Justin Trudeau Climate Change

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Climate Change

Below you will find background information, news and analysis so you can learn more about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s work on the issue of climate change.

After reading the overview section, we would encourage you to explore our latest news and analysis that follows.

Overview of Justin Trudeau and Climate Change

When running in the 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada made specific commitments to address climate change:

  • “We will fulfill our G20 commitment and phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the medium-term.”
  • “We will also work in partnership with the United States and Mexico to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environmental agreement.”
  • “Together, we will attend the Paris climate conference, and within 90 days formally meet to establish a pan-Canadian framework for combatting climate change.”
  • “We will endow the Low Carbon Economy Trust with $2 billion in our mandate.”

Since Trudeau and his Liberal party won the federal election on October 19, 2015, the party has appeared so far to be committed to fulfilling their election promises.

As part of his new cabinet, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed senior Liberal Party member Stephan Dion to the position of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Dion is a longtime and very outspoken supporter on the issue of climate change and when Dion was leader of the Liberal party he ran on a “Green Shift” platform proposing to introduce a national tax on carbon.

Mr. Trudeau appointed Catherine McKenna as Minister to the newly named Environment and Climate Change portfolio. Ms. McKenna is a long time social justice and human rights lawyer and it is her first time elected to federal office. Early on, Ms. McKenna made strong statements about the desired outcomes for her government at the historic Paris COP-21 climate change summit that was held in December, 2015.

At the Paris climate summit, both Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna recieved global media attention for the renewed, positive role Canada played at the conference. Canada signed the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global temperature increase to as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible, phase out fossil fuels, finance clean energy and aid less-developed countries in achieving their climate targets.

On March 3, 2016, the Trudeau government and provincial Premiers convened a First Minister’s Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia where all parties agreed to a climate change framework that includes an agreement in principle for a carbon-pricing mechanism. At the event Trudeau stated that “[t]he agreement as spelled out in the declaration, that the transition to a low-carbon economy will happen by a broad suite of measures that will include pricing carbon, that is something that we have all committed to.”

Justin Trudeau and Fossil Fuel Emissions

Although the Canadian government under Trudeau has made positive climate progress, many Canadians feel the Prime Minister’s position on the fossil fuel industry conflicts with his climate commitments. Trudeau has been a firm support of major oil pipelines proposed to export carbon-intensive fossil fuels from the Alberta oilsands, and has gone so far as to say that the  Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline “will be built.” The federal government has also supported the creation of a liquified fracked gas export industry in British Columbia through the approval of the Woodfibre LNG terminal near Vancouver.

Trudeau indicated he will work with Canada’s premiers to achieve provincial climate targets although he has not stated how he will achieve Canada’s overall climate targets if emissions at the provincial level (especially in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan) continue to rise due to the extraction, consumption and export of fossil fuels.

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