Environmental extremist Bill McKibben says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a massive disappointment, environmental hypocrite and “a brother to the old orange guy in DC [Donald Trump].”
Writing in EcoWatch this week, McKibben can barely contain his contempt for the Canadian leader who is seen as not only the polar opposite of President Donald Trump but a hero for American liberals who wish they had a self-proclaimed “feminist” leading them.
McKibben acknowledges this phenomenon when he writes, “Look one nation north, at Justin Trudeau. Look all you want, in fact—he sure is cute, the planet’s only sovereign leader who appears to have recently quit a boy band. And he’s mastered so beautifully the politics of inclusion: compassionate to immigrants, insistent on including women at every level of government. Give him great credit where it’s deserved: in lots of ways he’s the anti-Trump, and it’s no wonder Canadians swooned when he took over.”
But McKibben says Trudau has betrayed environmentalists because “when it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, he’s a brother to the old orange guy in DC.”
Although he says Trudeau understands how to use the right rhetoric, he claims it was Catherine McKenna, whose official title is “minister of the environment and climate change,” who really represented the Canadian position when the Paris climate accord was signed.
But what really burns McKibben is Trudeau’s approval of not one oil pipeline but two, including the transnational Keystone pipeline, which McKibben says will lead to environmental catastrophe as it moves oil out what he calls “Alberta’s tar sands,” or “one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet.”
Though Trudeau has meandered around the policy edges of the now fabled oil sands — a magnet for U.S. liberal celebrity protesters like Jane Fonda — when he was the guest of honor in Houston, Texas, at a conference organized by the global oil industry, Trudeau did note that “no country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”
But McKibben thinks it would be better to leave that oil in the ground, no matter what the consequences, because otherwise all this energy will radically accelerate climate change and “take us past the 1.5 degree target that Canada helped set in Paris.”
Calling this attitude one of “having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too,” McKibben even chastises eco-scientist David Suzuki, a patron saint of Canadian environmentalists, because he thinks it might be possible to have “an incredible change plan” that includes getting “our natural resources to market.”
This will never do, McKibben states, “If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it doesn’t matter all that much if every Tim Horton’s stopped selling donuts and started peddling solar panels instead.”Although McKibben reserves his harshest criticism for Trump, who “of course, is working just as eagerly to please the fossil fuel industry,” McKibben suggests it might be better to just acknowledge that you’re “insulting the planet” instead of, like Trudeau, “pretending otherwise.”