That headline was making the rounds in the Canadian news media earlier this month. The novelist/scientist in question is one Mark Tushingham, who works for Environment Canada and has apparently penned a work of fiction called Hotter than Hell, which presents a rather dire global warming scenario set in the not-too-distant future. While the reported suppression of his work will probably only help sales, the second half of the story is a very serious matter. Indeed, it's just the kind of thing that could help turn Tushingham's fiction into reality.
As has been noted in this space before, Canada may have ratified Kyoto, but it's a long way from meeting its target under the treaty. While our neighbor to the North is committed to a six per cent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2012, its actual emissions have in fact risen by 30 per cent. To make matters worse, the new conservative government is opposed to Kyoto and says the targets are unattainable.
On the eve of Easter weekend, the government quietly announced that it would cut a dozen research programs related to global warming. And documents uncovered by the Globe and Mail showed that the Tories would move to cut 80 per cent of the programs at Environment Canada aimed at confronting global warming while slashing the budgets of climate change programs in other government departments by 40 per cent.
In a press release, a spokesman for the government insisted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is serious about controlling emissions, but that "we need a new approach to addressing climate change that is effective and realistic for Canada."