Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer spoke before a crowd at the Houston Petroleum Club on Nov. 30, sharing highlight of his country's relationship with the Lone Star State as well as experiences regarding the political outlook on carbon emissions. Doer recounted one interesting encounter with Texas Governor Rick Perry, where one of Perry's aids (whom Doer referred to as well researched) proudly shared that Manitoba, Doer's home province, is the largest consumer of Slurpees in North America, a product made by Dallas-based convenience store chain 7-Eleven. Doer was happy to share, at a later meeting, that his staff had discovered that Texas is the largest consumer of Manitoba-based Crown Royal whiskey. This prompted a comment about the importance of international trade.

The Canada-Texas trade relationship, according to Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, is valued at $21.1 billion and supports more than 625,000 jobs in Texas. There are 240 Canadian-owned companies employing nearly 39,000 people in 1,042 Texas locations. More than 8 million jobs in the total U.S. are dependent on U.S. and Canadian trade, with merchandise trading between the two countries totaling $392 billion.

Discussing carbon emissions in the Canadian oil sands, Doer says the government has agreed to reduce emissions by 17%, but he adds that doesn’t mean it’s 17% for all industries. “We’ll continue to work with the industries to reduce emissions at the oil sands with them, but when we look at Canada’s policies on getting to our 17% target, some things will be harmonized with the U.S. like vehicles, but we have a lot of coal plants that are getting older, and that represents close to 19% of the emissions in Canada,” says Doer. The new regulations will eliminate all but two Canadian coal plants, the rest replaced with gas-fired and hydroelectric plants. He adds that U.S. coal usage creates 60 times greater greenhouse gas emissions than the Canadian oil sands. Doer shared one humorous account of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, where a panel was discussing the need to end dependence on fossil fuels. He mentioned one actress, who he would not name but said she once played a mermaid, said during the panel that she had completely weened herself off of fossil fuels. To this, Doer remarked "That must have been a really long kayak trip from Hollywood to Copenhagen."