Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


CSIRO cuddles up to climate change deniers

*Pic: of Larry Marshall. Image from ANU, here

First published April 28

Why is the head of Australia’s most prestigious scientific organisation CSIRO Dr Larry Marshall cosying up to climate change deniers and tobacco promoters at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)? He has agreed to appear at an event for AMCHAM on Friday 28 April. The title is “G’Day to Aussie Innovation – CSIRO in the US”.

AMCHAM is part of the US Chamber of Commerce. The US Chamber of Commerce is a well-known lobbyist for the tobacco industry.

Disney, Pepsi and the Gap have been asked by health and climate change organisations to leave the US Chamber of commerce because of its reprehensible record.

Quartz media reported: “Following president Donald Trump’s executive actions that would gut the Obama administration’s policies to curb global warming, the chamber’s president, Thomas Donohue, said, “These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration’s strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy.”

Under the hilarious heading “The company you will keep “ CSIRO is listed as a “Premium Member” of AMCHAM; alongside Exxon Mobil.

The US Chamber of Commerce is a staunch supporter of big tobacco. It is rapidly losing support, except from other climate change deniers. The New York Times and others have run many stories about this.

Surely as an American Dr Marshall has read these stories. He must know the history of these organisations. He has a PHD. He is not stupid.

According to one reputable news story in the Guardian “13 of the world’s largest companies —Costco, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Mattel, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance—have quit the chamber in recent years over its policies”.

So why would the CSIRO have anything to do with this pack of ratbags?

1. http://www.amcham.com.au/vpLink.aspx?ID=4200&EVENT=000000003497&STATE=NSW

2. https://www.uschamber.com/amcham-directory

3. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/24/disney-the-gap-and-pepsi-urged-to-quit-us-chamber-of-commerce

4. http://www.amcham.com.au/vpLink.aspx?ID=3200

5. http://blog.amcham.com.au/blog/csiro-builds-bridge-between-australia-and-the-us-innovation-and-business/

6. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/10/business/us-chamber-of-commerces-focus-on-advocacy-a-boon-to-tobacco.html?_r=2

7. http://www.citizen.org/documents/us-chamber-of-commerce-international-tobacco-sales-report.pdf

Dr Kathryn Barnsley has worked in tobacco control for two decades, in both the public and non-government sectors. She was the Tasmanian public servant responsible for developing ground-breaking legislation on reducing display of tobacco products, indoor smoke free areas and sales to minors. She acted as a strong advocate, worked closely with non-government organisations and within government to achieve anti-smoking measures. The Tasmanian legislation included a world first to prohibit the tobacco industry from telling lies about the health effects of its products. Kathryn was a member of the National Expert Advisory Committee on Tobacco, has an international perspective on tobacco control, and has made presentations in countries such as NZ, Japan and the Philippines, in particular on removing public displays of tobacco products. Kathryn was placed on the Tasmanian Women’s Honour Roll in 2013. Kathryn led SmokeFree Tasmania, and lobbied politicians and the media to ban smoking in cars with kids, and to finally remove tobacco products from public display. Completed her PhD at the Centre of Research Excellence for Chronic Respiratory Disease and Lung Ageing, University of Tasmania in 2016. Published several papers in international journals and in Australian media. Kathryn is advocating for the tobacco free generation proposal, which would prevent the sale of tobacco to any person born after the year 2000. http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/cdd/programs_and_services/tasmanian_honour_roll_of_women/inductees/2012/kathryn_barnsley

ABC: CSIRO: Leaked emails reveal claims organisation ‘missing in action’ on climate advice

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  1. Kathryn Barnsley

    April 30, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    AMCHAM has responded to my letter.

    Dear Dr. Barnsley:

    Thank you for your inquiry. I am pleased to confirm that AmCham-Australia is an independent NFP/NGO reporting to its own Board of Directors – and to no one else.

    I would commend you to our website at http://www.amcham.com.au for a variety of information about us and our structure and activities.

    The US Chamber of Commerce is an entirely separate organization based in Washington DC. Where we have common interests, such as in promoting free trade or lower taxes, we may elect to cooperate with the US Chamber, as we do with other organizations that share our goals. I am aware of the US Chamber’s position on tobacco, which we have never shared.


    Niels Marquardt
    U.S. Ambassador (ret),
    Chief Executive Officer

  2. John Biggs

    April 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    #10, 11, 13 Thank you, that says it all. Marshall is clearly out of his depth and should be sacked.

