The Australian government is accused of covering up the impact of the climate crisis and suppressing the work of scientists yesterday as it seeks to amend the country’s environmental legislation. A report by the Ecological Society of Australia found that scientists are routinely blocked from publishing results of their studies and warn that changes are made to their findings before their work is released. It found that half the government scientists and nearly 40 per cent of those working in industry had been blocked from releasing or discussing their findings.
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the abstract of which is as follows:
Suppressing expert knowledge can hide environmentally damaging practices and policies from public scrutiny. We surveyed ecologists and conservation scientists from universities, government, and industry across Australia to understand the prevalence and consequences of suppressing science communication. Government (34%) and industry (30%) respondents reported higher rates of undue interference by employers than did university respondents (5%). Internal communications (29%) and media (28%) were curtailed most, followed by journal articles (11%), and presentations (12%). When university and industry researchers avoided public commentary, this was mainly for fear of media misrepresentation, while government employees were most often constrained by senior management and workplace policy. One third of respondents reported personal suffering related to suppression, including job losses and deteriorating mental health. Substantial reforms are needed, including to codes of practice, and governance of environmental assessments and research, so that scientific advice can be reported
openly, in a timely manner and free from interference.