Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
National Press Club -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This Program

Is Captioned Live.

Ladies and gentlemen, good

afternoon. Welcome to the

National Australia Bank National Press Club and today's

address. We're very pleased to

be able to welcome for the

first time today Dr Megan Clark

in her role as chief executive

of the CSIRO. I don't think I

need to explain the acronym to

an audience like this. She was

appointed to that position

about a year ago after working at BHP Billiton as vice

president for health, safety,

environment, community and

sustainability and before that

vice president for technology.

She's in fact had many, many

years experience in the practical application of

science and technology in the

mining and minerals industry,

now she's doing it on a much

wider stage with the CSIRO.

Looking at the demands on

science and technology to help

maintain prosperous and healthy

communities as we face the challenge of not only climate

change but securing food, water

and energy supplies in the face

of growing world population and

an aging population. Big calls.

It's a very tall order given

that science is now trying to

look quite prudently at what

might face us in up to 50 to

100 years' time. They'll be the

main themes of interest to you

today. Please welcome Dr Megan

Clark.

APPLAUSE

Thank you very much, Ken.

Thank you, Morris. When it was

suggested that I speak with you

today, it was actually very

humbling and as my staff know,

I was a little nervous but I

looked into the history of the

Press Club and you've had the

delay lama speak, you've had

Prime Minister, you've had HG

but you haven't had Roy yet,

Ken, and I look back to the

first 10 years of the press

club and you had more comedians

speak with you than you did

scientists. There are few more

scientists came along in the

following years but in the last

nine years you've had more

scientists address the Press

Club than in the previous 40

years and you ask yourself why

and it's quite simple - I think

as Ken alluded to - for the

first time unour history,

science is now predicting how

our actions will affect us 50

to 100 years from now. In this

future we face the reality that

we're all connected. Our

choices in one area such as

water are going to affect us in

other areas such as energy and

our food security. Martin

Luther King warned us of this

many years ago when he told us

that we were all joined in an inescapable network of

mutuality. I think we're only

now starting to realise what he

really meant. We all want a

prosperous and healthy society

and we know that there are some

enormous challenges and

pressures on our global system.

We face the challenges of

securing our food, of securing

our energy in a future which

will have our resources as

finite. We face significant

pressures on the whole global

system, the pressures of

increasing population, the

pressures of moving that

population to urban centres and

the rapid changes that we're

experience s in our climate.

These national and global

challenges are connected, they

cannot be dealt with in

isolation. And that's why

individuals, communities,

industry, Governments are now

looking to understand these

connections and the inevitable trade-offs that will be

necessary if we're to have a

sustainable world. Today I

wanted to share with you a few

things. I wanted to share what

our scientists are seeing and

observing, some of the latest

observations around climate

change. We've actually prepared

for you assio leave a sum ray

of our latest research for you

to take away. I wanted to look

at how some of the developments

that we're making in this

country, that are really

exciting in some of the areas

of food production, can really

make a difference both on a

national and global scale, but

I also wanted to talk about how

our approach, organisations

such as CSIRO, need to stop and

think about how we now tackle

these connections, these interplays, and understand

these trade-offs because only

then can we inform the

decision-makers and help them

make better decisions. This is

particularly in a world where

water, where carbon and in the

future even biodiversity will

have a value and will have a

market. I'm now nine months

into my role, as Morris

reminded me, I think 12 months

since the announcement, and I

thought I would share with you

my vision of what you can

expect from your national

research organisation. If we

look at climate change, you've

been satch waited with

information about how over the

last several decades our

climate's been changing. You

know that climate change is not

new. You know in the last

600,000 years we've had six ice

ages. Some of you will also

know these changes in

temperature have been connected

with carbon dioxide changes.

They are coupled together. Even

the saber-tooth tiger has lived

through several ice ages, has

lived through quite large

ranges in CO2 and has actually

lived through temperature

changes of 5 to 8 degrees. It

always surprised me that it

only took 5 to 8 degrees of

temperature change to get an

ice age and it really explains

why our scientists get very

concerned when we see

temperature changes of 1 to 2

degrees, which might not seem a

lot. So what's different this

time? What's the essence of

what is different this time

with these changes of

temperature and CO2? It is

simply the rate of change. The

atmospheric carbon dioxide

concentrations that we see now

have never been seen for the

last 2 million years. The

saber-tooth tiger never saw the

CO2 that we're seeing now. And

the saber-tooth tiger never saw the rate of change that we're

seeing, never had to adapt that

quickly to that rate of change.

