COPENHAGEN -- At a small booth in the Copenhagen conference centre, a colourful scoreboard shows Canada has already racked up two Fossil Awards -- sardonic nods to countries judged by a coalition of environmental groups to have performed the worst during any given day of climate negotiations.
On Thursday, on the other end of the Copenhagen's Bella Centre, there was a different type of discussion on an issue where Canada actually earns faint praise -- or at the very least, is ignored: carbon capture and storage (CCS).
At a discussion sponsored by the U.S. delegation, major federal and Alberta commitments totalling $3.3 billion were mentioned in a presentation by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as one of the highest of any nation. The Cenovus project in Weyburn, Sask., which sees CO2 from a coal-gasification plant in Beulah, N.D. transported and pumped underground, was pictured in a slide show.
However, the bulk of the discussions focused on projects in the U.S., Europe and Australia. Canada was also grouped in with countries that have a "piecemeal framework" for CCS as opposed to an overarching national plan.
CCS isn't popular among many international environmentalists in Copenhagen who argue Canada and European countries are relying too heavily on the technology to meet emissions reduction targets.
In Canada, politicians treat CCS like a silver bullet to climate change, said Graham Saul, executive director of the Canadian arm of the Climate Action Network -- the umbrella group that distributes the Fossils. "It's clearly not," Saul said.
The first four days of the conference have seen Canada blasted by environmental groups for the country's climate change policies, including not meeting Kyoto Protocol targets, the increasing oilsands emissions, and not committing as much as other countries to support renewable power sources.
On Thursday, another debate that could have massive ramifications for Canada flared when UN climate chief Yvo de Boer reiterated his belief the Kyoto Protocol must live on.
That position doesn't sit well with Canada, which will not meet its Kyoto targets. The talks in Copenhagen are meant to set a new international climate change plan following the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, in 2012.
But the legal architecture for that future plan is a singularly divisive issue. Poorer nations say developed countries have made their fortunes burning fossil fuels and owe a debt to the developing economies. They prefer a continuation of Kyoto with deep emissions cuts for the rich and a new, less-binding accord for the poor.
However, rich countries such as Canada and the U.S. don't want Kyoto to continue, preferring a single United Nations pact to succeed Kyoto.
-- Canwest News Service