By Adi

Last Saturday, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott emphatically declared “Australia is under new management”. Since then, he has been briefed by a multitude of senior bureaucrats in Canberra. Apart from getting acquainted with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, our new PM has met the heads of Treasury and Finance, and the chiefs of the Defence Force and Department of Foreign Affairs. But what about the head of Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education? It seems like the PM-designate hasn’t yet sought* a briefing from this super-department… and that disturbs me. So is there anything we can do about it?

Now that the election distraction is over, Australian policy makers seem to have resumed their business as usual stance on climate change policy. I suspect that there was some unannounced, yet bipartisan, policy that upon election, the policy makers will dig their heads into other matters – for example, who their representative leader or ambassador ought to be – and hope that the climate change issue will vanish into thin air. It is possible our politicians will revisit the issue when the new senate is in place in July next year, but there is a good chance that by that time at least one of the major parties will be looking for another leader.

Needless to say, I have been de-inspired by the behaviour of our policy makers. In fact, I am giving up on this generation of politicians. The planet deserves a new management team… and it needs it now. Don’t worry, my plan is not to take over the world or run for office. The plan is to have better informed citizens because that is where our next generation of elected representatives and bureaucrats will come from.

I live at a university residence at ANU and have the ability to add content to display screens which are seen by 500 undergraduate students every morning, every evening and every night. You see, these screens are strategically placed in the lift lobby on each floor and it’s a perfect way to engage students into the discussion about climate change related issues.

As a reader of this blog,  you probably don’t need to be convinced about the impact of climate change or the dangers posed by in-action on this matter by society. However, communication of climate change science to non-scientists in the community has been mediocre at best and many in our society lack a basic understanding of the causes and impact of climate change. I recently came across a couple of infographics about climate change and I hope to put them up on the display screens at my residence.

See the How many Gigatons of CO2 infographic below or check out other examples, When Sea Levels Attack and Global Warming: Skeptics vs. Scientists.

How many gigatons of CO2?
How many gigatons of CO2?

I am on the look out for more visually appealing and scientifically accurate content for the display screens. If you are aware of any plots in the literature which are relatively easy to comprehend or know of other examples of good infographics backed up with data from reputable scientists or organisations, please do get in touch with me. If we manage to get a collection of plots and infographics, we might print and frame the collection as a house-warming present for our new PM :-)

Despite being a PhD student at the Research School of Earth Sciences, I am not an expert on climate change science and unable to evaluate the effectiveness of the different ways to tackle this pressing issue. So just imagine how little a law, economics, or arts student will know about climate change – and like it or not, these are folks who will form Earth’s future management. The time for us to help them better understand the issues they will likely be dealing with, is now.

 

* I could be wrong but at least Google (i.e. the media) does not know about a meeting since the election between the new PM or his close staff and the department’s secretary or senior staff dealing with science, innovation or climate change. I am happy to be corrected😉 [return to the top]