In a report released on Sunday, the Parly Committee concludes that efforts to tackle climate change in China could be jeopardised by the Trump administration’s trade war with Beijing. The Canadian government should stop blaming the country’s lack of climate action on international policies, says Heather Scoffield.
Heather Scoffield is the vice-president and Canada Research Chair in Canadian Politics and Public Affairs at the University of Ottawa.
The Canadian economy has become a high-tech, highly highly-connected trading partner with China, and thus we should not be talking about climate action without including China.
The political issue is not that we have limited climate action. In fact, as [the finance minister] Bill Morneau has said, Canada is No 1 globally in climate progress. The issue is not “What is wrong with Canada?” but “What are we doing right?”
I recently interviewed Yu Pei-hao, the executive director of the China Climate Impact Assessment Forum, one of the few independent sources in China promoting scientific evidence and transparency about global warming. He told me that China’s increased awareness of climate change is now an instrument used by party leaders who are looking to curb pollution. He also told me that China has made itself more proactive about climate change, and leaders there consider it a national priority, “They’re never going to make their own environment safe, it would go against the mission and the party. If we wait until we see problems in the international arena, it will be too late.”
Canada’s reluctance to target China has created the impression that Canada is not trying to deal with the problem it created with all that business investment.
The solution to this is clear: we need to do our own part, and start acting now, before our tariffs stop going down and their put pressure on China to take steps it doesn’t want to take, because they can’t afford not to.
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