Canada sees path for Keystone but won't talk details

Mon Sep 9, 2013 6:01pm EDT
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* Minister ends one-day trip without details on Keystone decision

* Energy official Oliver says Canada will do more on climate

By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Canada will do more in the global fight against climate change as the nation develops its vast oil sands resources and tries to win backing for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the country's energy minister said on Monday.

The proposed pipeline that would link oil sands fields in western Canada to Gulf Coast refiners should come in tandem with plans to curtail carbon dioxide pollution, said Canada's energy minister Joe Oliver after a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz .

Canada had to join the fight against climate change as a global citizen and "to have the social license to continue to develop our resources," Oliver told reporters at the Washington embassy.

That conciliatory tone might ease relations with the White House, analysts said, but Canada will struggle getting the pipeline approved now that President Barack Obama's supporters have framed its rejection as essential to his environmental legacy.

"Climate change concerns are now at the heart of Obama's Keystone thinking and that's a problem since Canada is not living up to its own commitments on the issue," said Clare Demerse of the Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank.