CANADA, U.S., AND MEXICO VOW TO CRACK DOWN ON OIL & GAS EMISSIONS
The U.S., Canada and Mexico will cut greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, boost the development of clean power and build new cross-border transmission lines as part of a new clean energy plan unveiled Wednesday.
The North American Climate, Clean Energy and Environment Partnership, announced by the leaders of the three countries in Ottawa at the beginning of the Three Amigos summit, seeks to impose new restrictions on some industries in an effort to cut emissions and spur a greener economy on the heels of last year’s Paris climate summit
The pledges, made in U.S. President Barack Obama’s final North American Leaders’ Summit, underscore the rare political alignment of the three leaders at a summit previously delayed in 2015 amid a standoff over TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline. Now, 18 months later, the climate agreement underscores the three countries have moved definitively beyond Keystone, one White House official said.
“The Paris Agreement was a turning point for our planet,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “Our actions to align climate and energy policies will protect human health and help level the playing field for our businesses, households and workers.”
The meeting is also expected to see the leaders stress the importance of trade, economic integration and open societies amid fallout over the Brexit vote and a rise in protectionist sentiment, including in the U.S.
The action plan unveiled Wednesday includes a commitment by the countries to see half of the continent’s electricity generated by clean sources by 2025, including nuclear, hydro, other renewables and carbon capture and storage projects, with the latter providing a window for carbon-based power projects to be included in the clean energy threshold.
The continent stood at roughly 37 per cent in 2015, the White House official said. Reaching the new target, described as a “goal,” would grow U.S. clean energy production to 1,900 billion kWh, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.
The clean energy push includes the development of cross- border electrical transmission projects to boost capacity for trading of clean energy and for reliability and flexibility of the continent’s energy grid, the leaders said.
Mexico will also join the U.S. and Canada in reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector from 40 to 45 per cent by 2025, with the three countries also pledging a methane reduction strategy in agriculture and waste management.
The countries will continue to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their economies — including boosting deployment of “clean vehicles” in government fleets and cutting emissions from both the shipping and airline sectors.
The pledge comes a day after a bilateral meeting in Ottawa between Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto. The two countries announced an agreement to move toward resolving two thorns in their relationship, with Mexico agreeing to open its market fully to Canadian beef on Oct. 1 and Canada agreeing to lift a Mexican visa requirement on Dec. 1.
Trudeau, speaking Tuesday alongside Pena Nieto, took aim at the protectionist policies when asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has pledged to opt out of both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pacts, the latter of which he said amounts to “rape” of the U.S.
“We’ve seen around the world many examples of protectionism, of concern, of stepping away from trade agreements and engagements like we’re showcasing today, and I think it’s important that allies and partners like Mexico and Canada work together to address the challenges we’re facing together,” Trudeau said.
The North American leaders’ energy plan also includes pledges to “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025,” cut black carbon emissions, bring in “world-class ultra low-sulphur diesel fuel and heavy-duty vehicle standards” and boost protection for migratory species habitat. They call on Group of 20 counterparts to do more to cut emissions.
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