EDMONTON - Finding a way to limit carbon emissions will be a major issue for Canada-U.S. relations, and the two countries can’t be too far apart in their policies, says U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson.
Putting a price on carbon is one way to slow down greenhouse gas emissions but the price set by either country could influence where investment decisions are made, Jacobson told The Journal’s editorial board Wednesday.
It’s important that national policies do not give one country a competitive advantage, he said, “so people won’t make economic decisions based on the differences.”
“You don’t want to have a race to the bottom.”
While the issue of greenhouse gas emissions is “the single hardest issue” for the two countries to work through, Jacobson said he’s confident in the end the national policies will work in “sync.” President Barack Obama’s administration will not bring proposals forward this term, he said.
Meanwhile, the joint effort to establish a North American trade and security perimeter, launched in February, is moving ahead on areas where agreement will be more easily found, such as auto manufacturing, food and agriculture, he said.
The new approach to the Canada-U.S. border is not about tinkering but about “reimagining the border” and creating change “for a generation,” he said.
As for the proposed Keystone pipeline — which the Alberta government is pushing for — Jacobson said the review process has been “fair and careful.”
“I can’t guess at the outcome. A decision will be made by the end of the year,” he said.
Keystone is planned to take oilsands bitumen from Fort McMurray to refineries in Texas.
There will likely be other issues dealing with cross-border pipelines or electricity transmission in the future, said Jacobson.
“One of the issues is the infrastructure to get energy from where it is produced to where it is needed,” and that includes oil, natural gas and electricity, said Jacobson, adding that Canada has abundant supplies of hydro power.
Jacobson also said, after visiting Canada’s North recently, he’s convinced the Arctic must be dealt with through co-operation between the two countries.
Jacobson declined to say whether that might include joint Canada-U.S. agencies operating in Canada’s North. “I won’t get into the details of governance,” he said.
“The way for all of us to succeed in the Arctic is through co-operation.”
Read more on the ambassador's blog