Is Canada really that green?

You might think that, as second largest country in the world, with a population equal to that of the State of California, and its reputation as one of the cleanest nations in the world, Canada would naturally be unanimously vegan and worship Mother Earth. Shockingly, Canada is ranked among the top ten countries with the highest emissions in the world. Seeing this number nearly made me stagger off my chair. Anyone living in Canada knows how modern its cities are. In Toronto, public transportation fares generate more than $1 billion annually. Parks, bike paths, beaches, health food stores, and occasional marijuana dispensaries dominate its urban neighborhoods. Moreover, when looking at the rest of Canada – or any city near the US border – its vacancy is all the more flagrant. How can we, such an environmentally rich nation, be producing more greenhouse gases than Mexico, a country with three times our population? Canada’s people may have the reputation of being a handful of potheads, but believe me—it isn’t that kind of smoke vomiting this pollution.

The Canadian government’s website is perhaps a little too ambitious in its commitments to change the face of its environmental status. It is widely known that the use of oil pipelines count among its most controversial policies. Nevertheless, the government preaches its promises with pride and absolutely no hint of their conflict of interest. So, keep in mind while reading the following, there is bias in these principles.

To reduce carbon emissions, Canada has jumped on the bandwagon of taxing carbon emissions. 80% of Canadians live in a province where carbon emission is taxed. By 2018, it will cost a minimum $10 per ton of carbon dioxide that is emitted. In addition, Canada’s goal is to produce 90% of non-emitting electricity by 2030, investing in both solar and wind power. Unfortunately, the answer as to why Canada emits so much, is attributed to oil production, pipelines, and transportation. Canada is large and Canada is cold. These two factors result in a lower fuel efficiency. When cars, trucks, trains, and planes are shipping goods from coast to coast, more fuel is burned. This is a challenge that Canada is looking to deal with in the future. On November 30, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to a pipeline that would pump 3.5 million gallons of oil into America. So much for “eco-friendly”.

Canada was instrumental when it came to the signing of the Paris Agreement and have since been working hard to implement as much of their promises as possible. Trudeau is even promising to grow more plants – legalizing marijuana – so technically, he is also doing his part. Canada’s mission is to get the world one step closer to being able to wear Birkenstocks and tie-dye shirts without judgment. And probably eat vegan.

By Luise S.