Today’s Fin (subscription only) has a piece by AGW contrarian Garth Paltridge claiming that, while he was establishing the Antarctic CRC in the early 1990s, CSIRO threatened to pull out of the project if he didn’t stop saying in the media that there were doubts about the science of global warming. CSIRO’s motive, he says, was the desire to extract millions of dollars in funding from the “newly-established” Australian Greenhouse Office. Paltridge presents this as a counter to the recent Four Corners program about suppression of scientists like Graham Pearman, and it reads very effectively. The same story is reported by Andew Bolt
There is just one slight problem with the story. The Antarctic CRC was set up in 1991 with CSIRO participation. Further negotiations (given the timelags in putting together a CRC bid and getting it approved, these would have been in the mid-1990s), led to a new version of the CRC which commenced operations in 1997 (it’s not clear if CSIRO was part of this one).
The Australian Greenhouse Office wasn’t “newly established” in the early 1990s, or even in 1997: in fact it wasn’t established at all until 1998. Its formation wasn’t even announced by the Prime Minister until November 1997.
Of course, it may be that this dispute took place at some other time and in the context of some other negotiation. But if Paltridge is wrong on dates and context, maybe he has also got other things wrong, such as the content of the conversations he describes.
Update My guess is that Paltridge is referring to this Sunday program broadcast in November 1997. It’s about the time the AGO was announced, but clearly too late for the alleged threat to have been made. It’s interesting to note, by the way, how heavily the sceptics who got nearly all the running on the Sunday program rely on Christy’s satellite data, and on now-discredited hacks like Pat Michaels.