Canadian Minister Promotes Tar Sands At A Climate Summit
Written by Brad Johnson
Showing remarkable gall, Canadian environmental minister Peter Kent took time from a climate change summit with the United States to promote the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. At the summit, Kent and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a coalition to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. Kent called the deal, to which Canada has pledged $3 million, a “critical step forward” in the fight against climate change. Kent also pushed Clinton to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which alone would add five billion tons of greenhouse pollution to the atmosphere over its lifetime:
Environment Minister Peter Kent on Thursday pressed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the merits of the Keystone XL pipeline and affirmed the Harper government’s belief the Obama administration’s rejection of the $7-billion project had “nothing to do with the merit of the application.”
But Kent, in Washington for a summit on climate change, pointedly declined to weigh in on current efforts by congressional Republicans to strip the U.S. State Department of its authority to approve a new application for the 2,700-kilometre [1700 mile] oilsands pipeline.
Kent’s promotion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline made a mockery of the climate pollution deal covering methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and black carbon, to which the United States has pledged $12 million and Canada $3 million. The Keystone XL pipeline is a $7000 million project.
“Action on short-lived climate pollutants will have clear benefits for particularly vulnerable regions like the Canadian Arctic,” Kent said. “The fragile Arctic environment is susceptible to the impacts of short-lived climate pollutants which may be partly responsible for the accelerated warming trend that we are recording there.”
The worst thing Canada can do to the “fragile Arctic environment” would be to mine and burn the “carbon bomb” of the tar sands.
If the short-lived pollution deal is a “critical step forward” in the fight against global warming, then investing billions in the exploitation of Canada’s tar sands is a giant leap backward.
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo from Will Wysong via flickr