Don’t Let The Sun Set on Canada’s PEARL

Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
© by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Five years ago the 39% “majority” Harper Government wanted to close Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) of the Arctic.

But it didn’t.

Waterloo Region “Stand Up For Science” Rally at Carl Zehr Square (2012)

Even so, the Canadian science community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the 2015 election replaced the Harper Government’s 39% “majority” with a Justin Trudeau 39% “majority” that promised “evidence based policy.”

But it seems that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government— like Stephen Harper’s before it, intends to close Pearl.  There was no press release or discussion, PEARL was simply ignored in the budget.  No funds are forthcoming. The important program is finished without funding, if it shuts down science will no longer be done there.

Why would this ostensibly pro-science government chosen to shut down the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)?  This is a serious problem.

The Green Party of Canada released the following statement regarding the planned closure to Canada’s high Arctic research station:

The last time this vital research station on Ellesmere Island was threatened with closure was in 2012, during the infamous anti-science Harper years, which also featured the muzzling of scientists on the government payroll,” said Richard Zurawski, GPC Climate Change Critic.

“I am not surprised PEARL is on the chopping block again. The Liberals say a lot of nice things – mouthing all the proper words at the right time, projecting a pro-science and research campaign – while simultaneously choking off funding and giving vested fossil fuel interests a free hand,” Mr. Zurawksi said.

GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: “The Arctic recorded its eighth lowest summer ice extent, along with the lowest winter extent this year, and ocean levels are rising at their fastest levels on record, which threatens low-lying coastal cities.

“Why would a government, supposedly so committed to science, climate change and international collaboration, allow this research station to be closed? I wish I had an answer. Without research, we will not discover answers. And without answers, we cannot take educated, informed action on climate change,” Ms. May said.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL … and Canadian atmospheric climate science!

Sign the Evidence for Democracy Petition in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory

  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) © by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Find out more at Evidence For Democracy

Read the CREATE Arctic Science blog

Image Credits
Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and the photograph used in the Sign The Petition Save Pearl graphic are both © by Dan Weaver, and used with permission

Stand Up for Science and GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) photos © by Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License