Environment

Canadian Meteorologists Told To Lay Off Climate Change Coverage

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The Canadian government has warned meteorologists to focus on day-to-day weather and leave long-term climate trends out of their reports.

The government agency Environment Canada, which shares weather and meteorological information with the public, told Vocativ that meteorologists need to leave global warming issues to climatologists.

“Our Weather Preparedness Meteorologists are experts in their field of severe weather and speak to this subject,” said Environment Canada spokesman Danny Kingsberry. “Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority.”

Scientists say the government wants to “control the message” spread by people on its payroll.

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“It’s all very scary,” Dr. Chris Metcalfe, Director of the Institute for Watershed Science at Trent University, told Vocativ. "In my estimation the government doesn’t want the work of environmentalists running counter to their official policies.”

Metcalfe said the Canadian government does not want climate science to interfere with the lucrative oil and gas industry. He claims government “minders” have been sent to climate change conferences to “keep scientists in check.”

“They want to make sure they don’t say anything untoward,” Metcalfe stated.

He claimed some of his peers who worked for the government are quitting to avoid being muzzled.

“Several scientists are choosing to retire over their unhappiness with the present situation,” he said.

On a list of the 27 richest countries, Canada ranks last when it comes to environment, according to Europe-based economist Owen Barder. He says the low rank is due to low gas taxes, high greenhouse gas emissions and high fish subsidies in Canada.

"If those who study weather patterns are not qualified to talk about climate change, then who is?" asked Halifax Member of Parliament Megan Leslie.

"While media cannot contact most government scientists, it does have 24-hour-a-day access to meteorologists. Yet draconian government rules and fear of losing their jobs puts a gag on these meteorologists," Leslie said Wednesday. "When will the prime minister acknowledge that climate change is real and stop muzzling scientists?"

The news comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Sunday that it plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030.

Sources: Huffington Post, Vocativ