Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Leading scientist says Baird is misinformed.

Canada.com reports that Gordon McBean, head of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, says that John Baird is misinformed on the urgency of the climate change issue, and the relevance of atmospheric scinece over the long term in responding to crises arising from climate change.

Canadian scientists would like to increase their understanding of climate change, but the federal government has been scaling back support for climate science and adaptation programs.

Baird suggested last week there's little time left for more reports and studies in the wake of the UN report.

"One of the biggest findings (of the UN report) is that these (impacts) can be mitigated, can be reduced, can be delayed by action to reduce greenhouse gases, and that's got to be the first, the second, and the third priority," Baird said in an interview with CanWest News Service.

"At some point, it's sort of like the planet's on fire, we've got to throw water on it. We don't need to research it, we need to act."

McBean said Monday "that is a sadly misinformed argument and I'd be happy to set him straight."

He adds other senior scientists would also welcome a meeting with Baird, who he says has steered clear of the climate research community since becoming minister in January.

McBean says Baird seems to be taking a short-term view of a long-term problem: "The only question he seems to be asking is: 'Do we have enough science to justify reducing emissions' ...and the science been clear on that for 15 years."

Emissions reductions are needed and long overdue, says McBean.

The key question Baird doesn't seem to be asking, McBean says, is whether there is enough science to address climate change in Canada for the rest of this century in terms of adaptation and emissions reductions. The answer, says McBean, is no.

McBean says that "repeated requests to meet with the minister have been declined. The foundation has committed all its research money and cannot take on any new projects."

Yes, this is one scientist, but he is a leading scientist, and the chair of an organization representing climate scientists. There is no comparison to industry rent-a-scientists like Tim Ball (for more on Ball, click here and then type "tim ball" into the search engine. Or, just click here).