A tale of two cities

With Donald Trump’s election the world has changed, but you would have a hard time believing that if you just followed the proclamations of ministers in Ottawa.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, fresh from the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, says that the country will move ahead with its plans to reduce CO2 emissions by taxing output and phasing out coal based production of electricity by 2030.

McKenna’s announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise. She and her confreres in Marrakesh made it clear that they planned to push ahead with with their plans to save the world from rising CO2 emissions despite Trump’s vow to bow out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

It’s clear the enormity of what Trump has planned for the energy sector in the United States really hasn’t sunk in yet. Planned is nothing less than a gutting of Barrack Obama’s entire approach to energy and the environment.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example. Obama used the agency to push through policies that Congress would not support. The EPA became the thin edge of the wedge that cracked open energy production.

Trump, however, is proposing wholesale changes to the EPA. Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic, is leading the EPA transition team. He will remove the so-called executive ordered endangerment clause that allowed the agency to treat CO2 as a pollutant. Once gone, the EPA would be prevented from bringing in regulations that controlled emissions.

On top of that, Trump is considering Forrest Lucas to head up Interior. Lucas owns Lucas Oil and is in favor of opening up vast tracks of land controlled by the Interior department for exploration and development.

Couple that with plans to streamline pipeline approval, eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, stop payments to the United Nations climate action plan, it’s hard to see how the Paris Agreement will survive.

And the United States was the lynch-pin of the agreement and without its support and dollars, anything that the other signatories to the treaty do will be irrelevant.

What is truly troubling is the Canadian government’s business-as-usual approach in the face of this gutting of the Obama climate initiative. The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to go ahead with its carbon tax, as does the Alberta government of Premier Rachel Notley.

The upshot of all this is that Canada will be increasing the price of our goods and services, while our largest trading partner will be reducing theirs by cutting regulations and encouraging resource development.

How any of this is supposed to help the average Canadian let alone have any effect on temperatures is anyone’s guess.

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