The Paris Climate Agreement Has Banned There From Engaging The Critics

It is easy to become complacent about climate change, and France may prove to be the greatest challenge we face. Early this year, France announced a new climate-change policy known as the “contract with…

The Paris Climate Agreement Has Banned There From Engaging The Critics

It is easy to become complacent about climate change, and France may prove to be the greatest challenge we face.

Early this year, France announced a new climate-change policy known as the “contract with the planet.” Established through 2025, the contract outlines the measures the government will take to reduce pollution and carbon emissions, including investments in renewable energy. The program was unveiled under the auspices of the COP24 conference in Poland earlier this year, where the nonchalant French were found to be dumping their plastic bottles and potato chips on mountain glaciers and destroying ancient Roman infrastructure. This public response to the announcement has been largely unconcerned, with photos from Poland and graphs from France pointing to a complacent response.

In Paris, many of those that dislike the Paris Agreement and see the contract as an effort to weaken “negotiated climate standards” have also been dismissive, only to be met with the familiar mantra that the agreement has only been in place for 15 years and has not “made much of a difference” in terms of air pollution and carbon emissions. The difference, they have said, has come from adopting “green taxes” on diesel and the arrest of diesel drivers on the Plains of Appalachia, hitting them with an extra €10 on their gas bill.

After “moving the climate agenda along,” Canada has elected a Conservative government, a voice against the “radicalist” stances of Ottawa and more worried about tariffs than fossil fuels. For Canada, there is concern, but for France there has been no real concerted effort to take back the Paris Agreement on climate. Instead, there has been a bizarre shift in climate-change policy.

In May, France came under fire for violating its international obligation to reduce deforestation, having increased deforestation in selected “hot spots”, including among the dunes of the northern Barents Sea. The number of lightning strikes on the Barents Sea shrank from 5,800 in May 2017 to 2,000 in May 2018. This decrease in lightning activity, as well as reduced rates of rainfall, created a perfect storm for those wishing to destroy the landscape of the Barents Sea.

So what is to be done? Shouldn’t we be pouring gasoline on the fire? In this case, perhaps not. A recent survey found that 34 percent of French people supported such measures and just over 50 percent opposed them. On the other hand, even in countries like Estonia, attitudes seem to be moving toward more efficient auto use and the increase of ride-sharing and electric vehicles.

France has not yet determined if its deforestation program is going to be curtailed, but in Canada, efforts to arrest the “climate change mafia” are blocked in the Conservative party and some federal Conservative MPs are adamant that action is not needed. Now that the Canadian economy has moved from manufacturing to the automotive sector, cutting our carbon emissions and addressing the climate impact of hydrocarbon developments will certainly require greater clarity in how many and what types of hydrocarbons are to be consumed and how the impact will be compared to fossil fuel development.

Anyone can applaud having more fuel choices at the gas station and to buy a sport utility vehicle, but the story has to be told, down to the tar sands and what our future will look like when these resources become cost-effective and abundant. The costs of energy production and fuel dependence have done a number on Canada’s economy, which is now reliant on the oil industry. In light of this, the Conservative party might examine how it will create a competitive economy that can create jobs and economic growth based on clean, efficient technologies and in an environment where waste is being eliminated, not created.

Alberta has a new provincial climate leadership plan, but its environmental and fiscal strategy remains questionable. In Quebec, the government has given itself a year to deal with a number of climate issues, and in Ontario the progressive Liberals are really pushing the narrative of carbon neutrality. In all these cities, as in the United States, there is less action on the non-renewable energy side of the equation and more action on the fossil fuel side. An internal demand for profits was about to be met with nonchalance as they concluded carbon neutral promises to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

It is easy to become complacent about climate change, and France may prove to be the greatest challenge we face.

Jason Fairclough is the first and only oil and gas representative for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). He is a former

Leave a Comment