One of the best indicators of

the rate of change is sea level

and the reason for that is

unlike clime it's not

fluctuating seasonally, yearly,

in 10-year cycles, but it stays

relatively stable. So what are

we seeing with sea level? We

started measuring sea level in

1870 and since we've been

starting to measure sea level

it's been rising 10 times

faster than the previous 2000

years. Since 1993, that average

rate rise has now doubled

again. That's very, very

significant and every single

nation is connected in that

change so what are our latest

measurements confirming? As I

mentioned, we've got a summary

of those. I just wanted to

bring out two examples of our

latest measurements. Are they

confirming this rate of change

or not? The answer is they are

confirming the rate of change.

The first example is our

observations of ocean

temperatures off Tasmania.

We've been measuring ocean

temperatures off Tasmania for

60 years and over that time

we've seen a warming trend of

around 1.5 degrees and that's

due to the strengthening of the

eastern Australian current as

it comes down past eastern

Australia. So what implication

of 1.5 degrees? One of the

things that's been discovered

by our colleague professor

Craig Johnson from the

University of Tasmania is nat

the tiny sea urchins that

normally we see on eastern

Australia are now marching fast

to Tasmania, millions of them.

And along the way they're

eating through the giant kelp

forests that are so critical to

both our abalone, rock lobster

industries and diversity in

that region. Second example is

rainfall. Our modelling is increasingly predicting s that

we will see lower rainfall in

south-eastern Australia. Our

models predict from a very

small change to up to 15%

reduction in rainfall with 1

degree, just 1 degree, of

temperature increase. And you

think 15%, we can accommodate

that, but what our modelling's

also shown is with 15% drop in

rainfall we get a 35% drop in

run-off and it's run-off that

feeds our rivers. This area has

50% of our irrigated land in

Australia. It's critical for

the food that we produce. You

can understand that all of our

communities need better

predictions. They need to know,

and have a more granular look,

at what could happen in the

future. So it's something we

take very, very seriously.

We've got over 60 ocean probes,

we've got three ships making

measurements continuously in

the oceans, we've got sea

gliders, we've got satellites

taking physical and biological

measurements. Just today the

southern Surveyor, the Australian national marine

facility, comes back to Hobart

having deployed a

million-dollar mooring facility

that will be able to measure

the carbon cycle to the depth

of 400m in the Southern Ocean.

This information is absolutely

critical because the deep

Southern Ocean, one of the

deepest oceans we have in the

world, is absolutely critical

to understanding the capacity

of our oceans to adjust to CO2.

Another example is with the

Bureau of Meteorology, we track

every single rain event in the

Murray-Darling Basin. We look

at its intensity, we look at

how much rain it's got in it,

we look at where the water's

actually come from before it

ends up in the raindrops and we

measure the run-off. We're

working really hard to

understand where our water

comes from and how much of it

will flow. We're also

contributing at a global scale.

The international panel of

climate change had 100

Australian scientists. Over 20

of those were from CSIRO. The

work that they're doing with

their international colleagues

on the oceans around us, like

the Southern Ocean, down to

Antarctica, to the equator, the

monsoonal regions that join us

to the nations above, this

picture that is being put together is so important for

the global picture and we need

to continually build that

national and global picture.

It's why we're extending the

work that we've done on the

Murray-Darling Basin to the 34

river basins of northern

Australian to southwest WA and

Tasmania. I've mentioned a lot

about what we're doing in

observing the changes of

climate change and I don't have

time to cover all of the work

that we're doing in

technologies that will be used

to reduce CO2 and the work

we're doing to be able to

adapt, how does Australia adapt

to these changes? But one area

where we will have to adapt

very quickly is in food

production. It is really hard

for me to comprehend that in

the next 50 years we'll need to

produce as much food as we have

ever produced in human history.

That means in the working life

oaf my children, as much grain

than has ever been harvested

since the Egyptian time, as

much fish as we've ever eaten,

as much milk as we've ever

taken from reluctant cows on

frosty mornings, every frosty

morning that we've ever known.

I find that an extraordinary

challenge. Humans have met this

challenge once before. From

1960 to 2000 we doubled the

global food production through

investment in new technology,

new investment in agriculture

and the use of fertilisers but

this time there's two things

that are fundamentally

different - we need to do that

all over again in a world where

increasingly water will have a

price and carbon will have a

price. We also need to do it in

a world where we've had a very

silent and important migration,

that is the biggest migration

of any species in the planet

which is our own migration to

urban centres. We now have more

people in urban centres than

not. This is going to have a

profound impact on the way we

move food around the world and

the total global sebon trade of

food. Cereal exports, which are

the highest volume of food we

currently transport via sea,

have already risen at double

the rate of population growth

and the trade volumes of milk,

meat and things like beans have

risen at even faster rates.

