PEARL climate change facility receives a $1.6-million, one-year lifeline

After extensive lobbying from the scientific community, an Arctic climate change research facility has received $1.6 million in federal funding, just enough to maintain operations for one year after its funds expire in 2018. Science minister Kirsty Duncan and Environment minister Catherine McKenna on November 8 announced the stop-gap funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) located in Nunavut. The re-allocated funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will allow researchers to continue operations, including data collection, until fall 2019. Researchers are working on projects related to air quality, the ozone layer, and climate change. Government said it’s important to fund the research project to understand what’s happening in the region, which is showing signs of heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world. The research community has been struggling to maintain the facility in Eureka, Nunavut. Researchers at the facility had been preparing to scale down operations for fear of closing it down altogether. The permanent facility has been operational since 2005. It was last funded in 2013 when it was one of seven projects funded through an allocation of $32 million to the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Initiative, allowing researchers to continue with their work until 2018. The research community has been lobbying for continued funding after it was not included in the 2017 Budget 2017, says Evidence for Democracy, an Ottawa-based not-for-profit group promoting use of evidence in government decision-making. The group is urging for long-term commitment to fund the facility.