So far, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a lot of the right moves when it comes to climate change, but a new report this week makes it clear that Canada's PM cannot lead on climate change and support the expansion of oilsands pipelines at the same time.
Yet, there was a rumor circling earlier this month that the Trudeau government would approve the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in the name of the "national interest". If approved, the pipeline will increase the amount of oil produced and shipped to Vancouver's coast for export by a whopping 590,000 barrels a day — nearly triple what is currently transported.
At the same time, the Trudeau government is expected to roll out a plan this fall to fulfill its election promise to take "bold action" on climate change.
These two positions are irreconcilable.
A new report out this week titled "The Sky's Limit" concludes that if we want to avoid catastrophic atmospheric disruption, then a lot of the world's carbon reserves (i.e. Alberta's oilsands) must stay in the ground.
According to the authors of the report, Oil Change International, if Trudeau wants to do his part on climate change, then science says "75 per cent of Canada’s tar sands would have to remain unburned."
As it stands, Canada is fifth behind only Qatar, the United States, Russia and Iran when it comes to the highest emissions from proposed new oil and gas developments.
If the projects that constitute this graph go ahead (which includes the Kinder Morgan pipeline), then it's game over for our earth's atmosphere. The worst of predicted climate change impacts will be realized.
This graph also makes it clear that the Trudeau government's Kinder Morgan decision will have consequences that ripple well beyond Canada's borders. If approved, it sends a global green light to other countries to barrel ahead with their own expansion plans.
That's not leadership on climate change, no matter how "bold" your climate action plan might sound.
Trudeau was elected on a platform of a new kind of politics. On the global stage, our Prime Minister has enjoyed rock star status and is seen by many world leaders as a new hope.
The problem is that Trudeau is trying to make everyone happy. In the long run, we know this will only lead to disappointment.
If Trudeau wants to lead on climate, both at home and abroad, then he's going to have to make the right decision — the decision backed by the best science in the world — and not allow the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to proceed.
Go here to download Oil Change International's full report: The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production
Image credit: Government of Canada