by Mike De Souza
OTTAWA — Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq set aside a proposal from her department earlier this year to publicly state that the Harper government recognized scientific evidence that humans were “mostly responsible for climate change” and that it took this threat “seriously.”
Environment Canada proposed that she make these comments in response to a major report released in September by an international panel of scientists, including Canadians, that was created in 1988 to assess the latest peer-reviewed literature about global warming. The federal department’s recommended message was part of a proposed communications strategy, obtained by Postmedia News under access to information legislation, to raise awareness about the impacts of the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and gas and other human activity linked by scientists to global warming.
It proposed that she say that the Canadian government “takes climate change seriously, and recognizes the scientific findings that conclude that human activities are mostly responsible for this change.”
The first part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s 2013 assessment concluded that it was “extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming” over the past few decades.
But while governments from other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom said the Sept. 27 report highlighted the urgency of immediate action to address global warming, Aglukkaq responded to the IPCC by touting her Conservative government’s actions and suggesting that opposition Liberal and NDP policies were flawed and a threat to Canadian jobs.