Quantcast

Jerry Brown and Justin Trudeau: Climate Advocates, or Hypocrites?

Energy
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor Jerry Brown at the United Nations Paris agreement signing ceremony dinner. Mike Bloomberg / Flickr

By Andy Rowell

Two leading political figures from the U.S. and Canada, who have boasted about the need to fight climate change, are now under fire for being climate change hypocrites: saying they care about the climate, but allowing drilling and fossil fuel infrastructure to be built anyway.

On Wednesday, more than 750 public interest groups from California and around the world, including Oil Change International, started a campaign urging the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure, including no new exploration permits offshore.


The letter told Brown to "take immediate action to protect those most vulnerable to climate change or lose their support for the global climate action summit that he will host five months from now in San Francisco."

The campaign has sponsored billboards in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, placed adverts in local newspapers, and launched a thermal airship over San Francisco Bay to challenge Brown for falling short on plans to limit fossil fuels in the state.

The letter urged Brown, who has stated on numerous times that time is running out to solve climate change and who has stated that fighting the issue will be one of his signature acts, to "champion a vision for California that looks beyond the oil and gas industry to a future that is safe and healthy for everyone," the letter says.

It continues by urging Brown to "set a global precedent by becoming the first oil producing state to announce a phase-out of existing production in line with the Paris climate goals, with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities, and economies, starting in places that are suffering most from the impacts of fossil fuel extraction."

But Brown is not the only politician who has promoted their green credentials who is now under fire for failing to adequately act on climate.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to fly back from an overseas trip over the weekend to convene a meeting concerning the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline that will triple production of dirty tar sands going from Alberta to British Columbia.

The pipeline has been subject to sustained protests and legal action by the local community and BC government, led by John Horgan. Earlier this week, Kinder Morgan announced that it was stopping work until the end of May until political and legal opposition is sorted. Many people now see the pipeline as being on "life support."

Even the Economist argues that the pipeline is now likely to become "another flop," and noted that last week David McKay, head of RBC, Canada's largest bank, was concerned that investment was flowing out of the Canadian energy sector "in real time."

Trudeau continues to support the pipeline. Yesterday he tweeted that "I wouldn't approve major pipeline projects if I wasn't confident they could be done safely. And they can be done safely because we've made a massive investment in protecting our oceans and coastlines—in BC and across the country."

The tweet was accompanied by a glossy video, which was posted on Twitter and Facebook.

The reason for the meeting over the weekend, according to press reports, is that Trudeau wants to strong-arm BC Premier "John Horgan to reverse his stance." Horgan responded that he was going to "represent BC, our coast and economy."

Yesterday, 40 civil society groups sent a letter to Trudeau on behalf of their Quebec members, urging the federal government to "immediately cease supporting Kinder Morgan's pipeline. Do not turn this pipeline into your political legacy."

The letter continues:

"We remind you in particular of your government's commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies. The Trudeau government, in supporting a 20th-century sector of the economy, is failing to live up to its responsibility.

The national interest of Canada does not rest in the construction of The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, but in the inevitable energy transition that is so urgently needed in order to counter climate change.

The support that you continue to provide to the pipeline project casts a serious cloud on your credibility as a leader in the fight against climate change.

We repeat: Do not turn this pipeline into your political legacy."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Asian elephants frolic in Kaudulla Wewa at Kaudulla National Park in central Sri Lanka. David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

When it comes to saving some of the planet's largest animals, a group of researchers says that old methods of conservation just won't cut it anymore.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

A low-fat diet that prioritizes eating healthier foods like fruits and vegetables each day could lower the risk a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer, according to a multi-decade study published this month.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
smcgee / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Several New York City Starbucks exposed customers to a potentially deadly pesticide, two lawsuits filed Tuesday allege.

Read More Show Less
Drinks with plastic straws on sale at London's Borough Market. Susie Adams / Getty Images

The UK government has set a date for a ban on the sale of single use plastics, The Guardian reported Wednesday. From April 2020, the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems will be prohibited in England.

Read More Show Less
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Foto-Rabe / Pixabay

When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.

Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.

Read More Show Less
A crate carrying one of the 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is lifted onto the back of a lorry before being transported to a private reserve on April 30, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

Read More Show Less
A tornado Monday in Union City, Oklahoma. TicToc by Bloomberg / YouTube screenshot

Extreme weather spawned 18 tornadoes across five states Monday, USA Today reported. Tornadoes were reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona, but were not as dangerous as forecasters had initially feared, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less