By Darren Goode and Ben Geman - 09/09/10 09:32 AM EDT
Pelosi afterward said, “Tonight’s discussion confirmed that the United
States and Canada share a strong commitment to addressing climate change
and energy security. We share much more than a border, and with respect
to our energy future, we are in the same boat.” She said discussion
with the Canadian leaders, including Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and
Quebec Premier Jean Charest, was not just on oil sands but also
“aggressive research and development on renewable energy and
Stelmach dubbed it “an open and candid discussion and it was acknowledged that the development of oil sands had its challenges.” He added that he “impressed upon [Pelosi] that Alberta is taking the necessary steps to balance energy security with environmental responsibility and economic growth.” He pointed out that Alberta is the largest single suppler of crude oil to the U.S. and that oil sands could create more than 340,000 U.S. jobs between 2011 and 2015. “When you combine that with our government’s proven commitment to protect and maintain the integrity of Alberta’s air, land, water and wildlife, we have a very powerful and factual message.” he said.
Greens attack ahead of meeting
Green groups though highlighted their opposition to U.S. reliance on Canadian oil sands production in a letter to Pelosi and Markey ahead of Wednesday’s dinner.
The environmental groups — including Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection — are battling the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that would send oil from Alberta to Texas.
Greens launch new fuel efficiency campaign
The Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment America, Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups are launching a national campaign Thursday to promote the need for ramping up an average federal fuel efficiency standard to at least 60 miles per gallon by 2025.
The campaign includes a new website, online and print ad buys and public opinion research, as well as a grassroots effort. "We're ramping up a lot in the field," with events planned for the next couple of weeks, a Sierra Club spokeswoman told E2.
The groups are also sending a letter Thursday to President Obama and Ccing the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency. It comes ahead of the expected proposal by the end of this month of the first of two new DOT and EPA fuel-efficiency and carbon-pollution standards that would cover new cars and light trucks sold from 2017 through 2025 and first-time standards for freight and delivery trucks beginning in model year 2014. The agencies will offer up a proposed fuel-efficiency range for cars and light trucks this month, followed by a proposed new standard for heavier trucks in October.
Chu touts coal research funding with Sen. Rockefeller in West Virginia
Energy Secretary Steven Chu used a visit to coal-heavy West Virginia on Wednesday to tout carbon capture and storage research projects. It was the second time in two days that DOE has announced new stimulus-linked projects for the technology that Chu hopes to see commercially deployed within a decade.
DOE announced that up to $40 million will go toward a “Carbon Capture and Storage Simulation Initiative” led by the department’s National Energy Technology Lab in West Virginia, which will work with several other labs and universities.
“Using advanced modeling and simulation, researchers will develop science-based methods aimed at lowering the cost of carbon capture while reducing risks associated with its storage,” according to DOE. Chu announced the plan at the University of Charleston alongside Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
Chu and Rockefeller are both advocates of CCS as a way to enable use of coal without runaway greenhouse gas emissions. But Rockefeller is also a thorn in the Obama administration’s side on climate change – he’s the lead sponsor of legislation that would delay EPA emissions rules and has helped to thwart cap-and-trade plans.
Chu: Let engineers, not lobbyists, run the show
DOE robustly chronicled the event via Twitter. According to their dispatches, Chu won big applause when he declared, “Once your get engineers on a problem instead of lobbyists, miracles happen.”
He also touted the power of computer simulations to make progress on energy challenges, which is something of a theme for the Nobel Prize-wining scientist — he has often heralded the promise of computer modeling to create far more efficient buildings.
On Wednesday he noted that, “Airplanes are now designed by computer,” and energy tech needs to follow suit, according to DOE’s Twitter feed.
On tap Thursday: Climate activist McKibben’s campaign to re-install Carter’s White House solar panels
Bill McKibben — who is calling for a change in climate activists’ political strategy – is also on a quest to bring back White House solar panels that were installed under President Jimmy Carter and removed under President Ronald Reagan.
McKibben, the leader of the group 350.org, has been on a tour down the East Coast with one of the panels, and it hits Washington, D.C., on Thursday. There’s more info here.
Climate skeptics take note
The main claims by skeptics do not undermine the assertion by international and federal scientists that human-caused climate change is already happening and is a serious long-term threat, according to a new report by Columbia University researchers and commissioned by Deutsche Bank.
“Although the scientific community has already addressed the skeptic arguments in some detail, there is still a public perception that scientists have been dismissive of the skeptic viewpoint, so the intention in this report is to correct the balance,” according to a Deutsche Bank press release. “Simply put, the science shows us that climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases is a serious problem.” Due to lags in responding to this, there is also a “very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years,” according to the press release.
Is she in or she is out?
The buzz continues to grow surrounding Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski’s possible move to run as an independent and/or write-in candidate to retain her Senate seat in Alaska. “Senior Senate GOP leadership” aides told media organizations such as Fox News and Roll Call on Wednesday that she would run after losing the Republican primary to Tea Partier Joe Miller and as a result would be forced out of her Senate GOP leadership role. Murkowski is the fifth-ranking Senate Republican.