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MSE Research Symposium: Bridging the gap between science and policy

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Published: 6 Apr 2011

There was a time not so long ago when policy makers would respond to alarms sounded by environmental scientists, and relatively quickly at that. Think acid rain, pesticides, or chlorofluorocarbons and the ozone layer. Now think fossil fuels and climate change, and the mixed reception – and foot-dragging by our policy makers – to the findings of scientists on that subject.

There was a time not so long ago when policy makers would respond to alarms sounded by environmental scientists, and relatively quickly at that. Think acid rain, pesticides, or chlorofluorocarbons and the ozone layer.

Now think fossil fuels and climate change, and the mixed reception – and foot-dragging by our policy makers – to the findings of scientists on that subject.

Part of the problem, says Anthony Ricciardi, Professor at the Redpath Museum and the McGill School of Environment (MSE), is that environmental scientists no longer have the same authority or command the same respect they once did.

“Many people confuse environmental scientists with environmental activists, a perception fuelled by years of ad campaigns and the lobbying of industry stakeholders,” Ricciardi said. “Nevertheless, most Canadians accept the scientific consensus that humans are altering the Earth’s climate.”

Source Site: /newsroom
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