The words “climate change” never appear in yesterday’s 427-page federal budget.
The costs of climate change are there, albeit unacknowledged as connected to global warming. On page 228, the government notes it will spend “$2.8 billion to support the costs of response and recovery efforts for the regions of Alberta impacted by the severe flooding of June 2013. The Government of Canada typically pays for nearly 90 per cent of the costs of response and recovery for large-scale disasters.”
Indeed, the calamities that accompany the reckless expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure are portrayed as an economic opportunity. On page 42, the government notes how those same Alberta floods boosted the construction industry. Turn to page 229, and you'll find $155 million to support “recovery efforts and decontamination measures” in Lac Megantic that willl also create jobs.
But are these the kind of jobs we want to create?
For the Harper government, the answer is a clear Yes. For while “climate change” is utterly absent from the budget, there are multiple mentions of the importance of the “investment climate”, which they will strengthen by committing $28 million to speed up the review of energy projects like Transcanada’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline (page 144).
The truth is that building bigger pipes so we can dig deeper holes in the tar sands only looks like a reasonable economic strategy if you choose to blind yourself to the consequences of climate change.
We need to invest in green jobs, not fossil fuels. Balancing our carbon budget is the only way to create a truly strong economy and leave our kids a livable planet.