HOBART, TASMANIA — John A. Church, a climate scientist, did not look or sound like a man who had recently been shoved out of a job.
|John Church in Hobart in September 2010. |
He is known internationally for helping to
bring statistical and analytical rigor to
longstanding questions about sea level rise.
Speaking softly and downing coffee at an outdoor cafe in this old port city, he sounded more like a fellow fresh off a jousting match. “I think we had a win — a bigger win than I ever anticipated,” Dr. Church said in an interview last month.
Australian climate science went through an upheaval last year, one that engaged the press and the public in defending the importance of basic research. In the end, Dr. Church did indeed lose his job, but scores of his colleagues who had been marked for layoffs did not. Some of them view him as having sacrificed his career to save theirs.
What happened in Australia shows the power of an informed citizenry keeping watch on its government. And it may turn out to be a precursor to an attack on fundamental climate research in the United States.
Read the story by Justin Gillis in The New York Times - “A Parable From Down Under for U.S. Climate Scientists.”