Look all you want, in fact – he sure is cute, the planet’s only sovereign leader who appears to have recently quit a boy band. And he’s mastered so beautifully the politics of inclusion: compassionate to immigrants, insistent on including women at every level of government. Give him great credit where it’s deserved: in lots of ways he’s the anti-Trump, and it’s no wonder Canadians swooned when he took over. But when it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, he’s a brother to the old orange guy in DC.
It was Canadian diplomats, and the country’s environment minister Catharine McKenna, who pushed at the Paris climate talks for a tougher-than-expected goal: holding the planet’s rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn. . . . he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.". . . Environment minister McKenna, confronted by Canada’s veteran 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 we’re doing both.” Right. But doing the second negates the first – in fact, it completely overwhelms it.Things are worse to the south but at least we all know it.
Trump, of course, is working just as eagerly to please the fossil fuel industry – he’s instructed the Bureau of Land Management to make permitting even easier for new oil and gas projects, for instance. And frackers won’t even have to keep track of how much methane they’re spewing under his new guidelines. And why should they? If you believe, as Trump apparently does, that global warming is a delusion, a hoax, a mirage, you might as well get out of the way. Trump’s insulting the planet, in other words. But at least he’s not pretending otherwise.It's easy to find fault with out neighbours, but, even with Harper gone, we still have a mess on our hands.