New climate election report delivers tough message to candidates: ‘None of your plans do enough to stop expansion of oil and gas industry’

Stand.earth report assesses platforms for Canada’s major political parties, reveals none meet level of ambition called for by UN IPCC report to avert worst impacts of climate change

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UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORY (VANCOUVER, BC) — International environmental organization Stand.earth’s new report “A climate election guide for a world on fire” released Wednesday, October 9, assesses the climate plans for Canada’s major political parties. The report delivers a tough message to candidates that none of the parties’ platforms do enough to stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry.

Without adequate supply-side policies to stop new expansion projects, Canada will not be able to meet the level of ambition called for by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change landmark report Global Warming of 1.5ºC, which lays out the steps we must take to avert the worst impacts of climate change by keeping the world to 1.5°C of warming.

Read the report: https://www.stand.earth/publication/climate-election-guide

“After analyzing the climate plans for Canada’s major political parties, one thing is patently clear: elected officials, especially those who hope to lead the country, lack the necessary sense of urgency about climate change,” said Sven Biggs, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Stand.earth. “Our politicians lack the courage to be honest with Canadians about the nature of the problem and the hard choices that have to be made to solve it. They are part of a new form of climate denialism, where they say say they understand and accept the scientific warnings about climate change, but they are in denial about what this means for public policy, and the measures necessary to reverse the effects of climate change before it’s too late.”

The report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the climate plans for the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party, revealing:

  • The Conservative Party’s plan is merely a throwback to an era in which climate-insincere politicians try to trick climate-concerned citizens into believing they are taking action on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Green Party’s plan is a house-on-fire climate emergency action plan that honors Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement and keeps global warming to near 2°C, but is a little short on details and they do not explicitly communicate that much of Canada’s fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground.
  • The New Democratic Party’s plan includes an aggressive emissions-reduction target that makes it clear they take the issue of climate change seriously, but it doesn’t provide enough details about carbon pricing and doesn’t include any supply-side policies to stop oil and gas expansion.
  • The Liberal Party’s climate track record is an improvement over the government that came before them, but it simply won’t get the job done. The introduction of a “net zero” target by 2050 is ambitious, but the combination of their track record and a complete lack of details on how they will meet this new target does little to inspire confidence.

The report also outlines what candidates can do to become true climate leaders by implementing policies that stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry:

    • No new fossil fuel projects: Stop approving, investing in, and building new fossil fuel projects — including no new or expanded pipelines, LNG terminals, coal mines, or tar sands mines.
    • Create an exit plan: Create an exit plan that breaks our economic reliance on the oil and gas sector, while supporting workers and communities impacted by the shift to a sustainable economy.
    • No tax breaks and subsidies: Stop giving tax breaks and subsidies to fossil fuel companies and invest that $3.3 billion of taxpayer money in renewable energy sources and other clean technologies.
    • Keep it in the ground: Acknowledge the world cannot afford to burn all of our fossil fuel reserves, particularly the oil from the tar sands, and acknowledge what’s left must remain in the ground.

“Every day we make it harder in Canada to fight climate change because we are expanding oil and gas production. If your house is on fire, you don’t add more fuel,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth. “At this moment in history, we need leaders who will put in place an exit plan to stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry, implement a just transition by scaling up cleaner and safer jobs, and diversify our economy.”

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Tzeporah Berman reveals what she’s planning to do with US$2-million in Climate Breakthrough Project funding

“Whether I’m talking to people in Norway or Argentina or Ecuador, they’re struggling with the same issue.”— Tzeporah Berman

Tzeporah Berman of Stand.earth is working with groups in Sweden and the United States on the feasibility of a fossil-fuel nonproliferation treaty.
Tzeporah Berman of Stand.earth is working with groups in Sweden and the United States on the feasibility of a fossil-fuel nonproliferation treaty.

In the same year that Parliament declared a climate emergency, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecast an increase of 1.27 million barrels per day of crude oil being extracted in Canada by 2035. And the Liberal government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple shipments of diluted bitumen to the Pacific coast.

Berman attibuted part of the problem to international climate agreements.

According to her, governments have zeroed in on “negotiating the space in the atmosphere—who gets to pollute and how much”.

