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Canada’s top climate scientists issue open letter calling for action on climate change


Ottawa, ON – Ninety of Canada’s top climate scientists and oceanographers have issued a call to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging his government to develop a national strategy on climate change.

The group, which represents some of Canada’s leading researchers from the university and federal research communities, endorsed the conclusions of international assessments on climate, which have highlighted the role of humans in global warming and the need to adapt to new conditions. Their letter cites several examples of warming such as the rapid rise in Arctic temperatures, as well as impacts of climate change on socio-economic activities and ecosystems.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Dr Gordon McBean stated “there is an increasing urgency to act on the threat of climate change”. The signatories backed up their call with information and evidence on climate changes and on its current and future impacts on Canada. They cited:

– inadequate water for agriculture and hydroelectric power generation, spread of insects through our forests and greater susceptibility to forest fires;
– increased severity of extreme weather events;
– thawing of permafrost which affects northern communities and wildlife and releases even more greenhouse gases; and
– threats to Arctic sovereignty, and ecology and resources due to increased shipping in the North.

According to Dr McBean, “several key research questions must be answered in order to understand adequately how the climate will warm and what this means for our way of life and our economy. Solid impartial science is essential for development of sound policies.”

The group called on the Prime Minister to develop a national climate change strategy, as well as strategies to adapt to the inevitable changes that will affect us all. They also offered to provide the Government with a scientific briefing on global warming.