You Can't Be a Climate Leader and Support Pipelines and the Tar Sands

by Rolly Montpellier

Justin Trudeau campaigned on a platform of taking a science-based approach to dealing with climate change. He promised real action on climate.

The recent Climate Welcome actions (protests and sit-ins at 24 Sussex) were planned to remind the Prime Minister that he must be true to his promises.

The Climate Welcome call is precise: 1) freeze the expansion of the Tar Sands and 2) transition to a vibrant and clean energy economy. After nine years of climate inaction by the Harper government, Canada has no more time to waste on climate change.


Trudeau’s immediate actions on climate are most encouraging. He met with Canada’s premiers and three territorial leaders prior to going to the COP21 climate talks in Paris, considered by experts to be the most critical UN climate conference for humanity’s hope to tackle climate change.

While in Paris he has been able to put Canada back on the climate action path with his much-quoted words, "Canada is back". Trudeau is saying all the right things about climate and he has promised "real action".

Trudeau has created a cabinet committee on the environment, climate change and energy signaling a more eco-friendly rather than oil-friendly cabinet. The Committee is chaired by Stephane Dion – former Liberal leader and now Foreign Affairs Minister – also known for championing carbon taxes in 2008 as part of his unsuccessful Green Shift.

The committee includes Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources.

Tar Sands of Alberta

But Justin Trudeau’s conundrum remains – how to tackle climate change and still support pipelines and the tar sands expansion. There simply does not exist any form of twisted logic or rationale to convince Canadians that both can be done simultaneously. Doing both is not possible.

The tar sands and climate action are two irreconcilable, incompatible, clashing and unmixable concepts.

Mr. Trudeau, it is not possible to be a climate leader and promote fossil fuels. It is not possible to expand the Tar Sands and build pipelines and yet claim to be a climate leader. You cannot do both.

It’s time to stop the Tar Sands expansion and move away from fossil fuels.

Rolly Montpellier

Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of Below2C.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a Blogger and a Climate Activist. He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa), the Ethical Team (as an influencer) and Global Population Speakout.

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