Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Great Barrier Reef scientists told to focus on projects to make government look good

Emails tabled in Senate inquiry recommended ‘trade-offs’ to Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Guardian, Ben Smee @BenSmee 26 Sep 2018

Great Barrier Reef scientists were told they would need to make “trade-offs” to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, including focusing on projects that would look good for the government and encourage more corporate donations, emails tabled in the Senate reveal.

The documents, including cabinet briefing notes, contain significant new details about the workings of the foundation and the government decision to award it a $443m grant, including:

  • The executives of mining, gas and chemicals companies – and international financial houses that actively back fossil-fuel projects – were among the guests at a six-star retreat hosted by the foundation less than a month after the grant was announced;
  • The media companies Foxtel and Fairfax and the tech giant Google are among a tightly held list of donors to the foundation;
  • The only CSIRO employee contacted about the grant before the announcement in April was in Patagonia, and did not get the email. Documents have previously revealed that the government’s peak science agency was cut out of the decision to award the grant;
  • In August, as scrutiny of the grant intensified, public servants pushed to block a long-planned meeting between the then science minister, Michaelia Cash, and the head of the foundation, Anna Marsden, because of concern about the “optics”.

Emails sent by staff at the Australian Institute of Marine Science outline how government expectations, the ability to leverage private donations and public perceptions “may drive the [foundation] to prioritise shorter-term research initiatives in order to demonstrate progress and return on investment”.

“Where it becomes challenging is that … interventions with the largest future benefit also take the longest to develop,” the institute’s executive director of strategic policy, David Mead, wrote in an email to colleagues.

“Among other trade-offs, we will need to determine to what degree we focus on quick wins or whether we progress longer-term strategic interventions and accept that we will only partially progress them during the next five years (perhaps with little outward visibility of success/progress).”

The emails also reveal an initial state of uncertainty about how a $100m allocation for reef restoration and adaptation would be handled……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/26/great-barrier-reef-scientists-told-to-focus-on-projects-to-make-government-look-good?CMP=share_btn_tw.

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September 28, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies

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