“So, they’re all focused on how much we burn,” she said. “And what I didn’t realize until I started deeply looking into the supply side of things was that the terms fossil fuel or oil and gas or coal don’t even appear in the thousands of pages of the Paris Agreement.”

But Berman pointed out that there’s no requirement on any of them to curb the amount of oil, gas, and coal extracted from the ground.

“We have no plan to cap or phase down the production of fossil fuels in the country—no plan,” she declared.

…Berman revealed that Stand.earth, the Stockholm Environment Institute, and the Washington, D.C.-based Centre for International Environmental Law have already convened a strong international working group.

It’s exploring the idea of a fossil-fuel nonproliferation treaty.

Berman has also given a great deal of thought about how municipal and county governments could do more to address the climate crisis.

She pointed out that local authorities played a key role in addressing the nuclear crisis and they’ve led the way in pushing the 100 percent renewable energy agenda.

Berman discussed the possibility of them passing land ordinances against the expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure.

…the world is on track to see temperatures rise by nearly 4 C this century.

That could seriously disrupt food production and lead to famines.

This temperature rise would also cause huge numbers of deaths in heat waves, lead to longer forest-fire seasons, and intensify hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons.

“I have made a decision that my work will focus for the next 10 years on trying to reduce the production of fossil fuels,” Berman said. “Quite honestly, at that point if we are still on for a four-degree and unsafe climate trajectory, then I plan to refocus my work on community resiliency and adaptation.” MORE

 

 

The campaign to silence Tzeporah Berman


Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman speaks at an event in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2017. File photo by Alex Tétreault

She looked out at the crowd “with a tremendous sense of hope” and told them to prepare for arrest if they crossed the police line at the site of the proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta.

“It was a very powerful day for me,” she told National Observer. “It was the first protest on Burnaby Mountain.”

Five years later, a photo of Berman on that hopeful day on the outskirts of Vancouver is being used to foment hatred against her.

A poster showing the photo of Berman with a red circle around it, and a diagonal line through it, is labelled “TZEPORAH BERMAN ENEMY OF THE OILSANDS.”

A man representing a group called Oil Sands Strong held the poster and Berman’s CV up for the cameras and denounced her as he introduced Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a June 7 news conference to announce a $30-million government “war room” against oil and gas industry critics.

Tzeporah Berman has received threats of violence and sexual assault over her opposition to the oilsands and pipelines. She worries the organized demonization of her and other activists is putting a chill on open dialogue in Alberta on climate change.

The next day, hate messages arrived on Berman’s Twitter account, phone and email. She received death threats, anti-Semitic messages and threats of sexual violence.

‘Un-Albertan activities committee’

Berman, international program director at Stand.earth, later watched that and another news conference “in horror.” At the other one, Kenney announced an inquiry into foreign funding of groups which criticize Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Berman is among those who call it Kenney’s “Un-Albertan activities committee,” a play on the House Un-American Activities Committee and the anti-Communist witch hunts of U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1940s and ’50s.

Based in Vancouver with her husband and children, Berman is one of Canada’s most accomplished environmentalists. She was pivotal in landmark agreements to protect B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s boreal forest and in the previous Alberta government’s climate change and energy policy development.

Today, Berman is concerned that the organized personal demonization of her and other activists is putting a chill on open dialogue in Alberta about climate change and fossil fuels.

Environmentalists are clearly targeted. Energy companies are silent, unwilling to “break ranks” and encourage dialogue about policies, such as a cap on oilsands greenhouse gas emissions, that they helped create under the NDP government of Rachel Notley. MORE

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IPCC authors urge NEB to consider climate impacts of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion


Scientists Kirsten Zickfeld and Mark Jaccard say oilsands expansion is inconsistent with Canada’s climate goals. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

A pair of experts on global warming have thrown their support behind a new legal motion urging the National Energy Board to consider all climate-related impacts from the proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline and tanker expansion in its latest review of the project.

The motion was filed on Monday by environmental group Stand.earth. The two experts have contributed to major international scientific assessment reports about climate change. Both of them warned that Canada needs to do its part by stopping the growth of emissions from the country’s oilsands deposits of northern Alberta. Oilsands companies would be able to expand well beyond current production levels if the project to ship more oil gets the green light.