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By Samuel R. Avro on Feb 18, 2009 with no responses

Meeting Between Obama, Canadian PM to Focus on Energy, Environment

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U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Canada on Thursday and have his first meeting since becoming President, with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The Canadian PM has said that energy security and the environmental impact of Alberta’s massive oil sands operations will be priorities during his meeting with Obama.

In an interview on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) Obama expressed his concern about the environmental impact of the Alberta oil sands.

“What we know is that oil sands creates a big carbon footprint. So the dilemma that Canada faces, the United States faces, and China and the entire world faces is how do we obtain the energy that we need to grow our economies in a way that is not rapidly accelerating climate change,” he said.

Obama said that he would like to worth with the Canadian government toward reducing the carbon footprint and emissions of both the U.S. coal industry and Canada’s tar sand industries.

“I think to the extent that Canada and the United States can collaborate on ways that we can sequester carbon, capture greenhouse gases before they’re emitted into the atmosphere, that’s going to be good for everybody,” he said.

The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association and U.S. Renewable Fuels Association released a joint statement applauding the meeting’s agenda.

“We are pleased that in both our countries there is a strong policy recognition of the need to substitute cleaner, renewable fuels for oil imports and other finite hydrocarbons.”

The Canadian Parliament last year passed a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring gasoline sold in Canada to contain an average of 5% renewable content, including ethanol, and 2% renewable content, including biodiesel, in the diesel supply.

“Renewable fuels provide a major source of economic opportunity. New green jobs will be created. Expanded production will equal increased industrial and commercial development. Perhaps most excitingly, renewable fuels will spark economic hope for our farm families and forestry sector – which will provide the feedstocks for new fuels that we harvest, rather than extract,” the statement continued.

The hope is that a push toward producing more renewable fuels will also have a positive effect on the environment.

“In addition, renewable fuels can help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, a leading contributor to climate change,” they said.