Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Win the Nobel and lose your funding

And as Scruffy Dan points out, the Canadian IPCC scientists are clearly pissed about it :
"Nobel Prize-winning scientists from Canada say the Harper government is failing to protect the country from the dangers of global warming because it has shut down a federal climate change research network and blocked new studies on the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere."

Andrew Weaver, UVic uses words like "vindictive" and "stupidity"
"Harper stands up and waffles on about trying to call for 50% emissions reductions. Where on earth is he getting those numbers from?" Weaver asked. "They're certainly not coming from Canadian scientists."

The government said that it closed the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network because it had completed its federal mandate. The network and the independent Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science both sponsored peer-reviewed research that contributed to the award-winning IPCC report that is now being used by governments as a basis for international climate change negotiations.

It was in fact that very IPCC report which apparently caused Harper to adopt, um, a better appreciation of the dangers of AGW and climate change. I guess we know all we need to know about it now.

Environment Minister John Baird said suggestions that his department was cutting research spending were "totally unfounded," since the government was spending a "record amount" on climate research in various departments such as Natural Resources and Industry Canada.

Industry Canada? Please. According to their website, the Industry Canada mandate is : "a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace; an innovative economy; and competitive industry and sustainable communities."
I know - they also have sciencey links. I started to read the "Related links : Science and Technology" and got as far as "The Strategy is focused on creating a more competitive and sustainable Canadian economy with the help of science and technology" when I got distracted by "BizPals" on the sidebar. I get it, John, but I'm not exactly seeing Nobel here.

Back to Baird : "I can appreciate that some people would rather (have) more (spending) on this or on that, but it's a record amount and it's informed by some of the expert officials that we have in science in the public service," he said. "We don't need the politicization of science. That's for sure."

Damn straight, John. Can't have that.

CP : Audit slaps wrist of Natural Resources for lobbyist conflict-of-interest

Apparently Natural Resources Canada spent a cool million bucks last year buying its employees expensive memberships in groups that lobby the government. Conflict of Interest? The list of lobbyists isn't available but the CP story does provide us with this reminder :

"Natural Resources is primarily responsible for the $1.5-billion ecoEnergy program, announced in January by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to promote renewable energy."

As it turns out, promoting renewable energy is the precisely the business of the agri-biz astroturf group Canadian Renewable Fuels Association - you know, the guys who promote ethanol, the practice of feeding corn to cars to produce a 1% reduction in GHG. CRFA was headed by registered federal lobbyist Kory Teneycke up till Nov1 this year when he returned to the Harper fold as Director of the Conservative Resource Group. I say returned because prior to his stint as head of CRFA, Teneycke was a Reform Party activist and campaign strategist for Preston Manning.

Baird is right. We don't need politicization of science because we already have lots of it.

Dr. Gordon McBean, a review editor of the 2007 IPCC report and the volunteer chairperson of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science : "Canada likes to think of itself as a G8 country, and we should act like one occasionally."


Dave said...

K.i.l.l.e.r. post!

Well done, Alison.

Anonymous said...

My forehead has developed a callous in the middle from all the recent up close and personal encounters with my desk.

Amazing post, Alison.

RossK said...

Thanks A.

Can only wonder when 'elite' business schools will start pumpin' out PhD's in lobbying such that they can start peering deep into their own circuitous 'review' process.



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