Feds discreet about foreign funding of climate skeptics

Published by Postmedia News on March 12, 2012

OTTAWA – While it has aggressively slammed environmental groups for using foreign dollars to finance a small portion of their budgets, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is being tight-lipped about revelations that climate change skeptics in Canada are getting money from an American think-tank with corporate funding.

Newly released documents have revealed three Canadians were part of a network of academics receiving monthly payments from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute as part of its advocacy work to cast doubt on scientific evidence linking human activity to global warming observed in recent decades.

Two of the three Canadians mentioned in the internal records have confirmed they were getting paid by the Heartland Institute.

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Oil and gas is “gorilla in room” on feds’ climate change policies: Environment Canada

Published by Postmedia News on Jan. 28, 2012.

OTTAWA – The oil and gas industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are the “gorilla in the room” for Canada’s environmental policies, a senior Environment Canada official has told his superiors in newly-released correspondence.

The observations were made by Mike Beale, an associate assistant deputy minister, in an email sent to Deputy Minister Paul Boothe and other senior officials regarding a conference being organized jointly last year by the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental group, and a major oil and gas company.

After being called by an official from Royal Dutch Shell regarding the April 2011 conference in Banff, Alta., that was to focus on “less controversial” aspects of the climate-change debate, such as energy efficiency and transportation demand management, Beale felt compelled to state what was missing.

“I had to point out – nicely – that the initiative seems to sidestep the gorilla in the room of emission reductions from O&G (oil and gas), but that otherwise, it seems like a great idea,” wrote Beale in the Jan. 20, 2011 email, released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation.

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Climate skeptics gathering influence on Tory senators

published by Postmedia News on Jan. 21, 2012

OTTAWA – Some of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newly-appointed senators are emerging as global-warming skeptics in the wake of aggressive government positions to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, slam environmentalists and downplay potential damage caused by Canadian oil and gas exploration.

“I felt like it is kind of an insult to be a denier for a long time,” said Sen. Bert Brown, last month at a parliamentary committee studying energy policies. “It feels pretty good this morning.”

Brown made the comments as the committee heard from four well-known academics who don’t believe humans are playing a major role in warming the planet. The session took place three days after Harper’s government confirmed it would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally-binding agreement that requires countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Scientist surfaces to praise ozone monitoring amidst federal review

published Oct. 21, 2011 by Postmedia News

OTTAWA – A senior Environment Canada scientist whose job may be eliminated through budget cuts has highlighted the importance of maintaining the country’s world-leading atmospheric monitoring network after new research showed a record hole in the planet’s ozone layer above the Arctic.

David Tarasick was among four Canadian authors of the international study, published Oct. 2 in the British scientific journal Nature, that reported on the hole – twice the size of Ontario – in the ozone layer that protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful radiation.

Until now, the Conservative government, facing criticism about its decision to review resources in the monitoring network, has prevented Tarasick from speaking publicly about the research.

“We’ve been doing this (for) about 45 years now,” Tarasick said in a telephone interview supervised by Environment Canada officials. “The Canadian stations have been the backbone of the global network (of monitoring) ever since we started measuring ozone.”

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Feds try to track whistleblowers on ozone monitoring costs

published Sept. 29, 2011 by Postmedia News

OTTAWA – Revelations about the federal government’s plan to cut monitoring of the ozone layer have prompted denial at the highest levels of Environment Canada, along with an attempt to pinpoint who blew the whistle, alleges an American atmospheric chemist.
Jennifer Logan, a senior research fellow from Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was contacted by the department’s top bureaucrat a few days after sending him a letter on Sept. 15 to stress the importance of Canada’s monitoring network of the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful radiation.
But instead of discussing the science, Logan alleged that the department’s deputy minister, Paul Boothe, was more interested in denying the government’s plans to downsize the monitoring and also to identify Canadian sources of an article about the cuts that was published in the British scientific journal, Nature.

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