister Kim Carr that while CSIRO was approached by the Social Services department about the welfare drug testing scheme in late April – less than a month before its involvement was prematurely announced by Cabinet Minister Christian Porter – it is still yet to officially sign on to the project.

“The Department of Social Services approached CSIRO in early April, wanting to implement a trial involving activity tested income support recipients across a small number of geographical areas,” Mr Williams told senate estimates.

“They asked for Data61’s support in doing the analysis to see whether predictive analytics could help them in that task.”

“Since that time we’ve been talking with the department, and scoped out a statement of work and we’ve looked at how we can implement that work should we sign a contract and proceed. At this moment we’re working through the procedures inside CSIRO.”


1. The CSIRO already has a business relationship with the Australian Department of Human Services (DHS). Commencing in February 2017 the CSIRO and/or CSIRO Data61 conducted a Review of Online Compliance Systems, as well as supplying Specialist Data Science Services and Selection Methodologies Advice to the department. See;

Monday, 11 July 2016

CSIRO implements Abbott-Turnbull Government's climate change denial agenda?

The latest CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall (with the organisation since January 2015) clearly states in this podcast that the type of scientific investigation to be conducted in the future will be dictated by the federal government ("the customer") and implies that the Abbott-Turnbull Government is unbiased when it comes to climate change.......

Meanwhile, as Marshall trashes the international reputation of the CSIRO, a newly resurgent One Nation is all set to strengthen the hand of  climate change denialists' in Coalition ranks.....

Independent Australia, 7 July 2016:

Hanson, who leads her own One Nation party, has won election to Australia’s Senate and, as counting continues, she could bring more candidates with her.

But as well as pushing xenophobia and division, the Queensland politician will also take a most extreme brand of climate science denial with her into the Senate.
As I wrote on The Guardian, Hanson’s party has been taking cues on climate science from one of the country’s most enthusiastic and relentless pushers of climate science denial, former coal miner Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts is the volunteer project leader of the Galileo Movement, a Queensland-based project launched in 2011 to fight laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
Roberts is also standing as a Senate candidate for One Nation and still has an outside chance of being elected, although Hanson is more enthusiastic about his chances than some analysts. The “wacky world view” of Roberts has since been reported by the Courier-Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald.

If you hang around the climate change issue for long enough, then at some point you’ll likely come across the extreme end of science denial and the conspiracy theories that Roberts represents.

It goes a bit like this. Humans are not causing climate change. Government-paid climate scientists and their agencies are corrupt. The United Nations is in league with international bankers to defraud the world. It’s all about control. 

That sort of stuff.

The Galileo Movement was founded in 2011 by Queensland retirees Case Smit and John Smeed.

A year earlier, the pair had organised a speaking tour for British climate science denialist Lord Christopher Monckton — a tour that attracted sponsorship from mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Roberts became the project manager. The group pulled together an “advisory council” that includes the likes of Fred Singer, Monckton, Pat Michaels and Richard Lindzen

The advisory group once included influential political blogger Andrew Bolt, until the News Ltd writer claimed Roberts had been spreading anti-Jewish conspiracy theories — a charge the Galileo Movement denied.

Those policies include calls for investigations into the “corruption of climate science” and the teaching of climate “scepticism” in schools.
After gaining enough votes to secure her own seat, Hanson told The Saturday Paper:
“This whole climate change is not based on empirical evidence and we are being hoodwinked. Climate change is not due to humans.”

Elsewhere, One Nation also reflects Roberts’ paranoia over United Nation’s policies to support environmentally sustainable development — known as Agenda 21. In the eyes of One Nation, Agenda 21 morphs into a sinister control program leaving “no person outside of its reach.”

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A taste of things to come for the Clarence Valley local government area? CSIRO Survey September 2014: "Fifty per cent of [Western Downs] people think their community is struggling to cope with coal seam gas development"

Metgasco Limited holds an exploration licence PEL 426 (38 blocks about 8 km NNE of GRAFTON) and Clarence Morton Resources Pty Limited holds exploration licences PEL 457 (10 blocks about 23 km WNW of YAMBA) and PEL 478 (12 blocksabout 21 km NW of GRAFTON) in the Clarence Valley.

These tenements cover a large part of the valley.

To date both Metgaso and Clarence Morton Resources have drilled test wells in PEL 426 and PEL 457 respectively.

Valley communities face an uncertain future until they know a) if these companies intend to proceed with gas production; and b) if the NSW Government will prohibit gas production in the Clarence Valley local government area.

There have been many news articles reporting on Queensland gasfields and a significant number of these contain disturbing information/opinion.

This is one such article from ABC News 19 September 2014:

The CSIRO says the results of a survey its conducted on the Western Downs will help authorities develop better long-term plans for mining communities.
The survey is the second phase of a three-year study the CSIRO is conducting in conjunction with major coal seam gas (CSG) producers.
Four-hundred residents across the Dalby, Tara, Chinchilla and Miles districts were asked to rate the wellbeing of their communities and how resilient the region will be over the life of the gas industry.
Lead researcher Andrea Walton says respondents were worried about the impact the industry is having on roads, the environment but also on community cohesion.
"Important elements to this sense that where they live offers a good quality of life that it is a good place to live," she said.
Dr Walton says most were worried about the future.
"Fifty per cent of people think their community is struggling to cope with coal seam gas development," she said…..

According to the CSIRO; The Western Downs local government area in southern Queensland is in the Surat Basin where most of Australia’s coal seam gas (CSG) reserves can be found and where most CSG development activity is presently taking place.

