Canada’s environment minister, Peter Kent, arrived in Doha yesterday under the long shadow of the tar sands.
Since Durban, his government has been working hard to dismantle Canada’s environmental protection laws to speed up resource extraction, an initiative that government has been promoting under the Orwellian slogan of “responsible resource development.”
ECO has warned over and over again about the creeping influence of Canada’s massive deposit of carbon intensive “unconventional oil”. Larger in geographic extent than the entire nation of Qatar, and generating more emissions than all of New Zealand, the tar sands have been called the planet’s largest “carbon bomb”.
Projections from Minister Kent’s own department show that the growth in tar sands emissions by 2020 (73 Mt) will virtually cancel out all other emission reductions in Canada’s economy (75 Mt). And yet Ottawa has done nothing to curb the sector’s exploding GHG pollution.
Quite the opposite -- government documents suggest that Canada has taken international climate policies to some of the largest tar sands corporations in Canada for vetting.
Great news for Canada’s Fossil trophy case: the CEOs love what they called Canada’s “elegant” approach. So now, a new report by the Canadian Youth Delegation, Commitment Issues, digs into the tar sands’ expansion blueprint, documenting the sector’s plans to blow past the production levels outlined in the IEA’s 450 scenario. Looking at how Canadian government is attached to its dirty oil, it's no surprise that current subsidies to the fossil fuel industry surpass those for climate finance by a ratio of 7 to 1.
Right now, Canada’s “drill baby drill” approach for tar sands is smearing the country’s reputation, keeping its climate policy hostage in the process. He supposedly wants to show the world that climate change does matter to his government. To do so, Environment Minister Peter Kent needs to start by unveiling some real “tough on tar” policies this week in Doha.