Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Gary Mason worries that Canada has become so accustomed to prioritizing fossil fuels over the habitability of our planet as to make impossible any action to avert a climate crisis:
(H)ere we are, more than a third of the way through the campaign, and there is nary a courageous, groundbreaking climate initiative in sight. Instead, the Liberals ended the week announcing measures to help make homes more energy efficient. While the time we have to mitigate the widespread damage a warming planet will cause evaporates before our eyes, we argue about the need for new pipelines. The debate around energy and the environment has become so caustic, so toxic, that our political leaders can’t even be honest with us.

There is no better example of this than when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said at a town hall event in Peterborough in January, 2017, that while he couldn’t shut down the oil sands immediately, “we need to phase them out, we need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels.” It should not have been a controversial statement because it’s true. And yet, politicians in Alberta (and many citizens, too) lost their minds, accusing the Mr. Trudeau of betraying them, of forging a plan to rob thousands of people of their livelihoods. A few days later, Mr. Trudeau tried to undo the damage, saying that he “misspoke” – the oil sands would not be going anywhere soon, he assured Canadians.

I think that may have been the moment I decided meaningful climate policy in Canada was doomed. If a federal leader couldn’t even say what we know to be true – that we need to transition off of fossil fuels soon – then what hope was there of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the level we must, in the limited time we have?
Audits that have been conducted on the Liberals’ climate plan to date have suggested they are going to fall well short of their goals. Since the government introduced its first climate plan in 2016, it has purchased a pipeline and approved a massive liquefied natural gas project in B.C. It says it has put a cap on oil sands emissions of 100 megatonnes annually, but has refused to impose or insist on regulations to ensure that happens. There is also no schedule in place in which the cap begins to decline – a necessity.

By some estimates, at the current trajectory, emissions just from oil and gas production will be 80 per cent of Canada’s total emissions by 2050. Even by 2030, they are forecast to be 47 per cent off our total emissions output.

“We’d have to ban all fossil-fuel-car sales and stop all heating by gas in the country right now under that scenario and we’d probably still couldn’t meet our targets,” says Tzeporah Berman of, a grassroots environmental organization headquartered in San Francisco.

When it comes to meeting our Paris obligations, we are having a completely dishonest conversation.
- Aaron Wherry notes that voters are being offered multiple parties talking about combating climate change - though the details are crucial to putting those sentiments into practice. And Canadians for Tax Fairness points out that more equitable tax system can also help contribute to reining in climate change.

- Bob Weber reports on the dangers facing Canadian water supplies due to a climate breakdown. And Rebecca Leber offers a reminder that the effects of climate change on oceans go far beyond rising sea levels.

- Finally, PressProgress exposes the funding behind "Canada Proud" from anti-labour employers who are simultaneously lobbying against the use of Canadian steel.

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