VANCOUVER, June 18, 2019 — The day after it declared a climate emergency, the federal government’s conditional approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion challenges Canada’s ability to tackle the climate crisis. Building new fossil fuel infrastructure jeopardizes Canada’s ability to meet international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and delays the needed transition to clean energy sources.
“Approving fossil fuel infrastructure expansion when Canada has declared a climate emergency goes against the policy strides that have been made to reduce emissions,” said David Suzuki Foundation Western Canada director-general Jay Ritchlin. “Despite efforts to improve some environmental impacts of the project, we remain concerned that threatened southern resident killer whales will be pushed closer to extinction as they face their own survival tipping point.”
Expanding the pipeline and tripling the bitumen carried will increase carbon pollution from the oilsands, already Canada’s fastest-growing source of emissions. It will also hinder progress in provinces that have invested billions to support pricing carbon pollution and shifting to clean energy.
The goal of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change is to achieve Canada’s international climate commitments and make Canada a leader in the global clean growth economy, which will be much harder to do with the expanded pipeline. “Human-caused climate change is threatening our homes and communities. Today’s decision locks Canada into carbon-intensive infrastructure, challenging our country’s ability to move toward a healthier environment and to lead in the growing clean-energy sector,” said Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce.
The federal government indicated that profits from the project will be directed toward clean energy initiatives. “Funding for clean energy projects is essential, but there are better ways than by expanding fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Brucem
“Canada is seeing the benefits of tackling climate change on the policy front from pricing pollution, regulations to phase out coal electricity by 2030, support for electric vehicles and improvement of low-carbon fuel standards,” Bruce said. “We’ll continue to support these positive developments that are making a real difference.”
“More tanker traffic, increased noise and the possibility of a marine oil spill with devastating consequences for the West Coast remain concerning,” Ritchlin said. “One spill could spell the end of endangered orca and salmon, as well as harming bird populations.”
“We support Indigenous communities that have challenged this expansion based on their rights and title,” Ritchlin said. “Approving expansion fails to secure consent from Indigenous groups along the pipeline and tanker routes, especially those on the coast whose communities are vulnerable to the worst effects of catastrophic spills.”
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Jay Ritchlin, Director General, Western Canada
Ian Bruce, Director, Science and Policy