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Canada-US carbon capture deal anticipated during Obama visit

The Canadian Press is reporting that, “Canada and the United States appear set to take an initial step towards a North American climate-change treaty Thursday during President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa.”

“One American official said the leaders are expected to take a modest first step Thursday by announcing a clean-technology deal that would boost the practice of carbon capture and storage.”

“Carbon sequestration is an emerging, but still-embryonic technology that involves harnessing emissions and pumping them deep into the soil. The Canadian government has provided $375 million to help develop the technology in recent years, and also promised a five-year, $1-billion green technology fund in the recent budget.”

“Critics question the technology itself — noting that the process burns additional energy while little is known about either the long-term impact on the soil or on the potential for leakage.”

Council of Canadians energy campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has pointed out, “The Harper and Albertan governments have touted carbon capture and storage as a means to green the tar sands and justify ongoing expansion. Carbon capture and storage has been argued by critics as largely unproven and untested. In the case of Alberta’s tar sands, carbon capture and storage has limited applicability. An Alberta-Canada EcoEnergy Task Force released a report in January 2008 that says only a small percentage of CO2 emitted from the tar sands is ‘capturable.’”

NEGOTIATIONS WOULD THEN START ON EMISSION TARGETS “That deeper integration (of a so-called ‘clean energy’ deal) would be a precursor to the loftier goal of North America-wide greenhouse gas targets — something that would require extensive negotiations.”

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, “One source said the Prime Minister and the President may end up agreeing to send the issues to a pair of working groups and have them report back after six or nine months.”

The full Canadian Press article is at