More research is needed to help northern Canada cope with serious challenges caused by global warming, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.
In the middle of a three-day trip to the North, Harper acknowledged that northern communities are being affected by climate change more than other parts of Canada. He said his government has already set aside funding to help the territories with climate adaptation and intends to look for other solutions in the future.
"We're certainly well aware that climate change creates a range of both challenges and opportunities," Harper told reporters in Yellowknife. "I suspect the International Polar Year [research from international experts] will give us more data on that and over time we'll work with the territorial governments."
More research? You think we need more research to understand the effects of global warming? What an amazing statement, from a man who slashed the climate change research funding by 40% in his first budget, including:
"Included in the cuts is the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN), a national network that provides funding for targeted research and activities that will contribute to a better understanding of Canada’s vulnerabilities to climate change and provide information necessary for the development of adaptation strategies." Apr 2006
Standing right beside Harper, John Baird:
"Canadian scientists would like to increase their understanding of climate change, but the federal government has been scaling back support for climate science and adaptation programs.
Baird suggested last week there's little time left for more reports and studies in the wake of the UN report.
"One of the biggest findings (of the UN report) is that these (impacts) can be mitigated, can be reduced, can be delayed by action to reduce greenhouse gases, and that's got to be the first, the second, and the third priority," Baird said in an interview with CanWest News Service.
"At some point, it's sort of like the planet's on fire, we've got to throw water on it. We don't need to research it, we need to act."
McBean said Monday "that is a sadly misinformed argument and I'd be happy to set him straight."
He adds other senior scientists would also welcome a meeting with Baird, who he says has steered clear of the climate research community since becoming minister in January.
McBean says Baird seems to be taking a short-term view of a long-term problem: "The only question he seems to be asking is: 'Do we have enough science to justify reducing emissions' ...and the science been clear on that for 15 years."
Emissions reductions are needed and long overdue, says McBean.
The key question Baird doesn't seem to be asking, McBean says, is whether there is enough science to address climate change in Canada for the rest of this century in terms of adaptation and emissions reductions. The answer, says McBean, is no.
His non-profit foundation has received $110 million in federal grants in the last seven years - $60 million in 2000 and $50 million in 2003 - to finance peer-reviewed climate studies at Canadian universities.
A request made last year for $250 million over 10 years to expand the foundation's work has been meet with silence from the Conservative government, says McBean.
He says his repeated requests to meet with the minister have been declined. The foundation has committed all its research money and cannot take on any new projects.
Where do Harper and Baird get off, standing on a stage, arguing that we need more research, given the horrible track record? Astounding. Every move this government has made has been objectively anti-research, as evidenced by their own, less than shy commentary. Harper's comments today are both bizarre and insulting.