Harper Government Gags Climate Scientists: Documents

"UXBRIDGE, Canada -- Canada's climate researchers are being muzzled, their funding slashed, research stations closed, findings ignored and advice on the critical issue of the century unsought by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, according to a 40-page report by a coalition of 60 non-governmental organisations. ...

Climate change is not an abstract concept. It already results in the deaths of 300,000 people a year, virtually all in the world's poorest countries. Some 325 million people are being seriously affected, with economic losses averaging 125 billion dollars a year, according to 'The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis', the first detailed look at climate change and the human impacts. ...

'Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80 percent,' say internal government documents obtained by Climate Action Network.

The dramatic decline results from a 2007 Harper government-imposed prohibition on government scientists speaking to reporters. Canadian scientists have told IPS they required permission from the prime minister's communications office to comment on their own studies made public in scientific journals and reports.

If permission is granted, it requires written questions submitted in advance and often replies by scientists have to go through a vetting process. Within six months, reporters stopped calling and media coverage declined, the leaked report noted."

Stephen Leahy reports for Inter Press Service March 16, 2010.

Friday, March 19, 2010