What Trudeau’s Win Means for Canada’s Climate Policy
Trudeau's Liberal Party did not win a majority of seats in Canada's House of Commons, but it did win enough seats to form a government, The New York Times reported. According to the most recent live results from CBC News, Trudeau's Liberals control 157 seats, the opposition Conservative Party controls 121, the Bloc Québécois controls 32, the New Democratic Party (NDP) controls 24, and the Green Party controls three.
"Thank you, Canada, for putting your trust in our team and for having faith in us to move this country in the right direction," Trudeau tweeted after the election was called. "Regardless of how you cast your vote, our team will work hard for all Canadians."
Thank you, Canada, for putting your trust in our team and for having faith in us to move this country in the right direction. Regardless of how you cast your vote, our team will work hard for all Canadians.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 22, 2019
Trudeau will not choose permanent coalition partners, but will reach out to smaller parties to pass individual pieces of legislation, The Guardian explained. This will likely make the left-wing NDP an important ally on issues like health care and climate policy. Ahead of the election, Pembina Institute Director of Policy Isabelle Turcotte told Climate Home News that such a scenario could "see the potential for some pretty big moves on climate."
Immediately after the election, Greenpeace Canada moved to activate that potential by asking Canadians to spam Trudeau by phone, email and social media and demand he announce a "climate emergency response plan" within 48 hours. That plan would include zeroing out emissions before 2050, setting interim targets for 2025 and 2030, providing good jobs to all Canadians, ending fossil fuel subsidies and projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and putting indigenous rights before the interests of extractive industries.
.@JustinTrudeau, congrats on being re-elected Prime Minister. Now let’s get to work!— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) October 22, 2019
We’re in a ⚠️#ClimateEmergency⚠️and you need to #ActLikeIt! We need an ambitious climate response plan...for yesterday.
You have 48 hrs to respond: https://t.co/SaOcLGLctF #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/jFKRHEDdeY
During his first term, Trudeau had a mixed record on environmental issues, as The Guardian explained. He instituted a carbon tax, but also purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline and approved its expansion one day after Canada declared a climate emergency.
However, his pre-election platform upped his climate ambition and called for net zero emissions by 2050, with legally-binding five-year targets along the way. The Conservative Party, on the other hand, wanted to repeal the carbon tax and focus on funding technological solutions with green bonds.
Climate was a top-three issue for nearly 30 percent of Canadians this election, Global News reported. Despite this, the Green Party did not see a major uptick in votes, though it did have its best election yet.
University of British Columbia political science professor Kathryn Harrison said this was probably because the Liberal Party and the NDP also campaigned on climate.
"I think in part they stole the Greens' thunder," Harrison told Global News.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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