Wednesday, March 04, 2009

About that co-ordination of U.S.-Canada carbon reduction projects...

The big result of "Environment" Minister Prentice's trip, it seems, was to announce that the moneys the U.S. and Canada are respectively spending on environmental technologies...will be co-ordinated and that there will be no duplication. And that there will be working groups. Restrain your excitement. It doesn't appear to be anything new beyond what was announced during the Obama visit.

So, co-ordination and no duplication. Sounds like it could also mean separate and apart. Because the written agreement expressing joint co-ordination of research on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) doesn't cover the oil sands, just coal-fired plants. The Americans are spending $3.4 billion on CCS research for coal plants, Canada is spending $1 billion ($4 billion, including the provinces), presumably for CCS largely in relation to the oil sands. Prentice, however, said yesterday that Canada is "moving forward on both fronts."
"The focus of the clean-energy dialogue has been to ensure that we collaborate on those investments, that we have the best information available, that we don't duplicate investments and, frankly, that we make sure that the investments that are made are appropriate and advantageous for both carbon capture and storage in the context of the oilsands, as well as in thermal electricity," Prentice said.

"This is a technology that has common application. It's also technology that has been proceeding apace in the context of hydrocarbon industry in Western Canada, in particular, but it holds a promise for thermal coal application." (emphasis added)
The bottom line seems to be that the CCS research that is supposedly being done jointly by Canada and the U.S., a major part of this "Clean Energy Dialogue," pertains to coal plants, not the oil sands. There, it appears we are on our own.