Prentice in DC today to push energy-environment accord

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "Canadian federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice lands in Washington today to pursue the Canada-U.S. co-operation on energy and the environment that was promised when the new President visited Ottawa two weeks ago. In meetings with top administration officials, Mr. Prentice will push Canada's proposal for a continental system of emission caps and market-based permit trading that would align Canada's regulatory system with that of our largest trading partner."

OBAMA'S BUDGET PLANS SWEEPING EMISSIONS RULES

"But Mr. Obama's budget, released last week, makes it clear he is planning far more sweeping emissions rules than Ottawa's plan to impose regulations on the largest industrial emitters. And the President gave no indication during his trip to Canada that he was enthusiastic about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's idea for a bilateral agreement on climate change."

OBAMA PLANS EMISSIONS CAP BY 2012

"Mr. Obama's budget reflects his ambitious plan to cap greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, and to require fossil-fuel users to purchase permits to emit any carbon dioxide that results from the combustion of coal, oil or natural gas. The budget projected the emission allowances would raise $645-billion (U.S.) over seven years."

HARPER GOVERNMENT FAVOURS INTENSITY TARGETS RATHER THAN HARD CAPS

"Though details have not been released, the U.S. system would have a far broader reach than Canada's approach. Ottawa plans to set limits only for the largest industrial emitters, such as power plants, refineries, major oil developments and large manufacturers and resource processors. The federal regulations would be based on 'intensity targets,' which regulate emissions per unit of production, rather than 'hard caps,' which provide absolute limits."

OBAMA FAVOURS EMISSIONS CAP FOR END USERS TOO

"As well, the Canadian federal effort would not cap emissions by end users of the fuel, which is where most emissions occur. Instead, Ottawa is relying on incentives, tax breaks and higher efficiency standards to encourage people to reduce their energy consumption. Mr. Obama and the leading Democrats in Congress favour a plan that would impose hard caps. It would not only force producers to limit their own emissions, but require that, at some point in the production chain, processors such as refiners account for the emissions that would result from the final fuel use by households and businesses."

PRENTICE DOES NOT PLAN TO MEET WITH WAXMAN

The Calgary Sun adds, "There were no initial plans to meet with Henry Waxman, the Democratic congressman from California who is chairman of the House energy and commerce committee." Waxman was the champion of the dirty oil legislation in the US that is aimed at preventing the US government from purchasing tar sands oil.

FIRST NATIONS PROTEST IN DC THIS MORNING

A media release issued this morning by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) states, "Youth representing Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Lubicon Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipweyan First Nation hand-delivered a letter to Senator John Kerry at his office today while supporters rallied outside. The letter highlighted concern that Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice, expected to meet with Senator Kerry on energy issues, would misrepresent the disastrous environmental and human rights record of the tar sands to US Congressional leaders."

THE RAN AND IEN LETTER TO SENATOR KERRY

The letter to Senator Kerry says, "Dangerous toxic chemicals used in the extraction of tar sands are contaminating water systems stretching all the way to the arctic basin and adversely affecting communities along the way including Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation."

JOINT LETTER SIGNED BY THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS

Another letter signed by numerous non-governmental organizations - including the Council of Canadians - will also be delivered during Prentice's visit to Washington. More on that soon.

WEB-LINKS

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090302.wrclimate02/BNStory/energy/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090302.wrclimate02

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/National/2009/03/02/8584566-sun.html