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Australian government withdraws support for Bjørn Lomborg

The Australian government has taken its offer to spend A$4 million on a research centre to be headed by climate change “contrarian” Bjørn Lomborg off the table.

The plan was launched under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a climate sceptic who once described the science as “crap”.

Abbott was toppled last month by Malcolm Turnbull who does not share his predecessor’s views.

The Abbott government had committed to funding a Lomborg centre attached to a university, over four years. The A$4 million represents about one-third of the total cost of the centre.

In March the University of Western Australia pulled out of a deal to host the centre after a backlash from staff. Since then Flinders University, in Adelaide, had expressed interest in hosting the centre.

But Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham told reporters he had spoken to Flinders University vice-chancellor Colin Stirling to inform him the money was no longer available.

The decision was welcomed by environmentalists. The Greens Party’s higher education spokesman Robert Simms said he was “relieved”.

“This is great news for the academic integrity of our universities and it is testament to the strong community campaign.”

For more information on the controversial Bjørn Lomborg, read our profile, Bjørn Lomborg: The resilient environmentalist