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Canada’s newest prime minister, Justin Trudeau, made it a point to announce to the world’s media in Paris that under his rein Canada would be taking climate change seriously after years under a previous government that did not.

Continued discussions about pipelines, however, has left environmentalist and activist David Suzuki confused. In a recent op-ed, Suzuki said, “I don’t get the current brouhaha over Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines. Why are politicians contemplating spending billions on pipelines when the Paris commitment means 75 to 80 percent of known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground?”

The collapse of oil prices has left Canada’s economy particularly affected due to its over-dependence on the fossil fuel industry, yet there is still a push to get land locked Alberta’s bitumen to ports. Access to offshore shipping means access to more customers and an increase in production, which flies in the face of Trudeau’s promises. Suzuki sees the answer in a clean-energy economy which he says would create more jobs, unity and prosperity.

“The Paris target means we have to rethink everything,” says Suzuki. “The urgency of the need for change demands that we rethink our entire energy potential and the way we live. It makes no sense to continue acting as if we’ve got all the time in the world to get off the path that created the crisis in the first place. That’s the challenge, and for our politicians, it’s a huge task as well as a great opportunity.”

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