Will Conservatives Continue Their Anti-Climate Science Push As Parliament Resumes?

Canadian parliament will resume today, after an unexpected two month break brought on when Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the unprecedented move to “prorogue”, or dismiss, parliament in the middle of a session. The rather dubious reason he gave for this unscheduled holiday was that the minority government needed to “recalibrate” before introducing a new budget.

This week, therefore, one of the government’s first orders of business will be to introduce a new budget.  Those Canadians concerned about climate change will be watching carefully to see if the Harper government restores funding to The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut in  the last Conservative budget.  CFCAS is the main funding body for university-based research on climate, atmospheric and related oceanic work in Canada.

A retired MSC scientist puts it this way:

Through the CFCAS a body of expertise and capability has been
built up which is internationally competitive but focused on issues of
importance to Canada. This expertise is presently endangered by a lack of recommitment to fund CFCAS and creating the science necessary for effective environmental policy. In my view, it is very important to support scientific research that is
independent of government in order to forestall any temptation to try to
ignore or worse suppress the scientific knowledge necessary to construct
effective policy.

As reported recently on the Can-West News Service, the result of these cuts is the demolishing of climate-related projects around the country:

The foundation’s projects at universities across the country, which are seen as key to understanding the remarkable change underway in the climate, are already being dismantled. And young scientists, trained at substantial cost to Canadian taxpayers, have begun leaving in the country in search of work.

One project is the Centre for Regional Climate Studies and Simulation, based at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, which involves about a dozen professors, 20 research assistants and 50 graduate students. The team studies interactions governing the climate and how to adapt to coming change that could transform large swaths of Canada.

The project is “about to disappear because of (the) Harper government’s indecisiveness to renew funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences,” say gradate students at the centre, which they liken to an “endangered species.”

It is jaw-dropping that a federal government of a northern nation would cut funding to climate science at this crucial time.  It makes one think that this government doesn’t like what the science is saying, and it working to ensure that Canadians are kept in the dark about it.  For more about the Harper government’s record on climate change go to my What the heck IS Canada’s policy? page.  James Hoggan, from DeSmogblog.com summarizes it this way:

The Canadian government’s climate plan is pure politics – pure public relations. It’s all hot air, with no regulation or legislation to back it up. The government is not passing laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is not setting science-based targets and it’s not financing renewable energy.

If you’d like to send Prime Minister Harper the message that climate science is important, click here to sign a petition being circulated by students at the University of Montreal. The english portion of the petition is underneath the french, and you need to keep scrolling past both to reach the place to sign.

For more information on CFCAS, click here to go to their website.

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