  3. Lynne Newington

    April 30, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Not too sure about his judgement, although he’s in good company on climate change including Tony Abbott whose private views we would never really know now he’s backed off.



  4. Steve Wilson

    April 30, 2017 at 2:43 am

    re #7,#8 and #11, Marshall’s publication record has been widely questioned since his appointment. Dr Barnsley (#11) makes the point that peer reviewed publication is the currency of scientific achievement and that ‘Web of Science’ is the prime index for peer reviewed papers.
    I emailed him some time ago and asked for a list of his peer reviewed papers and received a polite personal response, but no list and no explanation for his reluctance to share information which is in the public domain and which most scientists would be proud to share. My reminder email was ignored. The Wikipedia link in #8 refers to a relatively obscure citation index which does indeed list about 45 papers but a paper by paper inspection shows most to be conference presentations or monograph chapters. These are usually not subject to peer review before publication and have little scientific currency.
    With just a few peer reviewed papers and his own admission that his management experience is limited to small very specialised companies, Marshall is simply out of his depth as head of CSIRO.
    This current promotional effort for the US Chamber of Commerce and his recent antics at CSIRO meetings give a sad picture of a science lightweight hiding behind a cloak of inept showmanship.

  5. john hayward

    April 29, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Larry Marshall would have received a bigly moral boost from Trump with the latter’s Me-First rally in Pennsylvania where he reaffirmed his right to use Rolling Stones songs despite the band’s refusal and to incorporate inane doggerel about a vicious, talking, Mexican snake into American foreign policy.

    John Hayward

  6. Kathryn Barnsley

    April 29, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    More from the SMH May last year. “But what most offends staff is Marshall’s relative lack of scientific credentials. McKeon says when the search for a new chief executive got underway, “the board received a very strong message to employ an outstanding scientist, and by scientist I mean someone who has committed themselves to science for their whole lives”.

    CSIRO insiders describe this as “laughable”. There are several ways to assess a scientist’s credentials: fellowships, prizes and patents (Marshall has registered 21 patents, mostly in laser technology). But the true currency of credibility is peer-reviewed papers, most of which are collated in an online resource called Web of Science. (Web of Science also tallies the number of citations for each paper – “Citations are indicative of the importance of a publication, and the extent to which it’s been noticed by other researchers in the field,” says Peter Craig.)

    A search through Web of Science shows Marshall has in the order of 12 significant peer-reviewed publications, with a total of around 200 citations. By way of comparison, Tony Haymet, who has served as former chief of the CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research unit and a former director of the US-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has around 180 significant Web of Science listed peer-reviewed publications, with more than 7000 citations.

    Marshall said that while papers and citations were important, he also highlighted the importance of “inventions and impact”.

    Marshall’s cuts to the CSIRO’s climate division have been criticised worldwide, including from the New York Times, and in an open letter, sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, signed by 3000 scientists from 60 countries.

    “What you are dealing with here is a breakdown in the recruitment and selection process,” says New Zealand climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “The little I know about [Marshall] makes it seem most inappropriate for him to lead CSIRO: sort of like the preposterous proposition of Donald Trump becoming president of the US.”

  7. Kathryn Barnsley

    April 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    From the Sydney Morning Herald on Senate Estimates.

    “Every member of CSIRO’s senior executive team received performance-related bonuses last year despite 2016 being one of the most tumultuous in the organisation’s history.

    Salary details of the organisation’s leadership were revealed during a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday
    Larry Marshall: We need more collaboration
    CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall says research and industry need to work more collaboratively to create new value.
    Despite it not being a requirement under current government guidelines, CSIRO officials for the first time revealed the remuneration package of chief executive Larry Marshall.

    Under questioning from Labor Senator Kim Carr, secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Glenys Beauchamp, initially said that Dr Marshall’s salary was $673,712.
    CSIRO boss Larry Marshall’s salary for 2016 was confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing.
    CSIRO boss Larry Marshall’s salary for 2016 was confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing. Photo: Louise Kennerley
    Senator Carr expressed surprise at this figure. “That’s less than your predecessor,” Mr Carr told Dr Marshall.

    Under further questioning Ms Bennett said there was an additional “at-risk component determined by the board”.

    “What is that? A performance bonus?” Mr Carr said.

