Canada seeks climate change agreement with U.S.
Canada hopes to coordinate its environment plan with the United States and tackle climate change within a North America-wide framework, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said on Thursday.
"At this point in history there is an enormous opportunity to work together as North Americans, to achieve real focused and concerted progress on the environment ..." Prentice told reporters after a hearing at the House of Commons environment committee.
"Under a more open-minded administration," an agreement could be reached on a cap-and-trade system, Prentice said.
A cap-and-trade system would cap industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, and allow companies whose emissions were above target to buy credits from those below target, and vice versa.
Canada's Conservative government had agreed with former president George W. Bush's administration that the Kyoto protocol targets were unrealistic. It had introduced a "Made-in-Canada" plan, promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020. The plan also calls for cutting emissions by 60 percent to 70 percent by 2050.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper had also resisted the concept of the cap-and-trade system.
However, "the election of President Obama presents, I think, a great opportunity for us to work together," Prentice told reporters a week ahead of the summit in Ottawa between Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
U.S. President Barack Obama favors an economy-wide cap-and- trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Obama administration has said its plan is to get U.S. emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. As well, the administration is looking to cut overall emissions by 80 percent by 2050, Xinhua reported.