Second letter to Premiers Wynne and Couillard, 13 Dec 2014

Premier Kathleen Wynne and
Philippe Couillard, premier ministre December 13, 2014

Dear Premiers

A short while ago we complimented you on your stand on climate change, taken at the provincial premiers’ conference, and now we are wondering how you got it wrong so quickly.

Pipelines are to move oil (or bitumen), which is intended for combustion, when greenhouse gases are emitted, as they are also in great quantities in the extraction process.

The harm of a new pipeline, or new use of an old pipeline, is not just the risk of spills and leaks, bad enough as they may be. Even if not a drop is spilled or leaked, the project is ill considered, because it commits to further extraction. Indeed, the greater the investment in the transportation of the oil/bitumen, the greater the commitment to keep it coming. At this juncture in human history, the emphasis should be on weaning ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuels. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to pull the plug.

The argument made by the oil industry is specious: that any particular project poses no problem because the increased greenhouse gas emissions it causes are negligible compared to the total. We have to start; we have to reduce emissions, rather than find excuses for “infinitesimal” increases.

Ban Ki-Moon in Ottawa December 4 called for Canada to set “ambitious and visionary” climate change goals. We urge you to join in that mission. Corporations are required to put the interests of their shareholders first, but premiers should know that shareholders are also people who must live and breathe, and think of the future for their grandchildren.

Yours sincerely

Rita Bijons, Susan James, Lynn McDonald, Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg, Peter Shepherd, Patricia Warwick, Wing Ki-Wo
for JustEarth (a member of the Climate Action Network)