David Karoly CSIRO. By Peter Campbell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, link

Climate Scientist David Karoly Furious CSIRO Refocussed on Solving Genuine Problems

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; Climate scientist David Karoly has slammed the Aussie Conservative Government for diverting CSIRO attention away from working on “settled science”, towards providing “customer driven science”, consultancy services for businesses.

CSIRO has become ‘extravagant consulting company’, one of its former top climate scientists says

After cutting ties with the agency, Prof David Karoly is free of its restrictions on commenting on climate policy

Adam Morton 
Climate and environment editor @adamlmorton Mon 2 May 2022 03.30 AEST

A leading Australian climate scientist says the national science agency, CSIRO, has been turned into a “very extravagant consulting company” under the Coalition, with its scientists barred from speaking publicly about government policy.

Karoly, who worked on four of the six major assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, returned to CSIRO in 2018. He agreed to head its Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub in the wake of the chief executive, Larry Marshall, making deep cuts to the organisation’s climate science capacity on the grounds the problem was “proven”. That push was partially reversed after public and political pressure, with Marshall later acknowledging it had been a mistake. Karoly signed on to help build a new program.

While he is proud he helped secure an effective 50% funding increase to be spent on a new climate systems hub, he says the cuts had been “stupid” and had a lasting impact. He says staff in CSIRO’s oceans and atmosphere unit were last year told 70% of CSIRO funding now had to come from external earnings – contracts with industry and government agencies – rather than core funding for a project to be approved. Historically, there had been about 30% external funding.

Karoly argues it has fundamentally changed an organisation that was once known for its international-standard “public good” science. Famously, CSIRO radio astronomers accidentally invented what became wi-fi while doing unrelated public good research. Karoly says that sort of work is now less likely.

“CSIRO’s approach is now to make money,” he says. “It’s essentially a very extravagant consulting company, and unless it has large enough external earnings science doesn’t go ahead. It means public good science has disappeared from CSIRO unless someone else is willing to pay for it.”

He says focus on “customer-driven science” is not limited to the federal Coalition, but it had accelerated the shift. “It’s not just a Liberal National party government perspective, it’s also a Labor party perspective: that the users should drive the science to answer the questions that are important for them,” he says.

Karoly says scientists at CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are routinely blocked from speaking publicly and have their work suppressed if it could be interpreted as at odds with government policy. As one of CSIRO’s top climate scientists, Karoly was allowed to talk about global greenhouse gas emissions and the urgent need to reduce them, but not allowed to talk about Australia’s approach to the issue or performance in cutting emissions.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/02/csiro-has-become-extravagant-consulting-company-one-of-its-former-top-climate-scientist-says

What can I say – it seems absurd to go around telling people “the science is settled”, then express surprise when they infer from your statements that your research is complete.

And inferring that the public good does not include solving real world problems and helping taxpayers who fund your research is even more absurd.

The CSIRO has not completely ditched pure research – I would protest at that. I accept Karoly’s point about the development of Wi-fi. Pure research has its place.

But the entire nation suffers if all the best scientific minds are preoccupied with trying to solve how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

There is clearly enough demand for the applied science services on offer, to support the view that the increased prioritisation of CSIRO research efforts towards solving real world problems was reasonable and justified.

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May 2, 2022 2:10 pm

“the science is settled”

The science could be settled by the proper application of the scientific method … At the very least, the IPCC science can be settled as so wrong that it’s an embarrassment to all legitimate science.

Curious George
Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 2, 2022 2:33 pm

“the science is settled” is an unbounded arrogance. It’s purpose is to kill any discussion – but to keep grants coming.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 2, 2022 4:09 pm

“the science is settled”

But my retirement pension needs another 20 years of contributions, so for now “the science is settled in the process of being settled”

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Mr.
May 2, 2022 6:19 pm

“the science is settled in the process of being settled”

You nailed it! Remember the response when they were called out for not needing more
research funding since the science was settled?- er, um, but not that settled! 😮


May 2, 2022 2:14 pm

In the Aussie-land everything is upside down, so they have different priorities.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Vuk
May 2, 2022 2:51 pm

That is what being ‘down under’ generally does.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 10:27 pm

On an Aussie plane are you up over down under?

