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One Week After Killing Bill C311, the Harper Government Kills Funding For Canadian Climate Research


We’re heading into the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and the HarperCons who are guiding Canadians off the cliff into climate chaos have stayed true to form; they have ended funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. This follows news earlier this week that the government leased the coast guard breaker CCGS Amundsen – Canada’s most advanced research ship for the study of climate change – to none other than BP and Imperial Oil so they could study the impact of drilling in the delicate Arctic ecosystem.

It appears that the Harper government is heading into UN Climate talks in Cancun next week with their heads firmly stuck in the tar sands.  This government’s regressive stand on climate change goes against a group of the world’s largest investors, including major investors like Allianz and HSBC, who have issued a call to governments asking them to take action in Cancun or face a potential economic recession more severe than the recent financial crisis. Our current federal government’s refusal to recognize and take action on climate change means Canadians are stuck in the tar sands with them, unless and until we give them the message loud and clear that we want a government that represents Canadians, not Big Oil.

Fellow Climate Hawk Cheryl McNamara summed it up this way in a letter to Senator Patterson, one of the Conservative Senators who voted against Bill C311:

This government seems stuck in the 20th century in its vision and understanding. It seems to me that the word ‘transition’ is not in the Conservative vocabulary. I suggest you start working it into sentences. Ask your colleagues to do the same. It’s an important word for the 21st century.

All together now, folks, “regime change, not climate change”. Now get on the phone, pick up a pen, or (if you must) send an email to your MP, any or all Conservative Senators, Prime Minister Harper and his erstwhile Minister of the “Environment” John Baird (excuse me while I choke on my tea).

More links:

Harper Government Ends Funding For Climate Research Organization

Coast Guard Ship Used By Oil Companies

Exchange with Senator Patterson – in Defense of Bill C-311

Cancun – COP 16

Canadian Foundation For Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/11/25 9:07 pm

    I knew this was coming, and I’m still beside myself.

    • Christine permalink*
      2010/11/26 12:48 am

      My only hope is that the HarperCons are showing their true colours more and more these days, whereas before they tried a lot harder to hide their real intent under bland platitudes and reassurances while doing their gutting of our Canadian political system and democracy. Surely Canadians won’t put up with them given the chance.

  2. Dan Williams permalink
    2010/12/12 11:07 am

    Climate change research is very important, which is why I’m returning to this topic.

    At the Second World Climate Conference on 6 November 1990, British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stressed the importance of climate change research. She noted that while climate change might happen more slowly than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted, it also might be faster. If faster, “it would be doubly disastrous were we to shirk the challenge now”.

    So, how have we been doing since Mrs. Thatcher’s 1990 speech? Climate change has been happening faster than the IPCC predicted. Meanwhile, for much of the last 15 years we have been “shirking the challenge” on climate change research.

    In the mid-90s, the Liberal Government realized that urgent action was needed on the seriously out of control government budget deficits. In their cutting back of government activities, they probably overdid it in Environment Canada. Simpson, Jaccard and Rivers (“Hot Air, meeting Canada’s climate change challenge, 2007, p. 43) say that department “lacked allies anywhere else in….Ottawa….. All the political pressure in Ottawa, regardless of the party in power, to promote growth, accelerate regional development, and, sporadically, to restrain government spending” left Environment Canada isolated.

    Climate research appears to have then shifted to the universities, probably not a bad thing so long as it was adequately funded. The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) was established in 2000. It was to fund “the generation and dissemination of knowledge in areas of national importance and policy relevance, through focused support for excellent university-based research in climate and atmospheric sciences.” (Quoted in “Keeping Our Cool” by Andrew Weaver, 2008).

    However, as noted in a press release last March about our 2010 federal budget, “CFCAS has received no new federal funds for six years”. They quote Gordon McBean, CFCAS Chairman: “Science is the best tool for building sound policy to adapt to, and mitigate, climate change, and to protect the environment and Canadians. There is so much to learn, to be discovered and transformed into effective actions for Canadians. Without sound scientific information, how will the government evaluate the effectiveness of green technologies, or build northern infrastructure, or develop our energy industry, or assure water supply and clean air?”

    What needs to be done now? The government should reduce, or preferably eliminate, subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and use some of that money to restore adequate and ongoing funding to the CFCAS.

    • Christine permalink*
      2010/12/13 10:07 pm

      Thanks for providing some background on this issue, Dan, and for pointing out what should be obvious – lose the fossil fuel subsidies of the last century, and fund climate science for this one!


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