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Some details emerge on the Canada-US climate pact

The Globe and Mail has reported that, “Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has called for a joint Canada-U.S. pact on greenhouse-gas emissions and energy security, in part to ensure that the oil sands are not hit by punishing U.S. regulations under Mr. Obama’s environment-conscious administration.”

Yesterday Environment Minister Jim Prentice spoke of this plan to the House of Commons environment committee.

CBC reports that, “That plan would impose regulations — caps — on industries in selected sectors, forcing them to reduce their emissions intensity. If their emissions were over the target, they could buy domestic offsets or credits from other companies whose emissions were below target.”

The Globe has reported that, “Mr. Prentice insisted that he’s not trying to carve out an exemption for the oil sands. But he said he wants Canada’s oil industry to get the same kind of credit for efforts to make the transition to less-polluting production that the U.S. will have to give to its coal-burning power plants.”

The Globe adds that, “Mr. Prentice’s comments suggest that Canada wants the oil sands in Alberta to get some reduction of that burden in exchange for spending on technology aimed at reducing emissions, even before it succeeds in actually slashing the pollution. That would be part of an agreement that would provide for similar treatment for coal-burning power plants in the U.S.”

CBC notes that, “U.S. President Barack Obama favours an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

CBC reports that, “The Tories goal has been to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020. The plan also calls on cutting emissions by 60 per cent to 70 per cent by 2050.”

They add that, “The Obama administration has said its plan is to get U.S. emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. As well, the administration is looking to cut overall emissions 80 per cent by 2050.”

The Council of Canadians will be developing a critical analysis of this proposed pact as further details come to light. It has been reported that formal negotiations on this pact will begin with President Obama’s visit to Canada on February 19.