“The Government of Canada has cut virtually all programs aimed at funding climate science. I get the sense that they feel that science is a nuisance. They ignore science in their decision making; they muzzle their federal scientists by imposing impossible media-contact regulations; they cut programs designed to allow scientists to develop knowledge.” “” Andrew Weaver, professor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, and Canada Research Chair
That’s from “Troubling Evidence,” a startling new report from the Climate Action Network Canada. It was “released just days after a federal budget that effectively slashed funding for university-based climate science.”
A CAN Canada spokesman says of the Harper government, “they’re putting climate deniers in key oversight positions over research, and they’re reducing funding in key areas.”¦ It’s almost as though they’re making a conscious attempt to bury the truth.”
The muzzling is quite extensive, as the Montreal Gazette reported Monday:
OTTAWA “” A dramatic reduction in Canadian media coverage of climate change science issues is the result of the Harper government introducing new rules in 2007 to control interviews by Environment Canada scientists with journalists, says a newly released federal document.
“Scientists have noticed a major reduction in the number of requests, particularly from high profile media, who often have same-day deadlines,” said the Environment Canada document.
“Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80 per cent.”
The analysis reviewed the impact of a new federal communications policy at Environment Canada, which required senior federal scientists to seek permission from the government prior to giving interviews.
In many cases, the policy also required them to get approval from supervisors of written responses to the questions submitted by journalists before any interview, said the document, obtained in an investigation into the government’s views and policies on global-warming science that was conducted by Climate Action Network Canada, a coalition of environmental groups.
The document suggests the new communications policy has practically eliminated senior federal scientists from media coverage of climate-change science issues, leaving them frustrated that the government was trying to “muzzle” them.
Apparently Harper learned some tricks from Bush and Cheney.
A 2007 report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concluded: “The Bush administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.” The U.S. House Report found, “It was standard practice for media requests to speak with federal scientists on climate change matters to be sent to CEQ for White House approval. By controlling which government scientists could respond to media inquiries, the White House suppressed dissemination of scientific views that could conflict with Administration policies. The White House also edited congressional testimony regarding the science of climate change…. There was a systematic White House effort to minimize the significance of climate change by editing climate change reports.”
Many (federal climate change) scientists are recognized experts in their field, have received media training, and have successfully carried out media interviews for many years,” said the document, leaked by an Environment Canada employee who asked not to be named.
“Our scientists are very frustrated with the new process. They feel the intent of the policy is to prevent them from speaking to media.”
The Environment Canada analysis noted that four prominent scientists, who regularly spoke for the government on climate change science issues, appeared in only 12 newspaper clippings in the first nine months of 2008, compared with 99 clippings over the same period in 2007.
“There is a widespread perception among Canadian media that our scientists have been ‘muzzled’ by the media relations policy,” said the Environment Canada document. “Media coverage of this perception, which originated with a Canwest story in February 2008, is continuing, with at least 47 articles in Canadian newspapers to date.”
Shame on the Harper government for trying to hide the truth from the citizens of Canada, especially when climate change is already hitting their country very hard:
- Climate-Driven Pest Devours N. American Forests
- Nature on stunning new climate feedback: Beetle tree kill in British Columbia releases more carbon than fires