Well actually, as of today it’s 58.82%.  “We” meaning those 74 parties who have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, making up 58.82% of global CO2 emissions.

Although triumphantly signed in Paris last December, the Climate Agreement would only come into action 30 days after at least 55 parties (countries) making up 55% of emissions had ratified, and yesterday, Canada was one of the nations which, by ratifying, helped reach that quota.

Cue the trumpets and smiling Justin pic. After all, just the other day he announced that Canada would adopt a nation wide carbon price, of a whopping $10/tonne, and starting within only 2 years! Doesn’t he just look so handsome when he flips his hair and saves the world all at once!?

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In reality though- I’m not super impressed, and I hope you aren’t either.

The carbon tax in question is terrifically insufficient. Even at its peak of $50 per tonne it really only equates to something like 10 cents per one litre of gas, which realistically, isn’t much of a deterrent, considering that even at peak gas prices, I’ve still seen douchebags driving around in white Hummers (with personalized name plates to boot).

Some might argue that a carbon tax alone was never going to be enough to help Canada hit those Paris targets- and they’d be right; a serious, steady, and rapid transition to a fossil free economy must accompany a carbon tax if we’re to have any hope of living up to Trudeau’s super ambitious adopted-from-Harper INDCs. Problem is, the federal government doesn’t seem to take that aspect of the equation all that seriously either.

Remember the PNWLNG dramz from two weeks ago?

While Trudeau and McKenna have been signing agreements and making ostentatious announcements about pretty weak carbon prices, they’ve also been approving gargantuan fossil fuel projects. This, right after a publication is put out confirming that this planet cannot handle any further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.

To Prime Minister Trudeau, our wannabe climate leader I say: you need to do better. Like a teacher with a pupil, the youth who elected you see your potential. We see your potential, and we are disappointed by your results. Also like teachers, we will take the time to patiently explain to you what you must do in order to pass this all important test. A test which, if you pass, will see this nation, and your government on the right side of history.  On October 24th, youth from across this land will gather in Ottawa to help you understand what true climate leadership is. I’ll be one of them

And after that, next month I’m headed to Marrakech, for COP22 along with a badass group of young people.  We’ll be there to hold the government accountable, and ensure that the voices of youth and marginalized folks are heard amongst all the craziness of important people talking about important things.  I’ve been asked by some why our presence is necessary, and I would implore those questioning our motives to really reflect on how this Liberal government has acted on climate so far.  Not what they have said, not what they have tweeted, or signed, but what this government has actually done. When one considers that this government has approved fossil fuel projects, accepted mediocre targets as their own, failed to reform the Environmental Assessment process, failed on implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and failed to meaningfully consult Indigenous Peoples, this government starts to look a lot like that of one Mr. S. Harper. 

Consider this: when you can count Suncor and Shell amongst your carbon pricing plan supporters… is it really that ambitious a plan?

When speaking to the House of Commons this past Tuesday, PM Trudeau repeatedly spoke of leadership in reference to Climate. The leadership we as a nation must take, must demonstrate.  The leadership the federal government must display to those provinces and Premiers who might be less than enthusiastic when it comes to carbon pricing (Hey there Brad Wall, please pipe down). And yet, we have yet to see real climate leadership from JT himself.

This government’s inability to acknowledge the truth of climate change, the truth that lies within the math of keeping warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, is disheartening to say the least, and abhorrent in reality, because the reality of a world beyond 2 degrees is staring us in the face.  

We see it in Hurricane Matthew, which just these past two days has taken the lives of at least 800 Haitians, and forced millions of others from their homes around the Caribbean and Florida. It is a world in which the fires of Fort McMurray, which burned for months, destroying the homes of thousands will become the seasonal norm.  Where insurance premiums skyrocket as droughts starve us out, and heat waves kill us, as they did just last year in India when an estimated 2,300 people perished, only to be struck again this year when we all experienced the hottest August on record.

I wonder how we can afford the alternative.

The simple answer is that we cannot.  We cannot afford to allow PNWLNG to continue, unabated, just as we could not allow Keystone XL, or Northern Gateway, and as we will not allow Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, or Trans Canada’s Energy East.  If these projects continue, and if Trudeau’s pathetic effort at climate leadership remains the status quo, then we are doomed to an unliveable future.  Not only for those generations to come, but those people of the here and now who are already suffering at the hands of our inaction.

This is why I look forward to standing with throngs of young people on October 24th, to give Trudeau a ‘Climate 101 Crash Course.’ It’s time that the Prime Minister realizes that Kinder Morgan is his first big climate test.

Hint, Mr Trudeau: the answer to this test, the key to climate leadership won’t be found in maintaining normalcy, nor in bending to the will of the fossil fuel industry. Instead it lies in the terrifying reality of climate change, and the uplifting realization that if you choose, you have the power to fight it. We can help you, because in truth, the power you need lies with us: the people, the youth. We’ll see you in class.