Voters in Australia and Canada have spoken against climate policies at polling places. BHP shareholders recently voted against a company policy to remove itself from pro-coal organizations at the annual general meeting; ironically BHP is the largest coal producer in Australia. The green movement may have ignited the protests that have gripped Chile and other parts of Latin America. Chile raised its prices for mass transit and, like the Yellow Vests in France, people took to the streets.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau barely won re-election. Liberals lost big in Alberta, where coal and oil sands are mined, and struggled in other mining-friendly districts such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In fact, conservatives won all of Saskatchewan. A quiet majority spoke out against carbon taxes that threatened jobs in the western provinces and raised the cost of living in metropolitan areas. The energy industry is vital to Canada and federal policies toward Canadian oil have divided the nation.
If one Googles Trudeau, climate and election, however, dozens of stories appear from climate activist organizations claiming victory in the recent election. While this campaign of disinformation engenders the hapless who are wealthy or cannot think critically, it’s falling flat with people who need jobs and those trying to make ends meet. Society is infatuated with the green movement until they are asked to pay for it.
At the end of last month, climate activists decided to protest the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne. The police were well-prepared for this small group of misinformed people, but a sympathetic media blew it out of proportion and gave them a voice. Using Little Red Riding Hood as an analogy in his opening remarks to the IMARC conference, Matt Canavan, minister for Resources and Northern Australia, explained that those in the green activist movement so often present themselves as the Big Bad Wolf. “They make threats, they inflate their support base and they build themselves up to be scary to all,” Canavan said. “However, when it comes to actually blowing something over they are so often shown to be more huff than puff. This year’s federal election was just another example. We were told it was going to be the climate change election. That action on reducing emissions was the most important issue for voters. These things were proven wrong. People want jobs. People want to improve the environment, but they don’t think we should do so at any cost.”
The campaigns have begun for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Interestingly, the topic of climate change among the liberal challengers has not been as high a priority as one would think. In fact, the CNN moderators of the last debate didn’t address climate change during two hours of discourse. Do they already suspect it’s not a winning platform with voters?
E&MJ supports the safe, responsible extraction and use of resources and sound environmental policies. Mining companies and society in general, however, cannot allow themselves to be held hostage by a handful of environmental activists. Society has shown it’s receptive to hearing the other side of the story and we need to tell it at both the grassroots and national level.