Canadian media coverage of climate change has fallen by 80 percent
By Stephen Leahy
VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS)
Amid revelations of a well-funded U.S. organisation’s plans to deliberately distort climate science, scientists and journalists at a major scientific conference called on the Canadian government to stop its muzzling of scientists.
For the past four years, the Canadian government has been denying timely access to government scientists even when their findings are published in leading scientific journals, said scientists and journalists in a special session of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science meeting here in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“The Canadian public doesn’t know as much as they could about science and climate change,” said Margaret Munro, who is a science writer for Postmedia News, based in Vancouver.
“The more controversial the story, the less likely you are to talk to the scientists,” Munro told IPS.
Last year, journalists from around the world were denied access to Canadian government scientist Kristi Miller, who had published a groundbreaking paper on the decline of salmon populations in western Canada in the journal Science.
However, lobbyists for the oil and gas industry appear to have direct access to scientists, according to emails obtained under access to information legislation. Internal government documents reported an 80-percent decline in Canadian media coverage of climate change since 2007 when the new Stephen Harper Conservative government put restrictive policies into place.
“It is unacceptable that the Canadian public sits back and allows access to the science they’re funding to be denied them,” said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria.