John Abbot

Senior Fellow

John Abbot is a Senior Fellow with interests in environmental issues, including climate change, in the Research Program at the IPA. Current projects with the IPA include examination of evidence for impacts of ocean acidification and investigation of methods to separate natural from anthropogenic influences on climate change. He holds adjunct positions at both James Cook University and the University of Tasmania.

John Abbot has a BSc in chemistry from Imperial College, London, an MSc from the University of British Columbia, Canada, a Master of Biotechnology from the University of Queensland and a PhD in chemistry from McGill University, Canada. He has spent more than 20 years as a research scientist in universities and industry working in areas of industrial chemistry, particularly relating to petroleum refining and pulp and paper production. He successfully supervised a group of about 20 PhD and Honours students at the University of Tasmania, and has published more than 100 papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

He obtained a Juris Doctor Law degree from the University of Queensland in 2003, and was admitted as a solicitor in Queensland. He worked for a period at Welfare Rights dealing with Centrelink issues, and also disability discrimination. He also obtained an LLM degree from the University of Queensland, specialising in intellectual property law. He has published a number of papers in legal journals, including several relating to Freedom of Information law in the context of public access to environmental information from government agencies.

During the period 2009 – 2015 Dr Abbot had an appointment at Central Queensland University as a Professorial Research fellow. A number of projects in the environmental area were undertaken, including re-examination of the evidence for an influence of pesticides on biota in rivers, and the use of diatoms to determine the salinity history of Lake Alexandrina. Other projects undertaken included the application of artificial intelligence using neural networks for medium-term rainfall forecasting. This work was initiated following the devastating flooding in Queensland during the 2010-11 summer, where flooding of Brisbane has been linked to poor dam management practices and inadequate official rainfall forecasts. These projects resulted in about 20 papers – published in the peer reviewed literature. His work at CQU was wholly funded by the B. Macfie Family Foundation, and this continues to be the source of funding for his employment at the IPA.