November was a tough month for climate justice activists. Data from NASA projects that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, yet Donald Trump claims that global warming is a “Chinese hoax,” and appears prepared to end the limited U.S. progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Canada, Justin Trudeau was elected on a pledge that only communities can give permission for major resource extraction projects, and a promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Now he has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion (and the Enbridge Line 3 project) despite opposition from communities and First Nations.
It’s true that PM Trudeau also rejected the dangerous Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which would have meant huge tanker shipments of diluted tar sands bitumen along the entire west coast. But much of the debate in the corporate media is framed around the false choice: “which pipelines should be approved?” This misses the fundamental problem.
The real issue is how to sharply cut world-wide greenhouse gas emissions, as soon as possible. Instead, the pipelines just approved will add to global warming, pose a direct threat to the health and safety of communities, and violate the rights of First Nations. We urge full support for the movements against these projects, including the historic struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline by indigenous peoples and their allies at Standing Rock.
Canada’s current policy is to dig the tar sands out of the earth for export as raw materials to benefit the Big Oil profiteers. Instead, we need an energy policy based on processing fossil fuels domestically, as part of an economy based on democratic public ownership, planned to create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the lives of working people.