    “It is a potential 30 per cent on top of that,” Ms Bennett said.

    Labor’s shadow science minister Kim Carr quizzed the CSIRO chief financial officer in the hearing.
    Labor’s shadow science minister Kim Carr quizzed the CSIRO chief financial officer in the hearing. Photo: Andrew Meares
    Dr Marshall later said that he had received 85 per cent of what he, too, referred to as an “at-risk component”.

    Calculated from Ms Bennett’s stated base salary, this means Dr Marshall’s total remuneration last year was $845,508.

    CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan would not confirm details of Dr Marshall’s salary but said that this figure reflected evidence presented during estimates.

    Dr Marshall said that all nine members of the organisation’s senior management received bonuses.

    Senator Carr said to Dr Marshall: “Despite the couple of years you’ve had, every member of the executive got a bonus? They all got extra money?”

    “None received all of it,” Dr Marshall said.

    In February last year, CSIRO announced widespread restructuring of its scientific priorities, including a move away from long-term climate research leading to redundancies of more than 300 across the organisation.

    In August last year then Science Minister Greg Hunt ordered a U-turn, to put the focus back on climate science.”

  8. John Biggs

    April 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    #7,#8. Marshall may have started life with a PhD and done scientific things, but when he went to the states he was a businessman, entrepreneur and venture capitalist and he was in that mode when Abbott appointed him to be CEO of CSIRO, not to promote a scientific agenda but a right wing political agenda that would warm the cockles of where Abbott’s heart should have been. Turnbull as a neolib venture capitalist himself of course kept him even when he cut 330 job including 110 from the climate change division. It was Hunt, not Turnbull, who restored $.7 million and 15 climate jobs. Not near enough but Hunt at least seemed to realise the enormity of the damage Marshall had done.

  9. Dr Peter Lozo

    April 29, 2017 at 2:08 am

    “Marshall was born in Sydney and he received both his undergraduate and postgraduate education, including a PhD in physics, at Macquarie University. He was a cadet scientist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.”

     “Marshall was an extremely active scientists publishing over 100 papers mostly over a 6 year period.”


  10. Dr Peter Lozo

    April 29, 2017 at 2:02 am

    #1 John

    “businessman not a scientist”

    If a PhD in physics doesn’t qualify Marshall to be a scientist then what does?

  11. max

    April 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    # 5 Nothing is as it seems, it is all smoke and mirrors. Without petrodollars America would be bankrupt and so would we. America is constantly at war to protect the dollar. It was the reason for the whole Middle East stupidity and it is the reason for Trumps and Turnbull’s refusal to face up to climate change. If the world suddenly stopped using oil there would be no petrodollars and no stable monetary system. We can keep on burning oil and the monetary system continues to stagger on, or we can save the world from climate change, but we cannot have both. Either way we are stuffed, take your pick, that what Turnbull and Trump have done.

  12. Daniel Dudis

    April 28, 2017 at 6:16 am

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is indeed one of the leading opponents of action on climate change in the U.S., and I would not at all be surprised if some of the AmChams are also active in this area given their activity on tobacco and intellectual property-related issues. Here in the U.S., the Chamber lobbied heavily against cap and trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it is suing to block former president Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would require power plants to reduce their GHG emissions, it is lobbying against increased fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles and for opening up public lands to coal mining and public waters to oil and gas drilling.

  13. Peter Bright

    April 27, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    The tobacco industry is one dedicated to murder in slow motion.

  14. john hayward

    April 27, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Given the ever-expanding scientific certitude about climate change and its consequences, it can’t be long before we need to start considering the amazing avarice of Larry Marshall, and other people who obviously know better, as a cognitive disorder rather than a merely egregious moral failing.

    One wonders if Dante would have added a further bottom circle to his Hell if his age had had scientists able and prepared to betray the trust of humanity and the well-being of the living world for their personal bottom lines.

    John Hayward

  15. Kathryn Barnsley

    April 27, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Hi John, I don’t think Marshall is actually a climate change denier. I think he might be a “mitigator” . As an entrepreneur there is a lot of money to be made in engineering building and technical adaptations to climate change. Just no money in preventing climate change.

  16. John Biggs

    April 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Marshall is a massive embarrassment, an Abbott appointment, a businessman not a scientist. A climate denier heading up our top scientific research establishment! Turnbull should have sacked him a year ago when he routed the climate change section.

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