VANCOUVER — The U.S. government's decision to approve the Keystone XL construction permit puts the country behind in a global economy that is rapidly shifting to renewable energy — and could slow the necessary transition from fossil fuels, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
Sign up for our newsletter
"This is not just a U.S. issue," Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. "This is also a Canadian issue and represents an international threat to climate stability."
The permit approval marks the beginning of a lengthy process, which includes awaiting approval from Nebraska regulators and TransCanada's filing of its pipeline route plans. Those plans must then go through the state's Public Service Commission and public hearings.
Although the pipeline still faces some hurdles, Bruce stressed that the permit approval is a major step backwards.
"A fossilized past threatens a renewable future," Bruce said. "The global rush for clean energy is on. At this rate, renewable energy will boost the world economy by $19 trillion. There is no need to go backwards as the market for fossil fuels continues to shrink."
Canada's recently announced 2017 federal budget marked a commitment to powering the country with renewable energy. To move forward on Keystone XL would be inconsistent and irresponsible in light of this commitment, Bruce said.
"Promising billions for a green economy while planning for oilsands expansion and increased oil production and exports is a contradiction," Bruce said. "This is Canada's opportunity to move from a dark future dependent on dirty fossil fuels to a bright, healthy future powered by renewables. Our government has a chance to change the course of this unfortunate U.S. decision. We need to honour our international commitment to the Paris Agreement, follow through on federal funding of clean technology, and show the world that leaders innovate — and do not build pipelines."
Emily Fister, Climate & Clean Energy Communications Specialist