Kate's blog

Roads, runways, and airport expansion in the Climate Emergency era

On 18th June the Canadian Government declared a climate emergency. The next day, it approved the controversial Transmountain Pipeline Expansion. If the pipeline is built it could result in up to 600,000 barrels of oil from Alberta's tar sands passing through the port city of Burnaby in British Columbia to reach the export market. The disconnect between these two actions is staggering. It has been described as an example of rank hypocrisy, and has caused many to question whether the "climate emergency" declaration passed by the government is even worth the paper its written on. 

In light of the clear disconnect between the Canadian government's actions and its continued support for new high-carbon infrastructure projects, we thought it worth thinking about what might be happening closer to home. Across the country, local and regional governments have made declarations recognising that we are now living in a climate emergency. According to data collected by Climate Emergency UK over 100 local authorities have passed declarations in the past six months, and they have now been joined by the UK Parliament and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Many of these declarations have been accompanied by ambitious targets for reaching net zero emissions, with nearly 70 councils setting deadlines for de-carbonisation by 2030.