Australia' got a very strong

interest in global food

security. We produced 93% of

the food that we eat here and

we produce 1% of all food

consumed in the world but we

produce 3% of the global sebon

trade of food. We currently now

feed 60 million people in the

world. So any increase in

global sea-born trade is a big

opportunity for Australia but

our Australian agriculture is

also highly exposed to climate

change. We've got significant

constraints on our irrigation

water availability and our

agriculture represents 16% of

our national greenhouse gas

footprint. Our science has some

potential here to really make a

difference to Australia and to

help us produce an even greater

proportion of global sea-born

trade. We're making some

unbelievably wonderful and

exciting developments and I'm

learning about them every day.

We're making new drought

tolerant crop varieties, we're

producing new high-yielding

wheat, we're even looking at

the root systems of plants and

breeding plants that can have

much greater nitrogen

efficiency so they need less

fertiliser and importantly,

we're now starting to look at

how do we improve the

nutritional value of food? One

example, just last month we

released a few cereal bred by

our CSIRO scientists called

Barley Max which delivers

health benefits to consumers

dlu increased fibre, lowering

blood glucose levels,

increasing insoluble staff and

improving the bacteria - I know

you don't want to hear about

this during lunch - but

improving beneficial bacteria

in the Colin. We're working on

getting beneficial omega 3 oils

into cereals. As you know,

omega 3 oils come mostly from

marine sources so if we could

figure out a way to putting

them into staple cereals traded

around the world we could

significantly improve health

benefits. We have managed to do

and demonstrate this in the

seeds of land plants and we're

seeking to be able to do it

into canola. It's not just

Governments that are realising

that weir connected and that we

share a common humanity.

Recently I was with our teams

and we were forming and

finalising a partnership with a

major international player on

increasing yields for cereals

and we'd finished our discussions on intellectual

property and come to our

commercial arrangements and we

were ready really to sign our

agreement and then we stopped

and realised that there would

be some people in the world

that would never be able to

afford the technology that we

were going to develop together

and something quite remarkable

happened. It's actually never

happened to me before in a

commercial negotiation - both

sides then came to one and

said, "How do we meet our

obligations to humanity? How

do we meet our obligations to

the poorest people on the

planet?" We're also seeing this

thinking in the largest

organisations in the world who

own much of the intellectual

property and our young leaders

are working with the World

Economic Forum with just those

organisations and our prurch

partners such as frown hofr in

Germany, such as bar tell in the US,

the US, CSIR in India and South

Africa and we're working to

develop standard licences where

intellectual property can be

used in markets but can also be

made available to the 1 billion

poorest people in the world.

It's not just these

organisations that are changing

the thinking, you're actually

changing our thinking as well.

Now I have to ask you a

question and I'm hoping that

somebody knows the answer to

this. How many of you know what

your average annual power bill

is? The cameraman at the back. LAUGHTER

I thought you put your hand

up. Who knows what their power

bill is? Someone must have

just paid their power bill.

Mine's about $1,000. $1100. I

would hazard you've got

teenagers because that's above

the Australian average. The

average Australian pays around

$900 a year. You're going to go

home tonight and figure out how

long your kids are really in

the shower for. The average

Australian pays around $900 a

year. Some power companies are

now offering a completely green

offsult, totally renewable

power for a cost. Any idea what

that cost would be? Add

another $400 to your $900.

Guilt-free power. Do you sign

up? What about installing the

solar panel on the roof for

electricity? It's a bit

expensive. What about the

rebate? I'm not sure if it

adds up. Maybe I'll wait. But I

know I have to reduce my carbon

and water usage. I know, we'll

do the vegie patch on the

balcony. That will work. But

I've gut to increase my water

usage, drive and get inseeds,

buy fertiliser, and if you're

anything like me, 20 zukeenies

in one week, silver beat and

rhubarb just don't do it. You

ask yourself, "If I really

making a difference?" You ask

that question and each of you

have had these conversations

and you're starting to

understand the trade-offs. You're starting to understand

that things are connected and

it is not clear how you really

make a difference. But you know

that you can't look at each

thing in isolation, that you

have to look at the system. We

were recently, our executives

as CSIRO were recently meeting

with the Tiwi island executive

and they were faced with very

similar decisions. Did they

plant forests to be carbon

srnings and if so what was

going to be the price of

carbon? Did they leave the

forest areas as biodiverse

areas because in the future

that would have a market,

wouldn't it? If they planted

the forest, what was going to

be the effect of the chemicals

they used on the aquaculture

potential of the islands? It

is the same for nations. We

face these challenges of

address ing climate change,

reducing carbon footprints,

balancing food security and

biodiversity and maintain ing

investment. Living in a world

where carbon and water have a

price will bring new choices

and new trade-offs. At the

start of the 21st century it

was really obvious that the

Murray-Darling Basin was in

trouble. A whole of basin

assessment was required and

CSIRO was given the challenge

by COAG in 2006 to lead the

world's first rigorous

assessment of both groundwater

and run-off water in a major

river basin. It was the most

comprehensive and technically

challenging study of a major

river basin undertaken in this

country, possibly the world.

