Dear Prime Minister Trudeau;

Today, we’re writing this letter to lend our support to the brave students and youth coming to Ottawa in October 24th to participate in Climate 101.  

They will be coming with a message – you can’t be a climate leader and build pipelines.

It’s a simple phrase, but one that you’re going to be hearing a lot in the coming days, weeks and months. You’ll be hearing it a lot, because you need to accept it if the world is going to have a shot at keeping the promises that we, and many other nations, made in Paris.

Right now, oil, coal and gas operations around the globe are on track to release 942 gigatons worth of CO2. But, according a report from Oil Change International, to meet a 2ºC climate limit, we can only release 800 gigatons and to meet 1.5ºC, the goal you promised Canada would strive for to so much applause in Paris, we can only emit 353 gigatons.

To put in closer-to-home terms, if Canada builds the new Energy East and Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines, we will burn 11% of the world’s carbon budget under a 2ºC target and nearly 25% under a 1.5ºC target. (1) 

In other words, if you approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline this December, you will put Canada on a path to burn ¼ of the world’s remaining carbon budget, a pretty selfish, and frankly un-Canadian move.

We think you would agree that too many politicians in this country have ignored the voices of youth, especially when 45% of people 18-25 voted for you in 2015. Now, it’s time to test if you’re listening. (2) Over our years working on climate change, we’ve seen youth on Parliament Hill, in the streets of cities across Canada, in the halls of United Nations climate talks, and on campuses across this country organizing for fossil fuel divestment. We’ve heard them loud and clear: it’s time for real climate leadership, and that starts with rejecting the Kinder Morgan pipeline.


Bill McKibben, Author & founder of

Naomi Klein, Journalist and author of This Changes Everything

Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians

Grand Chief Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

David Suzuki, Scientist, broadcaster, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation

Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Environmentalist & culture activist

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Eriel Tchekwie-Deranger, Acting director and co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action

Joanna Kerr, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada

Graham Saul, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa

1. Oil Change International — “The Sky’s Limit” Report (2016)
2. Huffington Post — “Liberals Won Majority Thanks to Young Voters, Poll Suggests” (2016)