Wednesday, December 19, 2012


It is really worrisome for the denizens of this planet that there are still people who are not convinced about the adverse impact of carbon pollution and other green house gases on global weather conditions. The fact that global warming is raising the temperature of this planet to catastrophic levels affecting the rain pattern, drought on set, storms and hurricanes sea level etc does not seem to be registering with people, especially in developed countries who continue with their conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels which by fa is the biggest contributor to disastrous weather changes. Enormous scientific data supporting the linkage between fossil fuel burning and atmospheric warming cannot be ignored any more and the latest Doha round of talks has not helped to bring any sanity to this pressing problem. It is against this context that the efforts of an insensitive government in one of the rich countries, Canada, in snubbing scientific community engaged in research in environmental and climate studies are to be viewed with some alarm. Here is a take on this unfortunate development which deserves to be frowned upon by the whole world.     

Canadian campaigners are calling it a "war on science" – a slow and systematic unravelling of environmental and climate research budgets under the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. Hundreds of researchers have lost their jobs, with those remaining reportedly forbidden from talking to the media without a government minder. The government says the cuts are part of a wider, deficit-reducing austerity programme. But green groups instead accuse Harper of trying to stifle criticism of Canada's development of its oil sands fields in Alberta which hold huge reserves. "The climate policy in Canada is actually getting much weaker, and it's no secret that this is all in the name of protecting the tar sands industry … [which] is becoming a major barrier to Canada being a climate leader." - Danielle Droitsch, the Natural Resources Defense Council On Friday, Canada gave the go-ahead for a $15.1bn takeover by Chinese state-owned oil firm, CNOOC, of Canadian company Nexen to develop the fields.
Environmentalists say it is this desire to extract the oil from the tar sands that is driving Canadian government policy. In recent years, Harper has weakened green regulations and pulled Canada from the Kyoto Protocol, the global treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental groups say the government has stepped up its attack on climate scientists in recent months, as seen by some of the measures taken so far: * The elimination of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a body that for years urged the government to take more action on climate change * Slashing funding for more than a dozen research stations that monitor greenhouse gas and other pollutants * The non-profit Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences lost all its government funding since Harper took office in 2006; several other climate study bodies also suffered budget cut * Nature magazine reported that 12,000 government jobs, including thousands of scientists, will be affected by the latest cuts Last week, the Climate Action Network, a leading environmental group, ranked Canada as the worst performer in the developed world when it comes to climate change policies, coming in at 58th out of 61 countries measured. It led Greenpeace to describe Canada as "the poster child of climate inaction". Inside Story Americas asks: How bad is Canada when it comes to climate change? Is Harper's government recklessly fixated on developing its Alberta oil sands?

It was a joke when Americans wanted to spend millions of dollars in India and other poor countries to evolve a design for smokeless "chula", spreading the canard that global warming is more due to smokes coming from traditional chulas than indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels! Of course a point that needs to be considered in this context is that smoke does contribute to human ill health over a long period, though it is doubtful whether the Americans are really concerned about the health of poor India house wife who spends hours together in front of such chulas under utterly humiliating living conditions! Similarly India's millions of free roaming cattle which are normally not culled, are also being blamed for global warming because of the high content of green gases supposed to be emitted during farting! Even if there is some truth in this stand, it it not the responsibility of the rich nations to reduce their own emissions and then demand action by poor nations to make attempts to reduce green house gas emissions?. Sacrifice seems to be a one way phenomenon in the parlor of wealthy countries, the word equity never being in their lexicon! Peace on this planet can never be assured unless there is equity in what ever humans do to avert future tragedies.


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