Three things people in Canada need to know about the new International Energy Agency report

By Cam Fenton, Canada Team Lead for 350.org

Today, the International Energy Agency, one of the world’s most influential energy forecasters, released a landmark report detailing what they see the world needing to do in order to stay within 1.5ºC of warming. The headlines are simple, first investing more money in new fossil fuel projects makes absolutely no sense. Second, building any new fossil fuel projects, or supporting any fossil fuel exploration, is dangerously out of step with a safe climate.

As you know, we’ve been saying these things for a long time. But, to have them come from the IEA is a big deal. Here in Canada, IEA forecasts have been a huge part of how governments and regulators validate their support for tar sands and other fossil fuel expansion. Now that the IEA, a notoriously conservative and pro-fossil fuel organization, is telling the world that the era of fossil fuels is over that has some big implications for Canada.

Studies have already shown this project’s ballooning costs could drain billions of dollars from the public coffers and that building Trans Mountain is out of step with Canada’s climate commitments. Now, the IEA is backing that up, showing that if Canada keeps throwing public dollars at this project, they are either wasting them, or paying for a project that will ensure we break our climate commitments. This report is another clear message to Trudeau that it’s time to defund the Trans Mountain pipeline and put that money towards helping people.

When the IEA starts saying that the era of new fossil fuel development is over, you know a big shift is happening. But, it’s been 2 years since Justin Trudeau promised to table a Just Transition Act with no action. We’ve heard that Minister Seamus O’Regan is “working on it” but without a timeline or a sense of urgency, communities, families and working people are being left with big promises and little action. This IEA report should be a wake up call for Trudeau, O’Regan and the rest of Canada’s government that it’s time to deliver a Just Transition that guarantees good, green, union jobs and leaves no one behind.

We know he will respond to this news with some half baked line about the environment and the economy or talk about planting trees, all while ignoring that Canada’s largest source of emissions is the oil and gas industry. We need bold solutions, and the only way we’re going to get them is to break the Liberal bad vs. Conservative worse climate status quo in Canada. Our best chance to do that is a Climate Emergency Alliance between the NDP & the Greens. This week, we’re turning up the heat on that campaign and you can click here to find out more.

While today’s report from the IEA is good news, we also need to remember that as more and more companies and governments announce plans to reach “net zero emissions”, that term is starting to mean less and less. We can’t let “net zero” become just another greenwashed, messaging trope where Big Oil and their powerful friends create elaborate talking points and trade-off schemes to keep driving up emissions.

Pushing Canada to take real #climate leadership by freezing #tarsands and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. We're part of a global climate justice movement.