#justin trudeau may be Canada’s heartthrob but one environmentalist, Bill McKibben, is suggesting that his “gushing fans” should “stop swooning” over him because he is a "stunning hypocrite" when it comes to the environment. He notes that even though Donald Trump may be a danger to the environment at least we know where we stand with him, unlike Canada's Prime Minister who supports the #Keystone Xl Pipeline.
Image at odds with support for pipelines
Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org is not the only one dissatisfied with Justin Trudeau’s policies on the environment.
Trudeau’s early years in government has left many environmentalists disappointed and he has been the subject of some minor public protests in Canada against his controversial approval of expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline. These protests have done little to shake his resolve and admits he has accepted the fact that there will be protests. Mckibben suggests that the Prime Minister's support for tar sands and more pipelines are at odds with his image as Canada's progressive heartthrob leader.
Support for the Keystone pipeline
In a scathing report, Mckibben sees Trudeau and Trump as brothers on the issue of climate change. He argues that while Trump may be a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, he is not a hypocrite. One of Trump’s first orders of business after taking office was to reconsider the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that delighted Trudeau.
An application to construct the pipeline was rejected in 2015 by President Barack Obama. Speaking to reporters on January 24th Trudeau was upfront about his support for the pipeline project “I reiterated my support for the project. I’ve been on the record for many years supporting Keystone XL because it leads to economic growth and good jobs for Albertans,
Building the economy and protecting the environment
The Canadian Prime Minister feels that he can both support the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and protect the environment. He acknowledges that there are those who feel strongly about the decision but there are others who feel just as strongly in favour of building the economy while protecting the environment. But Mckibben takes issue with Trudeau’s push for new pipelines through Canada and the US that are meant to move more oil out of the Alberta tar sands making it the biggest climate disaster. The tar sands is a noxious mix of clay, bitumen, sand and a viscous oil and viewed as among the dirtiest fossil fuels.
The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil daily to Texas refineries. According to Friends of the Earth environmental group, this daily load would be equal to the emissions produced by 5.6 million new cars on the road.
Trudeau’s record on climate change
But Justin Trudeau’s record is not all bad on climate change and he hasn’t been in power long enough to see the results of some of his environmental policies. There are plans in place to phase out the majority of coal power plants by 2030 and the Canadian government has a bold forecast that carbon emissions will fall by 5 megatons. However, this depends on the full implementation of the plan. Further, a nationwide minimum price of $10 CAD on carbon per metric tonne was announced in December. There are also plans for a tax or cap-and-trade for fossil fuels. But these plans are yet to be tested and it remains to be seen if Trudeau will, in fact, be a disaster for the planet as Mckibben suggests.