A huge climate story is brewing in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just dismissed his conservative Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, and replaced him with an ally, Chrystia Freeland, who shares his vision of a Green recovery for Canada’s COVID-19 ravaged economy. A majority of Canadians supports the green recovery plan, but powerful oil interests and several Provincial Governors oppose it. As leader of a minority government, Trudeau faced a tough choice. Sacking Morneau means he will push ahead with plans to base Canada’s economic recovery on clean energy sources. His success is far from assured, given the opposition arrayed against it, especially in Alberta and British Columbia, whose economies are highly dependent on tar-sand and oil pipelines. That Trudeau has chosen to weigh the long term social and environmental benefits of ending the country’s dependence on fossil fuels as more important for Canada’s future than the short term economic benefits of continued exploitation of its tar sands is significant.
Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Presswww.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/world/canada/single-use-plastic-ban.html
It charts a course toward a stronger, wealthier, healthier, and more influential nation. It will send an influential and unmistakable signal to its neighbor to the South, providing an example of the possible and a goad to follow Canada’s example. If elected, Joe Biden will have an easier path implementing his own ambitious energy and climate plans. Canada will also exert greater influence on the international stage at the next U.N. climate meeting, COP 26, now scheduled for November 1 – 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. Member States, all signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement, are expected to commit to greater efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating the climate. Being able to lead by example will give Canada a potent argument to persuade recalcitrant countries that, they too, can and should adopt politically difficult but socially responsible climate policies.