Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Why we need to stop oil sands expansion

On February 25th I and three climate scientists, along with activist-writers Tzeporah Berman and Bill McKibben, held a press conference to present our recent report on the huge contradiction between the Harper government's promise to reduce carbon pollution 17% by 2020 and its promotion of expanded tar sands production through new projects and new pipelines like Keystone and Northern Gateway. The report can be found at canadianclimatepolicy.org.

An article in the February 25th Globe and Mail refers to this report as well. I am misquoted in the original online version as being negative about the prospects for cap-and-trade. I actually said that I am agnostic about carbon tax versus cap-and-trade versus regulations. If the Harper government wants to do regulations, that's fine by me. California is using regulations to achieve about 90% of emission reductions and it is on course to meet its aggressive reduction target.

But the Harper government has not implemented the regulations it promised to meet its target and as the Environment Commissioner in our Office of the Auditor General noted last year, it is now too late to hit the 2020 target. This is why we need to not allow any investments that expand the production and transportation of fossil fuels to produce more carbon pollution. This does not mean shutting down the oil sands. It means stopping its expansion. It does not mean shutting down existing pipelines. It means stopping the construction of new capacity. Existing facilities will still operate for decades. But we must stop the insanity of new major carbon polluting infrastructure.


  1. This is a test. ev

  2. Mark—what do you think this: (from recent email from the Sierra Club of Canada) "As you may have heard, the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) is in the midst of a leadership campaign and an interesting development has taken place. Candidate Joyce Murray has called for one-time co-operation among Liberals, New Democrats and Greens in the next federal election, and she has David Suzuki’s support (see “Suzuki gives boost to Liberal leadership dark horse”, Globe and Mail, 21/02/2013).


    Thanks for your thoughts,