Global Warming and Climate Change: what Australia knew and buried
After many years spent as a journalist, editor and documentary film maker covering environmental and rural issues, I landed for an exciting spell of long-form research at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. My mission became to explore a hitherto unasked question that required ranging widely across science and the humanities: how could we, as a society, have buried what we once knew about the risk to everyone of global warming and climate change? This investigation was granted the necessary time through support from The Australian National University and the Commonwealth.
I am indebted to the journalists, scientists, policy-makers and researchers who put on the documentary record the outline of Australia’s response to global warming and climate change since the 1980s. I am similarly indebted to those, particularly from the United States, who documented a parallel arc of public knowledge and official response over the past 25-30 years. The story that unfolded found strong echos in other countries with similar economics and politics.
You will find many names with attribution in the pages of this book. Their contributions to the national and international conversation are significant. Far from ‘yesterday’s news’, they bore witness to today’s history and how we communicated it along the way.
Public documents were the bedrock of this investigation and I am indebted also to the late Deni Greene and to the ACT Environment Centre for their super document collections showing Australia’s early response to climate change knowledge. Thanks also to those who kindly granted interviews that expanded the documentary record. Finally, but not least, I thank my family, friends and professional colleagues who gave generously of their time, talent, ideas and encouragement to get this story told.