Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there does seem to be a future for the industry. In fact, if we're not careful, B.C. could be overrun by lobbyists. Last year, there were 2,502 in-house and consultant lobbyists registered in the province, up from 1,451 four years ago. Whoever said the B.C. Jobs Plan wasn't working?
With the December Paris climate agreement, leaders and experts from around the world showed they overwhelmingly accept that human-caused climate change is real and the need to curb emissions. In light of this, I don't get the current brouhaha over Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines.
Blinded by the push to build unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure, politicians and pundits are drowning the conversation we need to have -- how to make the necessary shift to a 100 per cent clean energy economy. Politicians need to realize that in 2016, massive fossil fuel infrastructure is a wrongheaded place to invest -- both financially and politically.
While it's so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh at it, it's also unjust, anti-democratic and something that Canada's new prime minister promised would never happen again. Last June, now-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his party's environmental platform standing with his back to the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighborhood. With a withering critique that Stephen Harper's government had "chosen to be a cheerleader instead of a referee" when it came to pipelines, he promised a complete overhaul of the National Energy Board assessment process.
A recent intelligence report warns that peaceful anti-petroleum protests could be infiltrated by extremists to incite violence. While the report itself was just released, the actual study likely pre-dates the new Liberal government. It was probably intended as a companion to Bill C-51, which many Canadians have seen as an attempt to curtail the right to demonstrate on hot-button issues like proposed pipelines.
I am really confused by my government right now, because when it comes to climate action, it feels like I have two different governments. One government is in Paris, and their words on climate sound like the kind of ambition we need. The other one is in Ottawa, and its actions are looking more and more like the Harper government's on climate change.
Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and -- because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector -- we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets. Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health. That's according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December's UN climate summit. Developed countries around the world -- with the exception of Canada and Japan -- are unveiling their individual climate plans, which were due yesterday.
More than half the world's population is under 30, a demographic now at the forefront of international decision-making and some of Canada's most powerful environmental changes. Youth are thinking critically about how we can become better stewards of our landscapes and wildlife and protect the air, water, soil and diversity of nature that keep us healthy and alive.
This is the climate movement's moment to seize. It's a moment for the labour movement and climate movement to join together to demand investment in re-tooling and re-training workers to build the new economy. It's a moment to divest from dangerous fossil fuels like tar sands and reinvest in the solutions that are here and growing.
I recently travelled across Canada with David Suzuki Foundation staff, from St. John's to Victoria and up to Yellowknife, joined by friends and allies along the way. To resolve the serious environmental issues we face in Canada and beyond, we need people from across the country and all walks of life to join together to make protecting the people and places we love a priority.
Already there have been three near misses. Four months after Quebec's deaths, another derailment and explosion occurred outside an Alabama town without deaths. This was followed by a collision of two trains that resulted in an evacuation of more than 2,000 persons and a 400,000-gallon oil spill. A third derailment and explosion happened in Virginia forcing another evacuation. Safety is bad enough, but rail is also terrible for the environment.