Twinning Tweets: The Smothering of Climate Change Awareness and its Consequences

/, Urbanism/Twinning Tweets: The Smothering of Climate Change Awareness and its Consequences

A curious time in the Annals of Climate Change, if the contrast in items received in that last few days is an indication.

Minutes ago, from the New York Times:

2014 Was Hottest Year on Earth in Recorded History

Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring scientific warnings about the risks of runaway emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped. …

In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997 …

In today’s print and e-edition of the The Vancouver Sun on page B2, there’s also an important story – but good luck finding it on the Sun‘s web site; this clip links to an excerpted version in the Regina Leader-Post.

Scientists present gloomy new report:  Humans sparking deterioration of ‘Earth System:’ Scientists

The “human enterprise” has grown so dramatically that the relatively stable geological period known as the Holocene period that has supported society for 11,700 years “is now being destabilized,” the scientists report. Continuing on the current trajectory “could lead, with an uncomfortably high probability, to a very different state of the Earth System, one that is likely to be much less hospitable to the development of human societies.”


On one hand, scientific consideration of the possible collapse of human civilization, or this, found on Twitter via Brent Toderian:

Climate scientists


If the goal is to keep climate change off the public agenda, the most effective strategy is not the ‘hard denialist’ strategy of rejection but the soft strategy of omission: saying as little as possible, preferably nothing, to keep the topic off the agenda.

As previously noted, that was the brilliance of Prime Minister Harper’s ninth Arctic trip in August, as observed by Jeffrey Simpson in The Globe:

Nowhere in Canada is the impact of climate change more increasingly evident than the North. And yet, the words “climate change” are never heard from Mr. Harper in the North, as if the idea they connote are so distasteful that he cannot bring himself to utter them.

No denial, just no recognition.  And hence a standard for others in power to follow, whether politicians, business people or editors: serious people don’t have serious public concerns about climate change, so that decisions today need not take into account tomorrow’s probable reality.  (My favourite example: spending billions to build infrastructure – the South Fraser Perimeter Road, port expansion, Tsawwassen Mills and the Massey Bridge – on land below sea level.)

Of course, it also helps to smother the research that might justify the disagreeable reports, but to do it quietly, incrementally, without notice.  The results in Canada are impressive there as well, as documented by the Fifth Estate:

Hundreds of federal programs and world renowned research facilities have been shut down or had their funding reduced by the federal government. This list was compiled by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

It’s not just climate-change research that is being smothered, but much of Canada’s contribution to scientific research, monitoring and response.  Check out the list below; it’s impressive.

