Book reviews – Global warming and climate change:

what Australia knew and buried… then framed a new reality for the public

This is a crucially important book. It is exceptionally well researched and thoughtfully written. It should be essential reading for everyone if we are to understand the debate on climate change in Australia. It tells us clearly and analytically how public understanding was reframed in Australia by conservative think tanks, politicians, the business community and the media, by exploiting beliefs and values held by our society.

Launch speech

The Hon John Kerin, former minister in the Hawke and Keating governments

This book is an essential read for anyone with a serious interest in the history of Australian climate policy and the lessons that emerge from it. The book’s section on media shows that the shift in media coverage was partly due to the deep change driven by the emergence of the internet, declining profitability and centralisation of traditional media. Experienced and ethical journalists left, so articles that provided context and perspective were replaced by ‘he says, she says’ articles focused on artificially framed debate, conflict that reinforced uncertainty and a ‘culture war’ model based on ‘environment versus economy’. Powerful media owners imposed their agendas. And publicly owned media were intimidated into providing ‘balanced’ reporting that reinforced anti-scientific views.

Full review

Alan Pears, environmental/energy consultant and RMIT Senior Industry Fellow

Maria Taylor’s book carefully unravels the developments that took place that now leave Australia in danger of international sanctions because of its pariah status to say nothing of the impacts of climate change itself. Maria points out that there has been a cultural shift that has resulted in a new storyline associated with the climate-change issue.

Full review

Dr Graeme Pearman, former head of CSIRO Atmospheric Research

Maria Taylor’s book What Australia Knew and Buried reflects her intelligent and tireless investigative skills. The book is nominally about climate science, but in fact the main theme is how we have changed, as a society, in the past three decades. A sad element in the story is what happened, and is happening, to Australian science. From being a world leader, not just in climate science, we have reached a point where ideology determines what science is done, and who does it. Our once-great scientific institutions such as CSIRO are systematically restructured, muzzled, and stripped of funding.

Full review

Nick Goldie, Book Review for the Cooma Monaro Express