Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Ottawa will forge ahead with its plans to reduce carbon emissions by, in one way or another, taxing them.
China’s delegate to the conference said tackling climate change is “a global trend that is irreversible.” His remarks were echoed by delegates from all the big emitters, including India, the European Union, Japan, the Middle Eastern oil states and Brazil.
In part, the world’s decision to carry on with the Paris accord is made easier by the fact that the agreement itself is so weak. It allows countries to set their own emission targets and provides no penalties for those that fail to meet them.
A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program calculates that the commitments made to date under the Paris agreement are well below what is needed to stave off global catastrophe. Some, like Canada are not even on track to meet the modest carbon reduction commitments they have made.
But the other factor at play is that fighting climate change has finally become a profitable business activity. China in particular is cashing in. The Chinese invested $103-billion in renewable energy last year, more than one-third of the world’s total.
The UN reports that, as solar and wind technology evolve, the price of renewable energy is coming down around the world.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describes his climate-change strategy as good economics. Indeed, at times it seems to be more about economics than climate.
How else to explain the government’s recent decision authorizing a Pacific coast liquefied natural gas project that is destined to massively increase carbon emissions?
Still, the Liberal government seems intent on pursuing its somewhat inconsistent climate-change policy with or without the U.S. That is new.