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Canada Must Lead After Trump's Disastrous Decision On Climate

06/02/2017 11:38 EDT | Updated 06/02/2017 11:39 EDT

It is a sad day for people on this planet.

It is irresponsible and unacceptable when the so-called leader of the free world turns his back on climate change -- the biggest and most urgent crisis facing humanity. Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement is a massive failure of leadership.

But we can't let this decision stop us. There is too much at stake. We must all stand up and work together to defend this place, this planet we call home.

The U.S. now joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries outside the Paris Agreement. Trump wants to make deal. Well, I'm sorry, he can't negotiate with the climate. We can only act, and we can't afford to waste any more time.

donald trump

U.S. President Donald Trump refers to amounts of temperature change as he announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The lack of U.S. participation in global action against climate change leaves a huge hole. Canada and the rest of world must work to fill the void. We have to strengthen our resolve to put people and planet before fossil fuel interests that fund climate denial.

The climate crisis is already costing us big time. Extreme weather events, floods, drought, ice storms, wild fires -- it all adds up. $4,900,000,000 (that's $4.9 billion!) in insurable damages from extreme weather alone in Canada last year.

Climate deniers and fossil fuel tycoons in Canada may use this decision to pressure political leaders here to backtrack on climate action. We can't let this happen.

We need political leaders in this country and across the world to defend our planet and its people. We need political leaders who will defend low carbon jobs in Canada.

More Canadians are employed in clean energy than in the oil sands. These jobs in the clean economy need to be defended and expanded.


The low carbon economy is a $6 trillion global economic opportunity. Even if Ontario captures only one per cent of the low carbon economy, it will contribute more to our province's GDP than the auto sector. Of course, Ontario's auto sector can be a big contributor to the province's clean economy by being a world leader in electric and low emission vehicles.

The failure of U.S. leadership on climate presents Canada with an opportunity to be the low carbon leader in North America. We can generate 21st century jobs and wealth that the U.S. president is abandoning.

This starts by moving forward with plans to put a price on carbon pollution. Ontario and Canada can fight climate change and put money in your pocket by adopting the Green Party's carbon fee and dividend plan. Indeed, a carbon dividend can help reduce poverty and pollution.

Trump's disastrous decision makes it even more important for Canada to have a national price on CO2. Not only will it establish the market for low carbon innovation, it will also enable Canada to set a carbon tariff on imported goods.

Canada should welcome low carbon good and services from around the world. But we should also make sure Americans pay a price for Trump's carbon catastrophe.

The U.S. will have to decide whether to build a 21st-century economy or grasp at what remains of the 20th century. But we can't let their decision pull us back.

Just like 19th century buggy whips could no longer power 20th century machines, coal won't power 21st economies -- even if Trump thinks it will.

Will you stand up for a healthy planet, low carbon jobs and a future for our kids?

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