By Ben Geman - 02/14/13 02:20 PM EST
“There has been progress. As I’ve said many times before, there needs to be more progress,” he said.
Jacobson “took pains” to note that he was not drawing a direct link to Keystone or suggesting stronger Canadian action on climate change will ensure U.S. approval of the project.
But the remarks nonetheless arrive amid speculation that potential White House approval of Keystone — a project green groups oppose due to carbon emissions from the oil sands — could be tethered to some kind of action on climate change.
Canadian officials, as they lobby the Obama administration to greenlight Keystone, are seeking to emphasize their commitment to battling global warming, and collaboration with the U.S. on climate.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, noted that both nations have already pledged to try and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent, from 2005 levels, by 2020.
Baird also talked up Canadian efforts to phase out “dirty” coal-fired power and other initiatives.
The State Department is leading the Obama administration review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, which would bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.