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Friday, May 27, 2016

Professor Speaks Out -- They Silenced the Scientists

BREAKING: They silenced the scientists

Submitted by Citizen K on May 27, 2016

Today it was confirmed that Australian government officials pressured a prestigious international body to silence the truth about the risks of climate change for the Great Barrier Reef.

I was one of the scientists they tried to silence.

Here’s the story: last year I was asked to review an international scientific report on the impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites and tourism. I reviewed a case study on the Great Barrier Reef, focussing on the increasing risks to tourism from climate change. The report was authored by UNESCO [1] and the International Union of Concerned Scientists. It promised to alert the world to the escalating risks that climate change poses for some of the most beautiful and valuable places on Earth.

Overnight the report was released -- but mysteriously, the Great Barrier Reef had been cut completely. I was astonished, given we’ve just witnessed the worst coral bleaching event in the Reef’s history.

Australian officials have now confirmed to The Guardian that they asked the report authors to remove any reference to the Great Barrier Reef, or any Australian world heritage site. No sections about any other country were removed.

As a scientist, I’m angry. As an Australian, I’m disgusted. As a Climate Councillor, I’m now asking for your help.

Today you will hear me on the TV and radio-waves as we ask the government to answer these allegations.

Information is the currency of democracy. When governments attempt to suppress or pressure scientific information, we must speak up. To me, this is about more than one report, and more than the Reef.

Sadly, we can’t just rely on governments to provide independent scientific information. We experienced that first hand when the Climate Commission was abolished by the Abbott Government. ...

The Climate Council receives no government funding. We exist because Tony Abbott abolished the Climate Commission, and thousands of Australians who thought that was a bad call kicked in their own funds to enable us to continue.

Since then, we’ve seen increasing attacks on science – gutting funding for CSIRO climate research, renewable energy investment and more. …

Thank you,

Professor Will Steffen

Climate Councillor

Emeritus Professor, ANU

PS: Does this whole incident sound familiar? You might remember last year our government spent half a million dollars sending senior officials to at least 11 countries, in a lobbying frenzy to stop UNESCO from declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘World Heritage in danger' [2]. Now they’ve moved to pressure UNESCO and its scientific team to omit ALL information on the impacts of climate change on Australia’s World Heritage sites. …



A strong, independent voice for science is more important than ever. If you believe the public deserve to hear the facts; if you believe the government has no right to silence scientists, then please help fund the Climate Council’s ongoing work.

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