Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet | Bill McKibben

Donald Trump is a creep and unpleasant to look at, but at least hes not a stunning hypocrite when it comes to climate change

Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that its hard to look away especially now that hes discovered bombs. But precisely because everyones staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Dont believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau.

Look all you want, in fact he sure is cute, the planets only sovereign leader who appears to have recently quit a boy band. And hes mastered so beautifully the politics of inclusion: compassionate to immigrants, insistent on including women at every level of government. Give him great credit where its deserved: in lots of ways hes the anti-Trump, and its no wonder Canadians swooned when he took over.

But when it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, hes a brother to the old orange guy in Washington.

Not rhetorically: Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. Hes got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. Indeed, they specialize in getting others to say them too it was Canadian diplomats, and the countrys environment minister, Catherine McKenna, who pushed at the Paris climate talks for a tougher-than-expected goal: holding the planets rise in temperature to 1.5C (2.7F).

But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and thats exactly what Trudeau is doing. Hes hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Albertas tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet.

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Justin Trudeau: no country would leave 173bn barrels of oil in the ground archive video

Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.

Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So lets do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.

That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planets population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earths remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least hes not a stunning hypocrite.

This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canadas self-image/energy policy. McKenna, confronted by the veteran Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, said tartly: We have an incredible climate change plan that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, also investing in clean innovation. But we also know we need to get our natural resources to market and were doing both. Right.

But doing the second negates the first in fact, it completely overwhelms it. If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldnt matter all that much if every Tim Hortons stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead.

Canadas got company in this scam. Australias Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to be more sensitive than his predecessor, a Trump-like blowhard. When he signed on his nation to the Paris climate accords, he said: It is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/17/stop-swooning-justin-trudeau-man-disaster-planet

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