The CSIRO survey of Community Wellbeing and responding to change: Western Downs region in Queensland report released in September 2014 is; the second stage of a three year project entitled “Impacts of Coal Seam Gas mining on communities in the Western Downs: How features, resources and strategies of a community affect its functioning and well-being” (or the Community Functioning and Wellbeing Project).   

It is funded by the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA). The CSIRO and Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd  are founding members of GISERA with QGC Pty Limited recently joined this group.

Australia Pacific LNG and QGC both have gasfields in the Western Downs region.  

The Alliance Agreement between these three parties allows the potential for the CSIRO to derive income from any commercialisation flowing from research results.

Excerpts from the study [my red bolding]:

* 1. Sub-regional differences

Tara reported significantly lower levels of satisfaction with eight of the fifteen dimensions of community wellbeing including personal safety, community spirit, income sufficiency, community cohesion, social interaction, services and facilities, community participation, and employment and business opportunities, with the latter three reporting unsatisfactory levels. They were also dissatisfied with planning, leadership and access to information. Residents of Tara community also reported lowest levels of overall community wellbeing and lowest levels of place attachment. 
On average, people who lived in Tara had mid-line attitudes and feelings towards CSG development in their region.

Dalby reported dissatisfaction with four of the fifteen dimensions of wellbeing including levels of employment and business opportunities, environmental management, decision making and roads. 
Employment and business opportunities were significantly lower than Chinchilla. 
Residents were also 26-dissatisfied with planning, leadership, and access to information. 
They had relatively high levels of community wellbeing, and the highest le-+vels of expected future wellbeing and place attachment, which were significantly higher than Miles and Tara respectively. 
On average, people who lived in Dalby had negative attitudes and feelings towards CSG development in their region.

Chinchilla reported dissatisfaction with three of the fifteen dimensions of wellbeing including levels of environmental management, decision making, and roads. They were also dissatisfied with planning and leadership but unlike the other regions were satisfied with levels of access to information. They reported the highest levels of employment and business opportunities compared to the other sub-regions, and higher levels of community spirit, income sufficiency, when compared to Tara. 
Their wellbeing was relatively high and higher than Tara. 
On average, people who lived in Chinchilla had positive attitudes and feelings towards CSG development in their region.

Miles reported dissatisfaction with three of the fifteen dimensions of wellbeing including levels of environmental management, decision making and roads, with their view towards roads the lowest in the region. 
They had the highest levels of personal safety and community participation. 
They had lower levels of satisfaction with their built environment, and their employment and business opportunities when compared to Dalby and Chinchilla respectively. 
Residents were also dissatisfied with planning, leadership, and access to information. Their overall wellbeing was moderately high and higher than Tara, but their expected future wellbeing was the lowest of the sub-regions and significantly lower than Dalby. 
On average, people who lived in Miles had negative attitudes and feelings towards CSG development in their region, which were the lowest and significantly lower than Chinchilla.

* 2. Location of residence differences
Compared with people who lived out of town, people who live in town reported higher levels of satisfaction with social interactions, services and facilities, and employment and business opportunities than people who live out of town. 
They also reported higher levels of overall wellbeing and expected future wellbeing. People who live in town had more positive attitudes and feelings towards CSG development. On average these views were favourable whereas the views of out-of-towners were unfavourable.

* 3. Age related differences
Younger people reported higher levels of income sufficiency and higher social interaction. Younger people feel lower satisfaction with services and facilities
Older people felt higher satisfaction with the built environment, higher satisfaction with the level of services and facilities, higher satisfaction with the environmental quality, higher satisfaction with the roads, higher levels of overall community wellbeing, and higher perceptions of community resilience. Older people experience lower levels of social interactions
Middle-aged people felt the lowest levels of health, lowest levels of satisfaction towards the built environment, lowest levels of satisfaction towards the environmental quality, lowest levels of satisfaction towards the roads, lowest levels of overall community wellbeing, lowest levels of satisfaction with community resilience (the way the community is responding to change), lower levels of social interactions, and lowest levels of income sufficiency.

* 4. Gender related differences
Females, relative to males, felt lower levels of personal safety, less satisfied with the environmental quality, less satisfied with the services and facilities provided within the community, and less satisfied with the management of the environment for the future. Females felt there were higher levels of community spirit, and experience higher social interactions.

* 5. Income related differences (see Appendix E for detailed Table)
The lowest income people (less than $40,000) felt least satisfied with their income sufficiency, least positive about employment and business opportunities, and most negative about coal seam gas development in the region. 
The lowest income people felt most satisfied with the built environment and the roads.
The highest income people (greater than $120,000) felt most satisfied with their income sufficiency, most satisfied with their employment and business opportunities, and most positive towards coal seam gas development. 
The highest income people felt least satisfied with the built environment, and the roads.

* 7. Farm ownership differences
Compared with those who did not own a farm, people who owned a farm reported higher levels of personal safety, but lower levels of satisfaction with social interactions, and environmental management.
They also had lower perceptions of community resilience and expected future wellbeing. People who owned a farm had more negative attitudes and feelings towards CSG development, and on average these views are unfavourable.

*  A second effect was found when comparing those working in the CSG sector to other residents (either in or out-of-town), irrespective of sub-regions. CSG sector workers were significantly more likely to see their communities as adapting than other residents.

* Those that work in the CSG sector had lower levels of satisfaction with job security than those who didn’t work in the CSG sector (M = 4.11 and M = 3.70 respectively).