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Researchers look out from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as the sun sets over sea ice floating on the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on July 21, 2017.
David Goldman/AP

251 Scientists Wrote Trudeau This Letter After Funding For Climate Research Was Cut

The Canadian government has not renewed Canada’s Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program (CCAR) — so 251 scientists sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a letter on Monday warning him of the threats of climate change.

"There is a crisis looming for Canadian climate and atmospheric research that will be felt far beyond Canada’s borders," the letter, which was signed by scientists from 22 countries, reads.

There are seven research networks supported by the CCAR program, six of which are currently set to end in 2018.

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The CCAR’s funded projects explore a variety of issues including the impact of aerosols, biogeochemical tracers in the Arctic Ocean, changes to land, water, and climate, and the temperature and other properties of the atmosphere in the high Arctic.

This is Canada’s only program with dedicated funding for climate and atmospheric research.

"Canada is playing a leading role in international climate policy discussions and clearly aspiring to be a world leader in climate change adaptation and mitigation. But smart action and smart positioning on climate change requires Canada’s climate science to capitalize on and contribute to the latest developments in a rapidly changing field," the letter said.

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Canada’s research on the Arctic produces data that is sent to scientists studying climate change and its impact around the world.

While the Canadian government allocated an extra $70 million for climate change research in its 2017 budget, scientists indicate that the CCAR projects are necessary components to international science research.

"Canada is uniquely placed to monitor the changing atmosphere in the high Arctic regions," Dr. Clare Murphy, director of the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Wollongong in Australia, told Global News. "As such, Canadian atmospheric and climate science plays a pivotal role in the global effort to understand our changing environment."

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Trudeau and his government have publicly supported the Paris climate agreement and the importance of climate change research, but scientists are calling for more than words, especially at a time when the US is cutting its research funds.

"We are doing more to combat climate change than any Canadian federal government in history," Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan said in a statement. "Our government will continue to support and invest in the actions necessary to address climate change."

The letter urges the prime minister to reinvest in these research projects that have international significance.

"Our climate is still changing and we need continued investment in climate research to understand the causes and impacts of those changes," it said.

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