Saturday, December 24, 2016

Arctic Drilling Ban Reveals Crucial Difference Between Obama and Trudeau on Climate

President Obama & Justin Trudeau at the North American Leaders Summit (Credit: CC – by Presidencia de la Rep├║blica Mexicana) Click to Enlarge.
The historic announcement by President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau that both countries would ban oil and gas development in Arctic and Atlantic waters was a major victory to protect our oceans and the people who depend on them, and a real victory for our climate.

But the difference between how the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office explained this announcement reveals a major rift between the leaders in their understanding of how to address the climate threat.

At the end of November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed a key test of his understanding of what is required to stop climate change by approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines.  During his speech he defended his actions:

“I have said many times that there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it.”

But just weeks later, the U.S. did exactly that.  As part of President Obama’s announcement to permanently ban oil and gas development in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, the White House released a fact sheet explaining its justification.   

“…if lease sales were to occur and production take place, it would be at a time when the scientific realities of climate change dictate that the United States and the international community must be transitioning its energy systems away from fossil fuels.”

In essence, the White House is saying that further offshore oil and gas development in these areas fails a climate test — that these projects aren’t in line with the action needed to meet international goals to fight climate change.  This is a crucial signal that President Obama and his team are finally beginning to understand that action to restrict the supply of fossil fuels is ultimately required to reach a safe climate future.

Notably, the joint statement from both leaders on their effort to block Arctic drilling mentioned climate but failed to point out this crucial justification for the decision.  This points to the fact that Trudeau isn’t aligned with Obama on climate action.

Prime Minister Trudeau continues to cling to an ideological and dangerous assertion that his government has no responsibility to restrict fossil fuel supply in the middle of a global climate crisis.

Read more at Arctic Drilling Ban Reveals Crucial Difference Between Obama and Trudeau on Climate

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