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Want climate resistant oysters, or climate “Justice”? The ARC has millions to help. But no money for skeptics.

File this under “Monopolistic Science”

Australian Taxpayer funds in 2012 are supporting around 50 projects about “climate change” or “greenhouse gases”.

One David McKnight has got $95k to study how Australian governments “spin” the news. So which cancer research project was knocked back so he could study a “hyper-adversarial” news system? And what is so bad about a competitive news system in any case? What are we aiming for — real news or better propaganda? (See my response to David McKnight in The Australian to see how confused this journalism lecturer is.)

The dollar values here are usually for three year projects. Some of these projects potentially produce press releases which are nothing more than disguised forms of government advertising for big-spending climate policies.



Guest Post: Dr Roberto Soria, Perth

The ARC Major Grant results for 2012 were announced in Nov 2011.  Here is what Australian scientists are up to this year.

The ARC (Australian Research Council) is the main source of funding for all researchers in all fields of natural, political and social sciences. Getting a grant will make a difference between carrying on doing research and finding another job, for many researchers. Take a look, for example, at the abstracts of the winning Discovery Projects.

I counted at least 50 winning projects with the magic words “climate change” or greenhouse gas emission in them (compared with about 10 astronomy projects, and 19 cancer research projects, for example). “Climate change” projects raked up $16 million in the Discovery category alone.

There’s a handful of them. But there are projects listed as geography, biology, film & digital media, oceanography, journalism, civil engineering, statistics, applied maths, soil science, political science, physiology, geology, archaeology, literary studies, psychology, econometrics, and more… all claiming in their 3-line abstracts that their various pet projects are going to help us understand, fight, adapt for, convince people of climate change. There’s one grant proposal that starts with the words “climate change represents a moral challenge to humanity“: it won a cute $200,000, no need to read more. There’s one that promises to study how oysters can be made resilient to climate change: here’s $285,000 coming their way. A $320,000 civil engineering research proposal informs us that “evidence” shows how floods and rains are getting worse because of global warming. Another one got $250,000 for drafting recommendations to achieve “climate justice” (whatever that is); expensive, yes, but do you want to put a price on justice? Then there’s a physiology professor at Sydney Uni who got $370,000 for a 3-year project that “will show to what extent individuals can compensate for temperature changes, and thereby render populations resilient to climate change” (I put on my sweater; I take it off. There, I have just saved you 3 years of work and $370,000).

For the old school Marxists, there’s a $239,000 Monash (where else?) project that will “develop a new cultural materialist paradigm” applied to science-fiction representations of extreme climate change. And we cannot miss a $314,000 Monash grant to study how climate change is shrinking birds (in California, climate change is making birds bigger, but never mind). A group of civil engineers got $320,000 for developing light-gauge steel roofing systems: they were clever enough to say that we need steel roofing to increase building resistance against “extreme wind events caused by climate change”. $100,000 went to two Queensland sociologists who will study how to guarantee “food security in Australia in an era of climate change” through “a multiplicity of agencies” (well, at least these two chaps have got food security for a couple of years).

If you want to study how housing prices change because of climate change, here’s $170,000 for you. The effect of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef is worth much more, about $490,000. $122,000 will be spent in the noble pursuit of reducing “climate-change associated mortality in rural areas of South Australia” (I guess mortality in the cities will be left to the next round of grants).

$335,000 will be used to study the history of Pacific islands abandoned because of climate change (a history that hasn’t happened yet?). And how can we forget the plight of the krill off the east coast, and of the “fiddler crab” suffering because of global warming in the mangroves of Darwin Harbour: $170,000 and $340,000 respectively is the least Australian taxpayers can do for these poor little creatures and their concerned minders.

And by the way, number of winning projects that propose to test whether climate change is real or catastrophic: zero. The climate-change industry has really become a monster out of control.

Some of those projects would not have got a cent, if the government wasn’t under the influence of this collective hallucination.

There’s a whole parasitic class of academics who make a good living off the catastrophic climate change myth, and the larger this class grows, the more difficult it will be to burst the bubble. Anyway, just in case you think this is just sour grapes, it is not. I actually won a grant myself this round, and it is one of the few projects that will do absolutely nothing for or against climate change 🙂 But I am sad to see so much research money wasted for nothing.



Projects to watch

Additional thoughts by Joanne Nova

Let’s keep a watch on these projects eh? (And do search the list and comment on others…)


Spinning out of control: the management of news by two Australian governments, 2004-2010

McKnight, A/Prof David C
Total $95,000.00
Primary FoR 1903 JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING,  The University of New South Wales
Project Summary
This project will examine the use of news management or ‘spin’ by Australian governments. Is it a legitimate tool of
government in the face of a hyper-adversarial news media or a technique which undermines democracy? It will examine
‘spin’ in connection with policies on climate change, economic policy, indigenous policy and asylum seekers policy.


Atmoscape: the aesthetic reformulation of the atmosphere using intelligent imaging systems

Total $368,000.00
Primary FoR 1902 FILM, TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA, The University of New South Wales
Project Summary
The proposed research provides Australia with an opportunity to advance its understanding of atmosphere and climate
by building the world’s first remote sensing visualisation system networked across three continents.


Rethinking climate justice in an age of adaptation: capabilities, local variation, and public deliberation

Schlosberg, Prof David; Niemeyer, Dr Simon J
Total $250,000.00
Primary FoR 1606 POLITICAL SCIENCE, The University of Sydney
Project Summary
This project aims to produce recommendations, designed by citizens and stakeholders, for climate adaptation policies in three regions of Australia. These recommendations will be based on a definition of climate justice that incorporates basic needs and resources to be protected, as identified by potentially impacted communities.


Sending and responding to messages about climate change: the role of emotion and morality

Hornsey, Prof Matthew J; Fielding, Dr Kelly
Total $197,302.00
Primary FoR 1701 PSYCHOLOGY,  The University of Queensland
Project Summary
Climate change represents a moral challenge to humanity, and one that elicits high levels of emotion. This project examines how emotions and morality influence how people send and receive messages about climate change, and does so with an eye to developing concrete and do-able strategies for positive change.


Locating science fiction

Milner, Prof Andrew J
Total $239,000.00
Primary FoR 2005 LITERARY STUDIES, Monash University
Project Summary
The project will devise and develop a new ‘cultural materialist’ paradigm for science fiction studies and apply it to a case study of science fictional representations of catastrophe, especially nuclear war, plague and extreme climate change.


Tally’s of past grants from the ARC is listed on this PDF: Australian Climate Funding 2004-2009.

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