Today’s (March 8) Globe and Mail Headline in the Business Section reads: “Ottawa to stay course on climate: minister.” Ironically, Canada’s actual climate course is not sufficient to meet its long term commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Less than a year ago Canada signed the Paris Accord, accepting its targets for reduced emissions. For several reasons, the course Canada is on today (a course not likely to change) may not result in decreased emissions.
First, government policy: Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and the Alberta Provincial Premier Rachel Notley. confirmed to a Houston conference of executives in the international fossil fuel industry that “Canada is a very serious player in the international energy marketplace!” (Substitute “fossil fuels” for “international energy”.)
Second, pipeline approvals: the Liberal party supported Keystone XL pipeline some years ago. The Liberal Government recently approved two more high capacity pipelines: Kinder Morgan, which increases exports of fossil fuels to Pacific Rim countries through the port of Vancouver, and Line 3 which goes through the US to Eastern Canada, and potentially from there via the proposed Energy East pipeline to European markets.
Third: Canadian politics: despite the talk during the last Federal Election campaign, the Liberal Government accepted the emissions targets submitted by the Conservative Government to the UN, targets that were known then to be inadequate. Apart from occasional bouts of sniping in Parliament, we see little difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives on climate policies.
Fourth: the Federal Government program for a price on carbon: Presently it lacks support from two Western provinces and the proposed price is below the level necessary to get the needed results.
Carr also told the Houston Conference that Canada would stick with its long term climate policy. He believes that growth by Canada’s fossil fuel industry is consistent with this policy, a conclusion that no environmental organization shares!
For Our Grandchildren does agree with one of Carr’s statements:
“We’re at the point of generational decisions . . . This is not a short-term game: this is a generational game”.
But not a game current generations should be playing. As we said two years ago:
“Grandparents have come to recognize that this easy-going attitude is letting the one thing that we can leave for our grandchildren, a healthy planet, slip from their grasp.”