Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at COP26 in Glasgow. Screen capture courtesy COP26

I noticed something while covering the COP26 the United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021 in Glasgow, and our prime minister’s participation in it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his office, don’t say “carbon dioxide,” anymore, if at all possible. Instead, they say, “pollution.” In some instances, they use the term “carbon pollution,” but not “carbon dioxide.”

This was notable in Trudeau’s speech on Nov.1, the opening day of the conference. You can read the verbatim transcript here.

In the speech, Trudeau never referred to “carbon dioxide” or “CO2” at all. He made one reference to “carbon pricing,” but four references to “pollution,” reinforcing his common refrain that carbon dioxide is, indeed, pollution.

This speech happened to be the one where he said, “In Paris, I committed that Canada would put a price on pollution. We did that. And despite stiff political opposition, the Supreme Court upheld it, and Canadians supported it in our last two elections.

“We know pollution pricing is key to getting emissions down while getting innovation up and running. Our carbon price trajectory is one of the most globally ambitious ones. And it’s rising to $170 a tonne in 2030. This is a meaningful price on pollution, designed not just to make life cleaner, but also lead make life more affordable, and less expensive for Canadians.”

A little later he said, “We’ll cap oil and gas sector emissions today, and ensure they decrease tomorrow, at a pace and scale needed to reach net zero by 2050. That’s no small task for a major oil and gas producing country. It’s a big step, that’s absolutely necessary.:

Notably, the press release put out by the Prime Minister’s office to support the speech continues Trudeau’s efforts to brand carbon dioxide as “pollution,” without actually saying “carbon dioxide.” The press release mentions “pollution” eight times, “carbon pollution” twice, but not once does it say “carbon dioxide” or “CO2.” It also does not mention “methane,” another, much more potent greenhouse gas of prime concern.

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Trudeau has been doing this for a while now; trying to rebrand carbon dioxide as “pollution.” Most people with two brain cells know that carbon dioxide is plant food, and we eat plants.

When I think of pollution, I think of things that absolutely are not natural to the environment, and do not belong there. Particulates, like coal ash, come to mind. Hydrogen sulphide. Various nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides (also known as NOX and SOX). Smoke. Mercury in fish. Microplastics in oceans. Garbage floating in rivers. Oil spills. These are all pollution – true pollution.

All of those items I listed – I doubt you could find anyone who would say any of those items are pollution. It’s simple; they are. And if you were to put a price on those things, hey, all the power to you.

But carbon dioxide? Is that really pollution? Isn’t it necessary for life? If it is real pollution, shouldn’t greenhouses be banned from using it to dramatically improve yields? Heck since we all exhale it, shouldn’t we all take one for the team, and the planet, and just stop?

(Don’t take me too seriously there. I get the impression many supposed environmental activists would be just fine with reducing the global population several billion, or more, if they could. Think of Greenpeace with Thanos’ glove. Snap! Poof! Half of humanity, gone!)


Trudeau’s reticence to say “carbon dioxide” at all reminds me of the old saying, “He wouldn’t say ‘shit’ if his mouth was full of it.” In this case, you could take that quite literally. Assuming he still exhales on occasion, Trudeau won’t say “carbon dioxide,” even if his mouth is actually full of it.

There’s another little bugbear to all this. Since when did “carbon dioxide,” become simply “carbon?” We hear about “carbon pollution” and “carbon tax.” Did all the politicians and the media covering them become too lazy to use the proper term? Because one is most certainly not the other. Carbon is that black stuff, most easily identifiable after a fire. Carbon dioxide is usually found in gaseous form, floating around, making trees and wheat and grass grow. When Trudeau says “carbon pollution,” he is, in fact, talking about soot, not his intended meaning of carbon dioxide being bad.

But back to pollution: we should expect our leaders to be clear in all their dealings. If you are going to tell the world Canada is doing something, be clear about what it is. We are going to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, not carbon emissions. When you can’t even say the term, what are you really trying to say?

 

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online. He can be reached at brian.zinchuk@pipelineonline.ca.

PipelineOnline.ca strives to average two or more articles per day, Monday to Friday, and usually in the morning. Make checking us out as part of your daily routine, finding out what’s going on in Saskatchewan’s energy sector. 

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001