The Stephen Harper War on Climate Science

The government of Prime Minster Stephen Harper just appointed two “climate skeptics” with connections to the oil industry to important federal scientific bodies. The scientific community is appalled.

Mark Mullins, Executive Director of the right wing Fraser Institute has just been installed on the board of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects including studies on climate change.

The Fraser Institute has a long history of unethical tactics around the so-called climate debate. Desmog blog readers will remember their ham handed attempts to discredit the largest peer-review exercise in scientific history, including a video targeted at youth. They have so-far received $120,000 from ExxonMobil.

Mullins (trained as an economist) makes no bones about his understanding of climate science: “the climate-change issue is somewhat sensational and definitely exaggerated.” You can listen to his entire wacky podcast here.

Besides his complete lack of scientific expertise, his obvious political bias and of course potential conflict with his current employer, Mullins does have one significant qualification important to the Harper government: his was a former policy advisor for Harper’s former party, the Canadian Alliance.

The other jaw-dropping intervention in the Canadian scientific community was the appointment of Harper’s “best friend” and climate denier John Weissenberger to the board of Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds large research projects.

This is the second time that Harper picked a plum for his old buddy. In 2007, he appalled political observers by quietly appointing Weissenberger to be chief of staff to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration.

ACCCE’s Wild and Crazy Advertising Claims Debunked

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is running ads on the websites of the Washington Post and The Hill citing a potentially fraudulent survey which claims that “72% of opinion leaders support coal electricity.”

Former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt Throws Support Behind BC Carbon Tax

The Globe and Mail reported this weekend that, “Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt has joined the movement lobbying for a carbon tax in the midst of an election campaign, arguing the tax will be part of the future despite an NDP commitment to kill it if the party wins next Tuesday.”

Cheap, Clean Coal: Ain't Clean - and it Ain't Cheap, Either

“… coal is one of the most expensive options to meet energy needs. And the only way a ratepayer, regulator, or investor will put money into a new coal plant is if they’re fooled into thinking that coal is cheap.”

That quote didn’t come from some trenchant critic of the climate change denial movement (from someone like me), it came from Public Utilities Fortnightly, as quoted on the Coal-is-Dirty.com. Check out Mark Kersowik’s whole post here.

B.C. NDP - Greens = Liberal victory Tuesday

“As citizens of the planet, it is our responsibility to put the planet before politics and urge the next B.C. government and federal politicians to do the same.”

Mike Harcourt, et al, Globe and Mail Online, Saturday, May 9, 2009

At a critical time, B.C. New Democratic Party leader Carole James decided it was expedient to put politics first, and tomorrow, it looks like she will pay the price.

The B.C. election campaign that wraps up today has been  both shocking and inevitable. It was shocking, for example, that so many traditional New Democratic Party (NDP) supporters, from David Suzuki and Tzeporah Berman to (most surprisingly) former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt, should speak up in praise of Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax.

And it was inevitable that the NDP would dismiss THAT as politics, making a strained claim for environmental high ground on the basis of the party’s other policies.

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