TORONTO – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss bilateral efforts on climate change, trade and security among other things during his visit to the White House Friday, a senior official said.
The official spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak about it publicly.
When Obama visited Canada on his first foreign trip as president in 2009 he agreed to begin a clean-energy dialogue with Canada. Obama linked the environmental problems of Canada's oil sands industry with those in the U.S. coal industry, a point that reassured Canadians who were worried the new U.S. president would restrict oil imports.
Industry officials estimate the northern Alberta sands could yield as much as 175 billion barrels of oil, making Canada second only to Saudi Arabia in crude oil reserves. But the extraction process produces a high amount of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.
The two countries have focused on the idea of developing carbon capture and storage to help turn the sands into a clean source of power, a largely unproven and not yet cost-effective technology that would bury harmful emissions underground.
Harper's Conservative government wants to link Canada's action on climate change with U.S. policies so that Canadian industry isn't put at an unfair advantage.
Obama and Harper will also discuss a North American perimeter security pact that will increase collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The discussions could be colored by a U.S. congressional report released Tuesday, which found that less than 1 percent of the U.S.-Canada border is considered under the operational control of U.S. border officials.
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, called it called it "absolutely alarming" and said it makes "clear defense of our northern border is weak."