Last week, the eyes of the world were on Ottawa as US President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gathered for the 2016 North American Leaders Summit. While much was discussed at the Summit, from NAFTA to the TPP to Canada’s Mexican Visa Requirement, it’s most significant outcome was a landmark climate deal.
In their joint statement on a North American Clean Energy and Environment Partnership, all three countries pledged to generate 50% of their power through clean sources by 2025. In order to achieve this aim, the countries pledged greater collaboration on cross border transmission projects – which is great news for Canada’s economy, given our abundant hydroelectric generation capacity.
Also in the statement was a reaffirmation of each leader’s commitment to reduce ‘short lived’ greenhouse gases, including hydroflourocarbons, black carbon, and methane emissions, which are significantly more potent than carbon. In particular, we are encouraged by the statement’s commitment to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, the world’s largest methane source, by 40-45% by 2025.
We are also very pleased to see a strong shared commitment from all three countries to protect biodiversity and to conserve our natural resources through harmonization on ocean observation systems, protecting migratory bird populations, strengthening warning systems for natural disasters, and protecting critical marine areas.
We want to highlight the importance of the plan’s pledge to work together with the International Civil Aviation Organization to reduce emissions across the aviation industry by encouraging carbon neutral growth in the sector from 2020 onward.
Lastly, we applaud the promise to invest strategically in communities to help them diversify economies, create and sustain quality jobs, and share in the benefits of a clean energy economy while protecting the fundamental principles and rights at work of workers who extract and refine fossil fuels, and who manufacture, install, and operate energy technologies in three jurisdictions where the energy economy is a critical sector for many citizens.
“The agreement that we’ve concluded today values our shift towards clean renewable energy,” said Prime Minister Trudeau at the leaders’ joint press conference in Ottawa last week, “How we work together . . . as three countries on energy solutions that give opportunities to our citizens while protecting future generations from the impacts of climate change is something that we are all entirely agreed on.”