But it's now providing

Governments and industry and

community with an unprecedented

level of knowledge so that they

can have informed planning and decision-making. As I

mentioned, we're now working to

extend that work to the 34

basins of northern Australia,

southwest WA and Tasmania. It

will mean that Australia will

be one of the first nations in

the world to have a picture of

its water resources. This is

exactly what your national

research organisation should be

doing. We should be bringing

together the research, the

researchers across the nation

to catalyse a national response

to some of the most difficult

challenges that we face, not

just as a nation but that we

face as humankind. We need to

aggregate the myriad of

projects that are going on. I

similarly believe that we need

to do the same to build a

national picture of our carbon

and that will allow us to

assess in more detail our

future energy options. This

approach - and I mentioned that

our approach needs to change as

these issues get more complex -

this approach won't just bring

together our best researchers and best research across the

nation, it will bring together

the best e conomist s and

policy makers at a State and

national level but we need that

sort of platform if Australia

is going to have the

infrastructure and is going to

move towards a lower carbon

economy. We need a grid that can accommodate renewable

energy. We need a grid that can

accommodate you when you do

decide to put your solar energy

system on your roof. The role

of CSIRO here is not to make

the policy but it's to provide

the science that can underpin

that decisions-making. It's to

catalyse the development of

such an integrated picture. As

we adjust to this new world

where water and carbon have

value and we move to a low

carbon pathway, Australia will

need to look at its land and

its water in a completely

different way. We stand ready

as an organisation to help

Australia meet those very, very

complex and huge national and international challenges. I

have spoken to you about some

of the national and global

challenges that we face and I

think it becomes clear that

Australia cannot secure its

future if it doesn't look and

if our science doesn't work on

the challenges that face all

nations. What can you expect

from your national science

organisation? We aim to be one

of the most respected research

and development organisations

in the world. Our strategy

remains to focus on both

national and global challenges,

challenges that face us as

humankind and challenges that

face us as a nation. We'll do

this through our 10 national

flagships and we'll continue to

step up to the plate, work with

universities, work with other research organisations, work

with organisations such as the

Bureau of Meteorology and

integrate that knowledge into

comprehensive pictures of

things like our water, our

carbon and biodiversity. We aim

to make an impact as an

organisation in three key areas

- a sustainable environment,

our communities and industry.

I've talked to you quite a bit

about what we're doing in the

area of sustainable environment

but our teams are working very

closely with the committee. We

work very, very hard to get our

science out into the community

and we'll continue to do that.

We'll continue to develop foods

that provide additional

nutritional value. We'll

continue to provide nutritional

advice to kids and adults. We'll continue to make sense of

what can be very, very complex

issues such as energy

trade-offs. Our new energy book

is now out on the stands and

getting great reviews and more

and more households are really

looking to understand those

issues. We will in to bring cross-disciplinary approaches

to some of the major challenges

that face this nation in health

that face this nation in health

care. Alzheimer's coalo rectal

cancer and obesity. We'll focus

on the preventative health

aspects of these. We go to

great lengths to bring our

science into the community. I

was in Griffith recently and

our scientists there are

bringing to the farmers in the

field, with our partners, an

SMS on exactly how long to turn

their irrigation systems on and

off. And sitting behind that

very simple SMS is some of the

most aphasing science. We bring

in the soil science, we bring

the satellite data, understanding of evaporation rates that particular day,

where the flows are, and they

get their SMS. They absolutely

love it. And that's what we

same to do, is bring our

science out where it can make a

big difference. Australians

trust CSIRO to help them with

the challenges of today and

tomorrow. I've mentioned these

challenges and you think that

might just relate to Governments and can communities

but we're seeing increasing

investment from our industry

partners. I met with the head

of General Electric's eco

imagination, that's GE's global

sustainable business group. He

told me that 8 out of 10 of our

flagships are working on

science that is directly

relevant to new product

strategies for GE around the

globe. We will help Australian

businesses access the breadth

and depth of our organisation.

