You’re reading Today’s Climate, and a prominent Canadian environmentalist is warning politicians that if they don’t act with more urgency to curb the climate crisis, there could be attacks against oil and gas infrastructure.
“We’re in deep, deep doo-doo,” David Suzuki, an award-winning scientist and broadcaster known for popularizing Canada’s environmental movement, said at an Extinction Rebellion protest in Vancouver on Saturday. “This is what we’ve come to. The next stage after this, there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”
Climate activists have widely called the recent global climate talks a failure for not going far enough to tackle global warming. And legislative efforts aimed at rapidly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases continue to face major roadblocks in both the United States and Canada, even as public pressure to address the issue grows.
Canada’s oil and gas sector is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. And at COP26, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to cap and then cut the industry’s emissions, reiterating a promise he’d already made to the Canadian public during the late summer election. But a recent analysis shows that the climate plans of eight Canadian oil and gas producers are “wholly out of line” with that pledge, the nonprofit news outlet The Narwhal reported.
Trudeau is also pressuring President Biden to cut the electric vehicle tax credit from his Build Back Better Act, potentially sending yet another major provision in the Democrat’s shrinking climate bill to the cutting room floor, POLITICO reported.
The inability of politicians to take meaningful climate action leaves environmental campaigners with few remaining options but violence, Suzuki told Canada’s National Post. Suzuki added that he didn’t support such measures, and that protesters were already experiencing violence from police.
Critics swiftly condemned Suzuki’s comments as reckless and dangerous. Canada has a history with such terroristic acts. Alberta resident Wiebo Ludwig, who died in 2012, was convicted for bombing an oil and gas well in 1998. “In Canada we resolve our differences peacefully and democratically, not with threats of terrorism or acts of violence,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wrote in a tweet on Monday.
But Indigenous communities who have long opposed the rapidly expanding oil and gas industry in Canada say there’s little political will to wind down fossil fuel production. Alberta’s mines have grown so massive, and their ecological impacts are so vast and so deep, that Indigenous nations say they threaten their very existence, our own Nicholas Kusnetz wrote this week after extensive reporting in Fort McMurray, Canada, and the surrounding tar sands.
Activists say the stakes are clear, pointing to the natural disasters that the country saw this year, which scientists say were almost certainly exacerbated by climate change.
Last week, intense rains and heavy winds brutalized British Columbia, killing three people, forcing 17,000 from their homes, emptying entire towns and inundating farms, the New York Times reported. And this summer, record-breaking heat in the region killed hundreds more.
Thanks for reading Today’s Climate, and I’ll see you next week after the holiday.
That’s roughly how many coal-fired power plants would need to emit greenhouse gases for a year to match the 2018 emissions from Canada’s oil and gas industry simply extracting crude from the ground.