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Environmentalist David Suzuki recently lamented on the typical political perspective on fossil fuels.

“Rather than focusing on short-term economic and corporate priorities,” Suzuki says, “politicians should first consider the long-term health and well-being of the people they’re elected to represent. When it comes to climate change and fossil fuels, many aren’t living up to that.”

Canada’s national carbon pricing initiatives alone will not meet the country’s Paris Agreement commitment, and the Paris Agreement alone will not solve global warming.

“It’s difficult to take a government seriously,” says Suzuki, “when it approves or supports expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and development while the world continues to break warming records with increasingly dire consequences.”

Even with no new development, current oil and gas fields will take the planet beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. And yet here’s what’s in the lineup:

• A liquid natural gas project within British Columbia’s critical salmon-rearing territory (and without First Nations’ approval)
• Three more bitumen pipelines to support oil sands expansion, at least one of which is likely to be approved by the Canadian government
• Continued subsidies (currently $3.3 billion/year in tax breaks and handouts) to the fossil fuel industry

“Saskatchewan has Canada’s best wind and solar resources, but the government focuses on expensive and unreliable schemes like carbon capture and storage,” says Suzuki. "It’s all a form of denial. Conserving energy, shifting to cleaner sources, reducing automobile use by improving transit and bike and pedestrian infrastructure, protecting and restoring carbon sinks such as forests and wetlands, and getting a handle on agricultural emissions are all possible, and would create numerous jobs and economic opportunities.

“As Oil Change International says, ‘If you’re in a hole, stop digging.’”

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