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Our carbon deficit, and the Liberal budget's failure to address it, is the real worry

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Two pieces of related news happened last week. One was the federal budget. The other was NASA's announcement that February was the most unusually mild month on record, by a lot. Which should remind us of a much more important budget: the carbon budget, which is how much CO2 we can emit before hitting a certain temperature.

Think of it as the amount of carbon popcorn we have left in our tub. Or think of it as a gun to our head. Either works.

At the Paris climate summit, the Liberals committed to a target temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. That's something to be proud of, because the difference between 1.5 and 2 is millions of lives. But it gives us a very small carbon budget that we'll blow through in a handful of years. So how did the federal budget map out the Second World War-level of mobilization we need to decarbonize our economy on that timeline? It didn't.

It put billions of new money into green infrastructure, which is good, but it also left in place fossil fuel subsidies, which is ridiculous. And after the budget the infrastructure minister hinted that the feds may help build a 3.5 billion dollar, 10-lane bridge in B.C. And unless that’s for 10 lanes of trains, that's not green infrastructure. 

Whether the Liberals realized it or not, they committed to radical action in Paris, so all of those people blocking new pipelines and shutting down old ones are really just enacting their stated, radical policy. And until the radical policy catches up to the radical activists, our climate will continue to be radicalized. 

This video originally appeared in The Toronto Star.

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