For years, the Harper government has claimed we can’t do anything on lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions until the Americans do something on it, so we can “harmonize” the plan with theirs. That was seen by many as an excuse of Harper’s to do nothing, because he knew the Bush administration would do nothing, and he calculated Obama’s administration would not be able to pass anything with Republican obstructionism in the Congress. He was correct on the second part, but Obama had a back-up plan, which apparently our Canadian government knew nothing about (when it’s been repeated for a few months that this is what would be done – I’ve seen it repeated over and over on US liberal blogs for months now), and now of course, when the US is implementing it, we don’t want to harmonize with them:
The Harper government has no plans to follow a U.S. initiative to slash the greenhouse gas emissions of big polluters — even though Ottawa has pledged to harmonize its climate policies with the Americans. The White House, stung by its failure to legislate a cap-and-trade bill before the recent congressional elections, has a Plan B set to be implemented within weeks. The new U.S. rules — passed by executive order — are aimed at curbing emissions from large industrial facilities like refineries and cement factories. They go into effect Jan. 2.
An associate director at the Pembina Institute said while the U.S. rules are weaker than a cap and trade system, they could be used to curtail emissions from Canada’s rapidly expanding oilsands…“That’s the source of the vast majority of the growth in our industrial greenhouse gas emissions in Canada,” Clare Demerse said of the oilpatch..”“How can you say you’re harmonized if you’re not even attempting to do this?”
Ah, the Tar Sands. (note I call them what they’ve been called for years and years, not the “Oil Sands”, which is what the Harper government and the oil companies started calling them in an attempt to de-stigmatize the name). Anything that remotely looks like an environmental regulation on them is immediately shot down – and that leads to the 2nd part of my blog title. Why, Canada’s even been going so far as to enlist US Oil Companies help by our diplomats to help kill any US environmental initatives that might affect the precious Tar Sands:
Canadian diplomats in Washington have quietly asked such oil-industry players as Exxon Mobil and BP to help “kill” U.S. global-warming policies in order to ensure that “the oil keeps a-flowing” from Alberta into the U.S. marketplace, Postmedia News has learned. In a series of newly released correspondence from Canada’s Washington embassy, the Canadian diplomats describe recommendations from Environment Canada to clean up the oilsands as “simply nutty,” proposing instead to “kill any interpretation” of U.S. energy legislation that would apply to the industry… Clare Demerse, the associate director of climate change at the Pembina Institute, said the government should remember that it works for Canadians, not the oil companies.
“A responsible government would see clean energy policies outside our borders as an opportunity to do better, not as a threat,” Demerse said. “Reading through these documents, I’m struck that no one at Foreign Affairs ever acknowledges that cutting greenhouse-gas pollution could be a good thing. Instead, the officials dismiss U.S. efforts to clean up the fuel they buy as ‘protectionism.’ “
That revelation that our government is quietly involved in trying to scuttle another country’s environmental initiatives by colluding with US Big Oil is probably a bigger revelation then anything Wikileaks might say about Canada this upcoming Thursday. There will be outrage here over Wikileaks revelations that the US is spying on it’s allies, but Canada hardly has any grounds for complaint, when we’re busy meddling behind the scenes in their domestic affairs on environmental policy.