by Jim Emberger – Letter to the Editor, Telegraph Journal & Daily Gleaner
A recent editorial in Brunswick News accused the Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, of misfeasance, because he isn’t promoting Canadian fossil fuel exports to Europe. Besides displaying a lack of understanding of the climate crisis, the editorial argument is without merit.
To begin: Guilbeault is the Minister of the Environment. Protecting the environment is his primary mandate. He doesn’t work for the industry promoters that run the Natural Resources ministry.
Next: the overarching threat to the environment everywhere is the climate crisis, referred to in Guilbeault’s Mandate Letter as an, ‘existential crisis’, the solution to which is to stop using fossil fuels.
Next: the fossil fuel industry is Canada’s leading producer of the greenhouse gases responsible for the climate crisis. It makes Canada a world-leading, per capita producer of greenhouse gases, and makes it impossible to meet Canada’s climate commitments.
Next: Europe has clearly and sensibly signalled its intentions to deal with its energy problems by ditching fossil fuels, and by putting its renewable energy, electrification, and conservation policies into overdrive. It will only depend on fossil fuels for a brief transition.
It will take years for Canada to build the necessary infrastructure to service a European market. We would be ready to sell just as Europe will be reducing its need to buy – leaving us with billions of dollars of worthless infrastructure – mostly underwritten by taxpayers.
Note that Canada’s purchase of the still uncompleted Transmountain pipeline has cost taxpayers $21.4 billion, which auditors say will never be recouped.
So, by pointing out that exporting new Canadian fossil fuel production to Europe would add significantly to all the environmental damage caused by climate change, Minister Guilbeault is doing his job exactly as mandated.
By pointing out the bad market timing, and taxpayer liability that result from climate realities, he is also doing the job that the Ministers of Finance and Natural Resources should be doing.
Jim Emberger, Taymouth