John Church is probably the world’s leading expert on sea level change. The most trusted global sea level history based on tide gauge data is that of Church & White, yes that Church. For over 30 years he has headed the division which studies that subject for the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia.

In their continuing campaign to gut government-funded climate science, the Australian government is eliminating most if not all climate research at CSIRO. They recently fired John Church. They were so callous about it, they fired him while he was on a sea voyage studying important ocean properties.

You can read more about it here.

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28 responses to “Fired

  1. We refuse to realize that we have been in a war of conquest. Most humans, not realizing this, have been plundered and overrun for about 4 decades by carbon interests, in the marketplace, taking over political parties and sharing enough profit to keep the power in place . There aren’t many bullets and explosions, but there are defeats and exploitations. So far, the information propaganda machine has dominated. We have been over run by the well-tested tobacco campaign media machine- now fully deployed for supporting carbon. Only the screaming squadrons of climate scientists have presented enough facts to destabilize their PR campaign. Ultimate victory, of course, will go to physical reality – which will conquer all. More battles will be lost . Only a Pyrrhic victory awaits. .

    • Yes, talking about it as if it is a war against humanity and the world we live in helps make sense of it. The people involved are usually polite, and they look like us, but they are fundamentally opposed to our survival, no matter what they claim.

  2. Informing Church while he was at sea is deplorable. Any employee should be given the respect of a face to face.

    Some background.

    Short story; The very conservative Abbott government appointed Larry Marshall, physicist and venture capitalist, to direct the CSIRO. CSIRO management are responsible for proposing staff cuts and re-hiring to favour profit-making research and development. Climate science was slated for massive staff cuts. Staff were informed that the science on AGW is settled and time to shift focus to solutions-based research (initial email to staff is linked in the article).

    There has been a lot of kickback to proposed climate research staff cuts in Australia, from CSIRO staff and other sceintists and research groups, and from the news media, as well as internationally from scientists and research institutes. This appears to have mitigated the situation somewhat, with a proposed new climate division external to the CSIRO housed in Hobart, Tasmania. Supposedly, fewer staff will be axed as a result.

    Australian climate research, centred at CSIRO, is the leading institute for data and analysis in and of the Southern Hemisphere. IMO the cuts to CSIRO climate research amount to vandalism on an international scale.

    Read the wiki page on Larry Marshall and weep. He approves research into water divining, for example.

  3. The Abbott/Turnbull cabal continues down the merry road that served the Harper government so well in Canada. Unfortunately, Australian science will be not-so-collateral damage.

  4. Not wishing to defend CSIRO management here, but he actually hasn’t been fired, yet. He has been sent a letter notifying potential redundancy. Argument may ensue. Of course, it is disgraceful that this ever happened. But it isn’t final. OTOH, he may just decide to go somewhere else.

    Just saying, don’t give up yet. Pressure from outside has ameliorated some of the other bad things at CSIRO – it may help here too.

    • Bernard J.

      Indeed Nick, but amongst many of the O&S staff there is white-hot fury that John was targetted for “redundancy” at all – his work and his standing are not remotely redundant in any meaningful sense of the concept.

      There is a strong feeling amongst at least some in science in this corner of the world that this is motivated purely by political expediency. For mine, I’d be astonished if it’s not. That a supposed rational, 21st century Western government would actually move to silence the Australian voices of climate science in this manner is more breath-taking though, and the more so for the current global focus on the corrupt relationships between many of the world’s governments and big corporates.

      And yet, in spite of this, a large swathe of the Australian public is so bovinely comatose and oblivious to such machinations that they will likely vote this crowd back in, completely uncaring of the way in which they are herded like calves to the slaughter. And if they do return the LNP government then it’s almost guaranteed that the scything of the CSIRO will continue in further stages over the next few years, even if the LNP via their agent Larry Marshall ‘graciously’ reconsider this time around, with the election happening on 2 July.

      That said, “pressure from the outside” is the best weapon that we have to defend science that is in the public interest. I urge every Australian here to make as much noise as possible – this cynical nonsense cannot be left unchallenged.

      • The Australian public are subject to the nakedly partisan Herald-Sun, Courier Mail, and Telegraph. They lack the information they need to make decisions crucial to their futures.

        Thankfully, Facebook seems to be decreasing the influence of these awful propaganda rags, slowly.

  5. “If the science is settled, why do we need research scientists to continue inquiring into the settled science?”
    — George Brandis, attorney general, leader of the government in the Australian senate, April 19, 2016 —

  6. tony lynch

    nick, argument with whom? (You ever tried to argue your employer out of firing you when they’ve made their position clear?)

  7. John Mashey

    This tweet leads to a short slide show a few years ago by Marshall.
    Insight into his thinking may be gained by spending a minute flipping through his slides, but i really dud mean don sunglasses first.

    • My God, yes, that is one of the most hideous PPTs I’ve ever had the misfortune to look at.

      As to content: “All business, all the time.” Tech is not the same thing as science.

    • He looks like just the sort of guy to get money out of venture capitalists for a tech startup. But he doesn’t look like he should be running CSIRO. It isn’t a tech startup. It does long term science.
      Still, we have an election in Australia in July. We may have a slightly better government soon.

  8. John Mashey

    Content: see slide 2 …~10 companies in 22 years … not exactly long-term thinking. Tech is not science, especially public-good science, but many enterpreneurs at least have long-term vision and work at it.

    Iv’e known lots of Venture Capitalists here in S.V., but can only think of 1-2 I can even imagined running any science research organization, but quite a few at least have longer timeframes than 2-3 years.

  9. Some really stupid bastards running Australia at the moment.

  10. Church’s CSIRO bio:

    “John Church is a CSIRO Fellow. He has published across a broad range of topics in oceanography. His area of expertise is the role of the ocean in climate, particularly anthropogenic climate change. He is an expert in estimating and understanding global and regional sea-level rise. He is the author of over 130 refereed publications, over 90 other reports and co-edited three books. He was co-convening lead author for the Chapter on Sea Level in the IPCC Third and Fifth Assessment Reports. He was awarded the 2006 Roger Revelle Medal by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, was a winner of a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006, won the 2007 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research and presented the 2008 AMOS R.H. Clarke Lecture. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the American Meteorological Society.”

    • Bernard J.

      Yes, exactly the sort of fellow that Larry Marshall doesn’t want working for the CSIRO…

  11. Tragic! Thanks for the report, and John Mashey, as usual, for the detail.

  12. Mal Adapted

    Church’s dismissal is front page news in today’s New York Times: Australia to Lay Off Leading Scientist on Sea Levels. The bulk of the article is about the negative reaction from scientists around the world.

    It’s good to see the NYT abandon false balance on AGW, at least in its straight reporting.