Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Materials for the Trans Mountain pipeline project sit in a storage lot outside British Columbia on June 6, 2021. (Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images)

Materials for the Trans Mountain pipeline project sit in a storage lot outside British Columbia on June 6, 2021. (Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian Official Says Trans Mountain Pipeline Revenue Needed to Fight Climate Crisis

"This is climate denial," said 350 Canada. "From Canada's Environment Minister no less."

Kenny Stancil

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson attracted fury and ridicule when he said Monday—just hours after the United Nations warned in no uncertain terms that continuing to burn fossil fuels will result in catastrophic consequences—that the country needs to secure more revenue from the Trans Mountain pipeline to achieve its long-term decarbonization goals.

"The IPCC was clear yesterday: we must accelerate our transition off fossil fuels. Millions of lives are at stake. Knowing this, and still sinking billions into expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline, is criminal."
—350 Canada

The Canadian government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in 2018 for $4.5 billion, and a planned expansion of the project would nearly triple the amount of oil moving through the pipeline.

According to Wilkinson, sending 890,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta to British Columbia—where, earlier this summer, a heatwave killed hundreds of people and a wildfire incinerated the town of Lytton—would be a good thing because it would help finance Canada's clean energy transition.

"Canada needs to ensure that in the context of that transition, it's extracting full value for its resources and using that money to push forward in terms of reducing emissions," Wilkinson told guest host Katie Simpson during an interview on CBC's "Power & Politics."

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has "got to be part of the transition," Wilkinson said, because "part of the transition is being able to raise the revenues that enable you to actually make the investments that are required" to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Observers were quick to point out the absurdity of Wilkinson's comments—made just hours after he issued a statement in response to Monday's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stated unequivocally that failing to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions will endanger vulnerable populations and future generations.

One critic compared Wilkinson's defense of maximizing oil pipeline revenue to address the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency to something an official might say in one of the fictional dystopias described by Franz Kafka or George Orwell.

Environmental justice advocates from 350 Canada said Tuesday that "this is climate denial. From Canada's Environment Minister no less."

The group emphasized that the IPCC's report was clear about the need to "accelerate our transition off fossil fuels" to save millions of lives.

"Knowing this, and still sinking billions into expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline, is criminal," 350 Canada added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Sunrise Movement Warns of 'Betrayal' as Pelosi Bends Toward Corporate Democrats

"We need Dems to hold the line for a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, full stop."

Jake Johnson ·


Progressive Groups Warn Congress Against Including Carbon Tax in Reconciliation Package

"If lawmakers are really concerned about holding the costs of this spending bill, they should get rid of the billions of dollars we waste every year on subsidies to polluters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Opposing His Renomination, Warren Calls Fed Chair Powell 'A Dangerous Man'

"Your record gives me grave concern," Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Jerome Powell. "Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe."

Jake Johnson ·


California Wildfire Victims Lead Calls for Tougher PG&E Criminal Penalties

"The power company is the biggest serial killer in state history, and all it gets is fines?"

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressives Warn Democrats Against Means-Testing Reconciliation Bill to Death

"Raising taxes on the rich is much more efficient than means-testing benefits and accomplishes exactly what the spending hawks claim to be concerned about!"

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo