Dear Rick Mercer — This has everything to do with climate change.
I hope you don’t mind me calling you Rick. Having grown up watching you on CBC, I have to believe that you’re better than this.
I have to believe it because I know that you understand climate change, and you understand, on a basic level, that politics can’t negotiate with physics.
You’ve attached your name to the Spread the Net challenge year after year. It’s an impressive and noble cause, helping millions of families to get malaria-preventing bed nets all across Africa. I have to believe that you know that climate change is already making the challenge of dealing with malaria worse, that you understand that as global temperatures rise, more and more people are exposed to the deadly disease.
That’s why I was so disappointed in your most recent rant, because in 2016, you can’t talk about pipelines and you can’t talk about Canada “being in the oil business” without talking about climate change.
Canada’s fastest growing source of climate emissions is the tar sands. Energy East is meant to expand the tar sands at a faster rate, meaning a more rapid growth in our climate emissions. The science is clear — meeting our climate commitments will mean leaving fossil fuels in the ground. But, building pipelines means more extraction, which means more emissions, which means it becomes harder and harder to do our part on climate change. That means that Canada is part of the problem when it comes to climate change widening the disease vector of malaria.
More than this, I know that you care about Canada’s reputation on the world stage — and that you know that our climate record has put that reputation in the toilet.
I understand the pull to throw your weight behind a pipeline. But I also know that we wont create long term, good jobs by trying to prop up the failing fossil fuel economy. We’ll do that by speeding the coming of the clean energy economy, which creates jobs at a staggering rate — 7 times the rate of fossil fuels actually.
That’s why I hope you’ll take the time to use your voice responsibly, and recognize that when you’re advocating for pipelines, you’re siding against real climate leadership. When you take that side, you’re undoing your own good work spreading awareness of, and nets to protect against, malaria.
I know you’ll probably never read this, but I have to hope you might.