  • Environmental Emergency Response Program
  • Urban Wastewater Program
  • Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Smokestacks Emissions Monitoring Team
  • Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission
  • National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Winnipeg Office
  • Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey
  • Environmental Protection Operations
  • Compliance Promotion Program
  • Action Plan on Clean Water
  • Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) (PEARL lost its $1.5 million annual budget when the government stopped funding the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science (CFCAS) . In May 2013, the federal government announced the facility would get a $ 1 million a year grant for the next five years. But according to Professor Tom Duck, of Dalhousie University, with the loss of CFCAS, atmospheric and climate research will be funded at less than 70 per cent of the level it was funded at in 2006.)
  • Sustainable Water Management Division
  • Environmental Effects Monitoring Program
  • Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan
  • Chemicals Management Plan
  • Canadian Centre for Inland Waters
  • Clean Air Agenda
  • Air Quality Health Index
  • Species at Risk Program
  • Weather and Environmental Services
  • Substance and Waste Management
  • Ocean Contaminants & Marine Toxicology Program
  • Experimental Lakes Area (Under the Bill-38 the ELA was shut down. As of January 2014, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Ontario government are working out an agreement with the federal government to take over the facility.)
  • DFO Marine Science Libraries
  • Centre for Offshore Oil & Gas Energy Research
  • Kitsilano Coast Guard Station
  • St. Johns Marine Traffic Centre
  • St. Anthony’s Marine Traffic Centre
  • Conservation and Protection Office
  • Conservation and Protection Office (L’anse au Loup, NL)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Trepassey, NL)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Rigolet, NL)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Burgeo, NL)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Arnold’s Cove, NL)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Baddeck, NS)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Canso, NS)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Sheet Harbour, NS)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Woodstock, NB)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Port Hood, NS)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Wallace, NS)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Kedgwick, NB)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Montague, PEI)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Inuvik, NT)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Rankin Inlet, NU)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Clearwater, BC)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Comox, BC)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Hazelton, BC)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Quesnel, BC)
  • Conservation and Protection Office (Pender Harbour, BC)
  • Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures Program
  • Species-at-Risk Program
  • Habitat Management Program
  • DFO Institute of Ocean Sciences (Sidney, BC)
  • Freshwater Institute – Winnipeg
  • Oil Spill Counter-Measures Team
  • Maurice-Lamontagne Institute’s French language library
  • Canadian Coast Guard Management
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Sidney, BC)
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Winnipeg, MB)
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Burlington, ON)
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Mont-Joli, QC)
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Moncton, NB)
  • Water Pollution Research Lab (Dartmouth, NS)
  • St. Andrew Biological Station
  • Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility
  • Ice Information Partnership
  • Motor Vehicle Fleet
  • Inshore Rescue Boat Program
  • Species at Risk Atlantic Salmon Production Facilities
  • Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
  • At-Sean Observer Programs
  • Financial Management Services
  • Pacific Forestry Centre, Satellite Office (Prince George, BC)
  • Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing
  • Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program
  • Isotopes Supply Initiative
  • Clean Energy Fund
  • Sustainable Development Technology Canada – Next Generation Biofuels Fund
  • Program of Energy Research and Development
  • Pacific Forestry Centre
  • Astronomy Interpretation Centre – Centre of the Universe
  • MRI research, Institute Biodiagnostics
  • Polar Continental Shelf Progam
  • Canadian Neutron Beam Centre
  • Aquatic Ecotoxicology, Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
  • Molecular Biochemistry Laboratory, Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
  • Plant Metabolism Research, Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
  • Human Health Therapeutics research program
  • Automotive and Surface Transportation program
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research
  • Environmental Risks to Health program
  • Substance Use and Abuse program
  • First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care program
  • Health Infrastructure Support for First Nations and Inuit program
  • Interim Federal Health Program
  • Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration
  • Environmental Knowledge, Technology, Information, and Measurement program
  • Science, Innovation and Adoption program
  • Rural and Co-operatives Development program
  • Farm Debt Mediation Service
  • Centre for Plant Health (Sidney, BC)
  • National Aboriginal Health Organization
  • First Nations Statistical Institute
  • Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth
  • First Nations and Inuit Health
  • Fertilizer Pre-Market Efficacy Assessment program
  • Enforcement of Product of Canada label
  • RADARSAT Constellation Mission
  • Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Research station
  • Kluane Lake Research Station
  • Bamfield Marine Science Centre
  • Microfungal Collection and Herborium
  • Biogeoscience Institute
  • Coriolis II research Vessel
  • OIE Laboratory for Infectious Salmon Anaemia
  • Canadian Phycological Culture Centre
  • Brockhouse Institute
  • Polaris Portable Observatories for Lithospheric Analysis and Research
  • Mount Megantic Observatory
  • Smoke Stacks Emissions Monitoring Team
  • National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy
  • Environmental Protections Operations Compliant Promotion Program,
  • Sustainable Water Management Division,
  • Environmental Effects Monitoring program,
  • Fresh Water Institute
  • Canadian Centre for Inlands Waters (Burlington)
  • World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre
  • Environmental Emergencies Program
  • Parks Canada
  • Montreal Biosphere
  • Statistics Canada
  • Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences
  • Laboratory for the Analysis of Natural and Synthetic Environmental Toxicants
  • National Ultrahigh-field NMR Facility for Solids
  • IsoTrace AMS Facility
  • Canadian Phycological Culture Centre
  • Canadian Resource Centre for Zebrafish Genetics
  • Neuroendocrinology Assay Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario
  • Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding
  • Portable Observatories for Lithospheric Analysis and Research Investigating (POLARIS) (Ontario)
  • Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
  • Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research
  • St. John’s Centrifuge Modelling Facility
  • Quebec/Eastern Canada high field NMR facility
  • Félix d’Hérelle Reference Center for Bacterial Viruses
  • Canadian Neutron Beam Laboratory
  • The Compute/Calcul Canada
  • Center for Innovative Geochronology
  • Biogeoscience Institute
  • Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences
  • Pacific Northwest Consortium Synchrotron Radiation Facility
  • Centre for Molecular and Materials Science at TRIUMF
  • Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research
  • Canadian Cosmogenic Nuclide Exposure Dating Facility
  • Atlantic Regional Facilities for Materials Characterization
  • The Canadian SuperDARN/PolarDARN facility


  1. It’s not just climate-change research that is being smothered, but much of Canada’s contribution to scientific research, monitoring and response. Check out the list below; it’s impressive.

    What is impressive is how long is the list in the first place. Why so many agencies?

    1. Because the list of agencies doing harm to our planet (whether deliberately or not) is much, much longer and varied in their activities.

      How would you rather organize the agencies? I challenge you to suggest a solution, rather than just criticize.

    2. It was just an interrogation. but since you ask:

      – “Air Quality Health Index” could be part of “Weather and Environmental Services”
      – In “Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research”, there is MRI as in “MRI research, Institute Biodiagnostics”
      -“Maurice-Lamontagne Institute’s French language library” could be part of “DFO Marine Science Libraries”

      Per curiosity I have googled “Maurice-Lamontagne Institute’s French language library”:
      the outrage seems to have more to do with the fact it was the only DFO french library than the lost of scientific resources (DFO seems to consolidate its libraries and digitalize its material for wider and easier access: I don’t see anything wrong with that).

  2. In my little world, I think that climate change is the highest priority issue facing me, my family, Province, nation and our human society. It ranks way above car parking and bike helmets — but you’d never know it by the comparative amount of attention paid to these topics.

    I keep looking without success for a political party in the next Federal election that has the guts to place climate change on the agenda in any meaningful way.

  3. I see the word “HARPER” added to STOP signs all over (making STOP HARPER) and of course nod in agreement but don’t do anything about it. Now I better understand why there’s so much opposition to the policies he’s associated with.

  4. Polar caps are recovering, and we’ve now had over 18 yrs w/o global warming.


    While global surface temperatures rose slightly in 2014, the minor uptick did little to overcome the growing difference between observed global surface temperature and the projections of global surface warming by the climate models used by the IPCC.


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