Pipeline approval dashes hopes for climate leadership

Citizens for Public Justice fears that even the most ambitious climate action plan is now unlikely to overcome damage caused by pipelines.

CPJ is deeply saddened by the federal government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and Line 3 replacement project. Prime Minister Trudeau’s failure to recognize the climate impacts of these massive projects flies in the face of Canada’s claims to climate leadership.

While we are grateful that the prime minister stopped short of approving the near-1200 kilometre Northern Gateway pipeline – acknowledging Indigenous and environmental concerns – science suggests that the climate impact of the two pipelines that have been approved will be staggering.

The lifecycle emissions associated with pipelines are critical. Oil extraction alone produces significant emissions. These are then magnified by refinement, transportation, and end use. The extraction emissions of Trans Mountain and Line 3 represent close to 25 megatons daily.

With the ratification and entry into force of the Paris Agreement, Canada committed to contribute to efforts to address climate change by limiting warming to ‘well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels’ and aspiring to 1.5°C. The government hopes to get us there by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The approval of Trans Mountain and Line 3 makes it very difficult to see how Canada can live up to even this inadequate commitment.

The global climate crisis offers many opportunities in the area of clean, green jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transportation. While we acknowledge that the transition towards renewables will not happen overnight, we had hoped that our federal government would prioritize in investments that create these jobs now, rather than building long-term emission-intensive infrastructure.

2 thoughts on “Pipeline approval dashes hopes for climate leadership”

  1. Instead of railing against
    Instead of railing against the oil transportation industry why don’t you go to the deeper problem of over dependence on oil? Why not work on a long-term project of replacing private-use cars with public transit, especially in urban areas? If the need is reduced, the pressure for pipelines will also be reduced.

    And one thing I suspect: If you were located in the west instead of Ontario, you ,might feel differently about all this.

    • Hi John — Thank you for your
      Hi John — Thank you for your comment. Please know that I am keenly aware of being situated in Ontario; we are careful to look to climate science, as well as inputs from our Albertan and British Columbian colleagues to inform our analysis. You will note that we have advocated for increased investments in public transit (see “A Public Justice Vision for Canada’s Climate Action Plan,” http://www.cpj.ca/public-justice-vision-canadas-climate-action-plan) and also encourage individuals to take personal action to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels (see “7 ways to reduce your GHG footprint,” cpj.ca/7-ways-reduce-your-ghg-footprint). That said, there is certainly always more we can do! Thanks again for your interest.


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