Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The climate test unveiled today calls on the U.S. and Canadian governments "to use the latest climate science to evaluate all proposed energy supply and demand policies and projects in light of the globally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 1.5?C, informed by the spirit of global cooperation that made Paris successful."

Introducing the Climate Test

Today, with a number of our partner organizations in the US and Canada, we’re unveiling the Climate Test. This is a proposal being delivered jointly to President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau calling on them to align their governments’ energy policy and decision-making with the demands climate science has laid out for us and the international climate agreements our leaders have forged.

This test is actually not new; in fact President Obama has implemented it himself already in consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline. When he made his major climate speech at Georgetown University in June of 2013, he said:

“Our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.  (Applause.)  The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.  It’s relevant.”

Canada’s new Prime Minister Trudeau has also promised a climate test when it comes to reviewing major infrastructure projects like pipelines, a commitment that was reiterated just weeks ago.

We support this kind of leadership on both sides of the border – as long as it is ambitious and robust enough to match our promises and the climate’s needs.. We must consider the climate when making energy policy decisions. That’s why we’ve worked with our partners to elaborate this idea further and are excited to be putting it out into the world today.

The climate test we are unveiling today calls on our governments to use the latest climate science to evaluate all proposed energy supply and demand policies and projects in light of the globally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 1.5?C, informed by the spirit of global cooperation that made Paris successful.

In other words, we’re demanding a reorientation of how we currently assess proposed fossil fuel projects. We’re calling on our leaders to base our fossil fuel project decision-making on an assumption of success in meeting our climate objectives, rather than an assumption of failure.

Right now, our energy policy is based on an outdated model that suggests business as usual for years to come and thus continued burning of fossil fuels at levels that would mean climate catastrophe. Commonly used energy projections such as the EIA’s Reference Case, the IEA’s Current or New Policies Scenario, or energy outlooks produced annually by oil companies such as Exxon or BP, would see fossil fuel use leading to between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius of warming. Make no mistake, a world with 4 to 6 degrees Celsius of warming would be one we would barely recognize, let alone inhabit safely.

Yet, just a few months ago in Paris, world leaders adopted the important aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This was an important achievement and marks a pivotal moment in the fight to save the climate. But if we are actually going to meet that goal, it’s far past time we started acting like it.

The Climate Test demands, quite simply, that President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau show the leadership required to make the lofty goals from the Paris Agreement a reality.

The science behind limiting warming to 2?C is clear. The vast majority of proven fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground and we must decarbonize our economies no later than 2050. For 1.5?C we must go even further, faster.

We must assume success in achieving our climate safety objectives, and work from that assumption when assessing proposed fossil fuel projects. We must apply the climate test.

Read more about the climate test at http://climatetest.org


© 2021 Oil Change International

David Turnbull

David Turnbull is campaigns director for Oil Change International. Follw him on Twitter: @david_turnbull

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.

'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·


Cisneros Slams Cuellar for Being Only House Democrat to Vote Against Abortion Rights

"Once again Henry Cuellar refused to stand up for South Texans' reproductive freedom."

Jake Johnson ·


Covid-19 Cases, Deaths Rising Among Children Across US

"Is there an acceptable pediatric body count?" asked a top pediatrician in New Orleans this week. "I think not."

Julia Conley ·


Senate Filibuster Final Obstacle After House Dems Pass 'Historic' Abortion Rights Bill

"This is a moment of crisis," said one activist. "We cannot allow the filibuster, or anything else, to stand in the way of safeguarding our fundamental freedoms."

Jessica Corbett ·

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