How Canada Is A Climate Villain

And how people are fighting back

The average Canadian emits 15 tonnes of CO2, and Canadian banks are the #2 financiers of climate change

Canadians like to portray themselves as reasonable people, but they have oil on their hands. Canadians are only just behind the US in per capita CO2 emissions — 15 tonnes per person. Of the 33 banks financing climate change, five are Canadian. Not bad for a small country. Very bad for humanity.

In fact, by some measures, Canada is a net beneficiary of climate change. Being a cold-ass place, climate change will make Canada warmer, and create more arable land. Melting ice caps make its northern seas more navigable. In fact, some Canada’s like former Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver point this out as a plus.

Paradoxically, Canada is imposing burdensome costs and regulations to try to prevent what for us would be beneficial warming.
Unfortunately, at only 1.6 percent of global GHG emissions, Canada cannot achieve a measurable impact on global temperatures, even if it met the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target, which would devastate our economy. (Financial Post)

The argument is that we didn’t start the fire, might as well light a joint on it.

This sounds cynical and insane, but it does describe the current Liberal government’s policies. Despite all their talk about climate change being important, they don’t act that way. Where Oliver is wrong is limiting Canada’s responsibility to just 1.6% of GHG emissions. It’s much, much more than that. Canada is the world’s #2 financier of climate change. Canada isn’t just set to benefit from climate change. They’re betting on it.

The 33 banks that fund climate change

Canadian banks are responsible for nearly 18% of the financing of fossil fuels from 2016–2018. Not only will their climate get warmer, they’ll also make money while we burn. And the Canadian government backs this. They like to appear the sane alternative to Americans, but on climate, their policies are the same.

The Climate Action Network ranks Canada’s climate plan as having the same impact on global warming as the policies of the United States, where President Donald Trump has rejected the Paris agreement.
The report card says Canada’s current policies are consistent with global warming exceeding 4 C compared to pre-industrial levels, more than twice the stated goal of the Paris agreement of staying as close to 1.5 C as possible. (Globe and Mail)

The fact is that everyone — from polluting countries to companies to banks — has figured out that climate denial is bad and that their kids will hate them. So they just lie. They talk about how it’s important, but don’t do anything.

What they’re actually practicing is climate delay, pushing the ball across the line till the next board meeting, or election, or their own death. It doesn’t matter, they’ll get paid and young people will get the bill.

This was just a photo op. Canada’s policies remain terrible

Canada is perhaps the worst example of this. Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to appear woke AF, while being comatose on climate. He speaks about climate change, but approves every pipeline that passes his desk. The Canadian government is also attacking clean energy policies in other countries and not fulfilling its commitments to help developing countries. Canadians like to think they’re the good guys, but on climate they are definitely not. They’re the bad guys.

Luckily, some people are standing up. The people that have been defending the environment for years, getting murdered and genocided for their trouble, across time and across the globe. Indigenous people have begun protesting in Canada, and some of those protests have spread.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Coastal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs began leading protests against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline which will run through their lands in British Columbia. This isn’t just relevant to them. This is an expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the global budget is ZERO. None of these projects should be happening at all.

The protests expanded dramatically when the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, Ontario joined in and blockaded the national railway line. This is a small protest, but it’s caused a huge disruption.

The demonstration site along the railway in Tyendinaga. Tara Walton for The New York Times
Tens of thousands of travelers have had to scramble after rail service was halted between Toronto and the cities of Montreal and Ottawa. Hundreds of freight trains have been stalled, and ports in eastern Canada have been isolated from the rest of Canada and the United States. Factories have braced for closing because of delivery interruptions. (New York Times)

Given that we’re in a climate emergency, which Canada has acknowledged, this honestly seems like an appropriate response. If the government won’t listen then there needs to be more than a school strike leading to a photo-op for oily PM. There needs to be a general strike. And a few Mohawks with a snowplow seems like a pretty efficient way to do it.

I don’t know how the protest will go. Thousands have protested every pipeline expansion and yet Canada continues building them. They keep financing climate change. They continue pushing the world towards catastrophe with a smile.

But at the least, we can call out Canada for what it is. Canada is not an ally in the fight against climate change. Canada is a climate villain. Godspeed to the indigenous people fighting them. I hope more decent Canadians join in.