Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trudeau Victory May Not Signal a U-turn in Canada's Climate Policy

In Trudeau’s victory speech on Monday there was no mention of climate change. (Photograph Credit: Sean Kilpatrick/AP) Click to Enlarge.
Those hoping for a U-turn in Canada’s climate change policy after Stephen Harper’s crushing defeat are in for a reality check.

Trudeau has repudiated Harper’s vision of Canada as an “energy superpower”, promised to reverse devastating cuts to government science budgets, and fix the country’s reputation as a carbon bully in international climate negotiations.

But it would be a mistake to see Trudeau or the Liberals as climate champions.  In his victory speech on Monday, there was no mention of climate change, and he was criticised for being vague on the issue during campaigning. 

Trudeau committed to take part in the Paris climate conference at the end of the year, and to convene a meeting of provincial leaders within 90 days to come up with a plan to fight climate change.

His party’s campaign platform called for the setting up of a $2bn fund to help projects that promote clean energy.

However, Trudeau supports the Keystone XL pipeline – Canada’s bid to find new markets for its vast carbon reserves in the Alberta tar sands – a position that puts the Liberal leader at odds with campaigners and with Barack Obama.
Indeed, Canada has a lot of catching up to do. But two key Liberal positions, on the Keystone XL and on emissions reductions targets, put Trudeau out of step with Obama, who has made climate change the signature issue of his second term in the White House.
But now that Trudeau has won such a decisive majority, his position could change, said Katharine Hayhoe, the climate scientist and commentator, who is from Canada.  “It is certainly true that in the past liberal governments have not lived up to their promises on climate, but today we are in a very different situation, in terms of seeing the impacts and in terms of other nations like China taking action,” she said.

“It’s a different political climate internationally for climate change now than what it was nine years ago, the last time there was a liberal government.  I feel a lot more momentum, a lot more impetus, a lot more motivation for Liberals to take a stronger stand on this issue.

Read more at Trudeau Victory May Not Signal a U-turn in Canada's Climate Policy

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