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Australia: Yes, Virginia, scientists WOULD lie about climate change

July 25, 2012

Here’s why:

I was recently working my way through the Australian Research Council’s list of successful Discovery grants for 2011, which are commencing this year and most of which will run for the next three years. Along the way, I was tickled to see just how far-reaching the impact of climate change will be in Australia.

In case you hadn’t realised the seriousness of the problem, I thought I’d share these budding projects with you. Names of grantees and institutions have been omitted to protect the innocent, but I have included the FOR, or Field of Research as coded by the ARC, and the total grant monies. Enjoy.

Physiology: “Abrupt environmental changes can put natural populations at risk of extinction. The project will show to what extent individuals can compensate for temperature changes and thereby render populations resilient to climate change. This research will make theoretical advances and improve the power to predict impacts of future climate change.” ($370,000)….

Etc, etc. And my favourite:

Literary Studies: “The project will devise and develop a new ‘cultural materialist’ paradigm for science fiction studies and apply it to a case study of science fictional representations of catastrophe, especially nuclear war, plague and extreme climate change.” ($239,000)

Quadrant Online

Not all of this will go to income, of course — but it will help to pay for departmental expenditure, laboratory space, new equipment, attractive research assistants and overseas travel, all of which ultimately contributes to promotion, tenure, status and prestige.  And if you believe that scientists aren’t smart or self-interested enough to game the system to achieve their goals, then I have this bridge I’d like to sell you…

Anyway, I must dash. Someone’s paying me a quarter of a million dollars to read science fiction. With YOUR money.

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