Reports are just starting to trickle out that Canada is trying out a new approach to Climate Change. There will be no emission caps for the oil sands development, it has been said, but caps will be restrictive on all other industries.
While the Canadian government has not made its new policy official yet, reports have it that Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice is pitching the new plan to businesses and provincial governments. Those reports say that the government will allow emissions from the oil patch while all other businesses, industry and residents will face tough restrictions. The proposed plan is being criticized as being "two-tiered" and one critic has said that the plan "jeopardizes" the economy of the rest of Canada. Canadian exports of mineral fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), have been the largest source of carbon emissions in Canada.
While details about the new climate plan being pushed by Prentice are short, Prentice has shown no signs that Canada will step up to the plate in terms of taking responsibility for Canada's carbon emissions. The Harper government has faced a great deal of criticism in recent years for not endorsing Kyoto or for adopting tough actions on climate change.
In a speech given in June, Prentice did not hesitate to point the finger at developing economies as being responsible for producing the majority of the world's carbon emissions. This view has not stopped Canada from encouraging investments in the oil sands by those emerging economies. PetroChina recently invested nearly $2 billion Canadian into the Athabaska Oil Sands Corporation, acquiring a 60% interest. Investments like this one will ensure that Canada will have a stake in China's crude oil market. Emerging economies in countries such as China and India are key to Canada's continued success in the extraction of oil from the oil sands.
Currently, the United States is one of Canada's biggest crude oil customers, and work should begin soon on a pipeline that will send 450,000 barrels of oil a day south to US refineries. Canada sends almost 2 billion barrels of oil a day to the US, with the majority of that oil coming from the oil sands.
G8 leaders agreed in July to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
The United Nation's Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon spent two days touring the Arctic to get a personal feel for the effects of climate change. He said "Unless we take urgent action to stem this trend, we maybe virtually ice-free by 2037, even by 2030. We have a moral political responsibility for our future and for the whole of humanity, for even the future of our planet. This Arctic is the place where this global warming is happening much faster than any other region in the world."
World leaders are meeting in Copenhagen this December to discuss Climate Change.