By Dale Marshall, Climate Change Policy Analyst

I would imagine that the atmosphere in the room was cooler than the planet's when Pipelines Minister Jim Prentice met with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty yesterday. Minister Prentice was there to sell his yet-to-be-unveiled greenhouse gas strategy to regulate emissions from heavy industry (yes, every new minister gets to produce one).

The reason for the expected cool reception is that, according to industry insiders who have also met with the minister, the plan favours Alberta over Ontario and Quebec. That's because the greenhouse gas plan allegedly puts a hard cap on Canada's manufacturing and electricity sectors but lets the tar sands off the hook with an intensity-based approach that allows their emissions to continue to rise. So if the government's emission reductions targets are to be met—and that is a sizable "if"—other sectors and provinces have to make up the slack created by loopholes for Alberta's tar sands.

Minister Prentice has met with several premiers and industry lobbyists over the past few weeks. (Environmental groups got no response from their meeting request.) According to the industry spokesperson, "He's getting a bad reaction ...everywhere but in Alberta and Saskatchewan."

The minister insisted yesterday that the plan was "fair and balanced." Using the tag line from Fox News, the most one-sided news organization I know of, doesn't reassure.

[Originally posted on Vancouver Sun — Community of Interest]

September 10, 2009

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