There was an awkward moment in Glasgow at the beginning of November when Justin Trudeau spoke out in favour of using nuclear energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Awkward because Steven Guilbeault — his new environment minister, whom the prime minister had paraded around the global climate summit as proof that he was serious about confronting climate change — had said something much vaguer just a day earlier.
It was confusing for industry leaders and investors alike. Guilbeault, a former environmental activist with a history of opposing nuclear power, didn’t turn his back on his past. Trudeau made a point of clarifying the next day, reminding the public that every option, including nuclear, is on the table when it comes to cutting greenhouse gases.
That bubbling tension needs to be resolved if Canada is to make serious progress in moving to a low-carbon economy, and it needs to be resolved soon. In less than three months, the federal government says it will publish its plan to cut emissions dramatically by 2030, a first step toward shifting Canada’s economy to a net-zero emissions stance by 2050.