Honorary Doctorate (August 2017)
Professor Tim Flannery was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in August 2017 in recognition of his distinguished achievements, nationally and internationally, in communicating complex issues around environmental science, combined with his exemplary leadership in advocating for the environment, conservation, and action on climate change
Professor Tim Flannery is one of world’s leading voices on the science of climate change. Born and educated in Melbourne, Professor Flannery first studied English literature, before gaining degrees in earth sciences and zoology. His early research focused on the evolution of mammals in Australasia, and as part of his doctoral studies he described and named 30 new species of kangaroo and megafauna. In 1994, he published The Future Eaters, a sweeping ecological history of the land, flora and fauna of Australia and New Zealand. Professor Flannery has authored more than 130 scientific papers, and has held research and teaching roles at a number of prestigious universities and museums.
However, Professor Flannery is perhaps best known for his work as an explorer, writer and environmentalist. He has written more than 20 books, including 2005’s The Weather Makers, an internationally acclaimed study of human-induced climate change that has been translated into more than 20 languages. Blessed with a unique gift for communicating complex scientific concepts, Professor Flannery has described in clear and accessible language the science of climate change and its impact on a fragile planet. This work has been instrumental in helping citizens understand the nature of the challenges we face.
He has also been a leading figure in the fight for action on climate change. As the 2007 Australian of the Year, Professor Flannery sparked important national and international conversations about climate policy, population growth and sustainable allocation of natural resources. In 2007, he was appointed chair of the global Copenhagen Climate Council. In 2011, he was named Chief Commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission, a panel of leading scientists and businesspeople whose mandate was to provide independent and reliable information on climate change to all Australians. When the Abbott Government disbanded the Commission in 2013, Professor Flannery joined with other former commissioners to form the independent Climate Council, where he continues this mandate on a pro bono basis. The Climate Council was founded with the help of tens of thousands of Australians, who donated more than a million dollars in seed funding as part of Australia’s largest-ever crowdfunding campaign. The fact that so many ordinary Australians were committed to ensuring their fellow citizens had access to the best science available, is itself a testament to the impact of Professor Flannery’s leadership and advocacy on this critical issue.