Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I appreciate that you are between a rock and a hard place with respect to climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. Our former government leaders signed on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically on the basis of shaky climate change evidence. They then dawdled - maybe partly because they thought the problem would go away - putting only ineffective actions in place to control emissions. You are left at the precipice of the looming Kyoto gap with little choice but to withdraw from Kyoto as provided for within the text of the agreement. Of course that would arouse the ire of voters who have been led down the garden path by the former government, egged on by environmental groups, to believe the Kyoto goal is both necessary and achievable. You have, with the Clean Air Act, taken a reasonable first step toward bringing rational discussion back to an issue that is now creating an outcry akin to what we might hear from the Tower of Babel.
There is one aspect of the climate change discussion in Canada since your government took office that has disturbed me. Two major Canadian Government websites (www.climatechange.nrcan.gc.ca) and (www.climatechange.gc.ca) were made inaccessible in June of 2006 and are still effectively shut down. Other websites that reference information there are rendered ineffective as well. Not all of the work initiated by the previous government was futile. Good and bad have disappeared with the closure of those sites.
More recently, just in the past couple of weeks, I discovered that the National Climate Change Process website is not operational. The previous government pulled together some 450 experts from government, industry, environmental groups, to evaluate Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and ways to control them. A huge and expensive effort was undertaken over five years. It was documented on a website (www.nccp.ca) and was one of the few credible sources of information on greenhouse gas control available to Canadians.
I don’t know what has happened to these information sources. I can speculate that it might be a result of deliberate government policy, inappropriate action by government workers on their own initiative, or just plain careless incompetence. Whatever the cause, I believe the closure reflects badly on our current government, and Canadians are left without credible information on climate change and implementation – or not – of the Kyoto protocol.
You were quoted by the National Post today as saying “Indeed, we have chosen real progress over delay - and transparency over rhetoric,” at the United Nations climate change meeting in Nairobi. I urge that you investigate the status of the three closed Canadian government climate change websites. I think you will find, in the interest of informing Canadians, and provision of the open and transparent government they expect, that the sites must be restored to operational status as soon as possible.
Duane Pendergast, Ph.D., P. Eng.
Hon. Gary Lunn, PC, MP
Hon. Rick Casson, MP