President Obama showed leadership on climate change: Environmental Defence

President Barack Obama (Photo: Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama (Photo: Pete Souza)

In his much-anticipated speech on climate change and the environment this week, US President Barack didn’t exactly kill TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as environmentalists had hoped. He simply stated that Keystone should only be approved if it doesn’t lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Still, Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s leading environmental action organizations, believes Obama showed leadership on climate change. The kind that may actually result in the US rejection of Keystone XL. That’s because pipeline is “a gateway to tar sands expansion and the scientific community agrees that, if built, tar sands pollution will soar.” According to Hannah McKinnon, Environmental Defence’s national program manager.

The full statement: 

Today President Obama stood up and showed leadership on climate change. The president acknowledged that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. Now is the time for Canadians to reflect on the changes we can make here.

We have the tools to address climate change and the resources to build a clean energy economy. Yet in Canada, provincial leadership and a growing public demand for action to reduce our pollution are overshadowed by plans to recklessly increase oil production.

We applaud the president for also firmly stating that the Keystone XL pipeline should not be built if it means more pollution and more damage to our shared climate. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a gateway to tar sands expansion and the scientific community agrees that, if built, tar sands pollution will soar.

President Obama has made it clear that Americans should not have to choose between good jobs and a safe climate. In the United States, safe, clean renewable energy and energy efficiency will have much bigger roles to play in securing a safe future for our children and grandchildren.

Despite claims that Canada is acting in lock step with the United States on climate policy, today’s announcement highlights that Canada is falling further behind when it comes to clean energy investment, energy efficiency and climate action.

While the president clamps down on the biggest source of emissions in the United States – coal fired power plants – pollution from the Canadian tar sands continues to soar. Canada can no longer hide behind U.S. inaction. The Canadian government must start by putting in place regulations that would see emissions from the tar sands go down, rather than up. Now is the time for Canadians to come together to shape a safe future beyond oil and harness the economic and environmental potential of clean, renewable energy.

The Canadian Progressive recommends:

The following two tabs change content below.

Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.