We're already helping CSL

develop better vaccines and

helping pln better understand

how their products will be

better used by customers in

down stream processing, we're

helping tels build a house of

the future and AGL build a grid

for the future. To help

Australian companies compete we

need to understand what it

takes to compete globally.

Recently we've completed

agreements with Bayer to

develop high-yield cereals.

We're working with Boeing to

reduce the costs of their 737

and 777. We're working with New

Tech, the market leader in

X-ray scanning for security

purposes, to build their next-generation scanners. But

we also need to do something

else to support industries and

that is we need to work on

whole new platforms that can

build whole new industries and

enable major breakthroughs.

Things like our wireless LAN

technology which is now in a

billion mobile devices around

the world. Started off in our

space research. You've all got

a polymer bank note - well,

actually none of you have paid

your power bills so I'm actually worried you don't have

access to the money but your

partners or someone else who's

clearly do that has a polymer

bank note. We took that same

technology and we're now

building polymers to make print

bling solar cells, to make

printable electronics. Just

this morning we had a most

delightful presentation by one

of our young scientists on how

now we have the capacity to

crystallise proteins which can

really build the next

generation of drugs. Our

organisation has goals and

values that go beyond our

science and we absolutely know

that we will not be successful

until our people go home at

night and when you walk into

CSIRO you really feel a sense

of discovery. One of the most

delightful things that I've

found in nine months is you

cannot help but feel that sense

of discovery when you talk to

our people. We also know that

our partners and collaborators

must see lasting value from

their relationship with us and

they must describeworking with

CSIRO as a pleasure. We also

know that we must remain a

trusted adviser to the people

of Australia. To do that, let

me assure you that we are

absolutely committed to

maintaining the integrity of

our science and that's been the founderation of our

organisation for the last 80

years. So I've outlined how we

really live in a connected

world and science does need to

work on the challenges that

face all nations, that face all

humankind, if we're to secure a future for Australia. Thank

you, Ken. APPLAUSE

Thank you very much, Dr

Clark. We have a usual period

of questions, starting with

John Millard, sound FM. There

is a truism in science, you

come from practical, dare I say

down to earth scientific

background, but some of the

most significant breakthroughs

have come in pure research from

the discovery of

penicilltonight the laser to

the development or discovery of

the C4 which is important in

cereal crops which was

discovered by a CSIRO

scientist. Despite this, in

recent years funding,

successive funding cuts to the

organisation by various

Governments and perhaps one in

particular, have resulted in a

move to more mission-oriented

research. How much do you think

that that has affected the

research effort of CSIRO and do

you think that's a trend that

should be reversed? Let me

just say at the outset, we

actually do have a combination

of research and in fact we've

seen some very good funding

from our both State and Federal

Government and particularly

good support in had Budget so

we are seeing an increase in

funding to CSIRO. In terms of your question around the

balance of fundamental, we need

to do two things, and as an organisation we've learned how

to do this - how do you have

absolute deep domain knowledge

and well springs of innovation that perhaps you might not be

able to see what the outcome is

but then bring teams together

in multi disciplinary teams

that can focus on outcomes and

impact? We've found that you

need to do both and you need to

organise to be able to do both

and so it's wonderful to see

the organisation having gone

through that transition, now

managing to be able to do that

and of course that then allows

us to catalyse national

response with this cross

disciplinary once we've learned

how to do that so we are

getting very good support from

our Government stakeholders.

We're also getting increasing

investment from our external

partners as well so it's a very solid funding environment that

are we're in and we do balance,

we absolutely have to balance

those two aspects not just

focus on one. Next question

from David Denim. I'm from

Preview magazine. You mentioned

in your speech that CSIRO is

focussing on impacting on three

areas - sustainable environment, community and

industry, and in your vision

statement I notice that it

says, "To grow our impact by

delivering great science and innovative solutions for

industry, society and the

environment." In a world where

funds are finite and resources

are also finite, could you

outline what parameters you

measure to test whether your

impact is growing or falling or

stytionary? How do you measure

that impact you're making over

the last year or the year

before? It's a very good

question because ye we need to

measure two things and monitor

two things in the previous

question, we need to measure

and monitor how we are making

an impact and we do have major

reviews of all of our flagship

areas, unfact we've got one

going on today in our water for

healthy country. We're bringing

in external people to assess

are we making an impact? Are

we really meeting the

milestones and the time lines

and the significant goals that

we set ourselves in the

flagships? Similarly, we also

review our science quality in

our divisions and the depth of

science and we look at our well

springs of innovation and new

ideas and funding for new ideas

so we actually have systems to

measure both of those. Science

in itself in CSIRO is

absolutely necessary.

