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Trudeau Driving Canada Into Bankruptcy with UN Climate Promises

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Canada is once again facing pressure from the United Nations to adopt radical and unrealistic emissions targets that would devastate our economy. It seems that complying with the UN’s absurd demands would spell disaster for Canadian jobs and prosperity.

As Canadians struggle to cope with skyrocketing inflation and an affordability crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems oblivious, more interested in pursuing climate policies that increase costs for average citizens.

While families have to choose between heating and eating, Trudeau is doubling down on his economy-crippling carbon tax. As young Canadians are locked out of the housing market, Trudeau funnels billions towards climate programs that don’t even lower emissions.

The livelihoods of millions of Canadians hang in the balance. It’s time for Trudeau to focus on the home front and abandon his costly crusade to save the planet. 

But can we count on him to actually make that happen?

Several claims have been flying around that trying to achieve the United Nations’ unrealistic emission reduction targets would be an economic disaster for Canada. The UN is calling for cuts that would require shutting down major industries and jeopardize hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs. 

At the same time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems oblivious to the dire warnings about how the UN climate goals would decimate our economy. And with the Un’s climate summit, COP28, currently in full force in Dubai, all eyes are on Trudeau to act.

The United Nations has made a tradition of hosting lavish climate conferences filled with lofty rhetoric but little meaningful action. Year after year, UN members gather at fancy destinations to proclaim their commitment to combating climate change, even as global emissions continue to rise. This time, the UN is convening in the extravagant petrostate of Dubai, a sadly ironic choice that highlights the hypocrisy of these events.

For the next few days, expect nonstop media hype as countries put on a show of negotiating over extremely ambitious goals like phasing out all fossil fuels. Hear the same tired buzz-phrases repeated is expected, as well as lots of virtue signaling and grandstanding from politicians eager to flaunt their green credentials.

But in the end, actual change isn’t really expected. If past conferences are any indication, countries will ultimately avoid making hard commitments. At most, they’ll sign on to some diluted, watered-down pledge that sounds ambitious but allows them to continue with business as usual.

The Trudeau government has staked out a position of phasing out so-called “unabated” fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal used to produce energy without any measures to capture the resulting emissions. This nuanced stance comes after Trudeau sparked outrage by suggesting Canada would “phase out” the oil sands entirely.

Facing backlash, especially in Alberta, Trudeau backtracked and claimed he “misspoke.” His new position seems carefully calibrated to appease environmentalists while limiting damage to the energy industry.

The Trudeau government now claims that Canada’s policy is to only phase out fossil fuel usage that does not reduce emissions, implying some fossil fuels could still be used under their net zero by 2050 plan if emission reduction technology like carbon capture is deployed.

Whatever rhetoric and commitments emerge from the latest UN climate conference, skepticism is warranted. Past UN climate deals have proven hollow and ineffective. A prime example is the 2015 Paris Agreement. UN members grandly pledged to limit global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 Celsius, through national emission cuts. But fast forward to today, and those promises have proven to be an illusion.

The UN now admits that current national climate plans will only lower global emissions 2 percent below 2019 levels by 2030. To meet the 1.5 degrees celsius target, emissions must fall 43 percent. Once again, lofty UN targets have given way to modest national actions.

For Canada specifically, we emitted 724 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses in 2019. To align with the 1.5 degrees celsius target, we would need to slash emissions 43 percent by 2030, down to around 413 million tonnes. But based on current policies, Canada is unlikely to even hit our own weaker target of 439 million tonnes.

It seems that ambitious UN climate deals make headlines but rarely translate into real-world emission cuts. So we should view the latest UN conference promises with skepticism. Bold rhetoric will inevitably give way to policy paralysis.

At the same time, Trudeau and his government make already struggling Canadians pay the price for his promises, with the carbon tax holding many in a chokehold.

The UN target of a 43 percent emissions cut by 2030 is much more aggressive than Canada’s current 2030 target. It would require Canada to slash annual emissions to 413 million tonnes, compared to our current target of 439 million tonnes.

Based on 2021 data, Canada’s current emissions are 670 million tonnes annually. So meeting the UN target would require cutting 257 million tonnes per year by 2030. This is equivalent to eliminating all emissions from Canada’s oil, gas and agriculture sectors combined within 7 years. Attempting such steep cuts in such a short time frame could be economically devastating. 

Facing re-election pressure, the Trudeau government has begun watering down its climate policies, despite tough talk at UN conferences. For example, in October, Trudeau delayed imposing the federal carbon tax on home heating oil in Atlantic Canada, a Liberal stronghold, for 3 years. This carbon tax exemption was clearly aimed at easing voter anger in the region.

Additionally, in Dubai last week, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced the government was raising the 2030 emissions cap for the oil and gas industry, allowing for higher emissions than previously targeted. 

This provoked outrage from western premiers, such as Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who accused Trudeau of damaging their provincial economies and overstepping federal jurisdiction.

But Trudeau seems willing to take this heat in hopes of softening opposition among oil and gas workers he needs to court for re-election. It reveals a government quietly backpedaling on emissions commitments when political expediency calls for it. 

Trudeau may proclaim lofty climate rhetoric at UN conferences, but his actions show a willingness to weaken climate policies when votes are at stake. His government seems more concerned with re-election than meaningfully cutting Canada’s emissions.

The Trudeau government does not seem to grasp that Canadians are eager to contribute to emissions reductions if given realistic, affordable ways to do so. But the government consistently imposes policies that place disproportionate economic burdens on average Canadians, especially amidst current cost-of-living crises.

Canadians are willing to make climate-friendly choices if viable options exist, like purchasing electric vehicles or installing solar panels. However, most cannot afford the steep upfront costs right now, given high inflation and recession fears. Similarly, the federal carbon tax makes heating and driving more expensive for Canadians facing unaffordable housing and gas prices.

Imposing heavy costs on citizens already struggling with inflation and affordability crisis breeds resentment rather than cooperation. With the right incentives and investments, Canadians will reduce emissions. But the government fails to provide these, instead pursuing top-down taxes and regulations that unfairly punish citizens. Until affordable, equitable climate policies are advanced, public buy-in will remain elusive.

The path to progress begins with listening to Canadians and developing cooperative solutions, not imposing unrealistic burdens. With understanding and inclusion, not edicts, the government can unlock the climate contributions citizens are eager to make.

Canadians are increasingly rejecting federal climate policies that hike costs without providing clear environmental benefits. This backlash is understandable given that Canada accounts for just 1.6 percent of global emissions. As the parliamentary budget officer has noted, our small share means domestic cuts will not meaningfully affect climate change.

At the same time, the federal carbon tax inflicts real economic damage on Canadian households forced to pay it. Analyses show most end up financially worse off even after receiving the government’s carbon tax rebates. Higher taxes and costs with no offsetting climate impact rightfully anger citizens.

In essence, Canadians see themselves being punished economically for symbolic, futile gestures. With the carbon tax and other policies, the government claims moral righteousness but cannot demonstrate tangible climate results. Justifying higher costs requires proving emissions will actually decline in a consequential way globally.

But with our small share of global emissions, the government cannot show this no matter how much taxes increase. Canadians correctly recognize they are being asked to pay more for nothing in return. Until policies match costs with clear climate benefits, public opposition will keep growing.

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