Enviro Opportunity, Eh! Is Change in US Climate Policy Good for Canada?

Change in US Climate Policy

We could see a change in US climate policy. In fact, a number of US state policies are on the verge of revamping with Donald Trump set to become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Among his numerous promises and goals, President-elect Trump has held a long-stated position that he doesn’t believe global warming is a threat and this could reflect in the future climate policies for America.

If, as expected, the US does change its policy on climate control, Canada would be in prime position to capitalize. Stated Canadian premier Justin Trudeau:

“We know that this is the way the world is going, and if the United States wants to take a step back from it, quite frankly, I think we should look at that as an extraordinary opportunity for Canada and for Canadians, an opportunity to draw in investors who are focused on where the profits and the opportunities are going to be 10 years from now, 20 years from now.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a meeting of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in Calgary on Dec. 21.

Trudeau’s Climate Plan

Speaking to the business community at an event in Calgary, Trudeau was asked about his climate plan in light of the changing political climate south of the border. Under Trudeau’s regime, a national price has been imposed on carbon, which has meant that the cost of carbon is higher, and thus makes Canada’s energy exports less competitive. Trudeau has said he would adopt a wait and watch approach, as Trump has yet to assume office and it could be a while before he initiates any changes.

However, he did reaffirm his commitment to Canada’s climate policies, stating that climate change is an ongoing challenge that cannot be denied. He empathically stated that this is not a matter that can be debated or discussed and it is a real problem. Should the US renege from its current stance on climate change, Canada can get an opportunity to capitalize on the void created in the market and gain immensely.

The PM went on to describe this opportunity as a long-term prospect which could take a decade or two to materialize and pay off for Canada.

Vague Stance on Global Warming

Donald Trump has been vague about his stance on global warming and rising sea levels and whether or not he intends to introduce new policies relating to climate change. According to Trudeau, ignoring the impact on the environment can be extremely beneficial in the short run, but extremely dangerous for future generations.

Trump met Dicaprio to talk US climate policy
Donald Trump met with actor Leonardo Dicaprio in December to talk climate change
NY Post Illustration; Getty Images

Trump appears to have somewhat softened his stance since winning the election, meeting elite environment activists, including Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio. At the same time, Trump is also poised to provide relief and sanctions to oil companies. Under President Obama’s rein, stringent regulations have been imposed on the oil industry in a bid to reduce emissions. However, that could all change once Trump is sworn in.

PM Trudeau has stated that should Trump’s policies collide with the best interests of Canada, the priority would be protecting Canadian interests rather than strengthening the alliance with the US.

Working Together on KXL

While speaking in Calgary, Trudeau also reaffirmed his commitment to the Keystone XL project and said he would work with Donald Trump to ensure it is completed within the given deadline. He said he expects opposition to any new measures he introduces and that he will do what is in the best interests of the country.

So far, with Donald Trump yet to take the office, speculation is rife, not just in Canada, but across the globe about his stance on climate change. But, if he sticks to his current position, Trudeau believes Canada could benefit from a change in US climate policy.

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