Canada’s science minister, Gary Goodyear, was in Washington recently talking up how Canadian research may usher in a era of “clean coal”. Ottawa is shoveling $1 billion for research related to the dubious concept of “carbon capture and storage”, targeted largely at the Alberta tar sands.
Goodyear implied that the Canadian brain trust could develop technologies to keep the carbon party going on both sides of the border without any of those nasty emissions.
Is this good news? Hardly.
It’s more like a drunk trying to talk a drinking buddy out of going to his first AA meeting.
America under the Obama Administration has been making the first bold steps to getting serious about climate change. A cap and trade bill is moving through Congress. The EPA listed carbon as a “pollutant” opening the door for regulation under the Clean Air Act. Obama has pledged billions in tax dollars and incentive to double renewable energy production in US in the next three years.
Obama has also dedicated 3% of American GDP to research – the highest level of government investment in science in American history. There is a constellation of green energy research programs being nurtured in the US designed to make America a green technology leader.
Obama’s motivations are clear: “The nation that leads the world in 21st-century clean energy will be the nation that leads in the 21st-century global economy,” the President said. “America can and must be that nation.”
Meanwhile Canada is still on the barstool wondering where her old pal went. Carbon emissions in Canada ballooned by 4% in 2007 alone and are now 26% above 1990 levels, with no end in site. Rather than deal with a root cause of extraction and consumption, Canada has instead committed to the technological pipe dream of carbon capture that has already been rejected by experts as a solution to tar sands emissions.