Readers will remember that in our post on the new waterways strategy we commented that climate change and its consequences for our waterways seemed to have been written out of policy. Instead we got bland references to ‘natural climate variability’, and no real idea of planning for medium to long term drop in rainfall.
Now we read that the state’s Environment Commissioner, Kate Auty, has resigned, attacking the state government’s indifference and lack of leadership on climate change. Among other things, Professor Auty said that ‘public servants had told her about directions to them that they should refer to ”climate variability”, not climate change’.
Do words matter? They do if you use words that mislead, or make it harder to see the truth. And it would be very disturbing if it were true that expert civil servants are being directed to use misleading words by politicians with no expertise in the subject in question.