Praises sung for Canada in Davos while people await climate action at home


While Justin Trudeau attempts to turn over a new maple leaf for Canada abroad, many are waiting on the prime minister to start living up to his campaign promises when it comes to the climate. The Canadian prime minister gave a keynote address in Davos yesterday at the World Economic Forum, delivering a “pitch-perfect neo-utopian geopolitical” outlook on the country’s economy. Trudeau — who campaigned to lead on climate change and environmental impacts prior to entering office —  tried to set himself apart from the previous Harper government, noting that his “predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources.” Domestically, environmental groups and communities are growing increasingly frustrated with Trudeau, noting that he’s already broken his first promise to “make environmental assessments credible again” by allowing the National Energy Board to proceed with pipeline hearings this week — a review process that has long been deemed flawed. While people wait on Trudeau to pick up the pace and deliver on his pledges, Indigenous groups, cities and many others are stepping up and using their rights to reject projects that endanger their communities.



Key Points

  • Moving forward with the federal energy review process clashes with climate goals cemented in Paris. The National Energy Board, the federal body that reviews pipeline and energy projects, has a long history of disregarding the needs of the people they represent all the while having a number of oil executives appointed to their tribunal. When Canada signed the Paris agreement alongside nearly 200 countries in December, it committed to show leadership on climate, but as long as the energy review process is perceived to be irrelevant and uncredible, Canada’s pledges will seem futile.
  • By paving the way for fossil fuel infrastructure, Canada’s domestic choices will affect the entire planet. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline would pump crude from Alberta’s tar sands all the way to British Columbia’s Pacific coast, without providing an effective strategy for managing an oil spill in the ocean. The Energy East pipeline, the other project under review by the NEB, risks generating up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada while cutting through First Nations communities and densely populated cities.
  • Canada can either join the global movement or be left behind. Around the world, forward-looking economies are growing as they go green. 2015 saw renewable energy reach a record $329.3 billion in investment worldwide with countries from China to Chile, South Africa to Brazil reaping the benefits of clean energy. As Trudeau meets with global leaders in Switzerland, how Canada choses to shift its energy portfolio will be remembered much more than any words.



Tools & Resources

More Images

Related Tree Alerts

More Tweets