Global Warming and Climate Change: What Australia knew and buried

9 October 2015

Former CPAS PhD student Dr Maria Taylor has detailed the birth and decline of Australian climate policy from 1987 to the present in a new book based on her doctoral thesis.

The book's blurb reads: Ever wonder how Australia became trapped in a dangerous fog of uncertainty about climate change?

Relevant to both Australian and overseas audiences, here is the untold story of how Australia buried its knowledge on climate change science and response options during the 1990s — going from clarity to confusion and doubt after arguably leading the world in citizen understanding and a political will to act in the late 1980s. ‘What happened and why’ is a fascinating exploration drawing on the public record of how a society revised its good understanding on a critical issue affecting every citizen. It happened through political and media communication, regardless of international scientific assessments that have remained consistent in ascribing causes and risks since 1990. How could this happen? The author examines the major influences, with lessons for the present, on how the story was reframed. Key have been values and beliefs, including economic beliefs, that trumped the science, the ability of changing political leaders and the mass media to set the story for the public, as well as the role of scientists’ own communication over time and the use and misuse of uncertainty. Read more at Global Warming and Climate Change.