Pricing carbon a must for Canada’s climate strategy, agree leaders

Intro

Canada could be on track to put a price on carbon, following a week of meetings between Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leaders from across the country aimed at laying the groundwork for a national climate strategy. Talks kicked off, Wednesday, when Indigenous leaders called on Trudeau to ensure that they remain involved in any strategies that move climate policy forward. A meeting with First Ministers saw tensions rise, Thursday, as Quebec announced it would seek an injunction against TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline for environmental concerns, drawing criticism from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who has long backed the project. With a week of tough talks wrapping up and leaders – despite pushback – agreeing to put a price on carbon, the pressure will be on Trudeau to keep the conversation going as he heads to the US next week for his first official visit.

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Key Points

  • First Nations are critical to the climate conversation. In Canada, many First Nations communities live along pipeline routes that risk poisoning their land and waterways. From tar sands extraction to pipeline construction, Canada’s oil industry threatens vulnerable communities’ health and safety, which is why those at the frontlines of the impacts are integral to any process that affects climate change policy.
  • Canada can only fulfill its climate commitments if it’s ready to let go of fossil fuels. Trudeau claims that pipelines will pay for Canada’s clean energy transition, but according to experts, “the oil to tidewater argument is eroding.” With the country’s greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands rising faster than the country’s ability to curb them, if Canada wants to meet its Paris pledge while prospering economically, it needs to get on board with the inevitable clean energy transition.
  • Pricing carbon is an essential first step – but more needs to be done. Putting a price on carbon, as agreed upon by First Ministers, will be key to slashing carbon emissions in a significant manner. And with Canada’s Prime Minister set to meet with US President Barack Obama next week, this could serve as a critical opportunity to build bridges and elevate discussions that accelerate the ongoing transition towards a clean energy economy.

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