Friday, 11 July 2008

It's time to shut down CSIRO

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has been making doom and gloom predictions about climate change for years. Now they've added peak oil to the list of things that are a major threat that require urgent action leading to misery for the average person in the street.

Unfortunately, CSIRO has moved from being the provider of sound scientific advice to political advocate.

In its latest report into petrol prices they're predicting petrol prices at the pump will rise by up to 5 times.
The oil crisis and the introduction of a carbon emissions trading system could see Australians paying $8 a litre for petrol by 2018, a new report from the CSIRO says.

The study, titled Fuel for Thought, says increased demand for petrol and limited production could see Australians paying an extra $220 a week to run their cars.

The report is based on worst case scenarios of production peaking within the next five years, then declining rapidly, while demand for petrol spirals.
There you go. Worst case scenarios. What sort of scientific organisation works on a worst case scenario? One that wants to feed into public concern on the issue, surely?
It includes modelling of the impact of an emissions trading scheme on fuel prices.
A model! A model! It must be true!
The CSIRO's John Wright said the report showed Australia would need to move toward alternative fuel sources within ten years, such as diesel, gas and hybrid electric vehicles to escape higher oil prices.

Beyond that, it would have to rely on less conventional fuel types, such as hydrogen and biofuels, he told Fairfax newspapers.
What? No shale oil? There are around 2 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in the US shale deposits, which is enough to power the US economy for 200 years or so.
"Securing access to affordable and sustainable fuel underpins Australia's economy and way of life, and as a nation with relatively high vehicle use we are vulnerable to the economic, environmental and social impacts of rising oil prices and rising temperatures," he said.

The CSIRO report also said that if the development of alternative fuels did not counter the decline in oil production, travel could be cut by up to 40 per cent.

"If reduction in oil supply is rapid and alternative fuel vehicles are slow to become available, then passenger and freight travel may be reduced by up to 40 per cent," the report said.
Can? Could? May?

Why do all of these apocalyptic reports not include 'will' or 'definitely'?

I've dealt with CSIRO for many, many years. It's a dog's breakfast of an organisation. Duplicated functions, no information sharing and differing agendas across divisions make it impossible to achieve what really should be by such a body.

It's time to shut it down and build a replacement.

(Nothing Follows)

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