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On Monday, Canada passed a resolution promising to adhere to its commitment made in Paris. On Tuesday, Canada said it has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline that will transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the west coast. Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman!

Fossil Fuels

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Canada. Trans Mountain Pipeline Profits To Fund Green Energy Projects

On Monday, Canada passed a resolution promising to adhere to its commitment made in Paris. On Tuesday, Canada said it has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline that will transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the west coast. Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman!

It is hard to find words to adequately express the naked hypocrisy of the Canadian government. This week, it has approved the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline — which will triple the amount of oil from the Alberta tar sands flowing to export facilities on the west coast of Canada — for the second time.

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Credit: National Energy Board

The first time was in 2016 but the Federal Court of Appeal overturned that decision, saying the government had not adequately assessed the impact of the pipeline on Indigenous people and the marine environment along Canada’s Pacific coast, where the oil supplied by the pipeline will be trans-shipped to nations around the world.

No problem, the Trudeau government now says. We considered all those factors and decided the pipeline is still in the best interests of all concerned. Well, that was predictable. What was not, however, is the statement by the government that the profits generated by the Trans Mountain pipeline will be used to boost renewable energy projects and support clean tech research within the country.

Isn’t that like saying child pornography is OK as long as the money it brings in is put into a college fund for the children involved? Could Canada possibly be any more hypocritical? Just last week, Justin Trudeau made a big show of saying his country will ban some single use plastics. This week he says his country will be responsible for adding hundreds of millions of tons of new carbon emissions to the Earth’s atmosphere at a time when temperatures in the Canadian Arctic are already soaring but that’s OK because those emissions will be created overseas, far from Canada’s shores.

It’s all about politics, of course. Canada will hold national elections later this year and Trudeau is vulnerable to a challenge by Jason Kenney, the fossil fuel stooge and Trump wannabe who is premier of Alberta. Trudeau is right to be concerned, but this policy of shoving Trans Mountain down the throats of people in other provinces who vehemently oppose the pipeline is nothing more than a sop to voters in Alberta by a weak leader who is guided by expediency rather than principles. Unscrupulous might be the proper term for Trudeau.

What makes the announcement laughable is that just the day before, the House of Commons voted to accept a motion presented by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna to declare a climate emergency and reaffirm Canada’s Paris Agreement targets. The Washington Post observes, “The tension between the two positions was not lost on observers, some of whom wondered aloud how one could declare a climate emergency while buying a pipeline and approving its twinning.”

Canada is caught between a rock and a hard place. With a full blown climate emergency now in full swing in the most northern part of the country, will it choose to be the source of more carbon emissions or put on its big nation pants and actually lead on policies to dramatically reduce global carbon emissions? Any student of human behavior can probably guess the answer to that question. The current score is Politics and Greed: 1,567,897. The Earth: 0

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.


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