Steve Case
Reply to  Vuk
May 2, 2022 5:30 pm

In the Aussie-land everything is upside down

The moon rises upside down, the sundials run counter clock
and the damn fools all drive on the wrong side of the street.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Steve Case
May 2, 2022 9:54 pm

There is no logical reason to drive on the right, ESPECIALLY if you are an American.

Let me explain the steps.

  • if you drive on the left the driver’s seat is closest to the centre of the road.
  • Hence you sit on the right hand side of the vehicle
  • Hence your right arm can easily fit through the driver’s side window
  • making it perfect for putting a cap in the arse of some fool

America, the nation of private gun owners, drive on the Right…

YUP. That is a thing.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
May 3, 2022 9:21 am

Driving on the left is an anachronism from the days of swords and horses, when you held the reins in your left hand and sword in the right (as most are R/H).
Hand guns negated the need for extra reach.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 3, 2022 7:12 pm

What is your take on trains?

Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 4, 2022 7:10 am

Actually it goes back to the roman troups. You passed right arm to right arm – ready for battle.

Reply to  Steve Case
May 4, 2022 12:19 am

At least we Aussies know how to spell the Queen’s English correctly.

May 2, 2022 2:30 pm

Sorry to comment on a different subject, but what is the cause of the Indian heatwave?

It’s “climate change” on every news media channel, will they get worse, or is it due to something else?

Thanks, and sorry again for commenting on a different subject..

Curious George
Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 2:37 pm

Climate change has been an undisputed cause of all heat waves in the last 16 million years. Cold waves have always been just weather.

Last edited 1 year ago by Curious George
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 2:59 pm

Per NASA (just checked) spring India heat waves are just weather and occur quite often. The most recent was in 2015 and killed over 2000 people. A little Googling goes a long way here at WUWT

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 3:37 pm

Thank you, I stopped googling such topics as all I got was “The world is ending” climate change etc etc, and it got me so anxious that I didn’t leave my home for a week or so… Then bu chance I found this site, and the worry and anxiety disappeared.. This is my first first in a long time…

But thank you for letting me know about the NASA data…

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 4:04 pm

For your future reference, the nasa site I cited verbatim is at:

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 4:32 pm

Thank you Rud, I will do some reading tomorrow, i haven’t been on that site before.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 4:15 pm

Every year India, Pakistan and other countries in the area go through a pre-monsoon hot period with temperatures up to 50C and ‘mango showers’ – short duration rains that help early crops along – it’ll cool down a little when the monsoon rains really start and the weather breaks but still remain fairly warm. It’s important to note 2 things about this – firstly that these temperatures are not unusual in this area and time of year; it’s a pattern that occurs every year and has done since before homo sapiens moved into the area. The second being, of course, that India and Pakistan see a lot of tourists throughout the year, most from cooler countries where they are not acclimatised to these sort of temperatures, so the government’s of these countries probably issue ‘heatwave warnings’ for insurance liability purposes. It’s simply a localised weather pattern that happens every year.

Reply to  Richard Page
May 2, 2022 4:30 pm

Thank you for replying richard, sometimes we all need facts rather then the same old climate change rubbish that, the news media screams at us, Wattsupwiththat truly saved me, and I’m sure many others…

Reply to  Richard Page
May 3, 2022 2:27 am

and as the monsoons hit theyll start the climatechange floods did it

Richard Page
Reply to  ozspeaksup
May 3, 2022 12:02 pm

Yup – that’s the one! As has happened in previous years…..

