Monday, November 23, 2015

Scientists, Astronauts & Politicians at First Ministers' Meeting

          By Henry Stewart

The new Federal government has come to the obvious conclusion that astronauts and scientists are sexy, knowledgeable and authoritative, which is probably why they were so much in evidence during Monday's First Ministers' meeting.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau with Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen at the First Ministers meeting on Monday, November 23rd. Given the obvious benefits which undoubtedly derive from simply standing next to an astronaut, it seems to be only a matter of time before the new Federal government announces a massive funding initiative to ensure a continued supply of these photogenic heroes. Photo c/o @csa_asc.

As outlined in the November 23rd, 2015 Federal government press release, "Prime Minister hosts First Ministers’ Meeting," prime minister Justin Trudeau met with provincial and territorial premiers to discuss the country's strategy to fight climate change in advance of the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place from November 30th - December 11th, in Paris, France.

The meeting also discussed the next steps to support the successful resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, with a focus on how to support their integration following a robust security screening process.

The last first ministers' meeting was in 2009.

Astronaut Hansen, who always seems to wear a NASA/CSA jumpsuit instead of a business suit to these sorts of events, posing with innovation minister Navdeep Bains and science minister Kirsty Duncan at the First Ministers meeting on Monday. Photo c/o @csa_asc.

Prior to the meeting, a climate science briefing was provided by senior environment and climate change Canada scientist Dr. Greg Flato and Ouranos executive director Mr. Alain Bourque. Ouranos is a Montreal-based consortium which focuses on climate science.

The briefing was moderated by Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

As outlined in the November 23rd, 2015 Canadian Press and National Post article, "Five things to know about the first ministers’ meeting on climate change ahead of Paris talks," the intent of the Monday meeting was to "demonstrate to the international community" that the new Canadian PM has "at least taken the first steps towards delivering on that commitment (to take steps to mitigate climate change) and that Canada is now serious about combating climate change after a decade in which the country was widely condemned as an environmental laggard."

Now that the photo-ops are done, expect new Canadian based but space focused technology suitable for measuring and mitigating climate change to surface, in the run up to the Paris meeting.

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