Ottawa (June 26, 2019) - Canada is at risk of losing climate science expertise and knowledge as a result of federal funding decisions. A new report out today from Evidence for Democracy and the Canadian Climate Forum looks at the state of funding for climate science in Canada based on a survey of scientists in the field.
Survey of Climate Scientists Reveals Lack of Strategic Investment in the Field
The research has found that 77% of climate scientists think that highly qualified scientists are leaving the field due to a lack of support for their work, while 94% of climate scientists say that they rely on foreign resources to carry out their research.
“Canadians are already being affected by climate change. Without continued research into climate processes, regional impacts, systemic interactions, implications of extreme events etc., decision-makers will be unable to make informed decisions about any aspect of climate policy.” Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy
Though there has been an increase in funding for climate related research in ecology and environmental science and management, crucial work in the atmospheric sciences is being neglected. The cancellation of the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research funding program has deprived scientists of vital support for their research.
“Fundamental research is extremely important to further our understanding of the climate. NSERC’s Discovery grants ensure hundreds of climate scientists in Canada can carry out research, but these grants don’t provide enough funding to form collaborative groups or carry out fieldwork in the Arctic.” Dr. Dan Weaver, atmospheric scientist and Evidence for Democracy Board Member.
There is significant anxiety about the federal approach to climate science within the scientific community, with 82% of surveyed climate scientists having concerns.
“One of the challenges we face in monitoring and evaluating our progress in climate science is the lack of tools we have to categorise climate research. It is a huge multidisciplinary field, where fundamental research can lead to revolutions in our knowledge of climate systems, but we have very little understanding of how effective our investments in climate science are.“ Dr. Tristan MacLean, author of the report, Evidence for Democracy.
The report calls for a strategic approach to investments in climate science research and infrastructure, with sustainable funding that enables collaborative groups to carry out fieldwork in environments such as the Canadian Arctic.
Evidence for Democracy is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. Through research, education and issue campaigns, Evidence for Democracy engages and empowers the science community while cultivating public and political demand for evidence-based decision-making.
The Canadian Climate Forum is a national, non-partisan, registered charity based in Ottawa with a Canadian focus. It has a mission to broker, disseminate, and apply best evidence-based climate knowledge to advance decision making for a safer, more resilient, and sustainable Canada.
Evidence for Democracy
Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her PhD at the University of Ottawa researching threats to endangered species, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’ rally - one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie cofounded Evidence for Democracy and now serves as its Executive Director. She has a diverse background organizing and managing various social and political campaigns at the local and national level. Katie is frequently asked to comment on science policy issues and has been quoted and published in numerous media outlets, including the CBC, The Hill Times, the Globe and Mail and the National Post.