Reply to  Richard Page
May 4, 2022 12:24 am

It’s very similar in Darwin and the rest of far tropical Australia. November is known as “mango madness” season. It is very warm, and the humidity is increasing rapidly but until the monsoon breaks it’s pretty hellish. They say that the majority of domestic violence and pub brawls occur then, this the nickname.

Reply to  Richard Page
May 4, 2022 7:19 am

However if the rain is intense and wide spread across the north west of Australia, then the monsoon season is milder in India. T Australia will then be suffering from :”climate change”.

Burl Henry
Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 6:13 pm


It may be a stalled high pressure weather system.

They have been responsible for a number of serious heat waves in Europe and elsewhere in the past.

This can be checked if the barometric pressure isobars isobars are available.

Richard Page
Reply to  Burl Henry
May 3, 2022 12:04 pm

What? In roughly the same place, at the same time every year going back centuries? Check the monsoon weather event first, eh?

Reply to  Sunny
May 2, 2022 8:02 pm

The more extreme the weather, the less it has to do with climate ”change”

May 2, 2022 2:40 pm

What can I say – it seems absurd to go around telling people “the science is settled”, then express surprise when they infer from your statements that your research is complete.

Brilliant observation! So can we just shut down the organization now since it has accomplished its mission of settling the science and spend the money on more useful things like bioengineering the trees that money is supposed to grow on?

Bob close
Reply to  stinkerp
May 5, 2022 11:32 am

Much of what you say is true, but the government in 2016 only shut down the bulk of climate science funding and personnel because they were not achieving anything of note because they were focussed on climate alarmism not science. Their models based on the IPCC variants have failed spectacularly to hone cast and cannot be used to predict future climate. Therefore they should reject these very expensive model systematics and get back to simpler analysis of real weather using empirical data. Until management stops prioritising the AGW hypothesis via CO2 emissions, they will never get to proper settled science based on repeatable observations as per normal scientific process not post modern emotionally led environmental activism.
Australia and the world needs the truth about natural climate variance, the fact of minuscule warming this century, and that CO2 rise is highly beneficial to humanity, not pollution!

Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 2:50 pm

Since Eric pointed out that Karoly advocating for ‘settled climate science’ got CSIRO’s climate science budget cut (to his horror), then segued to analogous past research on ‘angels dancing on a pin’ problems—the absurdity of medieval scholasticism—I thought that in all ‘seriousness’ I would refer interested WUWT readers to the latest and by far best scientific treatment of the angels problem. Personal ‘science’ favorite paper. Even better than serious stuff exposing climate academic misconduct like Marcott, O’Leary, and Fabricius in various essays in ebook Blowing Smoke.

The scientific paper is “Quantum Gravity Treatment of the Angel Density Problem”. It appeared some years ago in the Annals of Improbable Research, available at improbable.com. The Annals are published by the same fine Harvard scientific minds that stage the annual Ig Nobel awards at Sanders theater each November, ‘lauding’ with Ig Nobel prizes the past year’s ‘best’ peer reviewed research papers.

If you have a spare couple of hours, watching any past Ig Nobels ceremony is a fun experience. Streamed online annually by Harvard for posterity.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 3:56 pm

… the absurdity of medieval scholasticism …

It was disconnected from reality in the same way as is modern scholarship, science included.

Defund the universities.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 2, 2022 4:05 pm

That bunch is absolutely hilarious.
Sacred cows are butchered with wild abandon.

May 2, 2022 2:52 pm

it seems absurd to go around telling people “the science is settled”

Sure is as they can quickly change their tune
Climate change means 1 in 25 homes could become uninsurable by 2030, report warns (msn.com)
Yes folks it’s Megafires killed the Megafauna and the dams are never gunna fill Timbo with the booga booga again- Team | Climate Council
All brushing up their resume’s should Labor take the Treasury benches at the Federal election.

Nothing to do with land clearing for agriculture and urbanization and all those tree changers wanting to live among the gum trees.

