Ottawa Obamarama Update: Techno-fixes for Carbon?
EST 1545: Transcript of key portions of the response to the Radio Canada question regarding energy policy. Are they both hanging their hats on techno-fixes and carbon capture? We apologise for the SCREAMING.
Prime Minister Harper:
TODAY WE’RE ESTABLISHING A VERY IMPORTANT DIALOGUE ON STRATEGIES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY. THE PRESIDENT AND HIS ADMINISTRATION ARE MAKING SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS IN THIS REGARD AND WE ARE DOING THE SAME.
BOTH OF OUR GOVERNMENTS ARE MAKING LARGE INVESTMENTS IN THINGS SUCH AS CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE AND OTHER NEW TECHNOLOGIES DESIGNED TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE. WE SHARE OUR DOCUMENT ON THIS CLEAN ENERGY DIALOGUE, TALKS ABOUT THINGS WE CAN DO TOGETHER TO IMPROVE THE ELECTRICITY GRID IN NORTH AMERICA, THERE’S ALL KINDS OF THINGS WE CAN DO TOGETHER INDEPENDENT OF ANY AMERICAN REGULATORY APPROACH ON CLIMATE CHANGE. WE WILL BE WATCHING WHAT THE UNITED STATES DOES WITH A LOT OF -- WITH A LOT OF INTEREST FOR THE OBVIOUS REASONS THAT AS WE ALL KNOW THAT CANADA HAS HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE REGULATORY REGIME ALONE IN THE CONTEXT OF AN INTEGRATED CONTINENTAL ECONOMY.
I THINK THAT THE CLEAN ENERGY DIALOGUE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY BEGINNING BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THERE ARE NO SILVER BULLETS TO SOLVE ALL OF OUR ENERGY PROBLEMS. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY A WHOLE RANGE OF THINGS AND THAT’S WHY SHARING TECHNOLOGY AND SHARING IDEAS AND SHARING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IS SO IMPORTANT. HERE IN CANADA YOU HAVE THE ISSUE OF THE OILSANDS, IN THE UNITED STATES WE HAVE ISSUES AROUND COAL, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT ARE EXTRAORDINARILY PLENTIFUL AND RUNS A LOT OF OUR POWER PLANTS AND IF WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO CAPTURE THE CARBON THAT WOULD MAKE AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE IN HOW WE OPERATE. RIGHT NOW THE TECHNOLOGIES ARE AT LEAST NOT COST EFFECTIVE. AND SO MY EXPECTATION IS THAT THIS CLEAN ENERGY DIALOGUE WILL MOVE US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, WE’RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS OVERNIGHT AS PRIME MINISTER INDICATED.
EST 1505 Question From Radio Canada in French:
How far will you go to harmonize and reconcile your energy and climate change policies?
Harper: Too soon to talk about harmonization, but we talked about technology and investment. I am optimistic that we now have a partner that will provide leadership to the world on the climate change issue.
Obama: On both sides of the border we can make our economies more energy efficient and enhancing our energy security. But increasingly we have to take into account that the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas is going to have impact on all of us.
In Canada you have the issue of the oil sands; in the United States we have the issue of coal. If we could figure out capturing carbon then it would make a big difference. We are not going to solve this overnight.
-both leaders are stressing science and technological fixes.
14: 55 President Obama's first line in his speech:
It's a great pleasure to be here in Iowa.
EST 1444: They are talking in private right now, but no doubt the Canadian Prime Minister is playing very nice; nobody wants a repeat of April, 1965. Prime Minister Pearson made a speech at Temple University where he voice support for a settlement to the Viet Nam War. The next day he had a meeting with Lyndon Johnson, who grabbed him by the lapels and shouted:
"Don't you come into my living room and piss on my rug."
Relations between the countries remained strained for a decade.
EST 1414: TreeHugger loves promoting local and seasonal food; over at Planet Green Kelly has lots of recipes for winter root vegetables right out of the cellar. It appears that the lunch menu in Ottawa is, if not local, very seasonal, with winter root vegetables and winter mushrooms, Nunavut arctic char and Pacific Coast Tuna, no doubt all sustainably harvested.
Early word is that Canada and the United States will announce plans to "work on clean energy" today during President Obama's six hour visit. According to the Star,
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.
The plan is seen as a precursor to a harmonized North American climate change strategy.
Head of State Michaelle Jean got her 15 minutes at the airport before the Obamavan hit the Ottawa streets. The first black president of the United States and Canada's first black Governor General appeared to hit it off.
At the airport on the way out of town, the President meets Leader of the Opposition (and likely next Prime Minister) Michael Ignatieff, who spent the last thirty years teaching and writing at Oxford and Harvard, where he became buddies with Obama economic advisor Larry Summers.
Iggy is evidently going to cover "common concerns about energy issues, from improving the shared electricity grid to constructing natural gas pipelines that can easily flow fuel across the border.
"There's so much that we can do together if we invest in the relationship, and they invest in the relationship. This is a day to fire Mr. Obama up with the excitement of collaborating with a good neighbour and a good friend."
Then it is home in time for Dinner. There will evidently be no time for the traditional skate on the Rideau Canal.
UPDATE: Greenpeace was out in force, occupying Ottawa bridges.