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Justin Trudeau said earlier this year that blocking pipelines is a "simplistic solution" to climate change. But a couple of months prior, his government announced new pipelines will have to pass a climate test before they're approved. So by saying a focus on only pipelines is too simplistic, Trudeau implied that a climate test for only pipelines is also too simplistic. And he was accidentally right.
If addressing climate change has to go further than pipelines, we need climate tests for more than just pipelines. At least other infrastructure like LNG terminals, airports and highways. But why stop at just infrastructure? Before we analyze any policy, we should look at it through climate goggles. They'd be like drunk goggles but they'd help us make good decisions instead of terrible ones.
Like shouldn't trade agreements have to pass a climate test? TransCanada just filed a 15 billion dollar claim under NAFTA over the U.S.'s rejection of the Keystone pipeline. It's a good reminder that trade agreements have huge implications for the climate because they allow fossil fuel companies to threaten governments with lawsuits if they don’t do what they want.
The exact risk might be hard to put into numbers, but ignoring numbers doesn’t make them go away, whether they’re potential emissions or terrifying temperature charts or my next birthday. The government has repeatedly said it’s artificial to separate environmental and economic policy. So stop doing that. Put every policy to the climate test and if it fails, fail it. It's the only way they'll learn.
This video originally appeared in The Toronto Star.
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