Thursday, May 29, 2014
Forecast: Very Cloudy Indeed
Mike de Sousa is a former Post Media reporter now operating his own website continuing his investigative work into energy and the environment. He is well-worth paying attention to.
His latest piece, Government’s weather forecasters shouldn’t discuss climate change, says Environment Canada, while perhaps not breaking any new ground, is a potent reminder of how inimical the Harper regime is to science as it continues to ignore climate change in its mad pursuit of policies promoting and facilitating tarsands' extraction.
Succinctly expressed, Environment Canada doesn't permit its meteorologists to comment on climate change because it lacks 'expertise':
“Environment Canada scientists speak to their area of expertise,” said spokesman Mark Johnson in an email. “For example, our Weather Preparedness Meteorologists are experts in their field of severe weather and speak to this subject. Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority.”
Officially, these scientists cannot be trusted to connect the dots that their years of study would seem to entitle them to do:
...the department’s communications protocol prevents the meteorologists from drawing links to changing climate patterns following extreme weather events such as severe flooding in southern Alberta or a massive wildfire in Northern Quebec in the summer of 2013.
While Environment Canada's official position is that their employees are eminently satisfied, de Sousa includes a link to a union-sponsored survey that paints an altogether different picture. Here is a snippet of the responses:
“I am outraged by the Orwellian restriction of information under the current government. I cannot see any justification for preventing scientists from speaking about publicly-funded, published research to the media. The data were paid for by all Canadians and in my view belong to all Canadians. For us to work in the public interest, we need to be able to express our findings to non-scientists through public presentations and news media.
“The development of carefully crafted "Values and Ethics" codes across government are resulting in silencing the scientific community for fear of breaching their "Duty to Loyalty" (and are becoming synonymous with gag order).”
And there is this sad surrender:
“Leaving public service for academia. Won't have a muzzle anymore.”
Writes de Sousa:
The quotes from government scientists were released in support of the union’s internal investigation into allegations of muzzling of federal scientists. Its survey found that 90 per cent of federal scientists and professionals felt they couldn’t speak freely in public about their work and that 24 per cent had been asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons.
There is much more worth reading in this investigative piece. Mike de Sousa's website is surely one worth bookmarking for regular visits.