Chris Hanley
May 2, 2022 3:05 pm

As one of CSIRO’s top climate scientists, Karoly was allowed to talk about global greenhouse gas emissions and the urgent need to reduce them, but not allowed to talk about Australia’s approach to the issue or performance in cutting emissions …

What is Karoly complaining about, it is a longstanding convention and rule in democratic countries including Australia that public employees ‘do not advocate, defend or publicly canvass the merits of government or opposition policies’ (APS Values and Code of Conduct in practice).
As the article headline says having retired he is now free to comment all he likes and no doubt will get plenty of coverage in the Guardian and on the ABC etc., he can even stand as a candidate for the Greens in elections.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 2, 2022 4:40 pm

This works both ways.
How many government engineers and scientists can’t publicly say how BS CAGW is?

What would on-the-ground military officers say about battery powered tanks?

Craig from Oz
Reply to  waza
May 2, 2022 10:16 pm

There is a lot of selective reporting on the use of electricity and military vehicles, mostly from the usual subjects.

There has been interest in hybrid drive armoured vehicles. The interest is that since an electric donk is – usually – quieter than a conventional one the audio signature is a lot lower. Hence if you are a recon type vehicle performing that role, the ability to quietly approach an area is a clear tactical advantage.

So hybrid drive? Yeah. It is a thing worth investigating.

What it is not is a 100% endorsement that the armies of the world are planning to go 100% electric.

The disadvantage of a hybrid drive is your space and mass budget. Your vehicle is still going to need an engine that can move the vehicle at a useful speed, so just like in the Green Dream every ‘renewable’ power source is going to need a conventional back up.

Vehicles have finite space and mass budgets. You can’t just keep putting things in.

Sorry MSM, but hard engineering science doesn’t care about your woke feelings.

Chris Hanley
May 2, 2022 3:19 pm

Whenever Karoly is mentioned I’m always reminded of the ill-fated Gergis ‘hockey stick’.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 2, 2022 4:13 pm

Yes I was wondering if this cluster of a paper would get a mention.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 2, 2022 6:52 pm

Well we know he is an expert at whinning not sure about anything else.

May 2, 2022 3:28 pm

Karoly! The “expert” who had to withdraw a peer reviewed (proving what a joke PR is!) paper after it was shown his maths was terrible.

Nick in Vancouver
May 2, 2022 3:29 pm

“It means public good science has disappeared from CSIRO unless someone else is willing to pay for it.”

Climate science magical thinking in a nut shell, he must believe the money for his research used to picked from the Magic Money Tree.

Heaven forbid that something a sordid as actual cash should need to be coughed up by financially stressed tax payers, under penalty of the law, or – eeww – commercial enterprises to pay for “the public good”.

May 2, 2022 3:37 pm

Right “customer driven research” is wrong. As opposed to what? Random research into nonsense no one cares about? How many times do frogs mate? How many positions do they use? People need to know!

Just my opinion, but if no one is willing to fund your research, it probably means no one cares about the result.

Reply to  Andy May
May 2, 2022 4:08 pm

How many times do frogs mate? How many positions do they use? People need to know!

Good Lord.
Yet another paper on the peeper frogs of the seacoast area, New Hampshire.

Reply to  TonyL
May 3, 2022 9:59 am

Would those be the invasive leaf peeper variety?

Reply to  Andy May
May 3, 2022 4:29 am

Even more important.. How many “genders” of frog are there !!

Richard Page
Reply to  b.nice
May 3, 2022 12:07 pm

Bad example – some species of frogs can change genders in response to changing conditions.

May 2, 2022 3:56 pm

Karoly should stand for political office … he can sure talk out of both orifices simultaneously.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Streetcred
May 2, 2022 7:01 pm

with none of it being true, to boot!

May 2, 2022 4:33 pm

Pseudo scientists: “The science is settled!”

Treasury: Oh good, funding withdrawn.

