Cablegate: Canada and Climate Change: Ideas for Moving To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: Canadian Minister of Environment, Stephane Dion,
and his staff are in the process of formulating their plans
for COP-11 and post-Kyoto cooperation on climate change.
Their current thinking is to engage international experts and
key foreign governments in a dialog leading up to COP-11 in
Montreal late this year. They plan to focus the dialog on
four key issue areas: 1) how to achieve deep reductions in
greenhouse gases (GHG) while maintaining strong economic
growth; 2) how to deploy currently available technologies
broadly and to develop new technologies to cut GHG emissions;
3) how to ensure/encourage efficient markets for GHG trading;
and 4) how to build effective adaptation strategies. Dion
hopes that his dialog will help shape some nascent ideas on
how to engage the U.S. and leading developing countries in
future international climate change arrangements. Canada may
host a climate change technology fair in conjunction with
COP-11 to highlight some promising technologies, and would
like to encourage participation by U.S. companies. Post
believes that Dion's initiative on climate change offers an
opportunity for senior U.S. officials to engage Dion and
Canadian counterparts in the coming months End Summary.

2. ESTH Counselor met on 3/23 with Jean Boutet, Special
Assistant to Canadian Minister of Environment, Stephane Dion,
to discuss GOC thinking on climate change issues in the
run-up to COP-11 in Montreal later this year. Boutet said
that the dates of the meeting seem to be set for November
28-December 9, with the second week set aside for ministerial
level meetings. He noted that the GOC is thinking of
organizing a climate change technology fair to coincide with
the COP. Boutet said that he would let us know when a final
decision on that idea had been made, but indicated that the
GOC would be very interested in participation by U.S. firms.
He asked if the USG could help to facilitate that
participation if the GOC decides to go ahead with the
technology fair. He recognized the need for a quick decision
to allow time for planning by possible participants. Boutet
said the GOC is expecting 10,000 international participants
for COP-11, an audience of officials and experts that should
be an attraction for companies with new or innovative

3. In the time remaining before COP-11, Minister Dion intends
to consult widely with international climate change experts
and foreign governments to get a good overview of the
international views. Prior to assuming the chairmanship of
the COP, Dion's consultations would be informal, but once he
assumes the chair, he is considering the use of a group of
twenty or so countries for ongoing discussions. Boutet
didn't mention all the candidate countries for this advisory
group, but indicated that the U.S. would certainly be a part
of it. Other countries he discussed included China, India,
Argentina, Brazil and Iran. He specifically asked if the
lack of bilateral relations between Iran and the U.S. would
make Iran's participation problematic for the U.S.

4. According to Boutet, Dion's dialog with international
experts and foreign governments will focus on four key lines
of inquiry: 1) how to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse
gases (GHG) while maintaining strong economic growth; 2) how
to deploy currently available technologies broadly and to
develop new technologies to cut GHG emissions; 3) how to
ensure/encourage efficient markets for GHG trading; and 4)
how to build effective adaptation strategies. He told ESTH
Counselor that Dion is particularly interested in clean coal
and renewable energy technologies.

5. Boutet said that the GOC still expects to announce its
domestic Kyoto implementation plan for "large final emitters"
in a matter of weeks, not months. The large final emitters
plan will be based on sectoral GHG intensity targets. (A
voluntary agreement with auto manufacturers is also close to
announcement -- see reftel.) He suggested that Minister Dion
is considering whether this approach might offer some basis
for future international arrangements on climate change, if
for example, there were world-wide sectoral targets on the
use of best available technology in key sectors. Boutet
noted that China, India and other large developing countries
would continue to build new coal power plants, for example.
But the impact of the continued use of coal would be
mitigated if those countries could be persuaded to use the
most GHG efficient technologies in building new or
refurbishing old plants. The same would hold true for other
key sectors, such as cement, aluminum, etc.

6. Minister Dion's ideas for moving beyond Kyoto
internationally are, according to Boutet, an extension of his
domestic emphasis on the relationship between strong and
sustainable economic growth. Dion sees GHG intensity targets
as an effective means of achieving deep reductions in overall
GHG emissions. Dion recently heard from his UK counterparts
that their cap-and-trade system has also been highly
effective. Boutet expressed enthusiasm for plans by the
Quebec provincial government to greatly expand the use of
wind power, particularly in conjunction with existing
hydro-electric plants. Wind and hydro power, he explained,
are highly complementary and very efficient when used in
tandem. He said that the wind maps published by the GOC last
year had spurred considerable interest in wind generation,
especially in Quebec and Manitoba.

7. Comment: It is evident that Minister Dion would like
close cooperation and dialogue with the U.S. in the run-up to
COP-11 and as he assumes the chair for the year following the
Montreal meeting. Boutet noted that Dion had met with CEQ
Chairman Connaughton and U/S Dobriansky recently at G-8
meetings in London and that the Minister had invited them to
visit Ottawa for more detailed discussions on climate change
issues. Embassy believes that such visits would be very
useful in helping to inform the Canadian approach to climate
change, both domestically and internationally. We would also
like to use such visits by senior U.S. officials to bolster
ongoing Embassy efforts to explain U.S. policies and
accomplishments on environmental issues more broadly to the
Canadian Government, the Parliament and the Canadian public.
Highlighting the strong U.S. record on environment, and
climate change in particular, is all the more important given
the emphasis on environmental issues in the "Security and
Prosperity Partnership of North America" announced yesterday
by President Bush, President Fox and Prime Minister Martin.
We would warmly welcome visits by CEQ Chairman Connaughton,
U/S Dobriansky, EPA Administrator Johnson and other senior
officials and look forward to working with Washington
agencies to make the necessary arrangements with the GOC. End

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