Scientists Biased, Talk Too Much: Confidential government memo.
Details here, in Blacklock’s Reporter: minding Ottawa’s business, August 11, 2014.
Tar sands, Alberta, Canada. Photo: The Nation.
The primary target of the confidential memo, John Smol, is a professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, a widely acclaimed paleolimnologist (fathoming the life stories of lakes), and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change.
Why does the Harper government want to silence John Smol and his co-researchers? Because they know too much. The current regime in Ottawa is an aggressive booster of the enormously destructive tar sands colossus, and is determined to keep Canadians strictly on message: tar sands = good for Canada, with minimal harm. Period. Trouble is, their message keeps getting shredded by the findings of honest science.
Why won’t John Smol shut up? He knows too much:
“The huge problem is that many environmental problems are long scale. They can take years, decades to show up – or longer, sometimes I work in centuries, even millennia. But politicians think in terms of four years, at best. Look at the tar sands – go ahead, pump it out as fast as you can, we’ll be out of here in four years, what do we care? Industry is even worse, they think in quarters, 90-day intervals. Costs for the future are horrendous, but they’re not in this fiscal cycle. When things go extinct, they’re extinct forever. You destroy a river system, it’s gone. Destroy a fish population, it’s gone. How do you gauge what that’s worth?”
Delve into John Smol’s research, paleolimnology, and why he speaks out, in Bold Scientists: dispatches from the battle for honest science. Available September 4, 2014, in print and e-book from Between the Lines.