Monday, March 02, 2009

The Environment Minister goes to Washington and the tarsands don't come up

"Prentice sits down for face-to-face with John Kerry." That was apparently the big highlight of Jimmy P's first day in Washington because really, there's not much media coverage out there. Kind of a bust on that front. But surprise, surprise, during said meeting the tarsands didn't come up. Oddly enough, just a neat and clean soundbite of a topic was on the agenda:
...Prentice said later, the two men discussed "the expansion of clean energy research and the deployment of clean energy technology."
Sounds very symmetrical and clinical, Mr. Prentice. And odd, very odd that the elephant in the room just doesn't get addressed. Whatever you say.

Day two (yes, there's more tomorrow) should be more, well, interesting for Harper's Most Competent Cabinet Minister Ever:
There's little doubt, however, that the tarsands will come up in Prentice's discussions Tuesday with Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Todd Stern, the president's special envoy on climate change and Lisa Jackson, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Obama administration is committed to combatting global warming and ending American's dependence on overseas oil.

The U.S. is working on ways to cut back on carbon emissions from coal-burning thermal electricity plants in its own backyard. But with Canada the biggest supplier of energy to the United States, the pressure is on for Ottawa to do something about the oilsands.

Obama's first budget, announced last week, includes caps for greenhouse gas emissions, something that's never been proposed by the Harper government.
Also noted today, the Harper gang is still right on track in their courageous "wait and see" approach to the environment:
Faced with a new U.S. administration that seems determined to act, Ottawa says it is prepared to look at the idea of a North American cap and trade agreement.

"The first thing that has to happen, however, is that the United States has to land with their own domestic policy. It's by no means clear how this will emerge from Congress over the course of the next year," Prentice said. (emphasis added)
No, it isn't, exactly. Why don't you just keep on waiting and seeing then "over the course of the next year?" Is that the latest plan? Tick, tock, tick tock...

But you sure do look swell standing next to John Kerry. Well done.

Update (Tuesday a.m.): The oil sands did come up in the streets, however:
Environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr., one of the rally leaders, called the Alberta oil sands industry "the biggest blight on Canada's reputation today.

"I love Canada and I've spent a lot of time in northern Alberta – and it's a sad thing for me," said Kennedy. "From a global warming perspective the oil sands produce three times the amount of carbon of conventional fuels.

"Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of faith in the Canadian government to mount a reversal. I don't believe (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper and Barack Obama are on the same page."

Earlier yesterday, native Canadian groups chanted "Stop tar sands now" outside John Kerry's office as Prentice met inside with the prominent Democratic senator.