Here are the sections from todayâ€™s Speech from the Throne (SFT) that relate to climate and energy:
- “Our energy resource endowment provides Canada with an unparalleled economic advantage that we must leverage to secure our place as a clean energy superpower and a leader in green job creation. We are the worldâ€™s seventh largest crude oil producer with the second largest proven reserves. We are the third largest natural gas producer, the third largest hydroelectric generator, the largest producer of uranium, and by far the largest supplier of energy resources to the worldâ€™s largest marketplace. To support responsible development of Canadaâ€™s energy and mineral resources, our Government will untangle the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates project approvals, replacing it with simpler, clearer processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry.”
- “Our Government will continue to invest in clean energy technologies. It will review energy efficiency and emissions-reduction programs to ensure they are effective. And it will position Canadaâ€™s nuclear industry to capitalize on the opportunities of the global nuclear renaissance â€“ beginning with the restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.”
- “The Joint Review Panel on the Mackenzie Gas Project has completed its report. Our Government will reform the northern regulatory regime to ensure that the regionâ€™s resource potential can be developed where commercially viable while ensuring a better process for protecting our environment.”
- “Nowhere is a commitment to principled policy, backed by action, needed more than in addressing climate change. Our Government has advocated for an agreement that includes all the worldâ€™s major greenhouse gas emitters, for that is the only way to actually reduce global emissions. And it has pursued a balanced approach to emissions reduction that recognizes the importance of greening the economy for tomorrow and protecting jobs today.”
- “The Copenhagen Accord reflects these principles and is fully supported by the Government of Canada. Together with other industrialized countries, Canada will provide funding to help developing economies reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. Here at home, our Government will continue to take steps to fight climate change by leading the world in clean electricity generation. And recognizing our integrated continental economic links, our Government will work to reduce emissions through the Canada-U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue launched last year with President Obamaâ€™s administration.”
None of this is very encouraging. Rather than celebrating our huge fossil fuel reserves, we should be recognizing the risks associated with burning them. Similarly, brushing aside regulations that reduce the pace of fossil fuel exploitation will hardly help us avert catastrophic climate change.
The pledge to â€œreview energy efficiency and emissions-reduction programs to ensure they are effectiveâ€ is also discouraging. Canada still hasnâ€™t deployed any sort of carbon price: a vital component of an overall climate change response.