Monday, June 5, 2006

Canadian scientists critique Canada's new government approach to climate change

Link: Group calls for action on climate change.

OTTAWA (CP) - More than 600 scientists attending an international meeting have called on the federal government to stay the course in trying to meet the targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

"We recognize the challenge of implementing the current agreement," the annual congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society said in a statement Thursday.

"Nonetheless, we urge Canada to contribute effectively to this global effort."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the emissions-cutting targets in the climate treaty are impossible to meet, and has dismantled the Kyoto-implementation plan set up by the former government.

He has promised a new "made-in-Canada" plan to cut emissions, but it is not clear when the plan will be announced or what priority it will be given.

In April, 60 dissident scientists published a letter questioning the science of climate change, saying it would be irrational to commit government funds to the problem.

None of the dissenters showed up at the science congress this week, said Ian Rutherford, the association's executive director.

"They never present their arguments at a forum like this which is a completely open, free forum. They just don't come here.

"They want to make their arguments in the press or in front of an uneducated public. They don't submit their stuff to the scrutiny of their peers.

"They don't make their arguments with the people who say they're wrong. They just go away and hide and then they come out and issue press releases."

Media reports in the United States have documented numerous funding links between the oil industry and scientists opposed to action on climate change in that country.

The congress statement Thursday calls on governments around the world to work together toward a single international agreement to address climate change, describing the Kyoto Protocol as an important first step.

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