Back in February, the Australian government announced that it was sacking all its climate scientists because it had already learned everythign it needed to know. Now, with record temperatures, perpetual bushfires, and the Great barrier Reef dying, they want to hire them back:
New Science Minister Greg Hunt has ordered a major U-turn in the direction of the CSIRO, reviving climate research as a bedrock function just months after the national science agency slashed climate staff and programs.
Mr Hunt, the former environment minister, told Fairfax Media he has instructed CSIRO's executives and board to "put the focus back on climate science", adding: "This is not an optional component, it's critical".
The new strategy, to be devised over the next three months, includes 15 new climate science jobs and research investment worth $37 million over 10 years.
"I've issued a ministerial directive … that we will make climate science a core activity, that we will strengthen and build capacity," Mr Hunt said.
Fifteen scientists hardly seems like a "core activity", especially compared to the 140 they wanted to sack (and the 35 they actually did). But at least they've changed direction. And they need to - because if climate change continues, Australia is going to dry up and blow away, and the people there are going to start running out of water.