Justin Trudeau: “No Country Would Find 173 Billion Barrels Of Oil In The Ground And Just Leave Them” (Oil Sands)

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Despite all of the talk to the contrary (and fake smiling), it seems that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no intent to seriously address the country’s complicity in worsening anthropogenic climate change. Going by his actions since becoming Prime Minister, it’s clear that the comments that some critics made during the election that Trudeau was “just a face” were mostly accurate.

All of that said, it was still a bit surprising to read about the comments he made during a keynote address at the recent CERAWeek energy industry conference in Houston, Texas.

And I quote: “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Perhaps that’s true, but it certainly still is a betrayal of the image that he crafted for himself in recent years as someone “who cares” about the climate. Unsurprisingly (since the crowd was full of oil and gas execs), Trudeau received “an unusually warm reception” for the speech, as reported by Business Insider.

Trudeau continued: “The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely, and sustainably. Nothing is more essential to the US economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy. Canada is that source.”

Hmm, that’s not very climate friendly, even if packaged in a pretty box.

Business Insider continues: “Trudeau’s speech was met with a standing ovation from the more than 1,200 attendees — an unordinary reaction to a keynote speaker, conference-goers told the CBC. The prime minister was also given an award for his efforts to balance environmental protection and energy production. … Trudeau has been under fire from Canada’s oil industry after he stumbled while discussing the topic in January. He told an audience in Ontario that the oil sands should be phased out, later telling The Globe and Mail that he ‘misspoke’.”

So, what’s going on here exactly? Is Trudeau serious about a real (not simply market-driven) phaseout of the tar sands? Is he just telling any particular audience what he thinks it wants to hear? Or is he as supportive of tar sands oil development as predecessors? Here’s more for additional context:

“Trudeau’s speech also touted his support for the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the few areas where he and US President Donald Trump share common ground. He further discussed juggling the priorities of combatting climate change and bolstering Canada’s oil and gas industry.

“Under Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal government has approved new pipelines while working with provinces to implement a carbon-pricing scheme. The prime minister has long maintained that developing fossil-fuel resources can go ‘hand in hand’ with fighting climate change.”

That’s precisely what Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid A. Al-Falih, who is also chairman of Saudi Aramco, said recently in a video interview published by CleanTechnica, even though it is obviously false:

As a reminder, Trudeau stated late last year in an interview with The Guardian that: “It’s a tremendous business opportunity to lead on climate change,” and that one of the primary responsibilities of his position was to bring “resources to market” in “sustainable ways” while at the same time looking to improve the financial outlook for citizens in Canada.

“You cannot make a choice anymore on what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy,” Trudeau stated in that interview.

So, what do you think? Is he the Canadian version of former US President Barack Obama, as some people say, or even more fossil-friendly than that?

Photos by Alex Guibord (some rights reserved) and Howl Arts Collective (some rights reserved)

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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