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CMOS helping scientists to be heard

– By Paul Kushner, Department of Physics at the University of Toronto and Vice-President of CMOS –

Media coverage of climate change plays a significant part in shaping public perceptions and attitudes, and in garnering support for continued scientific research into this pressing, global issue. As such, it is crucially important that facts and legitimate expert opinions are readily available, which means that climate scientists are finding themselves, more and more often, having to step in to advocate for climate science research and for serious consideration of its implications.

Over the past eight months the CMOS executive have worked with colleagues supported under the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) Program to fight for continued federal government funding of the globally important work that is being conducted through this program. Because of their perseverance, and the lobbying efforts being conducted through Evidence for Democracy (E4D), there have been some wins, such as continued funding for PEARL. But the struggle continues to secure funding for the bulk of the CCAR program.

As such, it is no small victory to get national media coverage, as this advocacy effort managed to achieve in the Globe and Mail last month as a feature editorial piece. In it, the case for CCAR is strongly supported:

“…it’s hard to understand why Ottawa isn’t renewing the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program, the only dedicated federal program that funds long-term, large-scale research into the effects of climate change.

The $35-million program expires this year, after funding seven major projects over five years, most of them in the Arctic. So far no one in the government has explained why this is happening. Tellingly, though, last fall Ottawa gave the most high-profile CCAR-funded project, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut, an 18-month extension.”

CMOS will continue to look for ways to make our advocacy effective, in partnership with other organizations, and in consultation with you, its hardworking membership. Canadian research in atmosphere/ocean, climate, and related sciences provides a great foundation, and work like this ensures that our voices will be heard.

See more on the recent media coverage here:

International scientists call on Trudeau to re-invest in climate science, Evidence for Democracy (E4D). Retrieved from: https://evidencefordemocracy.ca/en/content/international-scientists-call-trudeau-re-invest-climate-science

Scientists urge Trudeau to restore or replace key climate research fund (22 January 2018), The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/scientists-urge-trudeau-to-restore-or-replace-key-climate-research-fund/article37679386/

Canadian climate science faces crisis that may be felt globally, scientists warn (22 January 2018), The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/22/canada-climate-science-faces-looming-crisis

Ottawa abandonne un programme scientifique sur l’Arctique (23 January 2018), Le Devoir. Retrieved from: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/environnement/518218/climat-ottawa-abandonne-un-programme-dans-l-arctique

Globe editorial: Science-loving government cuts funding for science (23 January 2018), The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/globe-editorial-science-loving-government-cuts-funding-for-science/article37711890/

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© 2017 Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society