Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice says his government and that of U.S. President Barack Obama share common principles on fighting climate change that will go a long way toward working out a North American environmental accord.

“When you actually look at what the new president has said and what our government has been saying there’s actually a high degree of consensus and commonality,” Prentice said from Calgary on Saturday.

Obama’s positions on climate change are often contrasted with those of Canada’s Conservative government.

Critics point out the new U.S. administration has said it favours absolute reductions on greenhouse gases while Tories north of the border prefer so-called intensity caps, which would still allow emissions to rise.

As well, Obama’s spending promises on alternative energy dwarf those in the recent Canadian budget.

Still, as Ottawa prepares to welcome Obama on his first presidential visit, Prentice maintains the two countries share a common approach.