UWA Student Guild Media Release

The UWA Student Guild Executive has called for the University of Western Australia Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson to reject the $4 million of Federal Government funding for the “Australian Consensus Centre” to be set up at the UWA Business School and to terminate any discussions to engage controversial climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg.

Lizzy O’Shea, UWA Student Guild President, said “Dr Lomborg has been internationally criticised and very controversial. Many believe his ‘research’ downplays the effects of climate change and calls for inaction. His track record with the academic community has already started to harm UWA’s world-class reputation. We have received many complaints and concerns from UWA students, staff and the wider international community.”

“It’s astonishing that the Federal Government has managed to find $4 million to support this project, despite cutting funding to the Climate Commission and CSIRO because of a ‘budget emergency’. I believe this is politically motivated, and it is an insult to the staff and students of UWA, as well as the scientific community in Australia”.

“While Dr Lomborg doesn’t refute climate change itself, many students question why the Centre’s projects should be led by someone with a controversial track-record. Assessing how to achieve development goals is important, but why should Dr Lomborg be involved?”

“Students, staff and alumni alike are outraged. We’ve heard of students who are embarrassed to be associated with UWA and graduates who are ashamed that they have a degree from an institution that would accept someone like Dr Lomborg. They expected more from their University. I am concerned by Professor Johnson’s comment that it’s difficult to get Federal funding across to WA – no University should compromise their academic integrity.”

The Guild’s Environment Officer, Jessica Cockerill, said that students were already planning action. “Hundreds of UWA students, staff and alumni have taken to social media, posting in protest on the UWA Facebook page. Students are flocking to a “Say NO to Bjørn Lomborg” campaign group and a petition already has over 4,500 signatures”.

Cockerill has concerns over Lomborg’s ‘research’ saying “It is very worrying to see that UWA has become a last-refuge for a climate contrarian, when others would never think of associating with him.”

The UWA Senate is meeting this afternoon (20th April) where student representatives will be demanding the Vice-Chancellor address concerns on the motivations around this Centre, where the remaining funding will be coming from, and if other Universities were offered this deal before UWA.

The Guild President and Environment Officer will be moving a motion calling on UWA to reject the Centre at their Guild Council Meeting next week, throwing the full weight of the Guild behind the student based campaign.

Media Reference

Lizzy O’Shea – 102nd Guild President
Phone: (08) 6488 2294

Posted on April 20, 2015


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