* Minister ends one-day trip without details on Keystone
* Energy official Oliver says Canada will do more on climate
By Patrick Rucker
WASHINGTON, Sept 9 Canada will do more in the
global fight against climate change as the nation develops its
vast oil sands resources and tries to win backing for the
controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the country's energy
minister said on Monday.
The proposed pipeline that would link oil sands fields in
western Canada to Gulf Coast refiners should come in tandem with
plans to curtail carbon dioxide pollution, said Canada's energy
minister Joe Oliver after a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary
Ernest Moniz .
Canada had to join the fight against climate change as a
global citizen and "to have the social license to continue to
develop our resources," Oliver told reporters at the Washington
That conciliatory tone might ease relations with the White
House, analysts said, but Canada will struggle getting the
pipeline approved now that President Barack Obama's supporters
have framed its rejection as essential to his environmental
"Climate change concerns are now at the heart of Obama's
Keystone thinking and that's a problem since Canada is not
living up to its own commitments on the issue," said Clare
Demerse of the Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank.
On Friday, Canadian media reported that Prime Minister
Stephen Harper had recently made an overture to President Obama
to win his backing on Keystone.
In a letter late last month, Harper suggested the two
nations, who are neighbors and global allies, should coordinate
their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for
Oliver would not comment on reports of the letter but he
said the Canadian government could already boast about its
efforts to curb emissions.
"We don't regard the proposed policies as concessions,"
Oliver said, referring to a plan to curb the use of coal in
power generation and an unfinished plan to ease emissions from
the oil and gas sector.
Early this year, officials said a detailed plan on limiting
pollution from the oil and gas industry would come this summer
but they have recently been noncommittal.
The Canadian government expects an increase in oil sands
production to more than triple emissions from that source over
2005 levels by 2020 - erasing predicted gains from reductions in
coal-fired power plants. (Full report:
In 2009, the United States and Canada each promised to bring
their greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels
But Canada is on track to miss that target, the government
says, and Oliver offered no concrete plans on how policymakers
would reach their goal.
"We intend to get there but we didn't say we're getting
there instantly," he said on a conference call after the press
In a climate policy speech in June, Obama said the $5.3
billion pipeline that would carry 830,000 barrels per day from
northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast would only be approved if it
"does not significantly exacerbate" climate change.
On past visits to Washington, Oliver has been an energetic
booster for the project in public appearances and private
meetings with lawmakers and other officials.
Oliver had a more subdued agenda on Monday with only a visit
with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on his agenda.
"I haven't been given a timeline on a (Keystone) decision,"
Oliver said, noting that the State Department is reviewing the
The ministers discussed possible points of collaboration
such as carbon capture and storage technology and electric grid
reliability, DOE spokesperson Lindsey Geisler said by e-mail.