Over 230 organizations have released an open letter today blasting the federal government led by Justin Trudeau for its backing of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“Approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline without the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations undermines UNDRIP, the Paris Agreement and the world’s shared interest in a safe climate,” said Carroll Muffett of the Center for International Environmental Law in a press release announcing the open letter.
“Rather than building new pipelines like Kinder Morgan, Canada needs to be a country that shows it takes its responsibilities seriously and doesn’t just bury its head in the tar sands,” added Katherine Kramer, the global climate lead of Christian Aid. “Trudeau claims he wants Canada to be part of the solution to climate change and yet he acts like the boss of a Texan oil company.”
This open letter comes one week before Kinder Morgan’s May 31 deadline for reconsidering their investment and plans for the estimated $7+ billion mega-project that aims to expand exports of tar sands bitumen from the west coast. The federal government has pledged full support including public money to mitigate Kinder Morgan investors’ risk.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Canada has been a vocal champion of the Paris Agreement and ambitious climate action, and under your leadership, Canada has finally signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
However, your unwavering support for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion runs counter to both of these commitments and undermines Canada’s role as a global leader.
Climate leadership is being redefined. Climate leaders cannot expand or finance major fossil fuel expansion, and climate leaders must begin to plan for a managed phase-out and just transition away from all fossil fuel production. Instead, planned Canadian oil production would use up 16 per cent of the world’s carbon budget to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees, or seven per cent of the budget for 2 degrees. Canada has less than 0.5 per cent of the world’s population.
Major pipelines like Trans Mountain that facilitate oil and gas expansion are not aligned with the Paris goals and risk locking in infrastructure for decades beyond what the carbon budget allows. Financing them with public money, as your government has suggested, is particularly offensive in the face of the global climate crisis.
The duty to consult and free prior and informed consent must be the hallmarks of any development on traditional Indigenous territories, and – as is too often the case in fossil fuel projects around the world – these duties have not been fulfilled in the case of this pipeline.
As global organizations deeply concerned about the climate, communities, workers, and Indigenous Rights, we stand in solidarity with those who oppose the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. We also support communities along the proposed pipeline and tanker routes who are standing up to protect the land, the coast, and the ocean from the risks of spills and other damage.
Canada, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, should be leading the way in a managed decline and just transition away from oil, gas, and coal production, not digging in its heels to fight for the survival of dirty energy that the climate cannot afford. Carbon-dependent economies face rapidly growing risks and refusing to see the writing on the wall sets countries like Canada up for abrupt and disruptive economic upheaval. This can be avoided by heeding the warnings and signals from everyone from the World Bank to the 140 leading economists who signed the “Not a Penny More” declaration: The time for investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure is over.
We urge you to reconsider your support for this project, and instead work to make Canada the climate leader that it should be.
See the full list of signatories here.