By Arman Kazemi
February 18, 2016
Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have made a move towards stronger co-operation on climate change and clean energy.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell and American Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz met in Winnipeg last Friday to hash out a memorandum of understanding on energy and climate change.
As oil and gas prices continue their downward trend, this agreement opens the door for the three countries to share vital energy data and align their energy strategies around low-carbon electricity, clean tech, energy efficiency, and emissions reductions from the oil and gas sector.
This could eventually lead to a pan-continental accord to harmonize legislation and open up channels for the distribution of clean energy and expertise among the three countries.
Some have compared the possible economic and environmental collaboration to a “green NAFTA.”
“If this is a first step in that direction, it’s a good thing,” Keith Stewart, head of Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign in Canada, told CBC News. “This is the kind of thing that has been done on trade, it hasn't been done on climate change.”
The agreement comes ahead of a meeting between Justin Trudeau and the premiers in Vancouver next month where the prime minister plans to discuss a national climate strategy. A week later, Trudeau heads to the White House for a state visit, where he’s expected to emphasize the U.S. and Canada’s mutual interest in energy co-operation with President Barack Obama.
Although the Liberal government has appeared to favour certain pipeline projects, including the Keystone XL pipeline that Obama rejected last year, the talks did not include discussion of Enbridge’s proposed Alberta Clipper cross-border pipeline expansion, according to Minister Carr.
“We’ve always known that co-operation is key to make us all stronger and more competitive internationally,” he told The Globe and Mail.
Last week’s agreement, Carr insists, “builds on the important strides we’ve made over the years towards a continental energy strategy and it expands our relationship towards an even more ambitious clean energy and environmental agreement.”
Photo Credit: Wendell