Backgrounder on 'clean energy dialogue'

Following today's media conference with President Obama and Prime Minister Harper, please note below a review of recent media coverage on the 'clean energy dialogue', the proposed 'clean energy agreement', and more on what a 'smart grid' might mean.

1. A 'CLEAN ENERGY DIALOGUE' ANNOUNCED

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) “Canada and the United States have announced plans to work on clean energy technology following meetings between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper today. The agreement to begin a ‘clean-energy dialogue’ was officially announced by the two leaders at a press conference this afternoon."

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) "The deal will see Ottawa and Washington work together on projects like carbon capture and storage and smart electricity grids, which send power using digital technology, the official said.”

2. A FOCUS ON CARBON SEQUESTRATION

(CBC, Feb. 19) "The pact involves carbon capturing, sequestration and the development of a so-called 'smart grid', or a more efficient power transmission and distribution system to save energy and reduce costs, White House officials had told Reuters earlier."

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) "Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said the two countries need to work on how to ‘commercialize’ and ‘make utilisable’ carbon sequestration technology because the burning of fossil fuels – Canada has the Alberta oilsands, the U.S. has coal – are vital to each countries’ economy."

3. CONTRASTING TARGETS

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) "Canada’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2020, or 330 megatonnes, according to the government’s 2007 climate change blueprint."

(CBC, Feb. 13) "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."

(CBC, Feb. 13) "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."

4. NEGOTIATIONS TO BEGIN ON EMISSIONS TARGETS

(Canadian Press, Feb. 18) "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."

(Globe and Mail, Feb. 19) "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."

5. A CONTINENTAL AGREEMENT WITH MEXICO

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) "Canadian officials have expressed interest in harmonizing regulations on greenhouse gas emissions with Washington and eventually establishing a continental cap-and-trade system."

(Toronto Star, Feb. 19) "The Canada-U.S. clean energy agreement is seen as the first step toward a North American climate change strategy, which would also likely include Mexico."

6. EXPANDING CLEAN POWER GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION CAPACITY

(CBC, Feb. 19) "The pact involves carbon capturing, sequestration and the development of a so-called 'smart grid', or a more efficient power transmission and distribution system to save energy and reduce costs, White House officials had told Reuters earlier."

7. INTERCONNECTING EASTERN AND WESTERN REGIONAL POWER GRIDS

(Canadian Press, Jan. 21) "Prentice said he still couldn't be sure how Canada will frame its proposal for a bi-national agreement with the United States.  But the plans could include joining forces to advance carbon capture and storage technology, expanding clean power generation and transmission capacity, and interconnecting the eastern and western regional power grids across the continent."

8. US MAY BUY MORE CANADIAN HYDRO

(Globe and Mail, Jan. 21) The proposal could include, "targets for so-called 'low-carbon' power plants - which, over time, might push the United States into buying more Canadian hydro to replace its dirtier coal-generated power...Sources say the Harper government also wants the U.S. to work jointly on energy plans to expand electricity transmission and link North America's East and West grids."

WEB-LINKS

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/590043

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/19/obama-visit.html

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/02/18/cgy-obama-harper-climate-green-deal.html

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/12/environment-policy.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090120/oil_deal_090120/20090120?hub=Politics

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090120.wclimate20/BNStory/politics/home