Trump, Trudeau avoid climate change talk, use ‘coded’ language on environment

Trump, Trudeau avoid climate change talk

OTTAWA — Standing next to President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute Monday to Canada’s ability to negotiate environmental treaties with the U.S., such as the … 1991 Air Quality Agreement.

As for the 2015 Paris Accord to combat climate change â€” the one Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama lauded the prime minister for helping forge â€” Trudeau made no mention of that during his visit to Washington, at least not in public.

“We’ve fought in conflict zones together, negotiated environmental treaties together, including 1991’s historic Air Quality Agreement,” Trudeau said Monday as he praised Canada-U.S. co-operation.

In addition to that reference to the air quality pact, there was also a renewed commitment to enhance energy co-operation in the Great Lakes border region and on energy projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline.

But there was a noticeable downplaying of the climate change initiatives that marked Trudeau’s first year in power with a much more environmentally friendly Obama.

They included joint initiatives to put environmental protection front and centre in Arctic-related matters, a commitment Obama and Trudeau announced after their March 2016 White House meeting and reiterated again in December.

Monday’s muted climate message came as no surprise to Green party Leader Elizabeth May, who supported Trudeau’s climate change efforts in Paris.

“There is definitely coded language that suggests that climate action is not off the table,” said May, who called Trudeau’s meeting with Trump “a good start,” especially considering Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s raucous phone call with the president.

She said it “assists the whole world” if Trudeau can eventually bring Trump around to risks from climate change, the way it took Brian Mulroney several years to convince Ronald Reagan that an acid rain treaty was needed between the two countries.

Trump and Trudeau addressed the issue in a section of their joint statement on energy security and the environment.

“We share the goals of energy security, a robust and secure energy grid, and a strong and resilient energy infrastructure that contributes to energy efficiency in both countries,” it said.

It also affirmed the need for “energy innovation, particularly in the clean energy sphere” and cited “environmental co-operation” in the Great Lakes.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said she was surprised that the Paris agreement didn’t arise in Washington “because my understanding is that climate change is Mr. Trudeau’s number 1 priority.”

“Seemingly, this issue was not discussed,” added NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere. “I think it’s a letdown.”

Last March at the White House, Trudeau and Obama announced major reductions in methane emissions and later joined forces with Mexico on a broader North American climate and clean energy strategy.

They reaffirmed that commercial activity can only occur in the Arctic “if the highest safety and environmental standards are met, and if they are consistent with national and global climate and environmental goals” in a joint statement in the dying days of Obama’s presidency shortly before Christmas.

Michael Byers, a University of British Columbia international law professor who specializes in Arctic issues, said it is not surprising there was no talk of the Arctic on Monday, because Trump the hasn’t finished appointing the people who will review the current U.S. policy on the North.

 

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Busy day for Penticton Search and Rescue

PENSAR was called to three separate incidents Sunday, Dec. 16

Zero waste grocery store gives back to charity

Jaye Coward has pledged half of membership sales to Mamas for Mamas

Kelowna Gospel Mission celebrates Grandpa Lloyd’s success

In a video it shares how an outreach worker helped get Lloyd off the streets

Warm weather ahead for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada says no snow at lower altitudes until Wednesday night

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Book Talk: Series stand outs

Novels in a great series can stand on their own

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

CSRD Wants help figuring out antique survey equipment

The piece of equipment was used by Peter Jennings to map out the North Fork Wild near Craigellachie

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

Most Read