World-class science is

necessary, a well spring of

innovation is necessary but

it's not sufficient in CSIRO.

We also then must take that and

make an impact and we measure

both rigorously and we measure

it with external input as well,

very high caliber global

external panels. Tom Merit

from 'The Age' Dr Clark. Over a

number of years there's been a

debate about scientists' role

in policy and political debates

including some accusation s of

censorship. Earlier this year fourtists in the climate change field from your organisation

were asked to make submissions

to a Senate committee on

climate change and the

Government's plans on climate

change in a personal capacity

rather than as CSIRO

scientists. Two questions

relating to that. Firstly, did

the organisation, to your

knowledge, ask those scientists

to change before or after the

submission, ask those

scientists to change or not

make the submission or not make

future submissions? And

secondly, a broader question -

what role do you believe your

scientists have in such political debates given that

something like climate change

is obviously at the forefront

of the Australian public's

mind? Absolutely. Let me

answer the second one first and

I'll come back to the first

one. As I mentioned, CSIRO is a

trusted adviser by the

Australian people, in fact our

independent surveys by swinburn

say that over 80% of the

Australian people trust CSIRO.

One of the reasons for that is

the integrity of the science

that we bring. It's that we can

be trusted to be clear about

the observations we're making,

the science we're making, the

modelling we're making. It's

not our role to comment on

policy and I would hazard that

we'd be trusted by a lot less

Australians if we started to do

that. I won't quite quOet the

figures for how much

politicians are trusted. But

that's the role of CSIRO. I

have encouraged all of our

scientists to get our science

out into the community and we

produce over 15,000 articles

produce over 15,000 articles and comments on our science

every year. In terms of our

submissions, we have made

numerous submissions. The

particular submission you're

referring to was one which was

requesting submissions on a

comment on policy and it's not

our role to comment on policy

and as an organisation and so

hence the reason why we had

some personal submissions on

that. In this particular area

it's very important that our

scientists, one, are very much

encouraged to speak publicly,

and I do that personally, but

also that we maintain the trust

of the Australian people and

that we don't make comment on

policy and that we don't side

one side or another with

Governments, with Opposition et

cetera, that we really lay out

the facts and lay out what

we're seeing. That's the only

way, that's the only way that

we can remain trusted. Hello,

Dr Clark, crystal Jan from

Australian associated press. My

dwetion follows on from Tom's,

it's about the changing role of

scientists. I was at a

conference the other day. These

were public health researchers

saying ow important is was for

scientists to, I guess, become

lobbyists, to really sell the

ideas to make change and I know

you say you can't direct policy

but don't you think the

obligations are changing,

especially given how many

critical issues the world is

facing at the moment. Climate

change, water sustainability?

Absolutely and one of the

reasons why we've produced

today and are releasing today

our summary of our climate

change work, so that you

actually have access to that

today, we'll be handing that

out at the end of this, for

exactly your reason. I think we

do need to get our information

out and work hard as an

organisation to get the facts,

our observations out as soon as

we can so I commend you to that

summary which will be available

to each of you as you leave on

such an important topic as

climate change. We will also be

aiming to do, every quarter, to

summarise the research we're

seeing and some of the critical

aspects and issues where people want to see the latest

information as quickly as

possible so we will be stepping

up to the plate and making

comment and aggregating our

information and that will help

our scientists as well in

getting that information out

there so I completely agree

with that you nat there's a

demand now for that science to

be out there and we need to

work hard to meet that

demand. Dr Clar clar, can I

make you back to your dramatic

figures on the need for food

production in the next 50 years

some you mentioned then that

back in the '60s when we had

the last big revolution in food

production, it was largely by

plant breeding, better

production methods and

fertiliser as you mentioned.

Presumably, the next big

accelerator of food production

will be genetic manipulation

and yet it still faces some

very considerable hurdles in

had world. Do you think that

is-T is the next big step and

what will happen about the

opposition that exists amount?

It is one of the important area

that needs to be looked at and

certainly we look at genes, we

look at the expression of

genes, we look at how those

genes are modified in the

environment as well, both in

our plant and animal area.

