Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 24 February 2020:
Teck Resources’ decision to stand down its own proposal for the Frontier Oilsands Mine was both surprising and foreseeable at this historic moment when the climate emergency is transforming much of the world, including global energy markets. That a private sector developer was able to muster greater clarity on the incoherence between Canada’s climate commitments and its energy infrastructure decision-making provides a welcome challenge to Canadian governments.
This is a clear win for the climate, diffusing a carbon bomb that would have seen Canada adding an extra 6 MT of emissions per year for the next forty years – making it impossible for Canada to reach net zero emissions in 2050.
Rather than dissolving into their usual backward-looking bickering, Canadian governments must use this moment to finally shoulder the forward-looking conversation they have been delaying for a decade about Canada’s economy in a warming world. The investor anxiety Teck cites in their decision over the lack of a framework in this country that reconciles resource development with the reality of climate change and Indigenous rights and title will only grow in the coming years.
Canadians are desperate for political leadership to set aside partisan mudslinging and embark on a national dialogue that puts Canadians on a pathway to protect people and the planet. Canada needs to offer real support, and real options, to communities and workers grappling with changes like automation, the rise of the gig economy, and the inevitable decline of fossil-fuel-dependent sectors. “Consultation” does not cut it with Indigenous communities – a true nation-to-nation relationship requires co-management plans and the full integration of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into future resource development and climate policies.
Canada is at a crossroads and governments must make a choice: either have the courage to pursue a safe, healthy future for Canadians or continue to face the courageous opposition of those who refuse to be robbed of their future.
Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada