Environment Canada losing grasp of climate change

Years of cuts have put Canada's federal national weather agency 'on the road to junior partner status.'

Ottawa (25 Aug. 2010) - Cuts to the Environment Canada weather service are compromising Canada's ability to assess climate change and undermining the quality of information available across the country's data network.

The stinging assessment, made available to the Pembina Institute through an access to information request, suggests Canada's climate network infrastructure is deteriorating and no longer meets international guidelines.

"Environment Canada is on the road to junior partner status with respect to other agencies, both provincial and international, in the area of climate data gathering, quality control and archiving," says the report, obtained by PostMedia.

The analysis is entitled Degradation in Environment Canada's Climate Network, Quality Control and Data Storage Practices: A Call to Repair the Damage.

The report notes that a lack of data on climate conditions can affect decisions on major infrastructure such as roads, buildings and sewers as well as a number of "real-life" decisions made by Canadians every day.

"The common assumption among users is that the data has been observed accurately, checked for mistakes and stored properly," says the report, printed in June 2008. "It is profoundly disturbing to discover the true state of our climate data network and the data we offer to ourselves and the real world."

The report says the cuts are part of on ongoing trend dating back 15 years to the 1990s when the Chretien Liberal government was struggling to eliminate record deficits left behind by the Brian Mulroney Conservatives.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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