Stephen Harper will have a special climate-change message for his fellow leaders at next week's G8 summit: Canada has unique problems hampering its effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
With the leaders attempting to reach a deal on climate change, the prime minister will seek recognition of several challenges Canada faces in tackling the problem.
Senior Canadian officials told journalists at a pre-summit briefing that any acceptable deal would need to account for this country's growing economy, population, and oil industry. But they refused to clarify exactly what that means.
"We're special, we're unique in the G8," said one official.
"We're not like Europe, we're not like the United States in all respects. . . We'll be looking for a result that both advances things on an international level but also is true to Canadian requirements."
Last time I checked, Norway is also part of Europe, as well as a major oil producer in the world, comparable to Canada. Norway's "special", yet:
Norway wants to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 in the world's toughest national plan for fighting global warming, said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. He said that Norway, the world's number five oil exporter, wanted other rich nations to set similar "carbon neutral" aims.
"The greenhouse effect...is our most dangerous environmental problem," Stoltenberg said in his speech, listing risks such as thawing of Siberian permafrost, death of the Amazon rainforest or a spread of the Sahara. Under the 2050 plan, domestic emissions would be offset by cuts abroad or by buying emissions quotas on international markets. Norway could, for instance, help China or India to shift to solar or wind power from burning coal or oil.
The Americans produce almost three times the amount of oil Canada does, so I guess it is correct to say Canada is "not like the United States".
The Canadian posture looks for excuses, rather than action.