OTTAWA Feb 14 Canada said on Thursday it was
close to unveiling long-delayed rules on greenhouse gas
emissions from the oil sands, a move that could help persuade
U.S. skeptics that Ottawa is serious about curbing climate
High-profile protesters, citing what they say is Canada's
poor green record, want President Barack Obama to block
TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from
the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf Coast.
Obama made clear in his State of the Union speech this week
that he wanted to focus on climate change, and David Jacobson,
U.S. ambassador in Ottawa, said Canada needed to do more to curb
The Conservative government, which together with the
province of Alberta insists it serious about tackling global
warming, has repeatedly delayed the release of proposed rules to
curb emissions from the oil and gas sector.
"We're going to be moving on that and that, I think, will
send a signal not only to the Americans but to the world that
we're very serious about this issue," Natural Resources Minister
Joe Oliver told reporters.
Minutes earlier, Environment Minister Peter Kent told the
House of Commons that "we are now well into, and very close to
finalizing, regulations for the oil and gas sector". He did not
Canada is the biggest supplier of energy to the United
States and sits on the world's third-largest reserves of crude.
Much of it is in the clay-like tar sands of Alberta and needs
large amounts of energy to extract.
Canada says it will cut output of greenhouse gases by 17
percent of 2005 levels by 2020, a goal that even Kent admits
cannot be reached unless the government and the energy industry
Environmentalists are skeptical about how serious Ottawa
really is about clamping down on the energy sector, given the
Conservatives' close ties with the industry and their
determination to increase exports of oil and gas.
U.S. officials say a final decision on Keystone is unlikely
before the middle of the year. Jacobson told reporters in
Toronto on Thursday that his comments about Canada doing more on
climate change were not a threat.
The Globe and Mail newspaper, noting that the United States
is the world's second largest producer of greenhouse gases, said
"it feels like Canada has been singled out as a convenient
example of President Obama's new determination on climate
change. But the potential damage to Canada is out of proportion
with a message that verges on double-talk."