Robyn Benson, PSAC

Shhhh! The ice-caps are melting

Arctic ice public domain photo.JPG

…at an unprecedented rate—and so are Canada’s glaciers.

Let’s have no more nonsense: global warming is not only an established, settled fact, but it’s taking place more rapidly than expected.

Nunavut is a case in point:

Q: How will climate change impact Nunavut?

A: In the Arctic we are already observing changes in our environment, including:

Declining thickness and extent of sea, river and lake ice

Warmer temperatures

Changes in vegetation and wildlife: new species are being observed (moving further north), and well-known species are being observed in new areas

Changes in the permafrost regime and hydrology of the tundra

Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

Rising sea levels in certain places

Melting and shrinking glaciers

Meanwhile, the federal government is doing its best to keep a lid on things, by muzzling Canadian scientists. Things have gotten so bad that the Information Commissioner has been called upon to determine if this is even legal. The complaint, from the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and Democracy Watch, is accompanied by a substantial report documenting the silencing.

Here is a hilarious account of a reporter’s attempts to get information out of the National Research Council about a joint study with NASA on how snow falls. Read it and weep—or laugh hysterically.

But this case isn’t funny at all. Two years ago an international study revealed that the largest hole in the ozone ever recorded had opened up above the Arctic. A Canadian scientist at Environment Canada who took part in the study, Dr. David Tarasick, was prohibited from speaking to reporters about his own work.

Environment Minister Peter Kent was actually caught in a lie about this very matter. The Minister has had nothing to say about the devastation of the environment in the vicinity of the Alberta tar sands either, but don’t expect scientists from Environment Canada to take up the slack anytime soon.

The people, it seems, cannot be trusted with the facts, only pre-approved government talking points.

Meanwhile, the Minister who abolished the long-form census, cutting off at one stroke a vital source of information for decision-makers at every level of society, has been making noise about the need for ready access to information.

George Orwell had a word for that.

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This page contains a single entry by Robyn Benson, PSAC published on March 13, 2013 8:37 AM.

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