Pseudo scientists: Noooooooooo!

May 2, 2022 4:46 pm

For a pig, it is always about the trough. If he likes and committed in ClimateFraud research, he can continue pursuing it. Of course with his own monies.

May 2, 2022 5:10 pm

You all are missing what this guy’s real fear is. If people are to pay them for weather research, they are going to want answers they can use, i.e., correct answers.

They don’t have models for that.

Dave Fair
May 2, 2022 5:48 pm

Biting the hand that feeds him. Just how many people sitting around doing what they feel like should taxpayers support?

May 2, 2022 6:13 pm

Research can be theoretical (predictions of the micro scale), physical, predictive of future situations (macro scale like climate), applied/inventive or for commercialisation/optimisation.

All of these need funding but how you share it out is not an exact science & easily becomes political. The inventions becoming commercialised can easily earn money as does the applied geology/chemistry/physics that assists oil&gas&mineral exploration. How can some of this corporate money be filtered back to the start? How to avoid groupthink, decisions based on eminence/popularity vs merit?

Pseudoscience of 50% chance of above average has no value. Making grid scale energy storage economically & safe has great value. Carbon capture & storage has no long term benefit if we cait will stay where we put it. Are we going to bury forests deep underground then regrow them?

Where are the bottlenecks in the pipeline of research (from theoretical to commercialisation & optimisation)?
Where is there a glut of “more of the same”? eg. How many climate models & runs do you need -VS- more empirical data with smaller gridded model that uses the equivalent computation as 4000 runs of old models to produce 1 more accurate model. Do we need 100 wrong answers based on the same wrong assumptions or spending the same money to verify & refine those assumptions to be more accurate before using those assumptions.

May 2, 2022 6:27 pm

Ah the old “If X then Y” science.

So old school, so satisfying when applied to the new pseudo-science.

Old Cocky
May 2, 2022 7:47 pm

I wonder if he knows what the initials CSIRO stand for, and what the organisation was founded to do.

May 2, 2022 7:56 pm

‘Settled Science’ IS customer-driven ‘science.’ Real science is never settled. The customers for this ‘settled science’ are Hoffer’s true believers.

May 2, 2022 8:11 pm

I responded to Karoly on The Conversation asking why RCP8.5 was both “implausible” and “business-as-usual”. He didn’t get back.

shortie of greenbank
May 2, 2022 9:31 pm

Sorry? Karoly held back his opinion while in the employ of the CSIRO? Every single sound bite his ideological screeching was evident. I detect not a shred of difference between then and now.

May 2, 2022 9:53 pm

Gee, that’s weird.

Don’t they also claim that it was all fully understood by Exxon scientists in the 1970s and 80s?
Surely it doesn’t need any further reseach.

Peter K
May 2, 2022 11:27 pm

The CSIRO achieved many great inventions, however when the Labour Government came to power, their direction was changed. The CSIRO replaced scientists and engineers with journalists and were specifically used as a propaganda machine for “Climate Change, Global warming etc”.

May 3, 2022 12:20 am

The result of the funding situation here in NZ is to try to do overpriced consulting as nothing else pays guess the same in Australia
Way too many dead overheads

May 3, 2022 2:25 am

wow thats GREAT news that hes left!
of course the downside is ABC will promote him heavily via sobstories and flimflam n co will pick him up

May 4, 2022 1:07 am

He’s baack. Sort of. The last time I saw him he was having to withdraw a paper, embarrassment writ so large that now any mention of “the science is settled” should see him chased out of town. This once garrulous chappy needs to stay out of sight, together with science “reporters” such as 100metres Warming Williams (yes, he actually spoke to a scientist once or twice, they learned sooo much from him..) and console themselves with hockey sticks and photos of Gore and Hanson (ah, remember the Manhattan perimeter road, yes, it’s still there, dry as a witch’s wart).
It’s still a travesty!

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