When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power in 2015, he promised a grand bargain: his Liberal government would fight climate change with a carbon tax, but would also get Canadian oil to new markets in Asia. One would buy the social license for the other.
As bargains go, it didn’t have the desired effect. Provincial governments took Ottawa to court over the federal carbon tax, and the Liberals have yet to get a new pipeline built to the Pacific West Coast.
It’s now the defining challenge of Trudeau’s nascent second term as prime minister – and it’s getting harder. He has to set Canada on track to exceed its emissions target under the Paris Agreement, even as he builds a new pipeline out of the Alberta oil sands. He has to prove that his government, which has made fighting climate change central to its brand, can make good on its promises without making more enemies.