PMO Pest Control: Scientists
Posted on 6 March 2012 by robert way, Albatross, Andy Skuce, climatesight
All four authors of this article are Canadian scientists and/or science students.
The video is below:
PMO = Office of the Prime Minister (Stephen Harper)
Although depicted with humor in this video the current state of science in Canada is no laughing matter. For example:
- In 2006, an Environment Canada scientist in Ottawa was blocked from speaking about his novel on climate change at the National Press Club by the Environment Ministry as discussed here.
- In 2008, The Harper GovernmentTM abolished the National Science Advisor position, read more about it here.
- Again in 2008, the head of the Canadian Nuclear Comission was fired by the Federal Natural Resources Minister for closing down a nuclear reactor used for medical isotopes after it failed established safety protocols. Discussed at CBC here.
- In 2010, team of British and Canadian researchers published a paper in Nature on the outburst flood path of Lake Agassiz in the Younger Dryas 13,000 years ago. This study has relevance to the factors that influenced the sudden paleoclimate shifts observed at this time. Journalists were unable to interview one of the co-authors of the study, Scott Dallimore, an employee of Natural Resources Canada, without first getting a minister's approval, a lengthy process requiring the scientist to submit the questions and answers to Ottawa for approval. This incident was covered by two Nature articles here and here.
- Last year, the Canadian Government announced that hundreds of science and staff positions at Environment Canada would be eliminated; for example, see this article by Stephen Leahy in the Guardian. These cuts will severely limit Canada's ability to monitor ozone depletion in the stratosphere and pollution in the troposphere, as recently highlighted in a recent letter to Eos by American scientists.
- These cuts also reached deep inside Environment Canada's different climate change working groups with Nobel winning IPCC scientists being retasked or having their jobs cut as discussed here by a student at one of these labs.
- In addition to job cuts, the Harper GovernmentTM cut funding to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) after six years of adding no new federal funding, see a CFCAS statement here.
- Over the last year an ongoing controversy has emerged where Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) glaciologists were told that due to budget cuts and changing priorities they would be forced to destroy Canada's collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic as discussed in Macleans Magazine. Also discussed by Nature here.
- The Harper GovernmentTM recently labelled those who oppose its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline as "radicals" backed by foreign money. Internal government memos related to the topic refer to pipeline opponents as "enemies of Canada". Discussed by Reuters here.
- In the past few days, news reports have revealed that the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut will be closing due to lack of funds. PEARL had received three quarters of its funding from CFCAS which recently had its federal funding discontinued.
The government's attack on environmental research is taking place in the political context of Canada's having reneged on its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol late in 2011, which has drawn international outrage; as well as the government's aggressive promotion of new pipelines that will allow the expansion of bitumen production in Alberta, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's home province.
Eminent environmental economist Mark Jaccard recently wrote a scathing article published in the Vancouver Sun, contrasting Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2050 with its actions to expand bitumen production and exports. Jaccard concludes:
"The facts are simple. Our political leaders are lying to us if they aid and abet the expansion of tarsands while promising to take action to prevent the imminent climate catastrophe. If you love this planet and your children, and are humble and objective in considering the findings of science, you have no choice but to battle hard to stop Gateway and other tarsands pipelines. It is time to face up to this challenge with honesty and courage."
At Skeptical Science we consider the findings of science to be an indispensable part of the foundation upon which public policy should be based. Sadly, the Harper Government evidently sees science as an obstacle to its wider political agenda.
This stance is especially unfortunate given Canada's reputation as the home of many brilliant world-class scientists. In 2006, 90 of these respected climate scientists signed an open letter to The Harper Government urging it to commit to action on climate change. Since that time there has been no reduction in Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
We wish to express our support for our fellow scientists in the Federal government, scientists whose valuable research is being suppressed.