Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) premier Larry Marshall has defended himself following an apology for commenting negatively on the debate on “politics on climate.”

Marshall described the debate as focused on “more religion than science.” The boss said that he was just describing the passion driving the debate by comparing climate with religion. On Thursday, the boss told the ABC that while explaining the organisation’s restructuring, he felt like an “early climate scientist in the ‘70s fighting against the oil lobby.”

“For (a reversal of the changes) to happen, someone’s going to have to convince me that measuring and modelling is far more important than mitigation – and at this point you know, none of my leadership believe that,” Yahoo News reported him as saying. The CSIRO chief added that there was so much emotion attached to the debate that it looked more like a religious discussion than science.

Senator Kim Carr criticised the comment that came from the CSIRO head. Marshall, on the criticism, agreed at the Senate committee meeting on Thursday that the way he compared the two was a poor one and inappropriate to express the proper passion with which people felt about the overall climate change issue. “I’d like to apologise for any offence I may have caused to anyone with respect to my reference to religion,” the CSIRO chief said as quoted by the ABC. “I was merely referring to the passionate zeal around the issue, not any other reference, and I deeply apologise.”

Marshall is again due to face Senate estimates in Canberra on Thursday for further explanation on the restructuring matter. Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, however, has vowed to make the session even tougher for him. The senator holds the CSIRO chief responsible for taking away the ‘S’ out of ‘CSIRO’.

The climate science reformed priorities have led to the barrage of international condemnation at CSIRO as thousands of climate scientists have signed an open letter to protest against the restructuring model.

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