The Globe and Mail reports that the US ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, says that Canada’s policies on climate change are linked to American purchases of oil from the tar sands.
President Obama said that action on climate change is necessary. He said this in his inauguration speech. He said it again in the State of the Union address. His administration is currently reviewing the permits for the Keystone pipeline, which will ship Alberta bitumen to the US Gulf coast, allowing the oil to obtain world prices, instead of today’s steep discount to world markets.
This isn’t the first time other countries have suggested that trade may be linked to progress on climate change. The President of France mused about this, by pushing a carbon tariff.
There can be little doubt about it. As the evidence of climate change continues to roll in, nations around the world will seek to force other nations to take action. And the biggest lever they have is trade.
Canada’s current record on climate change is appalling. The Federal government has gutted climate research funding, ceased renewable energy programs, closed the National Roundtable on the Economy and Environment for daring to suggest a carbon tax, and mocked anybody who proposes a carbon tax or cap and trade program. They have eliminated environmental review processes for many projects, and took the action specifically so they could build pipelines to move bitumen. They have attacked environmental groups who dare to act as a watchdog on government policy by getting the CCRA to audit their funding. They have sabotaged international climate talks. In short, the Federal government is a climate pariah.
As the world starts implementing trade actions to force others to take action on climate, Canada will be at the top of the list of target countries.
It is in Canada’s (and Alberta’s) interest to implement policies to combat climate change.