Justin Trudeau and the Pipelines: a Bad Gamble

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Ms Louise Morand deplores Justin Trudeau’s lack of leadership in the fight against climate change. By accepting two new pipeline projects, the Prime Minister ignores the advice from experts in energy transition and leaves citizens with the burden of opposing fossil fuels.

Justin Trudeau and the Pipelines: a Bad Gamble

By approving two new pipelines, Justin Trudeau goes against the recommendations of scientists, experts in climate science and energy transition, who have repeated ceaselessly that for humanity to avoid a runaway increase in planetary temperature, with all its associated impacts on biodiversity and the economy, the known reserves of fossil fuels must remain in the ground. This includes the coal, gas and oil deposits of Canada and the United States. In brief, now that the industrial nations have 10 to 15 years in which to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions, no new exploitation of hydrocarbons or its transportation infrastructure should see the light of day.

By approving two new pipeline projects, Justin Trudeau is gambling that the oil money will pay for the energy transition. At least that is what he wants citizens to believe. This argument does not hold up when we consider that the effects of greenhouse gases are cumulative. Where we are now, the only way to make the energy transition is to radically put the breaks on the emissions. Need we be reminded that past a certain threshold of saturation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Earth will continue to heat on its own from the loss of ice cover and the release of methane from the permafrost? This phenomenon is well underway in the arctic and many scientists think that the battle is already lost for humanity.

By approving two new pipeline projects perhaps Justin Trudeau is betting that the population will make a wall on the land to prevent the work from going ahead, as we see with the Dakota Access in the U.S. More than 5000 people occupy the land there to block the bulldozers from advancing. The activists face a small private army trying to dislodge them. Having now satisfied the rich donors to his party, Trudeau can always fall back on the lack of social acceptability to finally let the courts give justice to those who wish to protect their water, agricultural land, and the means of survival for their children and grandchildren.

One thing is certain: he who was elected head of the Canadian government by promising that assessment of pipeline projects will take science into account, cannot ignore the urgency of the energy transition. By refusing to call a halt to all new tar sands development projects, Trudeau shows a lack of leadership. He leaves the burden of the fight against climate change squarely on the shoulders of the people. Like Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned.

Louise Morand

Comité vigilance hydrocarbures de l’Assomption

1er décembre 2016