By Mike De Souza, Canwest News Service
April 5, 2010 7:02 AM
OTTAWA — Canadian scientists from six different federal departments have shot down a recent controversy that raised doubts about whether humans are causing global warming and have urged the government to base its climate-change policies on peer-reviewed research.
In a memorandum, prepared for Environment Minister Jim Prentice prior to his participation at the Copenhagen conference last December, the top-ranking official at Environment Canada said a controversy surrounding stolen e-mails from a climate-research centre in the United Kingdom does not call into question the reliability of the science.
The personal e-mails exchanged by climate scientists wound up in the hands of special-interest groups who say they are skeptical about peer-reviewed research that concludes humans are causing global warming. Many skeptics, including Conservative MPs such as Maxime Bernier and Colin Mayes, have suggested the messages in the e-mails prove a massive conspiracy to manipulate or hide evidence by climate scientists.
But in the memorandum obtained by Canwest News Service, Environment Canada's deputy minister, Ian Shugart, suggested the skeptics had it wrong. He explained the scientific information in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest assessment of climate-change research was still the best reference tool for the negotiations.
"Recent media reports in the aftermath of the hacking incident at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia . . . has raised some concerns about the reliability and robustness of some of the science considered in the (fourth assessment of climate science released in 2007 by the) IPCC," said the memorandum to Prentice from his deputy minister, released following an Access to Information request by the Pembina Institute, an environmental research group.
"Despite these developments, the department continues to view the IPCC (fourth assessment) as the most comprehensive and rigorous source of scientific information for climate-change negotiations." …