There's no question that in

acceptance of a consumer

there's some hurdles

there's some hurdles to

overcome in that. What we've

also sign is that people are

much more accepting of genetic

change if there's a health

benefit for the individual so

one of the reasons we're

working a lot on the

nutritional value of food as

well so if the benefit is going

to some third party and they're seeing no difference between

the two wheats that they eat,

whereas if they are seeing a

benefit, if we can put omega 3,

for example, in, then we're

seeing there's more acceptance

from the public. The area of

gene technology is regulated

and CSIRO must adhere to the

very strict regulations that

surround that in this country

and we make adherence to that

very, very seriously. Thank

you. We've got a question from

Tony Melville. Director of the

National Press Club. I've got a

gas bill for a quarter for

$1,000 sitting on the desk at

work but it is Canberra and it

does get cold and you find it

cold here. You als find climate sceptics in Canberra and

there's quite a few on the hill

above us. Without commenting on

Government policy, I wonder

what message you might give to

climate sceptics in Canberra

and a second question about

developing countries - they put

a lot of store in technology

transfer from developed

countries to developing

countries to do with addressing their greenhouse gas emissions. I'm just wondering what

progress you're making in that

area and what sort of work the

sire so put nothing to that.

On the second part of the

developing, what's the area you

really want to drill into?

Technology transfer in terms of

reduceling dreentions in

developing countries. I think

as I explained, the rate

changes we're seeing now in

climate in the sea levels we

haven't seen for 2 million

years, particularly in the

temperature area, and that rate

of change is different and the

only conclusion you can really

draw from that is that it is as

a result of human activity and

we certainly need more

observations and we need to

continue to look at how those

rate changes occur. In terms of

the developing nations, one of

the areas that we've been

particularly pleased with in

terms of being able to

demonstrate is our carbon

capture area. As you know, one

of the big challenges is how do

we capture carbon and secondly,

how do we store it? We've now

had four plants - three in this

country and one in China - to

capture CO2 and for Shanghai

for the world expo, the plant

we had in Beijing will be

scaled up 10 times in Shanghai

to capture CO2 from one of

those power plants. That's a

very, very important start.

Secondly, in the Ottway we're

working on issues of storage

through the CO2 CRC. Nut just

how you store but how do you

monitor it once it's stored?

Of course gorgon will be

storing a million tons of CO2

and we need to help industry

players such as that with how

do you monitor, how do you

measure, how do we understand

what's actually happening? So

Gorgon Australia will be at the

forefront of some of the

largest storage areas. In terms

of India, we don't have any

operating plants in India but

areas of working particularly

with India during the water

space is something we will be

looking at. Peter Phillips.

Dr Clark, Peter Phillips, one

of the directors of the

National Press Club. People

like John Millard and Tony

Melville have habits in this

forum of asking the questions I

was about to ask but I'm going

to ask those questions

nonetheless. A very popular expression I think it's perhaps

an exercise in national

self-reassurance to an extent

is the tent to which Australia

fights in a weight division

above its own weight. In your

almost a year now at CSIRO,

have you judged the extent to

which in science we're punching

above our own weight or not?

The second part of the question

- it's actually a second

question I suppose - I know you

work very closely, CSIRO works

closely and focuses closely

with and on China, I noticed

last week in the United States

China's President Hu Jintao in

New York and Pittsburgh spoke

of climate change. He spoke in

a pre Chinese national day and

in a pre Copenhagen sense about

what the world would see. He

didn't speak about China

fighting above its own weight

but said we would see notable

developments from China in its

efforts to climate change and

including the science of

climate change. What are your

impressions a year into your

remit about the extent that

China is making their efforts

to combat climate change? On

the first question in do we

punch above our weight, over

and over again I've been

seriously impressed as I visit

our sites, as I speak to our

scientists and see what wire

doing. In over 12 of our 22

research areas, CSIRO is in the

fop 1% of global science - top

1% of global science and it's

for that reason we can maintain

the sort of international and

global and national network s

we do. We work with over 70

countries, we have 700 international collaborations

and the reason for that is

because they want to work with

us, particularly in those

higher areas. I was in China a

few weeks ago and talking to

our partners there. There is no

question - and let me give you

an example of China's

automotive industry, that China

has certainly partnered with

international partners and is

now moving of course to produce

ilths own domestic vehicle

production, its own domestic

technology, and as it does so

in fact there is opportunities

for Australia to increasingly

partner with China in the

science and development area.

