The 2021 federal election is over and, with an eerily similar outcome to the 2019 election, the question now is, “So what does this really mean?”
The short answer is that it means that Canada still has a government that has committed to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, but is miles away from meeting that goal. And, just like before the election, it’s up to climate organizers across the country to change that. The good news is that there are three big fights already underway or on the horizon where that change is possible.
The first is the Just transition law. Originally promised by Justin Trudeau at a campaign rally just days after the 2019 climate strikes, the legislation spent two years in the background. Then, just before this latest election, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan finally announced some progress, launched a public consultation process, and promised to take action on the law this fall.
With that query scheduled to run until the end of this month, There is a short but critical window to push through the kind of big, bold transition policies that we really need.. That means fighting for the Just Transition Act to meet the scale of the climate crisis by ensuring good union jobs for everyone affected by the transition, ensuring that the transition puts people ahead of corporate profits, and aligning our plans for a just transition with a managed decline. of the fossil fuel sector that is in line with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science.
The second big fight will be over Trudeau’s little scrutinized promise in this election to introduce oil and gas regulations aimed at limiting rising emissions from that sector. A vague electoral promise, it’s not clear to anyone what Trudeau’s plan for these regulations is, but given his administration’s track record when it comes to approaching Big Oil, it’s hard to imagine they have the teeth we need to deliver on this. moment.
According to the IPCC, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and many other experts, we must stop the expansion of fossil fuels and get to work quickly on a plan to reduce it. These regulations, along with a well-crafted Just Transition Law, could be critical to making that happen. But, if they are too weak, they are full of gaps or if they cover too much in expensive and untested carbon capture technology, they will not be worth the paper they are written on.
The same will happen if they continue to perpetuate the myth backed by the fossil fuel industry that fractured gas is some kind of climate solution. Preventing that from happening will be a huge boost.
Third, Liberals must consider buying the Trans Mountain pipeline. Regardless of what you think about buying TMX in the first place, you have to accept that things have changed dramatically since the Liberals first bought the project. A few months after the Liberals acquired the pipeline in 2018, the IPCC published a historical report on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 C. That report laid out emission reduction pathways that cast serious doubt on whether the Trans Mountain pipeline actually, as Trudeau argued then and still does, fits into Canada’s climate plan. .
These questions arose again with the release of the Canadian Energy Regulator Rule. 2020 energy outlook report showing that even with lower-than-promised climate actions, Canada does not need the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline. And they re-emerged with the IEA report on the pathways to 1.5 C, the more Recent IPCC Report on the “Red Code for Humanity” and a recent analysis of the West Coast Environmental Act showing that the pipeline is stuck in delays. In addition to all this, Trans Mountain has lost 16 insurers For the project, the vast majority withdrew due to the threats the pipeline poses to the climate and indigenous rights.
Liberals could deal with all of this by learning something from Jagmeet Singh’s Weak Answers About Trans Mountain and present a clear plan to formally review your pipeline purchase and construction decision. With winter coming, much of the expansion project’s construction will slow or stop in the coming weeks, and they could use that window to order a formal review of the decision to buy and build Trans Mountain.
They could use that time to step back and see what the pipeline is costing, both financially and in terms of our chances of tackling the climate crisis. However, of course, that would require doing the one thing politicians seem programmed to avoid, admitting they were wrong, so it’s not something that will happen without a lot of public pressure.
Opinion: With federal elections behind us, there are three big fights already underway or on the horizon where change is possible in the fight against the climate crisis, writes @CamFenton of @ 350Canada #cdnpoli # elxn44
At the end of the day, the clock on climate action did not stop ticking when Trudeau called these elections. And, given the results that came in on Monday, he could be forgiven for viewing the past six weeks as a waste of time when the government could have simply been legislating one action, rather than orchestrating a failed turnaround for the majority.
Whatever the case, we have to start right away because, as report that came to light a few days before the elections made clear, Canada’s climate plan remains “very insufficient” to prevent the planet from cooking. And, if this summer showed us anything, it is that we are running out of time to turn it around.
Cameron Fenton is the leader of the Canada team with 350.org.