Canada Expects to Sell George W. Bush's Climate Plan to President Obama

Jim Prentice, Canada’s Environment Minister, lands in the US capital today as part of the Conservative government’s attempt to ride on Obama’s green coattails on climate change.

But he won’t get too far with the George W. Bush playbook on climate change he’ll be trying to sell the Obama administration.

The problem for Canada and the Harper government is that President Obama is actually planning to do something significant about the issue of climate change, while Canada’s Conservatives continue to spend their time trying to spin a plan that will see their country’s emissions continue to rise.

The Globe and Mail rightly points out this morning that during Obama’s visit to Canada two weeks ago:

“The President gave no indication during his trip to Canada that he was enthusiastic about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s idea for a bilateral agreement on climate change.”

No kidding. Obama and his team see right through Canada’s weak, ineffectual plan. After all it’s pretty much the plan set out by former President George W. Bush.

But for those in Washington who aren’t savvy to the Canadian plan, here’s a quick rundown of the Conservative government’s “spin-tionary” on climate change:

What they say:

The Canadian government says its committed to an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20% by 2020.

Reality check:

The Canadian government uses 2006 levels as the benchmark for reductions, instead of 1990 which is the internationally recognized benchmark for greenhouse gas emission reductions - and the one used by the vast majority of other countries. When you move the Conservative’s numbers back to 1990 levels, there is a rise in emissions of around 2% by 2020.

What they say:

The Canadian government promises an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas.

Reality check:

The Canadian government actually plans to measure greenhouse gas emission reductions through “carbon intensity” targets. This means that reductions are measured by the decrease in the  amount of greenhouse gas that is emitted per unit of energy - a standard that still allows total emissions to increase. For example, Suncor Energy, one of the largest companies in the Alberta oil sands, once announced that it had reduced its carbon intensity by 51 per cent between 1990 and 2006. However, thanks to huge increases in production - the company’s absolute emissions increased by 131 per cent over the same period.

These are the two very big fundamental differences between Canada’s plan and the plan being proposed by President Obama who has committed to reducing absolute US greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2020, based on 1990 levels. No PR spin or fancy tricks on the ledger for Obama, just a straighten commitment.

While many are arguing that Obama’s plan does not go far enough, his honesty is refreshing after years of baffle gab and delay from the former White House administration.

Good luck in Washington this week Minister Prentice, you’re going to need it if you plan on sticking George W. Bush’s greenhouse gas inaction plan under the noses of this new administration.

This month we’re giving away FREE copies Keith Farnish’s new book Times Up: an uncivilzed solution to a global crisis.

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s monthly book give-away.


Jim Prentice has been told (by us) that if the Conservatives adopted a true green policy, they would be a majority government far into the future. And so ill-conceived carbon industry interests trump even self interest. Leaves me shaking my head Jim.

Excellent post. The Harper Government’s continued desire to dodge, and distract a population that is generally in favour or hard targets never ceases to surprise me. It’s great to see them now faced with having to make some real commitments if they wish to work with the Obama administration. It’s a real shame however that they’re only going to do this when forced. They seem to be stuck in the past with oil filled goggles blocking their vision.  

I’ll be add you to my blogroll at 


Part of what worries me is that, as was pointed out at the time of Obama’s visit…

“Clean Energy Dialogue” or Carbon Capture Shellgame?
Thursday, Feb 19, 2009

… Harper is trying to sell Obama on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), not that different from the Clean Coal that Obama refers to from time to time.  Admittedly, he seems quite serious about doing something with regard to climate change, but if he believes in the mythical beasty that goes by the name “Clean Coal,” why not Harper’s CCS?

President Obama probably will throw all of Bush’s policies in the trash. And this pork filled “stimulus plan” will help no one…. those overprices FL homes are as good as gone….

Conservative are going to start having to think green or they will not be getting elected this is the way the world is going. Hopefully it’s not too little too late.


Hopefully it’s not too little too late.

I’m afraid it is, Brian. We’ve been diddling around too long with Tar Sands Harper at the helm, plowing on with our petroleum party. We’re screwed. Have a nice day Wink.

I think it is about time to start really paying attention to emissions and the enviroment… We have enought to worry about… Clean air should be a given…


Are some of these comments with links to businesses spam that is getting through your filters?  I’m confused as to why a person would comment on the President’s actions, and then leave a link for an online MBA program, or a yeast infection treatment.

Let us hope that Iggy and Stephan, having held Harper’s feet to the fire and agreed to the budget on the grounds that Harper and co give regular updates on progress made and results achieved, actually do live up to their threats. And let us hope that Harper actually makes good on his promises in order to keep his power. Personally, I have  very little confidence that he will even stick to the “cheat” figures that you describe here. 

Talking business, buying a property is a real good way to invest your money, which requires big money to start
while having a rental Property seems to be a better choice these days & can provide you a good income too

There is so  much waste and abuse in the government we need to clean this up and take care of the citizen as they should be. As our forefathers expect… Everyone should
work hard get land , and earn a living.



The whole climate idea was another way of embezzling funds from the masses. They were even thinking of adding a green tax, with all the other tax that we’re already have to pay, just extortion, in my opinion.  Robby @ Help For Anxiety