We have many partnerships and

we're going to increase our

partnership with the Chinese

academy of science in several areas, particularly in the

water area, in the climate

space and in plant genetics and

plant yield areas. I think

China and both South Korea,

we're seeing India move up and

Russia and south America. These

sort of new well springs of innovation are very important

for us as a nation to be

connected with and we're making

those connections and

strengthening those connections

that we already do have so it's

very impressive. The world expo

which will be in Shanghai is

focused on energy and it will

really showcase I think some of

the work that China has been

doing. China will produce 1,000

vehicles, emission-free

vehicles, Chinese-produced emission-free vehicles for the

world expo, fuel cell vehicles,

electric vehicles. So just

watching and participating in

some of those developments. Can

Australia play? Can we partner

with China? Can we play in

that game? Absolutely. I

mentioned our partnership with

New Tech, they are the global

leader in X-ray security for

scanning at airports, moving

into cargo scanning and vehicle

scanning and we're working with them on next generation

products that will go into

many, many countries. We can

partner with them. In fact the

chairman of New Tech said to

me, "We like Australians. We

work very well with you and we

need to do a lot more with

Australians." The cultural fit

was very good and even eluding

to a preference over the US and

some of their German colleagues

in the past. I think there are

some wonderful opportunities

for Australia to work collaboratively with China as

it moves forward. Back to John

Millard. In this increasing commercialisation of many

aspects of science we've got

attempts, some of them

successful unfortunately, of

patenting genes. Genes are

nothing more than a succession

of basis on a DNA molecule. To

this molec charl biologist this

is tantamount too trying to

patent sceks. What are your

views? I won't touch the human

area but certainly we can

patent how we apply genes and

we can patent where there's

benefit, nutritional benefit in

the application of genes in

food and we will continue to do

so so there are avenues as we

apply the genetic technology

that can in fact be encompassed

in intellectual technology. Another question

from David Denim. I would like

to ask 1.5 questions if I may.

Firstly, to get back to climate

change- Is this the half or

the one? This is the one. You

didn't say in your talk today

that humans are making a

significant impact on the

world's climate. Shouldn't you

really have come out -

shouldn't CSIRO have come out

and said, "Look, the sign says

that this is happening and that

humans are making a significant

impact and we've got to do

something about it," a bit more

than just saying, "There's

climate change and we've got to

live with it and adapt to it."

We do make that statement. I

think we've got to give you the

first book of our summary of

climate change but it really is

the conclusion, I suppose, that

not just Australian scientists,

not just CSIRO but the 2,500 international panel of climate

change scientists are making.

It's the only logical

conclusion that you can draw

from these rate changes that we

just have not seen before but

I'd be delighted to provide you

with that copy because it

really does have our statements

of that and the conclusion we

draw from that. You did want

mention it in your speech.

Well, I just did now. OK,

good. Well, the half one is in

all these issues that you've

brought up - food, emissions,

energy and all the rest of it -

people are the key factor in

this. Is CSIRO doing any

modelling on sustainable

population levels for

Australia? We do modelling and

we do work certainly on

sustainable urban systems so

we're working in Australia both

on the coastal and urban

concentrations and how humans

interact. We're also doing that

at the global level because

it's not just population

increase but it's also how that

population is moving to has to

urban concentrations which of

course has pluses and minuses.

As you move people to an urban

concentration you do free up

areas outside those urban

concentrations but you've now

created, you know, Shanghai 21

million people, 1 million

people moving in and out every

day. You now create networks

that need to be provided -

their food, their water, their

waste removal, jobs, entertainment - all of this

needs to happen in an urban

centre. We absolutely work on

that both nationally and

internationally. Australia is -

whilst we don't have a large

population we do have a very

coastal centric and very city

sentric population so it's

absolutely appropriate that

that research comes from

Australia and that we're a

major player in that even

though we're not contributing

and we don't have some of the

big urban centres in the world

so that's the area we focus

on. The final question from Tom

Arub. I would like to follow

on from my previous question.

Given what you said about the

role of your scientists in

political and public debate, do

you have any issue as with your

scientists appearing in an

official capacity on an

Australian coal association

website given the ACA are effectively lobbying the

Government on a number of

climate change issues and are

an effective lobby group with a

political mandate. I think if

you listed all of our external

industry partners we work with,

pretty well a lot on the ASX100

and other players so I'm sure

we could look at lots of issues

relating to each of those. The

work that we do with the Coal

Association is in one of the

absolute critical areas which

is how do we reduce the CO2

emissions? How do we look at

methane and capture metain from

coal and ventilation? These

are very important areas and

that research is funded not by

the individual players but they

aggregate together to help fund

that, recognising that this is

an industry-wide issue, so I

think a very important area and

one that's been highlighted

many times both nationally and

internationally as an area that needs to have further

research. Thank you very much. APPLAUSE

Dr Clark, thanks very much

for joining us today. After

almost a year - more than four

years to go and your membership

will probably last right

through that period so when

there's something significant to tell us please do come back

and do it. Thank you very

much Closed Captions by CSI