Business vs. Climate Change: Employee Speaks Out

Have you watched The Big Short? You should. Everybody should. 

We all know the tale of the GFC. But this movie explains it in detail, from the perspective of those who knew how the system works. They knew the numbers, knew the critical indicators and thresholds, and the consequences. The corruption, greed, fraud in every part of the system is laid out, bare and exposed. 

Some of the key characters chose to profit
 from it, when they were laughed out of town for pointing it out to those who could actually do something about it. One of them was tortured by it. He tried as hard as he could to expose it, to little effect except for going a bit crazy himself. 

The collapse happened. The consequences were few for those who should have been accountable. And indeed, they have just rebuilt the same system. Just stronger this time. It is a perfect study of resilience of the worst kind – persistent, brittle, and headed for a bigger collapse next time for all the same reasons. 

I watched it on the plane to Stockholm last week. 

Then I got off the plane. I looked at the ABC news. The maps of the Feb and early March temps in Aus. I got a text from my sister. Forty degrees in Perth, in mid March. I really felt like I was in that ‘moment’ when the stock exchange guys, the ones who knew what would happen, realised that it was finally happening. Climate change is here, the numbers are in. Not modeled projections, but measured reality. 

And there is CSIRO, my workplace, aiming to fire the climate scientists, the resilient cities program, the ecologists and a good chunk of the adaptive social and economic sciences program. In order to rearrange the dwindling pool of research money, away from public good, and into (potentially high risk) short term commercialisable ventures. This should not be an argument about job loss....every industry is dealing with that. It should be a flowing discussion between scientists, government, business and civil society about the consequences of losing public good research in the very areas required to help Australia to understand and navigate a turbulent future under climate change.

I sincerely hope that the public understands what is happening, and acts upon it.

 - Written by Dr Deborah O'Connell, Principal Research Scientist 


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Modified on 5/10/2016 3:03:27 PM.