Australian climate experts muzzled
Feb 13, 2006, 1:48 GMT
Sydney - Prime Minister John Howard's government was embarrassed Monday after three of its climate change experts said they had been stopped from speaking on global warming and Canberra's refusal to join global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The complaints of muzzling from three distinguished scientists at the government's CSIRO research establishment echo those of United States climate change expert James Hansen. A US government public relations officer was forced to resign last week after Hansen complained of being silenced on climate change issues.
Australia and the US are the only two rich nations to have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Environment Minister Ian Campbell said that he had not ordered information to be suppressed.
'If a bureaucrat is giving directions to a scientist not to say something, then it's not something that is being sanctioned by me,' Campbell said.
Graeme Pearman, Barney Foran and Barrie Pittock told national broadcaster ABC that they were prevented from highlighting concerns over climate change.
Pittock said he was told to remove from a draft report a section detailing how millions of South Pacific islanders could become climate change refugees because of rising sea levels.
'I was advised that if I wanted the book to pass acceptance as a government publication, it would be better to take it out,' Pittock told the ABC. 'I was told that Foreign Affairs and Trade or some of the other departments would not like it.'© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur